I’ve seen this tag around so many times and I always want to do it but I never remember to. Steph just posted it and I couldn’t resist this time. I’m sure this goes without saying, but, beware of unpopular opinions?!
1.) A popular book or book series that you didn’t like.
All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood. Alright, here we go. People love this book and defend it so passionately, but the whole time I was reading it I felt like my skin was crawling. In this novel Greenwood depicts a relationship between an adult man in his 20s and a child who’s aged 8-13 for the bulk of the story, and I just could not get on board. This crossed a line for me. Because of power dynamics inherent to that kind of age gap, a child is not capable of consenting. Period. I don’t care how mature she is, how much life had screwed her out of a proper childhood. I failed to find the romance and the magic in this story. Greenwood certainly brought more nuance to the subject than I had thought was possible, but this just wasn’t for me. I was also very underwhelmed by the writing style, alas.
2.) A popular book or book series that everyone else seems to hate but you love.
I sorted my read bookshelf on Goodreads as rating – low to high, and it made me sad to see that this was the lowest. Donnarumma all’assalto is an interesting examination on industrialism and the working class in 20th century Italy, which was the focus of my modern Italian lit course that I read this book for. But since I sincerely doubt that this book has been translated into English, it’s kind of a lame answer. So I will also include….
The Fall of Lisa Bellow by Susan Perabo. I’m not sure why the Goodreads rating on this one is so low. Maybe the comparisons to Room and Everything I Never Told You ended up hurting it. Granted, it’s not much like either of those books, but I thought it was strong in its own right. It’s about a high school girl who witnesses the kidnapping of one of her classmates, and struggles to come to terms with it. It’s a quick, interesting read.
3.) An otp that you don’t like.
Shamelessly copying Steph here. Eliza and Wallace from Eliza and Her Monsters. I loved this book, but I hated the way Wallace treated Eliza throughout it. To me it felt like he was projecting his ideal of the dream nerd girl onto Eliza without actually getting to know her. And then his behavior at the end was beyond uncool. Sorry dude, but I do not sympathize.
4.) A popular book genre that you hardly reach for.
YA. I only read YA when a book has been recommended to me by someone who gets my reading tastes. Because for every YA book I like, there are about ten that I don’t. The odds aren’t very good, so I have to be discerning about which ones I choose to read.
5.) A popular/beloved character that you do not like
Matthias Helvar from Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. Oh, Matthias. It’s not that I hate him as much as I think that he is one of the most boring characters who’s ever existed. His redemption arc is so straightforward and basic, and while the rest of the characters in this series feel like real, three-dimensional people, Matthias just feels like a YA trope. A YA trope with the personality of stale bread.
6.) A popular author that you can’t seem to get into.
Jeffrey Eugenides. I’ve only read two of this man’s books (The Virgin Suicides and Middlesex, in that order), and they remain two of the worst books I’ve ever read. There’s just something about his writing style that is so grating to me, and I can’t help but to feel like his books address themes and subjects which are somewhat outside of his grasp. Not a fan.
7.) A popular book trope that you’re tired of seeing.
The beauty and the beast trope: attractive woman sees the inner beauty of an unattractive man and they live happily ever after. Funny how it never seems to happen the other way around. Why is the concept of a handsome man falling in love with an unattractive woman so uncomfortable to us? (If this is something that interests you, I’d recommend the Italian novel Fosca by Ugo Tarchetti! Which inspired the musical Passion by Stephen Sondheim.)
8.) A popular series that you have no interest in reading.
Anything by Cassandra Clare or Sarah J. Maas. Again, I will occasionally dabble in YA fantasy… but both of these authors strike me as being a bit too YA fantasy.
9.) The saying goes “the book is always better than the movie,” but what movie or tv show adaptation do you prefer more than the book?
Brooklyn by Colm Toibin. The book was… okay. Toibin is a good writer, but I thought it was sort of difficult to get into the head of the main character, Eilis. In the film, Saoirse Ronan’s fantastic performance brought this character and this story to life, and made me care in a way that I really hadn’t while reading the book. It’s not a bad novel, and I’d recommend reading it, but it’s just missing that ‘it factor’ that the film has.
What did you guys think of my choices? Comment and let’s discuss!