I tried. Really I did. I mean, in the case of Swamplandia! I tried twice. But as much as I really really really want to love these books, I just don’t.
*I also feel the strong urge to add a life update here. After 25 years, I’ve finally decided to just stop pretending to like things for fear of judging. I’m learning how to accept my quirks and not let the feelings of others dissuade me from being me. For example, I hate pants. HATE THEM. So I pretty much only wear skirts. Skirts I’ve thrifted that come down to that awkward length past my knees but not quite tea length and are probably straight from the 80s. This, though, is a story for another day. *
Go ahead all you literature junkies, give it to me. I can take it. But I just don’t like this books.
Swamplandia! by Karen Russell
I just couldn’t get past all the names, like Hilola Bigtree, and the capitalizing of noun phrases, like World of Darkness or Tongue of the Leviathan, or Ten Thousand Islands. It’s just too much. And every time I see Swamplandia! (the town’s name) I feel like standing up, putting a hand to my mouth, and hollering (yes, hollering) SWAMMPPPPPLANNNDIIIIAAAAA!!!! with just a teensy little bit of a Tarzan yodel thrown in for good measure. So I felt like the flow kept being interrupted. I also thought the premise was just a bit strange. Like, it almost seemed a better fit for a children’s story than for an adult novel. But I don’t know for sure, as for the last two times I couldn’t make it past the first chapter. This is a book I will totally pick up again for a third time, and maybe that will be the charm.
One Day by David Nichols
I’m not completely surprised I didn’t like this book because I saw the first 10 minutes of the movie and thought it was so awful I turned it off and went straight back to Redbox and returned it. I love the premise of this book, though, and wish I liked it. But it begins with a chapter of Dex and Em (the main characters) canoodling in the I-want-to-have-sex-but-we’re-not-going-to sense of the word and there was so many cigarettes and pretentious banner thrown back and forth I literally wanted to reach in the book and throttle those idiots. I know that it starts out when their young, and I suppose a ton of character development happens throughout the book’s 20 year span, but both those college grads reminded me so much of so many people I hated that I couldn’t find it in me to stick with them. This would be one that I don’t recommend to anyone. But if you read it and liked it tell me, did I give it up too soon?
Little Bee by Chris Cleave
I wrote about this one before and that pretty much sums up why I didn’t like it. It was so sad. Like, heart wrenching sad. And the words themselves were so beautiful it added to the sadness. Can you not like a book because it’s almost too good at what it does? I dunno, but every time I picked it up I would burst into tears because of all the beauty and sadness it contained. The husband finally told me to stop the nonsense and get a grip. I may not have liked the book, but if I could only be half as talented as Cleave at stringing together a story, I will be happy. I will most likely check out another one of his books. Does he write anything predictably happy??
Other books on this “I wish I liked it” list include, but are not limited to:
Lolita, Suite Francaise, A Farewell to Arms, A Tale of Two Cities, Northanger Abbey
Now it’s your turn. What books do you wish you loved? Did you read any of these and are now appalled at my lack of appreciation for quality book culture?