What, in your opinion, is the best book that you haven’t liked? Mind you, I don’t mean your most-hated book–oh, no. I mean the most accomplished, skilled, well-written, impressive book that you just simply didn’t like.Gee, this is a lot easier than I’d really like it to be. I can think of so many “great” books that I just don’t care for – it’s almost scary. But then I’ve never minded admitting that I’m a philistine, so here goes.
Like, for movies–I can acknowledge that Citizen Kane is a tour de force and is all sorts of wonderful, cinematically speaking, but . . . I just don’t like it. I find it impressive and quite an accomplishment, but it’s not my cup of tea.
So . . . what book (or books) is your Citizen Kane?
I guess if I had to pick just one book (and I think I’ve already blogged about this recently), it would have to be James Joyce’s Ulysses. Or possibly James Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. I didn’t care for either of those, although I recognize the artistry. I read Ulysses for a college English class and I’m glad now that I was forced to finish it. But at the time, it was really a struggle. And Portrait of the Artist I read because it’s one of my husband’s favorites and he kept recommending it. No accounting for taste, I guess.
Then there’s Sterne’s Tristram Shandy. But I suppose that wouldn’t really count because I’ve never actually managed to read it. I know, I know – everybody tells me it was post-modern before there was a modern for it to be post-. I’ve tried many times to get through it, but always give up somewhere around page 10. Just not my cuppa. But maybe someday something will snap and I’ll be able to zip right through it and love it. Stranger things have happened.
One I'm really embarrassed about (because, in general, Hawthorne is one of my favorite authors) is The Scarlet Letter. I know it's considered to be his masterpiece, but I just think it's an abominable book. The House of the Seven Gables is much more readable. Had to read The Scarlet Letter in high school and by the end of the term, my copy was in shreds from being thrown across the room. I think I actually dropped it in a toilet at one point. Appropriate.
And then, of course, there’s Faulkner. And this is something I really hate to admit, having lived in the South most of my life. But I’ve never really enjoyed Faulkner. Too gothic. Too much testosterone. Too much something. I don’t know what it is, but it’s just too much for me. OK, The Reivers wasn’t too bad, but that may just be because I was thinking of Steve McQueen in the movie the whole time I was reading it.
Which brings us back to movies. And “Citizen Kane.” How can you not love “Citizen Kane”?