Ok, so on to the meme!
Name five books that left you totally flat even though your friends / critics raved about them. Ok, this is harder than it seems to answer because I don't generally read things that leave me flat (or get beyond the first or second page) regardless of critics' and/or friends' recommendations. Nevertheless, I shall soldier on and attempt to answer.
- Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. I know. Only a total jerk would admit to this, but I guess that makes me total jerk. I suppose the circumstances under which I read it could have influenced my response (in a grad seminar in the first semester of my PhD program) but really, I think I just don't like the book.
- All Books by Jennifer Weiner. Ok, so she was recommended to me by a non-academic friend, so I shouldn't have expected much, but nevertheless, I think her novels are just kind of lame. Yes, I've read them, and yes, they're slightly better than much chick lit out there, but no, they are not a scintillating read.
- The Last of the Mohicans by James Fennimore Cooper. It was my beloved grandmother's favorite book, and I really wanted to like it, but I found the whole experience dead boring.
- The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde. I loved The Eyre Affair. I thought Lost in a Good Book was ok. By the time we reached The Well of Lost Plots, I was pretty much bored. I do think Something Rotten does much to redeem the Thursday Next series, but I almost wish that it hadn't been a series and that The Eyre Affair was just allowed to stand alone on its own merit.
- Emma, by Jane Austen. I'd rather watch the movie Clueless any day of the week.
Name five books that you read and loved that your friends / critics panned, ignored, or hated, or that were just undeservingly uncelebrated.
- The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing. It changed my life (cliche though that sounds) when I read it in college; it changed my professional life when I finally did some scholarly work related to it. I know a lot of people find it dry or irritating, but I really think that it is one of the most important novels of the twentieth century.
- The Passion and Sexing the Cherry by Jeanette Winterson. This choice is in response to some who in a comment thread to this meme were saying that they didn't get this phase in Winterson's work. It's funny: this is the Winterson I love most. I could never look at Written on the Body or Oranges are Not the Only Fruit again and I wouldn't care at all.
- All books by Carol Goodman. Thoroughly enjoyable mystery/suspense type novels that always seem to involve things like latin, mythology, etc. Love them. I suppose these get a lot of play in the book club circuit, but I have a feeling that readers of "real" literature would say that they are garbage. Nevertheless, I love them.
- Ulysses. I know this made the "left me flat" list on at least one person's (Bastard's) list. What I have to say is that yes, it's a book that requires a lot, no, one will not necessarily feel good after the first time through it, but yes, it is worth it and in the right reading community I think it can be an awesome experience reading it. And how one can be left flat after Molly's conclusion to the novel, I really have no idea. Hate the book or love it, but if you're just not into it, well, I think you need to take a second look at it.
- Bridget Jones' Diary by Helen Fielding. This book is truly not appreciated as literature - which I really think that it is. I have a whole theory about how the narrative elides the subject, but I will not post it here, as someday I plan to write the Great American Journal Article in which I fully elucidate it and thus gain Great Scholarly Acclaim.
I think everybody's done this who wants to, but if you want to do it and haven't, tag - you're it!