The day 13 challenge got me thinking and I decided to turn it around and have a go at listing my 5 LEAST favourite books. The only criteria is that I have to have read them (so a book like The DaVinci Code isn’t here because my dislike for it is a largely unfair one from everything I have read about it and comments from friends who have read it – I have never had the urge to try it myself).
This was really quite hard – there aren’t many books I’ve read that I actively disliked. There have been ones that were tough going but by the end I’ve always found something to redeem them, whether it be the quality of the writing or the story etc. I do often read outside my usual genres quite deliberately and have sometimes found writers I really enjoy (the thrillers of Robert Ludlum, the novels of Kingsley Amis, the early humour of Tom Sharp and the “straight” novels of Iain Banks for example) but then there are the others…. Here’s my top 5.
Cider With Rosie by Laurie Lee – read it at school and found it over-flowery and dull
My Family And Other Animals by Gerald Durrell – another school one and another over-flowery, overwritten pile of rubbish
Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man by James Joyce – yes, you guessed it, school again. Just boring.
Animal Farm by George Orwell – there’s a pattern here… yes this was school again. 1984 is an excellent book but this one leaves me cold and bored.
Shall We Tell The President by Jeffrey Archer – weak and just bad.
I don’t want you to think that I hated all the books I read at school (or for that matter all the so called “classics” I’ve read). For example I really enjoyed Persuasion by Jane Austen and plays like Waiting For Godot by Samuel Beckett, Journey’s End by R C Sherriff and The Long The Short And The Tall by Willis Hall, but it’s not a coincidence that 4 out of the 5 are from the school reading lists I guess 🙂
Oh yes, and as an afterthought, the plays of Shakespeare that I’ve studied (Julius Caesar and Othello) do nothing for me either. My apologies to all you literary types out there.