3 books you love and one you hate

DeeDee Adelaide
I've been listening to a podcast lately where the host asks guests to name 3 books they love and one they hate, and then she makes recommendations to them (What Should I Read Next is the name of the podcast, for those interested). I've shamelessly stolen this, because I'm always interested in what people read, and always looking for new things to pick up. So tell me your three loves and one hate (and feel free to elaborate on why). 

Mine: 

A Prayer For Owen Meany - John Irving
I had discovered John Irving a couple of years before this came out, and devoured everything of his to that point. This was the first hardback book I ever bought, because I had to have it immediately. And it was worth it - when I'd finished I wished I hadn't read it yet so I could have that experience for the first time again. I've read it every couple of years since and I still love it. 

Behind The Scenes At The Museum - Kate Atkinson
Another of the rare books I read over and over. I didn't know anything about it going in, just picked it up from a library,s 'librarian recommendations' shelf a million years ago. It was so surprisingly funny and weird, but also touching. It's not really like anything I have read before or since. 

It - Stephen King
Like most reading people, I got into Stephen King at an inappropriately young age, when I ran out of Nancy Drews and Encyclopedia Browns and started raiding my aunt's bookshelves. My first was Salem's Lot and from there it was everything I could get my hands on. I was in my late teens when It came out, and oh man, what a story! The ending is a little... eyebrow raising, but everything until then is just so good. There is no one who can write kids like King can. What a storyteller. 

And the book I hate: 

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

I had an English Lit teacher who was obsessed with this book, so I had to suffer through in-depth analysis of it for half a year. I've never gotten over it. It's a terrible romance novel about two terrible people. UGH. 
akritenbrinkamyja89mileswarrin
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Comments

  • amyja89amyja89 Oxford, England
    edited September 2016
    Three books I love:

    Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

    The genius of this book is that it tricks the reader in to forgetting that underneath the eloquent, elegant language and hypnotic prose is a horrifying story of a pedophile and his grooming of a 12 year old girl. The film versions I have seen have never given justice to the novel, or perhaps it's the fact that on screen you are confronted with the uncomfortable truth of the matter!

    The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

    Yet another novel that was let down by it's big screen adaptation. The Book Thief is quite unlike anything I have ever read, but I can never really pin point as to why I found it such an invigorating and different experience. I can honestly say that it is the only book that has ever moved me to tears.

    The Price Of Salt by Patricia Highsmith

    This is the original novel that the recent Cate Blanchett movie Carol was based on. It's not the best book in the world but I first read 10 or so years ago as a then closeted teenage lesbian, and at the time I really appreciated the balls of the author to have a lesbian themed story, published in 1952, end on a happy and positive note!

    And the book I hate:

    The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

    I picked this up along with pretty much everyone else after it won the Pulitzer Prize, and I also loved Donna Tartt's other novels, but I just did not get the hype with The Goldfinch. It was long, SO LONG, and what was an initially interesting story descended in to pages and pages of boring tangents. I found it an absolute chore to get through.
    Deeakritenbrink
  • akritenbrinkakritenbrink Lynnwood, WA (Seattle area)
    edited September 2016
    Super hard question! OK.

    Most recent book that's stayed with me: 
    Girl in the Road by Monica Byrne
    It's about a near-future time when India is the new America and Africa is the new place where people are looking for resources and has kind of become a "Wild West" - "Mad Max" type of place. It's also a sort of vision quest type of story for its young female narrator.

    Book that I will actually re-read (I rarely re-read): 
    The Beggar Maid (American title) or Who Do You Think You Are? (Canadian title) by Alice Munro
    Alice Munro writes short stories, and this is ostensibly a short story collection, but the same main character Rose is in all of them, and her stepmother Flo is in a bunch of them, so they are often referred to as "stories of Rose and Flo" and while they stand alone, you can also read them as a novel. I read almost all of Munro's work up until then at the same time when I was in grad school and this book was my favorite, probably because she can go deeper with the characters since it's novel-ish, and she just does such an amazing job of storytelling and character-building. She'll kind of gently tell a story right up to where you think the climax is coming and then cut away and you realize it's not the story you thought she was telling. This book in particular follows Rose through her whole life and she is a deeply flawed person, but the stories are told with love.

