In my last post I admitted that I'm a bookaholic. A book worm, a word junkie, a literary addict. I was the nerdy girl in high school who tripped over her own two feet because her nose was buried in a book. Wish I could tell you that I was cool and athletic, the perfect Renaissance woman with an eye for art and a wicked hook shot, too. But that would be a terrible lie.
For me, books are relaxing, entertaining, fun, challenging, inspiring... The list goes on. But I have to admit that books are also perplexing. Or, at least, they can be.
If you've ever visited my Goodreads profile, you may have seen that I've rated 46 books and my average rating is 4.50. Apparently I like a lot of books! A rating of 4.50 means that I really liked it or I thought it was amazing. Am I just a kind reviewer? Nah, I think the truth of the matter is that I inherently know within the first few pages of a book whether or not I want to read it. The ones that don't hold my interest I simply abandon. That's why although I love to buy books, I'm very careful to read the intro before I put my money down.
So what happens when I finish a book and don't like it? I feel terrible. Really, I do. It's strange, I know, but I have a theory on this too... I believe that art is, at its deepest root, a conversation. The artist has something to say and she longs for an audience to hear it. So she writes, paints, makes music, whatever, and sends it out into the world in the hope that someone will read it, see it, hear it and say: "Yes. I get this. It touches me." And when I read a crappy book, I feel like there's been some sort of miscommunication. I want to email the author and say, "Let's talk about this. What were you trying to do here that I missed?" Okay, it's not always that extreme, but twice in the last little while I've had this experience and it bugs me.
Recently I've read two books that, let's be honest, I very much disliked. One is climbing the bestseller charts and receiving amazing reviews--I thought it was obnoxiously sentimental, poorly written, and terribly plotted. Oh, and I hated the ending. The other got a starred review from Publishers Weekly and is considered by many to be a literary masterpiece--I had no connection whatsoever to the characters, didn't believe the story arc, and went batty from all the overused words (How many times can you use ubiquitous in two pages? Four apparently.) And every time I see another rave review, I can't help wondering: What's wrong with me? Why did I hate this book when the rest of the world thinks its better than warm creme brulee? Is it all just a matter of taste? Or did I miss something? Of course, there are just plain bad books out there... Maybe I'm making too much of it.
Oh, that was cathartic. I can't bring myself to write a bad review (my mom always said if I didn't have something nice to say I shouldn't say anything at all!), but I hated those books and it feels good to say so. Now it's your turn. Have you ever read and hated a book? You don't have to disclose the title if you don't want to, but I'll throw out another book that I thought stunk: The Da Vinci Code. It was entertaining but nearly impossible for me to read because I thought the prose was so terrible. Dan Brown has made millions off it so I don't think he'll care too much that little old me wasn't impressed. And if he does care: I'm sorry. I didn't mean to hurt your feelings. I'm sure you're a wonderful person. ;) Whew. Old habits die hard.