Thursday, 2 October 2008

Booking Through Thursday

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?

9 comments:

Smilingsal said...

Jane Austen is one of those I dislike. Take a look.

gautami tripathy said...

David Copperfield and Oliver Twist are good books. Dickens writes great weird characters. Great Expectations is not bad either.I did not like Hard Times much. Otherwise his characters grow into you. Try reading him now. Start with David Copperfield.

I had to read Far from the Madding Crowd for my English Elective class in school. I had hated it then. Now? I don't know. I think I will re-read it. Hardy is dark. But his poetry is good.

Chris said...

Oh no! I love Eliot and Hardy. (Although I did find Maggie annoying)

Kathy said...

I tried to read Thomas Hardy only once and most likely won't try again. I do like Charles Dickens though.

Kanadani said...

I like Dickens in general, but could never get into Tale of Two Cities either. I mentioned that book and Grapes of Wrath in my answer. Please come check it out!

S. Krishna said...

I didn't like Tess of the Durbervilles, and Closing Time is not NEARLY as good as Catch-22

Tina Kubala said...

I read half of Great Expectations. Good story, but it was just getting going at the half point and I have other books to read, ya know.

Jenp said...

Well I'm glad there are a number of us that do not get why a lot of people like Coelho.

Bibliphile said...

Hmmmm American Psycho - very detailed descriptive writing, BUT makes you physically gag at times & is utterly pointless. It flits between social observations and VERY graphic murder scenes. The moral of the story... Don't be a yuppie and take copious amounts of cocaine - oh and murder the homeless?! Def on my list.