The Most Boring Books Ever

Back in 1950, Columbia University Press polled hundreds of editors, writers, booksellers, librarians, literary critics, and general readers in order to produce a list of the 10 most boring books among the great classics. The winners were:
  1. Pilgrim's Progress, Bunyan
  2. Faust, Goethe
  3. Don Quixote, Cervantes
  4. Ivanhoe, Scott
  5. Silas Marner, Eliot
  6. Pamela, Richardson
  7. Life of Samuel Johnson, Boswell
  8. Faerie Queene, Spenser
  9. Paradise Lost, Milton
  10. Moby Dick, Melville
Such lists are always entirely subjective. For instance, I would question how anyone could produce such a list and not include anything from French literature. Take Remembrance of Things Past. That has to be up there among the great snoozers of all time.
     Posted By: Alex - Tue Aug 13, 2013
     Category: Literature | Books | 1950s

How come Tolstoi's War and Peace is not there? That's scandalous! The book is so boring that it is cited in other novels as an example of boring book.
Posted by Yudith on 08/13/13 at 10:19 AM
I loved Pilgrim's Progress. Good job too, because it was one of the books I had to study for A-level English Lit.. I've managed to avoid all the others, thus far.

And I agree with Yudith. Even Robert Heinlein's stinker, Time Enough For Love, cites W&P as a good soporific. One of the characters had to study it, and found it so hard to wade through that she learned Russian, so she could read it in the original, to see what the big deal was. Apparently, the translator had vastly improved the work...
Posted by TheCannyScot in Atlanta, GA on 08/13/13 at 10:28 AM
I'm surprised "Ulysses" is missing. That was assigned in a literature class at university with a warning from the instructor. I did thank her for her honesty.

However, I've read Melville and enjoyed it thoroughly. As for "Remembrance", it helps if you have a few madeleines and a joint on hand before settling down to read. :lol:
Posted by KDP on 08/13/13 at 11:00 AM
What about The Old Man and the Sea? There's probably more drool on my copy of that than a baby's bib!
Posted by Moses on 08/13/13 at 11:29 AM
That looks like the A reading list from my high school English class.
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 08/13/13 at 01:04 PM
I could never finish the first chapter of anything by Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Posted by tadchem on 08/14/13 at 05:30 AM
This thread reminded me of one of my Teachers who bore an amazing resemblance to THIS GUY FROM THE MOVIE ANIMAL HOUSE! :lol: :coolsmile:
Posted by Tyrusguy on 08/14/13 at 08:56 AM
Shocked and amazed!
"Silas Marner" is definitely not the most boring work by George Eliot.
"Don Quixote" is not boring at all! It's hilarious!
"Pamela" is considered the first novel EVER and is a good read.
"Ivanhoe" and "Faust" -- also not boring.
"Paradise Lost"? How did that end up here? And "Faerie Queene"?? Seriously?

I think a bunch of literature haters created this list.
Although I am 100% in agreement that "Moby Dick" is incredibly boring.
"Ulysses" also gets my vote.
Tolstoy's "Anna Karenina" was awesome. Have not read "War and Peace".
Posted by girlgeniusNYC on 08/14/13 at 01:24 PM
The Cherry Orchard, Anton Chekhov was not only the most boring book I ever read, It was also the most boring play I ever saw! :lol: :coolsmile:
Posted by Tyrusguy on 08/14/13 at 01:57 PM
You would think Boswell's biography of Samuel Johnson would be more exciting. The good doctor was quite a character. Doesn't say much for Mr. Boswell.
Posted by Steph on 08/14/13 at 04:51 PM
I can't think of anything that bored me excessively, maybe because I do not finish anything I do not like. On the flip slid though we were assigned the Odyssey in high school and I liked it so well I went to the library and got the Iliad to read after that.
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 08/14/13 at 08:51 PM
I read Ivanhoe when I was about twelve, and really enjoyed it. I saw a condensed version years later, and found that the good parts had been cut. I saw The Cherry Orchard staged in New York City in about 1968, and that was very good.
Posted by John Ayer on 08/14/13 at 10:13 PM
" I think a bunch of literature haters created this list. "
Actually, literature snobs. Anything the hoi-polloi might've read and enjoyed is "boring" and "mundane" to them.
Posted by Captain DaFt on 08/14/13 at 11:46 PM
Moby Dick is one of the few times I've liked the movie (Gregory Peck) much better than the book.

But I had read the Cassics Ilustraded version many times before. They were good at showing -- " A picture is worth a thousand words. "
Posted by BMN on 08/15/13 at 12:15 AM
Don Quixote? Moby Dick? Maybe because I was twelve years old but I liked both. I read " classics" when I was young and learned to appreciate them as I got older. With some it is the work of the wordsmith that is good. Others it is the actual content. But Faust I will admit was a hard read. That is for a 20 yr. old college student with a joint as somebody else said.The Metamorphisis is another but that one is actually a good read in an altered state. In fact you need to be in one if you want to avoid psycological damage.
Posted by charles1682 on 08/15/13 at 06:13 AM
The Bible :ahhh:
Posted by BrokeDad in Midwest US on 08/15/13 at 02:05 PM
Thank goodness someone agrees with me that "Remembrance of Things Past" was awful. I had to read it for high school, and it was pure hell.

Don Quixote wasn't bad. Maybe my perception was filtered by "Wishbone," but I did like it.

Paradise Lost wasn't boring in my opinion. It was confusing as hell, and I needed Sparknotes to follow what was going on, but it wasn't boring.
Posted by Smiles4100 on 08/16/13 at 10:35 AM
One of the main things that can make a 'good' old book 'boring' is that it is old. If you need referance books just to get to the depth of the meaning???

I will recomend a book that has both and is available at Amazon.
"The Annotated Alice" by Martin Gardner

It has the text and illustrations from both of Lewis Carrol's Alice books.
The annotations go from explaining puns to also explaining the mathematics.
Posted by BMN on 08/16/13 at 11:29 AM
Pilgrim's Progress boring ! ! ! By Christ, Luddites.
Posted by Happy Jack on 08/16/13 at 04:10 PM
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