Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Book Obsession Never Ends

Okay, I've blogged about my favorite books and also included one review of a book I did not like.  Have you been wondering what other books I didn't like or feel are bad literature?  Sure you have!
  • Lord of the Flies by William Golding - I never had to read this book in high school because I was a fast reader and by the time the class got to Lord of the Flies I was already reading Great Expectations instead.  I picked it up later during high school because I figured it must be good.  Um, no.  I didn't even get past the first few chapters. I think this might fall under the category "Better Appreciated When Older" but I still haven't made the effort to tackle it again.  My son read it in his high school class so teachers are still foisting it onto students' laps.  It has been too long since my high school years to remember the specifics of why I disliked this book so much that I never even finished it.
  • The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger - Same situation as above but I did manage to finish this book.  I know a LOT of people adore this book and it really has deep meaning for them.  I was bored and had no connection to Holden Caulfield.  Another candidate for "Better Appreciated When Older"??
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald - Also boring to me.  But again, I read it in high school and I think teenagers have no real life experience to appreciate this type of book. It never made me want to read anything else by FSF.
  • The Bridges of Madison County by somebody I'm too lazy to look up - Ugh.  Why take two sentences to describe a situation when you can use twenty?  On the TV show Frasier, this book's style was parodied when Frasier reads a book similar to Bridges.  I think he is reading aloud or there is voice-over narration as he reads.  The author is writing a farewell and it goes on and on, then Frasier turns several pages and the goodbye is still going on.  If I knew how to find that clip and imbed it I would because it was a perfect tweak at this book.  Which was also too boring to finish.  I never saw the Meryl Streep/Clint Eastwood film but it must be better than the book.
  • Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley - The biggest thing I remember about this book was that it came out the day after I got married.  And Scarlett calls her child "Cat."  And I watched the TV miniseries too.  Not good, either one.
  • She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb - An Oprah Book Club selection I happened to read before she picked it.  It had the most unappealing main character.  Just ugh.
  • A Map of the World by Jane Hamilton - I think this book was most disappointing in that it wasn't the story I expected.  I thought it would somehow relate to a MAP OF THE WORLD from the main character's childhood and it was instead a story of a child's accidental drowning and its aftermath, not a good book to read when your own child is about the age of the child who drowns.
  • The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by someone - Very popular a couple of years ago but I was so bored by it and only read halfway through. It's supposed to be a version of Shakespeare's "Hamlet."  Seriously, read or reread "Hamlet" instead.
  • The Celestine Prophecy by who cares - This book, purportedly a novel, was terrible, filled with such perfect coincidences as some guy tracks down the meaning of life.  Or something.  It seemed that every person he meets just happens to hold the key to the next stage in his journey.  I am not a new agey kind of person so maybe that's my problem with this one.  He should have written it as a non-fiction journey and then it never would have crossed my mind to read it.  Only got to the 4th or 5th chapter.
  • Most celebrity autobiographies - I have read quite a few, pop culture junkie that I am.  There are some great ones out there (Carol Burnett's, for an example) but most are awful.  Even so, these can be some of the tastiest of the junk food books.  Just doesn't make them good literature.
  • Trashy novels - I am not talking about Harlequins (only ever read 2 of those and they were practically identical; thus endeth the romantic novel phase of my life) but rather those like:
    • Valley of the Dolls
    • Peyton Place
    • The trash fest of the 1980's - We had so many junk food books to gorge on!
      • Queenie - the thinly-veiled Merle Oberon story
      • Jackie Collins and Hollywood Wives
      • Lace - featuring the all-time best line of trash dialogue, "Which one of you bitches is my mother?"  And played by our heroine Phoebe Cates in the miniseries, a girl we knew and loved, along with Jayne Modean, from Seventeen magazine
      • Danielle Steel - I only ever read one of hers (The Ring) and it was entertaining but not enough to read any others I guess
      • Sidney Sheldon - he gave us trashy novels AND I Dream Of Jeannie!
        • Master of the Game was my especial favorite
      • Judith Krantz
        • Dear, dear Scruples with it's heroine going from fat to chic in a few pages time and sex scenes that had a bunch of 17-year-olds grouping around the book saying, "ooh, how gross!"
          • And its sequel Scruples 2 which gave Lady Chardonnay & me the chance to use the phrase "waternixie green" from time to time
        • And of course, Princess Daisy.  It took place early on at UC Santa Cruz, OUR school!
        • I'll Take Manhattan with its great TV miniseries with Valerie Bertinelli, Barry Bostwick, Jane Kaczmarek, Tim Daly, Julianne Moore, Perry King
    • I don't hate any of these books but I don't necessarily think they are great literature.  And I actually adore many of them.  They are so darn entertaining. 
Okay, my peeps, enough for now.  What are your bad books?

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