Booking Through Thursday: The best book I haven’t liked (this year)

Booking Through Thursday question: What, in your opinion, is the best book that you haven’t liked? Mind you, I don’t mean your most-hated book–oh, no. I mean the most accomplished, skilled, well-written, impressive book that you just simply didn’t like.Like, for movies–I can acknowledge that Citizen Kane is a tour de force and is all sorts of wonderful, cinematically speaking, but . . . I just don’t like it. I find it impressive and quite an accomplishment, but it’s not my cup of tea. So . . . what book (or books) is your Citizen Kane?

First, I must say I’m shocked and appalled at some of the choices others have made:

  • Sprite: 1984
  • Aspiring Geek: The Great Gatsby
  • Maria: The Lord of The Rings
  • Ivy: Crime and Punishment (she not only hated it, but tore it “a well-deserved new one” 😉 and she did, go and see, it’s pretty brutal.
  • Heather: whose blog address has literature crazy in it, but hated every minute of The Iliad and The Odyssey.

Of course, I say this somewhat tongue-in-cheek, so please, Sprite, Geek, Maria, Ivy and Heather, don’t flame me. I understand from where you are coming, but you’re entitled to your wrong opinion. 😉

So what is my choice? This year, anyway, it’s The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. Unlike Jen @ The Devourer of Books who didn’t think any of his books were “accomplished, skilled, well-written, impressive”, I thought that The Alchemist was “accomplished, skilled, well-written, impressive” crap which in hindsight I should have given it a lower rating, but I was being kind that day. Actually I understand what he was doing and how he was doing it, but I just didn’t like it. As I said in my original review, the characters seemed too allegorical and cardboard. I didn’t feel any connection with any of them.


And even though I’m neither having a giveaway like Jen (above) is nor celebrating my 100th review for which she’s having the giveaway, I’m putting the spotlight on Banned Books Week in my own posts. I’m reading a book a day for the week and then getting up the reviews as I can (hopefully by week’s end).

Today’s book: Black Boy by Richard Wright, which I haven’t started yet, so I gotta go.

17 responses to “Booking Through Thursday: The best book I haven’t liked (this year)

  1. We read a Paulo C. book in book group, The Witch Of Portobello. That’s two hours of my life I’ll never get back again.

    I’ll be waiting to hear about Black Boy.

  2. I agree about The Alchemist, which I thought was so disappointing. I did finish it but only because it was short.

  3. Tee hee! That’s the great things about books. There are so many that it’s okay to disagree. Imagine if there were only three books in the world. We’d have to like them all!

    I stand by my choice of 1984. I recognize its greatness and appreciate its commentary on society, but I don’t want to live in a world where that’s possible, so fundamentally I just can’t *like* it.

  4. To be fair, whether one enjoys The Illiad and The Odyssey can depend a very great deal on the translator involved. Robert Fagles is, I think, particularly good.

  5. unfinishedperson

    First, just realized my link didn’t go through. Here is where you can find my Banned Books Week posts.

    Now enough about me, about you, back to you:

    Pam: I’m not really sure if it was banned (I’m too lazy to google it right now), but it probably was challenged by some school board somewhere for Wright’s frank discussion about his drinking when he was young, getting beat up by his father, etc.

    Ivy: The only good thing about The Alchemist is that it’s short.

    Deb: Keep it there indefinitely.

    Gautami: Absolutely agree: simplistic is the word.

    Heather: I do, don’t I? However, I’ve been getting spammed like crazy by this guy who says I should go check out Coelho’s blog…and like Bart, I aim to make Homer proud.

    Bluestocking: I read Moby Dick and I liked it, even though it wasn’t like the foundation of my dissertation (see Matt’s comment below 😉 or anything.

    Bermudaonion: You do that.

    Matt: I enjoyed both 1984 and Brave World too, even though I didn’t write an essay and even though Crime and Punishment wasn’t the foundation of my dissertation (which has yet to be written since, of course, I have yet to go to grad school), I still liked it…I just want you to know I’m not making fun of your erudition (really).

    I did think I had to comment though after your comment on Heather’s blog about the Homer and Iliad where you said “I read both in college (for classics minor) and actually enjoyed them. I re-read The Iliad when I started graduate school.” I couldn’t let it go.

    Personally, I wouldn’t mind going to grad school some day. Where did you go? (See, I’m jealous. 😉

    Sally: Going to check out right now and will comment there.

    Jessica: I thought it was well-written, but I’m glad you’re coming over to the anti-Coelho side. 😉

    Seachanges: I agree about 1984. Sometimes reality is worse.

    As for Rushdie, I’ve never been really interested in reading any of his works. If you look at my reading lists, I prefer the shorter works…it’s what my attention allows.

    Jenn: I read Capote’s book and I’ll be honest I didn’t think it was that great either. It was good, but not great. However, I guess for the time it was written, it was ground-breaking. Notice, Jenn, I used no emoticons in my response to you.

  6. Well, just recently I read Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood,” because I’d heard words tossed around like Modern Classic, etc. I think I had been expecting something along the lines of Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird”– something very southern, very atmospheric and poetic in its language. And, while I found “In Cold Blood” interesting, it didn’t seem vastly different to me than a number of other better-written crime and trial novels. I don’t know. I felt bad for not being passionate about it.

    Maybe it’s just me, though, perhaps I missed something significant.

  7. I also liked 1984 – it seemed to sum up the despair we were heading for (only it did not quite happen in that way, maybe worse?) – I think that some of Salmon Rushdie’s works are overrated / too complicated / too difficult to read? I loved some of them, but others were just too cumbersome to get your head around (a favourite expression of one of the people I enjoyed managing in my working life 🙂 – but very apt in this context)

  8. I was too kind in my rating to The Alchemist too. Maybe because it was well-written. The more I think about it though, the more it seems like a pointless book.

  9. I have three other titles for my answer. Come check it out. Happy BTT.

  10. I actually read 1984 and Brave New World around the same time and wrote essay comparing the two.

    Crime and Punishment? It was the foundation of my dissertation so I cannot agree with anyone who doesn’t like the book. 🙂

    Mine would be Moby Dick and The Alchemist.

  11. Yikes! I will make sure I avoid The Alchemist.

  12. LOL!! You are so funny! Actually I chose Moby Dick. You can flame me if you want.

  13. You’ve got pretty big balls to write that, offending so many celebrity endorsers of Paulo Coelho. Homer would have been proud.

  14. I see the Alchemist on great many blogs. I felt it is too simplistic. And overrated. In India, it seems to be a great hit as celebrities reccommend it. By those who have never read any good books.

    No wonder.

    I liked 1984. I had read it much before 1984. Lord of the Rings is too long-winded for me.

    My BTT post!

  15. I started reading The Alchemist but only made it through the first couple of chapters. I think I’ll keep it on the backburner for a while longer.

  16. Ha! Thanks for the link. 🙂 I had planned on reading The Alchemist, but so many people listed that one for this week’s BTT, I think I’m going to give it a skip.

  17. Black Boy is banned now? I read that in high school…which was longer and longer ago by the day!