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Constant Reader > Book You Wish You Liked

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message 170: by Denise (new)

Denise | 389 comments Lisa, thanks for the ray of hope. Paul Auster's The Book of Illusions is one I'm looking for to read with a book club.

message 169: by Lisa (new)

Lisa | 119 comments I am so sorry. I thinkj Auster is a genius.

message 168: by Barbara (new)

Barbara | 5686 comments I can't connect with Paul Aster either, Capitu. And, so many people that I respect like his writing!

message 167: by Rosana (new)

Rosana | 599 comments This is authors I wish I liked:
Umberto Eco - I liked The Name of the Rose quite a bit and I have wanted to like all his other books since, but no such luck. Baudolino was painful.

Orham Pamuck – I read My Name is Red, but didn’t get it. I did like his memoir Istanbul though, but was afraid to try Snow.

Paul Auster - I started on The New York Trilogy, but run out of steam and never finished it. I am not sure I want to read anything else.

There are other I know, I just can’t think of them right now.

message 166: by Michelle (new)

Michelle (MicNanDec) | 1 comments I really hate Great Expectations. And studying it three separate times in high school and college didn't help.
Not a huge fan of Hemingway, I struggled through his stuff.
It's interesting to see how many people dislike the same stuff, particularly what's considered "great books and classics."

oh, I really hated Devil Wears Prada as well. Everyone kept telling me how funny the book was, blah, blah, blah. Good grief! I couldn't get past the first chapter, I'm glad I just checked it out of the library.

message 165: by Kathryn (new)

Kathryn | 2 comments The lovely bones. So much hype so little follow through... Cant even bring myself to bother with her latest book. Same goes for She's Come Undone.

I love One Hundred Years of Solitude though.
& East of Eden.

Didn't like/get Moby Dick?
(I still haven't read it! Now there's a confession)
Try "the Bottomless Deep" it's random & fabulous about a woman getting flashbacks of her past life as a whaling captain... Or is she? Anyway you get some of the whaling stuff with a little less testosterone.

message 164: by Leslie (new)

Leslie (lesslie) Ha ha ha ha ha. Yes, sir, that is EXACTLY how I felt about Catcher in the Rye when I read it. (I was 13...myself a whiny teenager.) I just couldn't believe how stupid it was.

message 163: by Dottie (last edited Feb 25, 2009 03:38AM) (new)

Dottie  (oxymoronid) | 1489 comments Three Cups of Tea? Okay, so he's doing something that's good but the writing is so bad it grates on my nerves to the point I cannot read it. I was enthused as the AAUW group read this as group -- not just our book group but the whole group and there were a couple of meetings -- I simply opted out, sad to say.

Another personal failure (heh) was Gogol's Dead Souls but I still have it on the shelf and hope one day to try again.

message 162: by Sherry, Doyenne (new)

Sherry | 7307 comments Blindness is one of my favorite books ever. Give it another try when you're in a mood for something unlight and unfluffy.

message 161: by Liz (new)

Liz (HisSheep) For me it was "The Time Traveler's Wife"; however, I stuck it out to the end. Then I began "Blindness" and shelved it! It began on a good note, but the got trapped in technical verbage. I needed something light and fluffy, so I took up "Twilight" since I had to return it to the library before I was done ...

message 160: by Moon (new)

Moon Nabokov's Lolita would fall in that category right now. As well as Austen's Pride & Prejudice. I wish that I liked them more than I do.

message 159: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 9190 comments Never even heard of that. Are you a scholar of Greek, David?

message 158: by David (new)

David | 51 comments Apuleius, discussed here.

message 157: by David (new)

David | 51 comments Μεταμορφοσις (metamorphosis) is the Greek word for the Transfiguration. Puts a different spin on the whole thing, doesn't it?

If you like the idea of people being turned into animals, Apuleis's The Goldan Ass is a lot funnier, and foreshadows the picaresque novel to boot.

message 156: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 9190 comments The Metamorphosis is a long time favorite of mine, but I've had trouble with the longer stuff.

message 155: by John (new)

John Karr (Karr) | 50 comments Wish I could enjoy Kafka, but I don't.

message 154: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie (CasablancaLily) | 11 comments I wish that I liked The Great Gatsby, Moby Dick, Crime and Punishment, and anything James Joyce. I feel like such a literary poser in regards to these.

message 153: by Wilhelmina (new)

Wilhelmina Jenkins | 856 comments Thanks, Candy! That makes perfect sense, but I just had no connection with the northern OR the southern characters. To be honest, I found Sally Carol quite annoying, although I was glad that she was rescued from the ice palace. I'm not THAT heartless! And I did think that the ice palace was a fine metaphor for the frozen north, particularly from my spot in Atlanta. I spent one year in Boston, and I thought that I would never be warm again!

message 152: by Candy (last edited Jul 13, 2008 07:46AM) (new)

Candy Wilhelmina, hi!

