Have you ever been embarrassed by the books you don’t like?
I mean, we all have books we can take or leave. That leave us with a sort of “meh” feeling. And as reading is fairly subjective, our “meh” books are likely someone else’s classics. It’s just the way it goes. I’ve certainly loved books other people have hated.
It’s the risk you run when you ask a person what they thought of a story. And it’s cool, because even if it turns into an over-the-top raging argument, you walk away with a different perspective.
But there are definitely those moments where I’m tempted to avert eye contact and make inarticulate sounds when someone brings up a book. Books that it just feels wrong to admit that no, they were simply not my cup of tea.
Still, no book is going to be loved by every person who picks it up. And, since I’ve already told you about all the ridiculous things I’m not embarrassed for loving, I figure it can’t be worse to tell you about the classic things I am embarrassed for not loving. My very guilty displeasures, if you will.
Here are my top three:
- Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
o I love the world of this book, dark and gloomy. But I’ve read it three times and each time have wanted the two main characters to disappear into the moors. I’ve read a number of books that have had lead characters who I didn’t particularly like as people, but I still cared about how their stories ended (Margaret Mitchell’s Scarlett O’Hara, for instance. Not someone I’d want to be friends with, but I had to know how things turned out for her). I was just never able to connect with Catherine and Heathcliff.
- Grendel (John Gardner)
o This book has absolutely everything that I love. A new perspective on an epic tale. A fantasy monster telling his side of the story. Seers and dragons. Every component is awesome. But somehow, when it all comes together I find myself staring at the clock more than the book.
- Romeo & Juliet (William Shakespeare)
o Perhaps the issue here is that I first read it when I was the same age as young Juliet. And I wanted to smack both her and her Romeo. They meet at a party, are married the next day, and within a week have both killed themselves. A little bit excessive considering their knowledge of each other was pretty much limited to the fact that they were from feuding families and both fairly attractive. I remember thinking that if I read about them talking about something other than how they shouldn’t be together (Maybe hobbies? Favorite foods? A normal day in their lives?) that I could have bought the whole willing-to-die-for-each-other a little bit more.
So, what books are you embarrassed to admit you don’t really care for?