Monday, January 09, 2006

And Now for a Meme (Lisa-Made Books Meme)

Having been tagged by Clare, I thought that I'd take a little time out for this meme now that I've crossed a couple of things off of the afternoon's to-do list. You'll notice that I am not following the schedule that I outlined for Mondays last week. This is because that schedule does not go into effect until this first week of classes is over. It is imperative to have some flexibility in these things or one would have to give up entirely :)

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!


Axis of Peter said...

Ditto on Cooper..when I read Mohicans, I could only conclude that the man is a dreadful hack.

On the plus side, it's been trendy to trash Tom Wolfe, so I feel suspect, but I love everything I've read of his. Haven't yet gotten to Charlotte Simmons, so please don't hang that one on me.

Anonymous said...

It was me who said I didn't get that phase in JWs work. And I just don't. It's not that I don't want to, or think other people are mad for liking it: I just don't understand it. I'll have to try again...
This is the 3rd ref. to Golden Notebook I've heard/seen in 2 days. Really going to have to get a copy....fate....

Dr. Brazen Hussy said...

I feel exactly the same way about The Golden Notebook!

And you already know how I feel about Ulysses... :)

New Kid on the Hallway said...

Heh, I love Bridget Jones' Diary! I was trying to think what my answers to this would be and couldn't come up with anything... will have to think longer.

Cats & Dogma said...

I adore The Passion, but also quite love Written on the Body, too (in fact, I'm teaching it this semester). I also agree with you entirely on the Fforde books. I'm not much of a meme-ophile, but I may have to take a crack at this one.

chutry said...

I enjoyed Bridget Jones, but even so I probably wouldn't admit that in certain circumstances, so I'm looking forward to your article explaining its importance (and the scholarly acclaim that will come with it).....

Dr. Crazy said...

Oh wow! Chutry, now I feel like I've got to actually write this half-baked idea for an article and to try to submit it around! Look at what this change in blogspace has done! The pressure!

chutry said...

Yep, the pressure is on!


Dr. C said...

I love those books by Carol Goodman. Love. Them. So you are not alone.