Wednesday, October 19, 2011


At times, I am a fringe member of the literati.  (I like big words, and I cannot lie.)

I enjoy literature.  I majored in it in college.  I love to read.  I am relatively well-read, though I by no means have read everything. 

But I have to tell you, as much as all of that has trained me to recognize quality literature, that doesn't mean I like it all.

For example, there are two "classic" novels that I absolutely, positively detest and would have to be paid a lot of money to read again:  Lord of the Flies by William Golding and Tess of the d'Urbervilles (aka Tess the Twit in my head) by Thomas Hardy.

Are Golding and Hardy good writers?  Yes, of course.  They produce quality work.  Do I like these books?  Hell no! 

The behavior of the boys in Lord of the Flies (cause it's a very male world, except when a wild animal comes along for a figurative rape) is savage and despicable.  I had a visceral reaction to it, one of repugnance.  (Low brow translation:  it totally made me want to barf.)  I have no desire to re-experience it.

Tess in Tess the Twit Tess of the d'Urbervilles makes one horrible decision after another.  I find her entirely unsympathetic, which is no small feat for a character whose pivotal moment is being sexually assaulted.  I would say this is due to a male author not writing a believable woman, but there are a couple of numbskull men involved as well.  Unfortunately it's just one big cautionary tale about the plight of the lower class in 19th century England that does not work for me.

So what books do I like?  Well, my two favorite novels happen to be of the highest quality:  To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee & Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.  Both written by women, which possibly influenced my selections. 

But that is not to say I don't read "crap" as well.  I like what I like, and I'm confident enough that I don't particularly care if someone else approves or not.  I have read more than my share of books for critical reasons; now I get to read what I want to read!

Man, now I just want to go home and read. 


  1. I just recently bought Lord of the Flies. I read the first chapter or so and I just can't motivate myself to pick it back up and continue. I know it's one of those "cultural must reads" but I'm with you. I like what I like.

    I recently started reading Flowers for Algernon and am enjoying it. I like books that get into the psyche of others that are different from me.

  2. How funny! I'm glad you have something else to read, cause I wouldn't want to discourage anyone from reading in general. And obviously there are some people in the world that like Lord of the Flies.

    Flowers for Algernon is quite good, so I hope you like it.