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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)
 
 
 
Wolf Lahti: Sabrinawolflahti on September 26th, 2010 07:50 pm (UTC)

I fail to understand why The Red Badge of Courage is considered such a classic. It is awkwardly written and features an unlikeable character who doesn't go through a character arc so much as suddenly being a different person at the end. It is repetitive, saying the same thing with almost exactly the same wording at several different points in the book. Within a few paragraphs, the protagonist fears he will find that he's a coward, then he's sure that he will be brave, then he's convinced his squad mates are grand fellows, and then they're all idiots for believing him to be a better man than he is, and the officers are idiots and he knows so much more about how to wage a battle than they. He's a coward and a liar - and then he picks up a flag and is a hero, at least in his won eyes.

Feh.