ShareReads appears on the DCPLive blog on Fridays. Each week, a different person will share a little about what they’re currently reading, and why they like or don’t like it. The heart of ShareReads will be responses from blog readers, and the window of opportunity here is wide. Feel free to respond and discuss the book or author being mentioned, ask or answer a question, or even take the conversation in a different direction: mention what you are currently reading, and how you feel about it. The point of ShareReads is to have an ongoing discussion about books and reading. Remember: posting a response also counts as an activity for the Summer Reading for Adults program.
I recently came across One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and shuddered as I remembered slogging through it after several dear friends praised it to the rafters. I managed to read the entire book over the course of many months of picking it up, getting annoyed, putting it down, feeling guilty about putting it down, whining about it and picking it up again. It was a vicious cycle!
I have yet to figure out why there is so much love for One Hundred Years of Solitude. As other people have shared their fondness for the book with me, I have stopped and asked why they feel the way that they do. And, I am still baffled after all these years. I know that I found the book dull, pointless and a bit annoying. I do not see or understand their reverent chattering on the masterful use of magical realism, poetic prose and powerful plotting. Nope, sorry, I did not feel the earth move under my feet as I turned the pages.
Other books that folks have told me are their absolute, most favorite, top-10-on-the-list-of-must-have-items-if-stranded on a desert island, that I have arched my eyebrow at:
- Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. I have attempted to read this three times (in earnest, I promise) and have yet to make it past page 53.
- Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. I loved the start of this book, but lost that love and feeling when she started proselytizing Objectivism in the middle of the book.
- A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. The main character is way too whiny and lazy (and, this is coming from a proud self proclaimed lazy whiner) for me to stomach or relate to.
- Absurdistan by Gary Shteyngart. See the comments above. This is A Confederacy of Dunces set in Russia. Blech.
But hey, I love Thomas Hardy’s Jude the Obscure, which others have found to be totally convoluted and depressing, and Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight (not the whole series, just this one; Breaking Dawn definitely falls into the category of ugh), which others have found to be absolutely atrocious and vapid. Every book has its reader, no? What are some of the books that you’ve been told are the bestest but leave you cold, bored, or just scratching your head?