Sf Mindmeld had a post on books that people hated (and why) or why they couldn’t read them. I thought it was fascinating. There are a fair number of books in the ‘classics” kind of area that I have not liked or haven’t been able to read. I keep wanting to try because they are supposed classics, but I find that either they, or I, simply are not in tune.
I think it’s interesting what turns each person off and what turns them on. There are a fair number of books I agree with on this list. Books I’ve started but not finished. And yet I haven’t quit trying. I have not read a lot of Heinlein and I have not read Stranger in a Strange Land. I read other Heinlein as a kid and didn’t like it. What I remember was that the books had flat characters and bored me to tears. As I got older, I never could pick them up again with any liking. But I haven’t tried seriously in awhile and I feel like I should.
I have to admit that I’m not terribly fond of reading Tolkien. I admire the language and the story, but I don’t find the characters that developed and I think there are a fair number of digressions that I don’t care for. I have trouble getting through the books. But I love the movies. I do love the worldbuilding though.
When it comes to issues of women, I do tend to look for good portrayals of women and I do not like rape stories or stories where women are simply receptacles for men, or cardboard stereotypes. But then, same about men. I like good fully developed characters. I don’t mind violence in general (obviously), but I do need it to be appropriate to the story. I like complexity and difficulty, but I also like breezy reads.
I’ve not had luck reading American Gods, but I wonder if it’s me and I need to try again. I never liked Black Wine by Candas Jane Dorsey. Or I should say, I couldn’t get into the book. I kept putting it down. It was beloved by many people. Nor do I like the Twilight books. Or rather, the first I couldn’t read. I started, but I can’t get past anyone going back to high school on purpose, nor can I get past the whole stalker element. There are a lot of books that I have on my TRB shelf (oh, they are really packed in boxes many of them) that I’ve been meaning to read and haven’t been that interested in, despite how acclaimed the books are. The thing is, as an academic, I want to read things that stretch me and ask more of me than just pure entertainment value. I think it’s good for my mind, my soul, and my creative spirit. But I do not like to be bored.
I’m curious though, what books have you tried that a lot of people/critics like and you’ve found wanting?
I’ve been tempted to start some sort of reading group here on the blog. Maybe read one book a month and do a discussion here. Would anybody be interested? I don’t know what sorts of books we’d pick. Probably things that have been recommended to us by reviews or other readers or by general acclaim. Thoughts