    My favorite "classic": This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald

    Book I hate? OK, I never finish books I hate. So the last time I did was when I had to for school (I was an English major in undergrad and grad school). I'd say anything by Jane Austen. Just trying to think about her work right now to pick a worst is making my eyes water from boredom.
    Deeweeniegirl
    Be a human, not a machine.

    Angie Kritenbrink
    akritenbrink on most social media

  • DeeDee Adelaide
    @amyja89 My daughter read The Book Thief about a year ago and she's been banging on at me ever since to read it. It's on my to do list!

    @akritenbrink Ugh, Jane Austen! Those Victorian era chick lit novels are just so over-rated, in my opinion.
    akritenbrinkceburaska
  • akritenbrinkakritenbrink Lynnwood, WA (Seattle area)
    @Dee when can we get out from under the hegemony of British literature? They've been gone from both our countries for a while. ;) 
    Be a human, not a machine.

    Angie Kritenbrink
    akritenbrink on most social media

  • DeeDee Adelaide
    @akritenbrink Maybe it's happening already? My daughter did her final year of high school last year and didn't have a single classic English novel to study in six years.
    akritenbrink
  • edited September 2016
    I really liked Pride and Prejudice and Emma.

       Books I love 

     Neuromancer 

     The Long Goodbye 

     Dune 

     The Three Musketeers 

     EDIT: I forgot The Quiet American 

     Books I Hated: 

     A High Wind in Jamaica 

    A Separate Peace
    Dee
  • voodooratvoodoorat Atlanta
    edited September 2016
    3 books I loved:

    Adams - Watership Down
    Lem - The Cyberiad
    Rushdie - Haroun and the Sea of Stories

    1 book I hated:

    King - The Dark Tower VII

    A few bonus books I loved:  Martin's aSoIaF books, LotR, Gaiman's Stardust & American Gods, Rowling's HP stuff, Pullman's His Dark Materials (especially the first 2), R.A. Lafferty Apocalypses/The Reefs of Earth...  Lots of good and interesting fiction out there.

    I'll leave out the other books I hate in case someone likes them.  :D  I actually liked the Dark Tower series a lot but the last book was a huge disappointment (come to think of it, something very similar happened with the Wingrove Chung Kuo books).


    Dee
  • DeeDee Adelaide
    Let it out, @voodoorat - tell us what you hate!
  • akritenbrinkakritenbrink Lynnwood, WA (Seattle area)
    I'll start with the sacred cows... I hated Fellowship of the Ring and never read the rest.
    trippyjazzminawa
    Be a human, not a machine.

    Angie Kritenbrink
    akritenbrink on most social media

  • trippytrippy Saint Louis
    edited September 2016
    agreed whole heartedly on Fellowship.  Finished that and the rest on pure willpower.

    Loved Nueromancer, Pillars of the Earth, 3 Musketeers.

    Liege Killer is another loved one.
    Dee
    _____
    Nothing says 'This situation is serious' like a corpse on the floor.
    -Anon.
  • I've been off reading fiction for quite awhile, so most of my recent reads have been non-fiction...

    Books I love:

    1.  Devil in the White City by Erik Larsson:  This book tells to the story of two men as the city of Chicago prepares itself for the 1893 World's Fair, the first the Fair's chief architect, the second a serial killer.  As the architect builds the fairground, the serial killer constructs a hotel designed with the murder of its guests in mind (complete with secret passages, a gas chamber, a crematorium and other horrors!).

    2.  Over the Edge of the World by Laurence Bergreen:  A biography of Ferdinand Magellan, focussing mainly on his circumnavigation voyage.  It wasn't a subject matter that I was particularly interested in, but once I picked up the book I couldn't put it down. 

    3.  A Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez:  I feel obligated to add a fiction book to my list, and this one is probably the best that I've ever read.   I love magical realism, and this might be it's best examples.  The story follows several generations of a family from the original patriarch who founds his own town to an ancestor 6th generations down the line who ultimately discovers the secret to the family's fortunes and misfortunes. 

    Books I don't like...

    If I can't get into a book within the first 50 pages or so I don't often stick with it.  I was semi-forced to read 'The Da Vinci Code' by Dan Brown for a book club that I was in and while the plot was OK it was probably the worst written book that I've ever read.

