As many of you know, in the last few months I have read two major classics, The Brothers Karamazov and Lord of the Flies. The former took me almost a month to read. As I stated in a previous post while it wasn’t something I cared for, I respected it and felt that it deserved four stars.
I can’t say that about the latter, however. While it only took me three days to read Lord of the Flies, I found myself wanting it to be over. I did feel that way about Brothers, too, but it took me about two and a half weeks to get to that point, not mere hours.
I found Dostoevsky’s work well-written with profound philosophical ponderings. I didn’t find Lord of the Flies particularly well-written or profound. The pacing and lack of speaker tags made it confusing and clumsy. It seems that Golding was trying a little too hard. I feel that it’s books like this one that give classics a bad name.
Granted I didn’t hate the book, but I didn’t like it. And it does not fill me with the sense of respect Brothers did even though I wasn’t the biggest fan of that book either. If I were to choose between the two to read again, I would without a doubt choose The Brothers Karamazov. It has something to dig into, something to grapple with, something to find a deeper meaning. I didn’t get that feeling with Lord of the Flies. I gave it two stars on Goodreads and moved along.
I know that many people poo-pooed this book before I read it, but I don’t think it influenced my thinking. I see what people were talking about. If anything, I really wanted to like it. I wanted to be the odd man out from the people I’d talked to, but I just couldn’t be.
I started reading Lord of the Flies the other day. It’s a classic I hadn’t read, so I decided I would add it to my TBR list. I was able to pick up a copy on the Book Date for $4.50 at a used bookstore. Since my purchase, I’ve had numerous people tell me that it was a less than stellar read or rather a downright terrible read.
What’s strange is that this prominent poo-pooing has motivated me to read it sooner rather than later, and not to get it out of the way. I’m genuinely intrigued to see if it really is as bad as people have indicated.
I’ve noticed that book reviews of really, really terrible books by enraged reviewers, at times, prompt me to actually want to read them. I’m not trying to downgrade the reviewers’ opinion. I guess it’s a bit like watching a train wreck. I know it’s going to bad, but I can’t help but see for myself. Can a book so bad have really been published? I then remember that Twilight was a thing, so yeah, it’s possible.
Anyway, I guess hype in either direction can get me to read a book. I mean the editor (Kelsey) ranted so much about A Handmaid’s Tale I put it on my TBR list. Partially because she wants someone else to go through the misery and then do a drunk, rage review about it, and honestly what are best friend’s for? But also because I want to see if I feel it’s something worthy of my abhorrence. But I’ll be honest, I’m pretty stingy with my hate.
Nevertheless, if Lord of the Flies is really God awful the good news is, it’s short, so it will be over soon. I’ll keep everyone posted. It will be interesting either way.
Does a desire to read supposedly terrible books ever strike you?
Today we have another review. It was a book originally given to my mother as a retirement gift solely due to its name given that my mother loves shoes. However, the book has very little to do with shoes; nevertheless, it is a fascinating read.
Title: Italian Shoes; Author: Henning Menkell; Genre: Fiction
The Gist- A grumpy, old doctor who lives on an icy island as a recluse receives a visitor that send him on an odd journey and a new way of thinking about his life.
What Stuck- Mankell’s writing style is beautiful.
Should you give a flip?- Yeah. It’s a small book, but a weighty read. There is a lot to nibble, so don’t let its size fool you into thinking it will be a quick read. But it’s definitely a journey worth taking.
Title: The Cuckoo’s Calling; Author: Robert Galbraith aka J.K. Rowling; Genre: Fiction
The Gist– A struggling private detective is hired by a former schoolmate’s brother to investigate the supposed suicide of his ultra-famous super model sister.
What Stuck- Rowling once again creates realistic, complex characters. I am personally very impressed by authors who seem to be writing about real people as opposed to people they invented. Rowling accomplishes this with ease.
Should you give a flip- Yes. It’s a good tale with multiple sub-plots that add to the story’s complexity. I admit that it was in many ways a standard crime novel. The ending wasn’t a jaw-dropper, but it was a solid story and strong debut into the genre.
P.S. This Friday is the book date, so don’t forget to tag along! For those who may have missed last Friday’s post about the impending day of epicness check it out here.
Happy Friday! Hope everyone has a fun weekend planned. I thought we could start this grand day off with a little review.
Title: House of Cards; Author: Michael Dobbs; Genre: Fiction
The Gist- A intricate story of back-stabbing politics within the British Parliament to obtain the coveted seat of Prime Minister.
What Stuck- There is more narrative and exposition than many American novels, but Dobbs use it to quickly and thoroughly cover large spans of time which I appreciated.
Should You Give a Flip- Yes? Here’s the rub- I read it after I had watch the T.V. show (American version with Kevin Spacey). So I knew what was coming when I read the book. Perhaps I need someone else to read it who has not seen the T.V. show and let me know their thoughts. I think in general it was a good book. It was just a bit anti-climactic for me, but I don’t think that’s the book’s fault.
Has anyone else read this? Have you read this without or before seeing the T.V. show? Do you prefer to read books before viewing the movie or show adaptation?Thoughts…anyone…Bueller…??
Title: Chasing Darkness; Author: Robert Crais; Fiction: Fiction/Mystery
The Gist– A suspenseful thriller beginning with a “trophy album” of a killer’s work found at the feet of a dead man who was once accused of these murders. However, he was set free with the help of the main character Elvis Cole.
What Stuck– Gripping beginning that certainly drew me in, but it didn’t keep me.
Should you give a flip?– Meh. It’s not a bad read, but certainly not the best of its genre. It left me with many unanswered questions. This was by design not bad writing, but nevertheless, I don’t care to be left wondering.
However, with this lack-luster review I leave you no recommendation for long-weekend reading. This is unacceptable so in lieu of Chasing Darkness I can recommend following fiction/mystery/crime-ish novels:
Tell No One by: Harlan Coben. Seriously, hang on to your hats kids, it’s got a heck of an ending.
Cuckoo’s Calling by: Robert Galbraith. It delivers a great story and awesome characters. (This is up for review later this month. But a book recommendation at the end of September doesn’t do you any good for Labor Day weekend.)
The Killing Game by: Iris Johansen. Another mind-blowing ending. I liked it so much I read it twice. I’ve only done this with four other novels, so it’s noteworthy.
Title: Inferno Author: Dan Brown Genre: Fiction
The Gist- Robert Langdon once again finds himself on the path of adventure where history and modern day weave together to profoundly change the future. This time it’s Dante’s Inferno and the threat of overpopulation.
What Stuck- Dan Brown has a great ability to educate with art, history, and symbols in a way that doesn’t over complicate the story. I love learning, so I kind of feel like I get a two for one special with these books.
Should you give a flip- Yeah. It’s an intriguing read and if you’ve enjoyed Mr. Brown’s other works, this should not disappoint.