I wonder if I candescribe why I liked The Ice Palace so much...

I did love the descriptions...but for me it was the actual trip Sally Carol takes north and finds the atmosphere and vibe of the different lifestyle oppressive. It is important for me to clarify, it was not the potential politics of the story "north versus south"...I would not be surprised if there isn't an interpretation of the story as such...

But I think it had a resonance for me because I have moved between somewhat different attitudes between cities. Does that make sense. from west coast rainforest to large urban economy. I had been living in a small town and moved to a huge city for college.

It wasn't like I sudeenly came of age, and was shocked about cities. I had lived in cities growing up as well (army brat). It was that I suddenly saw a difference of attitude. From laid back, environmental less materialistic money making materialistic ambitious city.

For me the story really triggered that experience for me.

(however...I stuck out the city and also fell in love with it...but my friends always tease me about being a "back-to-nature-laid-back-tree-hugger-with-a-funny-accent)


message 151: by Alan (new)

Alan | 53 comments I remember listening to Riverhorse on audio, and it was OK. Blue Highways was better because it felt more original. River seemed to be part of "create an adventure for the purpose of writing a book" genre. It coincided with Lewis & Clark bubble. I read Prairyerth or however it's spelled, but I confess to little memory of it. Didn't hate it or love it.

message 150: by Melissa (new)

Melissa (Melissaharl) | 1344 comments I have loved Blue Highways both times I've read it, but perhaps I should stop there with Least Heat Moon.

message 149: by Wilhelmina (new)

Wilhelmina Jenkins | 856 comments I know that I'm going back a bit here, but, Candy and Courtney, I wonder if you could talk a little more about the Fitzgerald story, "The Ice Palace" and why you like it so much. For me, the description of the ice palace and Sally Carol's experience inside it was superb, but I felt no connection to the rest of the story at all. I love Gatsby more with every reading, but Fitzgerald lost me here.

message 148: by Barbara (new)

Barbara | 5686 comments I just looked back at the book and realized that I've been spelling the title wrong. It's PrairyErth. I've looked at Riverhorse too but hesitated to read it since I had trouble with PrairyErth. It's interesting that Blue Highways seems to be the only one available in an audiobook production which is where I discovered it.

message 147: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 9190 comments Riverhorse took me two attempts to get through, too.

message 146: by Carrie (new)

Carrie (missfryer) | 11 comments GINNIE: That is a wonderful story on page one!

message 145: by Marian (new)

Marian (gramma) | 113 comments River Horse was a good read. Heat-moon repeats what he does in Blue Highways only this time he is traveling by water It's been a while since I read it, but he starts out in NY harbor, then follows inland waterways (with a few portages) to the Ohio river at Pittsburgh, then up the wide Missouri. I haven't tried Prairie Earth & probably won't, because what I enjoyed most about his traveling books was that I had visited many of the places he describes.

message 144: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 9190 comments Prairy Earth is really a slog of a read, Barb. I loved Blue Highways, too, and picked up Prairy Earth several years ago. I got about 1/3 of the way through and put it down for over a year. Then picked it up again. I think I finished it, but damned if I remember. That in itself may be a judgment on my brain or Heat-Moon's book.


message 143: by Barbara (new)

Barbara | 5686 comments I think I'm about to give up on Prairy Earth by William Least Heat-Moon. I fell in love with his Blue Highways, then bought a remaindered copy of Prairy Earth. It sits in the shelf by my bed and I've read 100 pages. Tried to get into it again last night and I just can't do it.

message 142: by [deleted user] (new)

I wish I liked Robert Bolano's The Savage Detectives, but I just couldn't get into it.

message 141: by Gail (new)

Gail | 295 comments Loved that, Candy. Cute.

message 140: by Candy (last edited Jul 09, 2008 08:06PM) (new)

Candy Silvana, ah...that makes so much sense. I only began to understand the passion and commitment...and emotional investment in the American Dream after a long longtime. I would say it is still an exotic concept for me...but over the years I've come to see how important it is to American culture.

When I first read The Great Gatsby I was young and saw it as a tragic love story...and I loved it for that. I loved that it reflected materialism in a mnanner that I agreed with...i couldn't stand Daisy.

Then as I got older...I came to see it as brilliant as a metaphor for greed or selfish ambition. For me the novel was a great parallel to Hinduism and Buddhism which I was practicing.

It took me a long time to understand that the American Dream is another kind of spiritual aspiration.

It was later that I realized it had a core symbolism and lesson regarding greed, betrayal and the American Dream.