       

    Dee
  • aberry89aberry89 California
    edited September 2016

    Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

    I had an English Lit teacher who was obsessed with this book, so I had to suffer through in-depth analysis of it for half a year. I've never gotten over it. It's a terrible romance novel about two terrible people. UGH. 
    Oh yes, I am there with you on that one. I have no qualms with the writing, Emily Bronte was very a wonderful writer but her characters were just DETESTABLE. 

    However, her sister Charlotte Bronte wrote one of my favorite books of all time, Jane Eyre. It was the first "classic" novel I ever read for pleasure. 

    a couple more I read recently I liked...

    Cloud Atlas - (it works FAR better as a book) David Mitchell is a genius writer - pretty much all of his stuff is incredible. 

    Under the Skin - I am not hugely into sci-fi books, but I think because it's from told from such a different angle than sci-fi is usually told from, that it completely engrossed me. (Movie was equally fantastic, although very different.)

    I also love some good YA. As a young teen I read anything by Dona Jo Napoli, still read her stuff she is great. I also really liked Crown Duel as a teen. 
    DeeakritenbrinkDaveyMacceburaska
    “No time to squabble Troy, for Greendale on THREE! One, two- Jeff, every second counts. For Greendale on TWO! One-"
  • akritenbrinkakritenbrink Lynnwood, WA (Seattle area)
    Oh. Honorable mention for worst book goes to The Bridges of Madison County - The author happened to be a professor at the university where I went right after high school, but I never had him as a professor (tellingly, he was not an English professor but a Marketing professor). The book was released when I was there, and became a huge phenomenon, which of course my roommate had to purchase, god knows why. I can't remember if she really liked it or wanted to make fun of it (people were somewhat divided on it). I was determined not to read it, but I had a really bad flu one week and this was before we had internet everywhere so I ran out of stuff to read and was desperate. *barf*
    Be a human, not a machine.

    Angie Kritenbrink
    akritenbrink on most social media

  • DaveyMacDaveyMac Tokyo
    edited September 2016
    Three books I love:
    • American Gods by Neil Gaiman - I love much of his work but this is the one I have thought about the most after putting it down. And one I know I will pick up again.
    • Kafka On the Shore by Haruki Murakami - This is a surreal bizarre trip of a book and it was the first thing I read after moving to Japan. It was one of those where I had no idea what to make of the ending, but that did not affect my enjoyment of it one bit.
    • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck - I am so glad I didn't read this one as forced reading in high school as I think I would have hated it back then. Coming to it just a couple of years ago on a Kindle sale, I got really wrapped up in this journey out west from the dust bowl and I loved the unconventional chapter structure. The ending is something that will stay with me for a very long time.

    I don't don't really have a good book to hate on. I am such a slow reader and there are so many books out there and not enough time, so I'm pretty choosy about what I pick up. And I rarely come away hating a book. There are some I come away thinking, "Meh", but nothing that I just hate. I'm sure there are some I could come up with from high school, but I don't think it's fair to judge those now. So I can't really come up with any off the top of my head.
    Deejazzminawa

  • Love:

    Blood Meridian, by Cormac McCarthy

    Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, by Robert Pirsig

    Post Office, by Charles Bukowski

    Not for me:
    The Grapes of Wrath. I like East of Eden, but most of Steinbeck's work just doesn't do it for me. I'm quite aware that I'm probably the problem.

    akritenbrinkDeeDaveyMac

  • edited September 2016
    Love:

    The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
    The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
    Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis

    Hate:
    The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
    DeeTravis
  • Nifty question.
    Three I love:
    The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonegut 
    The Pleasure of My Company - Steve Martin
    the Visible Man - Chuck Klosterman

    One book that I hate:
    I don't read a ton and thus I don't have a ton of patience for books that I don't like. That said, there was one book where the premise had me really interested and I just kept hoping it would turn around and get better and it just never happened. The characters were completely ridiculous and the dialog was terrible, but the concept was intriguing enough that I just kept feeling like it could get better and I just needed to know what was going to happen. Terrible fucking book, total waste of time. 
    One Second After - William Fortschen
    DeeDaveyMac

    I really want a Grizzly Bear sidekick, but Daniel Rossen won't return my phone calls.

  • TravisTravis CA
    edited September 2016

    I've been off reading fiction for quite awhile, so most of my recent reads have been non-fiction...

