Friday, 16 June 2017

Overrated Books

It's never been any secret that books are one of my most favourite things in the whole wide world. As far as I'm concerned, you can never have too many books. Also, it's not hoarding if it's books. Because I say so. And that settles the matter. 

Ever since I was a child I always had a book permanently attached to my hand. Shame it's now often a phone... but that's another story...

Even so, there are certain books that failed to enthral me. It's even more puzzling when they're books or authors that are so beloved and popular. It leaves you wondering if there was something you missed. Is it possible that you read the same book as others? It's a very curious thing. Let me assure you, I am the furthest thing from a reading snob. Read what you like, I say. If it's some sort of  Game Of  Thrones fan fiction, who am I to judge?

I've gone from a passionate love of Enid Blyton (who probably seems unhinged and secretly racist to today's kidlets), to the completely stupid Sweet Valley High series as a teen. Then onto reading Mills and Boon romances, then a tonne of dubious 'chick lit' and implausible thrillers. My main purpose in reading is pure escapism. So there will never be any judgement from me. 

However, there have been a few books I just don't get. Without further ado, here are three books I consider to be overrated:


THE SLAP BY SOME DUDE WITH AN UNPRONOUNCEABLE NAME


Yeah, that dude. How do you pronounce it?

I read it last year because I'd heard good things about it. It sounded like an interesting premise: a group of friends at a suburban barbeque where an adult slaps another person's child. 

To be honest, the only part of the book I enjoyed was the description of the food at the barbeque. Which probably says a lot about me... Ahem...

It seemed to me that every single character in this book was thoroughly unlikable.  Maybe I'm too much of a Pollyanna or something, but I need to feel like I actually like at least one character to care about what happens to them at the end of the novel. 

Another thing that disturbed me was some of sex scenes. In one, a female character fantasises that she's being raped. What the...? I don't have a copy of the novel anymore to quote the scene, but it bothered me. Maybe some women like it rough, and good luck to them, but rape? Really? 

Also, I'm wondering if there is really quite so much drug taking among the Australian middle classes? It seemed like every character was into drugs.  I dunno, I guess I just live in a bubble... In Sydney's western suburbs surrounded by druggies and meth labs... Yet I've never taken an illegal drug in my entire life. Go figure. 

Anyway, I'm sure this Christos dude doesn't care what I think. He's too busy winning literary awards and writing his next best-selling, critically acclaimed masterpiece, while I'm sitting here writing this crappy blog. Sniff. 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS BY EMILY BRONTE






Yes, you read that right. I am really going to call this classic of literature for nearly 200 years overrated.  Confession: I've never actually read the entire novel. I've tried several times during my life and I just couldn't do it. And I LOVE AND WORSHIP the Bronte sisters! Jane Eyre is one my favourite novels of all time. I could read it again and again. But not this. 

I know that Emily Bronte is considered to be some sort of incredible brooding genius; and she probably was. It's not her, it's me. For so many years I figured I had to force myself to read this, because it's such a classic. But you know what? NO. I just can't. Besides, I know what happens at end, anyway.

SPOILER ALERT: Heathcliff and Cathy die and their ghosts wander about the moors and haunt people, and then Kate Bush writes a song about it and dances about in a field or something.... Yeah, that. Overrated. Moving on. 


                            I recommend the Kate Bush song/video NOT the novel. 



ANYTHING BY JODI PICOULT




I thought I'd give this author a go because she is so incredibly popular. She's sold enough novels to fill the Atlantic ocean or the entire cosmos or the Sahara desert or... You get the picture. She's sold a shit tonne of novels. I guess people like her. I don't. The first time I tried to read one of her novels was many years ago. I picked up a novel called The Pact. It was about a suicide pact between two young people. However, I wasn't in a very good head space at the time, due to having lost a baby. Therefore, I decided that reading a book about suicide wasn't a good idea. Fast forward several years and I spotted another Jodi Picoult novel called Plain Truths on a sale table. I figured I'd give her another go.

As I vaguely recall, the plot centred around a hotshot lawyer, who somehow ends up defending an Amish girl, accused of murdering her newborn baby. Look, it was actually a good story, but it just went on and on and ON. By the middle of the novel I'd guessed the ending, anyway. So it just seemed superfluous to have hundreds more pages. I ended up skipping ahead to the ending, and my guess was right. Personally, I wouldn't bother reading any more Jodi Picoult novels, but as I mentioned, she is SO popular and famous. I guess it's just me. Shrugs.

A google search shows me that this novel was made into a TV film in 2004, starring Mariska Hargitay. It might be worth a watch, rather than wasting days or weeks on the plodding novel.
 




So there you have it. Three novels I thought were overrated.  Then of course there is 90 percent of the entire self-help, non-fiction genre...and anything with vampires... and the Fifty Shades series.. but I'll be here forever...  

What about you? Have you read any of the above novels? 

Which books do you think are overrated?

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4 comments:

  1. I have not read the other two, but yes Wuthering Heights is tedious.

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  2. I've not read any of these books. In fact I have never read anything by the Bronte sisters. Don't know why I wasn't made to in high school but I somehow escaped. I'm not into 19th century anything. That's the sad and sorry truth. Did you know, by the way, that you can find an article online with the bottom of the barrel books sold on Amazon.com? It's an interesting read.

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  3. Of the three books you mentioned, I read only the second one because it was part of our coursework. I was okay reading the abridged version of Wuthering Heights although I never quite liked the story. It is considered a classic though!

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  4. Ok, I liked The Slap but I agree none of the characters was likeable and it was a depressing book. But I really thought it made you question things and I like depressing books {yeah, I'm weird like that!}. It's not my favourite book but was certainly interesting. As for Jodi Picoult, I have a whole shelf dedicated to her books. Plain Truth is not one of my faves and The Pact was not too bad. My favourites would probably be 'My Sister's Keeper', 'Picture Perfect', 'Perfect Match', 'Salem's Fall' and 'Nineteen Minutes'. Nowadays I find her books are not as good as they were.

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