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24 September 2010 @ 08:57 am
reading meme: day five  

Day 05 – A book you hate

I really do wish I could remember the book I read when I was 19, the one that made me say, “Christ, I can do better than *this*,” and sit down to write my first novel. But I honestly have no idea what it was.

There are, though, some books I can make blanket “I loathed this” statements about. In fact, there are authors who fit wholesale into that category: Jack L. Chalker is one of them. And for some reason I read quite a *lot* of Chalker as a teen, so I can say with impunity that I really dislike his books.

Stephen R. Donaldson narrowly misses that categorization, too. I read the Covenant books–at least three or four, disliking them more and more as I went on–and had I realized the Mordant’s Need books were by the same writer I’d never have picked them up. But I did, and I quite like them, so Donaldson isn’t a wholesale loss for me.

One book I actually feel sort of guilty admitting to disliking, because the author died recently and was the friend of many of my LJ-writer-friends, is Robert Holdstock’s MYTHAGO WOOD, which I mistakenly believed had been written by Charles de Lint. I disliked it so violently that I held it against de Lint for about fifteen years before discovering he hadn’t written it. I *still* haven’t read any de Lint, but at least I’m no longer blaming someone else’s book on him.

Nor did I like Michael Swanwick’s THE IRON DRAGON’S DAUGHTER, which still frustrates me because I love the title beyond reason. In fact, the Inheritors’ Cycle books were spawned by that title, and I’m grumpy that I can’t use it for myself.

Outside the genre, I positively hated THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE. I do believe it’s the first book I ever quit reading. I stopped at the bit where the guy gets shot through the cheek. It was just too gross, even though I had a quiz on it. Fortunately, my friend Peter had finished the book and told me what I needed to know (in exchange, I told him what happened in LORD JIM, and I believe we both passed the tests). And A SEPARATE PEACE is also on my short list of gaaaah never again. And I already mentioned the great disappointment of EMILY’S QUEST, which is probably enough to end this blog on. :)

Well, to end it on except for saying I won’t be doing the meme over the weekends (thus eking another week out of it, moo hoo hoo!), since there’s less traffic then anyway. :)

(x-posted from the essential kit)
Michael M Jonesoneminutemonkey on September 24th, 2010 08:09 am (UTC)
Huh. For reasons that escape me now, I disliked The Iron Dragon's Daughter so much that it put me off of Swanwick for years afterwards. I suppose it was the ending, since I liked it to a point. This was a long time ago, long enough for the specifics to blur. A pity, Swanwick's certainly a nice guy, and talented.

If you've never tried de Lint, I suggest dipping your toe in with one of his short story collections, as I'm still in love with the way he built up this amazingly magical fictional city through dozens of short stories and repeating characters. I may not always love his longer works, or even all of his short stuff, but it was in Dreams Underfoot, and in The Ivory and the Horn, that I first saw exactly what it was I wanted to do, and how and why.

But that's just my thought. :>
kitmizkit on September 24th, 2010 01:39 pm (UTC)
I think I've had nearly every book de Lint has written recommended to me as the place to start, as soon as people find out I haven't read him. :)