    Books I love:

    1.  Devil in the White City by Erik Larsson:  This book tells to the story of two men as the city of Chicago prepares itself for the 1893 World's Fair, the first the Fair's chief architect, the second a serial killer.  As the architect builds the fairground, the serial killer constructs a hotel designed with the murder of its guests in mind (complete with secret passages, a gas chamber, a crematorium and other horrors!).

    I'm so glad you chose this. My wife just bought it the other night and now I think I'll probably snatch it up if she doesn't go right into it. I didn't realize it, but I think that's the same guy they did a Lore episode about. That was some freaky shit! 

    I really want a Grizzly Bear sidekick, but Daniel Rossen won't return my phone calls.

  • Some cheating because my favourite books are of trilogies.

    1. Lord of the Rings trilogy: JRR Tolkien
    2. Star Wars Heir to the Empire trilogy: Timothy Zhan
    3. Red Storm Rising : Tom Clancy

    Hate: Grapes of Wrath
    Dee
    No Half Measures....
  • Love:

    1. Ubik - Phillip K. Dick
    It's your typical Dick subject matter, but done really well.  This is Dick at his best.  It involves psychics, the meaning of life, and postulates on the nature of reality.

    2. Slaughterhouse Five - Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
    Basically the first book I read in High School that excited me and turned me on to reading all the Vonnegut I could.  (I saw someone mention Sirens of Titan, which is good too, although not as easy a read.)  This involves war, time travel, and aliens. Hooray!

    3. The Epic of New York City - Edward Robb Ellis
    This is a historical narrative about the city of New York.  While it may take some liberties, it's very digestible and tells some great stories.

    Hate:
    Pride and Prejudice

    TravisDeeDaveyMac
  • DeeDee Adelaide
    I'm so glad I'm not the only one who hates a classic!
    DaveyMacAndrewHatorianweeniegirl
  • @Travis I love "Sirens of Titan" as well. I heard it was really influential on Douglas Adams, which is not at all surprising.

    @MichaelG I think "Blood Meridian" is a masterpiece and an amazing read. I was close to putting it as one of my three.

    @Andrew Great picks with "Ubik" and "Slaughterhouse Five". I read both of those for the first time in the last couple of years. I really need to read more Phillip K. Dick.
    TravisAndrew
  • love -- 

    Another vote for THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY!!!! I love nonfiction and this was soo creepy!  Some of the architecture stuff could get a little boring but it really did help to set the scene like I was there in Chicago in 1893.  

    LOST SOULS By Poppy Z Brite - from my teenage years but still a vampire and ghost classic

    DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL by Anne Frank - any version but I prefer the most recent that included a lot of pages that her father didn't originally release because he didn't want her privacy completely distroyed.  Also I've read "Remembering Anne Frank" by Miep Gies (sp?) who was one of the people who cared for the Franks and others in the attic during the war.  Finding out how hard it was during the war for even the dutch people who were non-Jews and not arrested filled in some holes in history for me. 

    Honorable mention:  Second Erik Larson book I loved was IN THE GARDEN OF BEASTS --- going along with my nonfiction fascination is my love of WW2 history (see above) and noone does Nonfiction better than Erik Larson (see about, Devil in the White City) 



    HATE---

    I actually like english classics for the most part so when a friend told me I had to read WUTHERING HEIGHTS because it was his favorite of all time I was in.  And then I read it and man it is DEPRESSING!!!!  I like classics for their romance but I suppose I'm a true American cause I prefer happy endings!  HATED this book! 
    Dee
  • ceburaskaceburaska London, England, United Kingdom, European Union (but not for long)
    edited January 10
    Resurrecting this excellent thread.

    Who can't love a two minute hate?

    Speaking of which, I love Mr Blair, 1984 above all.

    And from the fair ex-colonies, John Crowley's Little, Big; and Neuromancer, William Gibson's shot for immortality.

    I am pretty good at not starting books I wont like, but having enjoyed Ms Mantel's A place of greater safety, I ventured Beyond Black and hated it. Haven't tried another book by her since.

    PS I generally don't like 19th century chick lit (no doubt due to the patriarchy) but loved W. Heights. The Kate Bush version, obviously.
    voodooratDeeDaveyMac
  • pavlovsbellpavlovsbell Brooklyn, NY
    edited January 10
    Wow, I love Austen. "Chick lit"? I'm in the school that views her as writing about gender and class oppression (although her works vary in overtness). Pride and Prejudice is all about that.

