Lists, Reviews

Why Didn’t I Like That? A Top Ten List

Sometimes a book that should be perfect for you, that everyone insists that you’ll love, falls flat. That sticky situation is this week’s top ten list: books I should’ve love, but didn’t (as hosted by The Broke and The Bookish). I warn you, it could be a controversial list. There’s a Pulitzer Prize winner, a Booker Prize winner, a beloved Stephen King classic, a book written by a Hollywood legend, and a runaway bestseller that everyone LOVES (except me, of course). I do still like a few of these (okay, maybe only number one) and I can appreciate literary merit without enjoying a book (Wolf Hall). Although I didn’t care for them, two of these books have fabulous titles (please try and beat Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, I love books with great titles – maybe not the book itself, but you know what I mean).

Books I Shouldve Liked

10. Mere Anarchy by Woody Allen. I feel like you either love Woody Allen or you don’t. I fall more towards the former than the latter. I read Side Effects and Without Feathers and loved them. Then I read Mere Anarchy and the love wasn’t there…
9. Another Bullshit Night in Suck City by Nick Flynn. What a fantastic title. I liked this Boston based memoir, but I think I went in with my expectations too high. Plus, it was made into a film starring Robert DeNiro (Being Flynn), not a bad thing.
8. Cell by Stephen King. I don’t like cell phones and modern technology often irritates me (we’ll ignore the fact that I have a blog, an iPhone, an iPad, and a Kindle). Although the premise of Cell was very appealing, ultimately it didn’t work for me. Not surprisingly, I own the hardcover anyway. I am nothing if not loyal.
7. The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank. I might’ve liked it more if they stopped calling her the modern, female Raymond Carver (DO NOT use those words lightly publishing industry), but it just didn’t do it for me. Another great title though.
6. (Insert any title) by Dean Koontz. I feel like I should like Dean Koontz books and I thought Phantoms was decent, but on the whole I do not enjoy him.
5. The Fourth Hand by John Irving. All that I can tell you about this novel is that there were lots of hands. Not good John Irving, not good. (That’s a tough thing for me to admit.)
4. Carrie by Stephen King. This is the book that started it all for many people. I’m just lucky I didn’t read Carrie first, my love affair with SK books might not have started (and that would be very sad indeed).
3. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I think it says something unsavory about my mind that I had this novel figured out by 1/3 of the way through.
2. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. Please realize its inclusion on this list is not saying Wolf Hall is bad, it is simply saying I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would. From the awards and hype surrounding the novel, I expected Wolf Hall to be a divine gift from the literary gods (Seshat? Momus? Is there a god of literature or storytelling…?).
1. The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Again, this is not to say I don’t think it’s very good, because it is. It’s haunting, memorable, and won the Pulitzer Prize (and I cannot tell you how pleased I am that The Orphan Master’s Son took home 2012’s award). I love the explanation McCarthy gave about it being a love story for his son. However, I think I found this book slightly disappointing because I read it shortly after McCarthy’s amazing epic Blood Meridian. After Blood Meridian, The Road just fell a little flat and felt destined for a film adaptation. I don’t really like reading a book with the movie in mind. Still a very good book that people should read, just make sure you pick up Blood Meridian too.

So what did you love more or less than you thought you would?

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