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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)
 
 
 
rfrancis on September 24th, 2010 11:01 pm (UTC)
I liked Covenant (but mamamoira strenously disagrees) -- mostly for the concepts, more than the execution, which swung ridiculously from touching to tedious to ... indescribable, really. Chalker is an interesting contrast, in that he also started with interesting concepts, but the execution was so utterly execrable in every case that it swallowed whole the interesting stuff, and usually after a couple of books I actually felt physically ill. So, that's nice.

I couldn't finish a single Shannara book; it felt so utterly derivative that I couldn't focus while reading it. Similar with the Mallorean, which I've never finished, although ironically, that was because it was so derivative of the Belgariad. :)