    Three books I love are:

    Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë: I don't remember how old I was when I first read this, but I was young enough (single digits) to have a waking nightmare of Bertha staring down at me in bed with red glowing eyes. That what I get for reading with a flashlight after being told it's past my bedtime.

    One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez: That man could construct the most beautiful, vivid, lyrical imagery with words.

    Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy: Perfect and rich and multi-layered without being flowery like Madame Bovary, which is intentional and maybe this is just a way for me to sneak in a fourth fave, lol.

    Book I hate:
    Perfume by Patrick Suskind: I used to feel compelled to finish a book even if I was not enjoying it, until this one. Being in the killer's point of view made my skin crawl, and I just couldn't take it.

    I'll add a classic I hate: Catcher in the Rye. Another protagonist I can't stand.
    Stop pissing in my soup and saying you're cooling it off.
  • Yeah, I don't really get the hate for Austen.  She's very entertaining even before you start thinking about the social analysis.
  • 3 books I love

    Concur on Neuromancer

    Dune -  Can come back time after time to this, stopped reading the series after Dune Messiah

    Trainspotting - Really entertaining, some incisive commentary as well.  The sequel Porno was also surprisingly excellent

    1 book I hate:

    A Separate Peace - So long ago I don't remember why anymore, I suspect the main characters at the elite prep school seemed remarkably whiny though.
      
  • I love:

    One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez: That man could construct the most beautiful, vivid, lyrical imagery with words.

     I hate:
    Perfume by Patrick Suskind: I used to feel compelled to finish a book even if I was not enjoying it, until this one. Being in the killer's point of view made my skin crawl, and I just couldn't take it.



    One Hundred Years of Solitude might be the best book ever written (along with everything else by Marquez!).


    I loved Perfume too though ;)

    pavlovsbell
  • DeeDee Adelaide

    Wow, I love Austen. "Chick lit"? I'm in the school that views her as writing about gender and class oppression (although her works vary in overtness). Pride and Prejudice is all about that.


    Three books I love are:

    Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë: I don't remember how old I was when I first read this, but I was young enough (single digits) to have a waking nightmare of Bertha staring down at me in bed with red glowing eyes. That what I get for reading with a flashlight after being told it's past my bedtime.

    One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez: That man could construct the most beautiful, vivid, lyrical imagery with words.

    Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy: Perfect and rich and multi-layered without being flowery like Madame Bovary, which is intentional and maybe this is just a way for me to sneak in a fourth fave, lol.

    Book I hate:
    Perfume by Patrick Suskind: I used to feel compelled to finish a book even if I was not enjoying it, until this one. Being in the killer's point of view made my skin crawl, and I just couldn't take it.

    I'll add a classic I hate: Catcher in the Rye. Another protagonist I can't stand.
    I am kind of in Camp Fancy Chick Lit. I feel like there's a lot of social commentary being ascribed to Austen/Brontes etc that is just historical revision. Having said that, the only time I've read them is under duress in my high school and Uni lit classes over 20 years ago, so I'm speaking from nostalgic prejudice rather than any real knowledge.

    pavlovsbell
  • akritenbrinkakritenbrink Lynnwood, WA (Seattle area)
    I was an English major and suffered through a Jane Austen seminar solely because I went to a smaller school with limited course offerings and I wanted to graduate that year. haha. Taking a whole semester of Jane Austen from a professor who loved her was a real experience. A reaaaalllll painful one. :) But I did learn a lot about the context that I wouldn't have known otherwise, especially the class stuff, and it took my feelings about Austen from "hate" to "strong dislike."

    You can definitely do a feminist reading of Jane Austen, but I think it's a stretch to consider her a feminist. She does focus a great deal on class in her novels, as most British novels, TV shows and films tend to do. And then occasionally she might make some mild comment on the lives of women in this strict class system, right before she marries them off to varying levels of dreamy knights in shining armor (the levels of dreaminess in direct corollary to how much we're supposed to like the characters). 

    I don't really have a huge problem with the content of her novels, though, and I think they make excellent movies. I just don't care for her writing style, which seems to go on and on and on about not much. But what she was doing was very popular at the time.
    Be a human, not a machine.

    Angie Kritenbrink
    akritenbrink on most social media

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