Thursday, March 19, 2009

Worst Best Book

Booking Through Thursday asks:“What’s the worst ‘best’ book you’ve ever read — the one everyone says is so great, but you can’t figure out why?”

I haven’t participated in BTT in a while or done much blogging for that matter (life just got in the way) but this is a great question so here it goes.

What immediately leaps to mind is the History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides. I have had to read the entire thing on three separate occasions in the course of my academic career and it was torturous on all three occasions. I understand why it is an important work but not readable. Of course I am not sure that it counts because it is non-fiction (although there is some debate as to whether it should be read as history or literature).

On a more contemporary note, I have tried to read Ullysses by James Joyce on numerous occasions and haven’t been able to do it. I have every reason to believe that I should like it given my reading tastes. But that cannot count because I haven’t read it.

The other classic that leaps to mind is the Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger which I did read. I just didn’t enjoy it. I wasn’t very impressed with the characters nor the writing style. I can understand if you read it as a young boy perhaps the teenage angst would resonate but when I read it as an adult woman and I just wanted to tell Holden to stop whining.

I also read the Alchemist by Paulo Coelho and the Celestine Prophesy back when they were all the rage to see what all the fuss was about. I just didn’t get it. They obviously have some sort of philosophical appeal to lots of people but they just don’t have any literary merit.

2 comments:

Jess said...

I had to read Catcher in the Rye in high school and remember having a very hard time getting to the end.

http://barneysbookblog.blogspot.com/2009/03/booking-through-thursday_19.html

PopinFresh said...

It seems like the Alchemist is a popular choice for this BTT. It kind of makes me wish I read the book, so I can understand what everyone is talking about.

~ Popin