I am Canadian...and overall we just don't have the same emotional investment in the concept...I had to study to understand the American Dream. I did research on "manifest destiny" too...because I wasn't raised with that concept/history either.

Canadians are often considered boring...which we are...but I think part of the reason we are noticeably boring is because we are compared to U.S because of proximity. We are just more laid back, and less involved in pagent.

I figure we just never got too excited about politics, performance or ambition because it's so damn cold.


message 139: by Melissa (new)

Melissa (Melissaharl) | 1344 comments Courtney, I agree about preferring the short stories of Fitzgerald and Hemingway, anyway. I haven't read Faulkner in that format, at least as far as I remember, so I can't really comment.

Some authors I love in both styles - such as Garcia Marquez, Twain, and D. H. Lawrence.

message 138: by Courtney (new)

Courtney Stirrat | 46 comments Silvana - I think Americans tend to interchange the phrase the "American dream" for any strong passion or yearning that many of us feel. Looking at history and political writing, however, the American dream has a much tighter meaning than that expressed in Gatsby, perhaps better expressed in Russo's Bridge of Sighs or in any number of multi-generation immigrant memoirs. If instead, you think of it as a human yearning to be someone other than he is, it might work for you.

But in reality, plenty of people either hate Gatsby or think it is WAY overrated. So if its not your cup of tea, you shouldn't feel compelled to try to like it. Do check out "The Winter Palace" and see if it works for you.

As much as I love the boys (Faulkner, Fitzgerald and Hemingway), I tend to like all of their writing better in short story form than the novel. Especially Hemingway, whose novels have never done it for me, although I have learned a great deal about writing from him. I think when I discovered that he wrote A Farewell to Arms for Gary Cooper, I decided I never had to feel guilty about disliking his novels again. (Note: I love Gary Cooper, but this doesn't exactly scream high art to me. just my own oddity).

message 137: by Silvana (new)

Silvana (silvaubrey) @Candy and Courtney: thanks so much for the enlightenment! I really need to reread the book again and find that orgiastic green light thing, haha. Anyway, I notice you both mentioned about American Dream. Oookay, maybe because I'm not an American so I couldn't get a firmer grasp on the book's essence? Anyway, will reread definitely, as well as The Winter Palace. I love the Southern setting since I read Gone with the Wind, lol.

message 136: by Candy (last edited Jul 08, 2008 07:09AM) (new)

Candy I love The Ice Palace and I think of it often. I love the name Sally Carol, and I love how Fitzgerald writes using her name.

Courtney that is such a good example of the feeling of wanting to pull up roots and move somewhere "glamourous, where it all happens" but doesn't actually...

The sunlight dripped over the house like golden paint over an art
jar, and the freckling shadows here and there only intensified
the rigor of the bath of light. The Butterworth and Larkin houses
flanking were entrenched behind great stodgy trees; only the
Happer house took the full sun, and all day long faced the dusty
road-street with a tolerant kindly patience. This was the city of
Tarleton in southernmost Georgia, September afternoon.

Here is something telling...Sally Carol goes north to visit friends and she is "educated" on some of the differences between north and south...

"One thing I want to ask you," he began rather apologetically;
"you Southerners put quite an emphasis on family, and all
that--not that it isn't quite all right, but you'll find it a
little different here. I mean--you'll notice a lot of things
that'll seem to you sort of vulgar display at first, Sally
Carrol; but just remember that this is a three-generation town.
Everybody has a father, and about half of us have grandfathers.
Back of that we don't go."

message 135: by Courtney (new)

Courtney Stirrat | 46 comments BINGO Candy!

That is exactly the thing that makes me love Gatsby (and slog through parts I don't love as much). And its larger symbolism that those of us in the middle of the country (like Neil and Gatsby) long to pull up our roots and follow that light, thinking that we will find not only ourselves but the greater notion of America and the American dream. And the subsequent flight home in disillusionment to find that all that we seek is not, in fact, contained in the green light (at least, again, for Neil).

But, may I say Silvana, that Fitzgerald wrote this short story "The Winter Palace" which covers the exact same themes, only from the point of view of a southern woman (loosely based on Zelda, I think). I think its better than Gatsby and punches a lot harder with the themes while having a much more universally appealing story. It may be my favorite short story of all time, or in the top ten, and has none of the drinking mint juleps on the lawn tediousness of Gatsby. I cannot recommend it enough.

And I think pretty much everything written by John Irving is intensely overrated and generally dislike Joyce Carol Oates, so I empathize with and apologize for any bashing you may have gotten.

message 134: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 5 comments Crime and Punishment: Dostoevsky.

