I still have nightmares about trying to read Moby Dick for a college literature class. Seriously, that book is my great whale. Despite many (many!) attempts to read it, I still haven't been able to get through it all. Consequently, I believe it is one of the most overrated classic books I have ever encountered. Even Chris Hemsworth wasn't able to make a movie about the expedition that inspired the book entertaining, and Chris Hemsworth is wholly entertaining all on his own.
But I'm not alone — everyone has that one book. The literary albatross that you just can't slog through — not even when your Modern Literature grade is riding on it. But here's the rough part: you chose to be in that Modern Literature class in college. You don't have that choice from elementary school through high school. The state and school board chose the books you read, and most of them were written by ultra-dead white men, with a few white women thrown in there for variety. And so, by the time you turned twenty-one, you'd somehow read The Great Gatsby six times.
That's okay. The way we perceive classic literature changes over time, and a book that you loved as a child may strike you as unforgivably problematic when you re-read it as an adult.
This list is not to stop you from reading these classics. After all, in order to understand novels today we should understand where it all started. But not all novels translate well across time and generations, despite being branded as "classics." Here are some overrated classics — and the modern books you should read instead.