This week's BTT is:
What, in your opinion, is the best book that you haven’t liked? I don’t mean your most-hated book.. I mean the most accomplished, skilled, well-written, impressive book that you just simply didn’t like.
Oh dear. This really is confession time...
The only Charles Dickens book I have managed to read all the way through is A Tale of Two Cities. I have, however, enjoyed some of the film adaptions but I don't think that counts.
George Eliot makes me feel a bit queasy and I don't understand how anyone can empathise with the ghastly Maggie Tulliver from Mill on the Floss. I did study Silas Marner at either GSCE or A-Level but couldn't stand Eppie... I've also tried to read Middlemarch several times and each effort has ended in abandonment. Life is too short and I have decided not to worry about this.
I dislike Thomas Hardy, based on a full read of Far from the Madding Crowd. I know that I started both Tess of the D'Urbervilles and The Mayor of Casterbridge and didn't finish either but to be fair I've not tried him since I was 15 or 16 so I'll hold proper judgement on him.
It's not that I don't enjoy books of that era as, off the top of my head, the Bronte sisters, Jane Austen, Henry Fielding, William Thackeray, Elizabeth Gaskell and Anthony Trollope would all be authors I'd recommend so I'm not really sure what it is about Dickens, Elliot and Hardy that I dislike so much.
Moving to modern books, I have to say that I am at an utter loss to see why so many people find Paul Coelho so incredible. I've read The Alchemist and, more recently, The Witch of Portabello and I just don't understand why he is such a global phenomenon.
I loved Joseph Heller's Catch 22 but, despite at least two attempts, have not managed to get into Closing Time which is the sequel. Which is a bit odd given how much I enjoy the other one. Hem - it's "looking at me" balefully from my bookshelf. Is it time to try again?