I was looking SO forward to reading this novel. Given the fact that I was only in Grade 11 when I read it, a lot of the novel's ideas and themes may have flew over my head. Maybe someday in the near future I'll attempt such a heavy task again, but the novel seemed to drag on for me, and the many passages of guilt and panic just blended into one simplistic idea.

That being said, I always like to give things a second chance, so there's always another day.

Whoever said Lord of the Flies--AGREED. My opinion on that novel will never change. Tedious.

message 133: by Candy (last edited Jul 07, 2008 09:53PM) (new)

Candy Silvana, no bashing people for not having the same taste in reading is not cool. Stick by your feelings. We don't all have to like the same books.

In the meantime...

...the "thing" is the orgiastic green light.

"Gatsby believed in the green light," Nick said. Gatsby loved Daisy and for him the light stood for love. Looking at it gave him the feeling that they would one day be together again.

Hope motivating action. Hope gave Gatsby a reason to seize the day.

:) is a green light. Green, the colour of money. The original pure love and hope is tainted because of greed. Daisy would only marry money. So Gatsby showed her...ish...he could be "marrying material".

I imagine a major theme that the novel might symbolize for many readers is the American Dream, and the pitfalls of greed.

message 132: by Silvana (new)

Silvana (silvaubrey) The Great Gatsby.

I've written a short review somewhere and people started to mildly bash me for not liking the book.

I usually do not care about other people's opinion (such as my dislike for the overrated Da Vinci Code), but for The Great Gatsby, I think I just haven't found the "thing" that makes people loves this book and consider it as one of the best American classics.

Alice in Wonderland, Pinocchio.


Robinson Crusoe

*more yawn*

I wonder why they're all classics

message 131: by Dottie (new)

Dottie  (oxymoronid) | 1489 comments Hey -- eclectic and eccentric are GREAT attributes if you ask me!

message 130: by Lisa (new)

Lisa | 119 comments Oh I KNOW i am not crazy.... just eclectic and eccentric:)

message 129: by Theresa (new)

Theresa | 565 comments Yes, Confederacy of Dunces! I was told by several people, whose taste in books I generally shared, that it was a wonderful book and I would love it. Didn't work for me at all; Jess you made it a lot further than I did!


message 128: by Jessica (last edited Jun 07, 2008 02:28PM) (new)

Jessica (Sureshot26) | 11 comments Oh, A Confederacy of Dunces - I'm glad I'm not alone! That's definitely the one that I was told I would like, hoped I would like, and ultimately ended up not liking it at all. Everyone who's ever recommended it to me praises the humor, but I couldn't find the humor in it. At all. When I got to page 180 and realized I hadn't yet even cracked a small smile, I knew it just wasn't going to take for me.

message 127: by Susan (new)

Susan | 1 comments Lisa,

I read The Great Gatsby a couple of years ago and gave it a 5/5. Terrific writing and characters that stay with you. You aren't crazy to like it :))

Suzz, no fan of Marquez though :)

message 126: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie (CasablancaLily) | 11 comments I wish I loved James Joyce. I'm sure that if I could pinpoint my problem with his work I could adjust myself into enjoying it.

message 125: by Lisa (new)

Lisa | 119 comments I am so late to this......
but i am reeling that so many you dislike One Hundred Years of Solitude and The Great Gatsby, both of which I have read several times, and both of which go on my top ten best ever books list....

I really can't think of a book that I wished I liked but didn't. I don't think of books like that. Books I read on others' recommendations and hated? Yes: Snow Falling on Cedars. AWFUL, overwritten, simply mundane. Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood. COULD NOT FINISH IT. complete drivel. Which, I guess, is why I shy away from whatever is THE popular book that people are pushing... unless I already found it on my own and read it and liked (or didn't) it beforehand...

message 124: by Barbara (new)

Barbara | 5686 comments I loved Dubliners, but Ulysses defeated me. I still toy with the idea of taking it up again, particulary after going to the James Joyce Museum in Dublin.

message 123: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 9190 comments Dubliners by James Joyce. I couldn't get passed the first chapter.

Me either. Altho I waded thru Ulysses about 45 years ago

message 122: by Leah (new)

Leah | 7 comments Atonement. I really wanted to like that book, but it was just so tedious in the middle.

Dubliners by James Joyce. I couldn't get passed the first chapter.

message 121: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 9190 comments Kristen Lavransdatter by Sigrid Unset. Since Hilde brought her up in another thread, it reminded me.

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Books mentioned in this topic

Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace ... One School at a Time (other topics)
The Fellowship of the Ring (other topics)
The Road (other topics)
Frankenstein (other topics)
Gone with the Wind (other topics)

Authors mentioned in this topic

Philip Pullman (other topics)