The Listicle Tag #2

I was nominated by Ally to do the Listicle Tag – thanks Ally!


  • Create your own listicle tag, using the prompt from the person who tagged you.
  • Tag the creator of the post (not-so-modern-girl!) so that she can read all your brilliant posts and see how the joy of listicles is being spread.
  • Nominate as many people as you want!
  • Set those 5 people the subject/prompt of their listicle post!

Ally’s prompt: Books you’d like to rewrite (any number of books!)

Let’s stick with 5 – I could be here all day.

17645The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood.  Let’s just get the Greek mythology one out of the way since you knew it was coming.  I so wanted to love this book, which is supposedly a feminist retelling of the Odyssey from Penelope’s perspective, with a focus on Odysseus’s execution of Penelope’s maids, but so much of it rubbed me the wrong way.  The treatment of every female character other than Penelope was pretty abhorrent – I struggled to find the feminist merit in a book that reclaimed one female perspective, only to demonize all of the other female characters.  I’m also a BIG Helen of Sparta fan, so any Trojan War retelling which places the blame for the war on Helen (as this one did) irritates me to no end.  Basically, I’d love to rewrite this, keeping Atwood’s characterization of Penelope and the maids, but pretty much reworking the way all of the other female characters are treated by the narrative.

157387The Vintner’s Luck by Elizabeth Knox.  This is a sort of tender gay romance between a man and an angel who can only meet on one day of the year, set in early 1800s France.  I was so sure that I was going to love this book that I would have confidently included it in one of those ‘five-star read predictions’ posts that I did yesterday, but it ended up barely scraping by with two stars.  I just thought the execution was so messy.  There were so many background characters and subplots which ended up being ultimately inconsequential, and the extreme unlikability of the protagonist made it sort of difficult to root for the romance.  I’m obsessed with this premise though; I would love to keep the format of the book (each chapter taking place in the consecutive year) and cut out a lot of the filler material.

550720The Night Watch by Sarah Waters.  This is another book with a fascinating premise.  It’s set in World War II London (nothing unusual there) – but it’s told going backwards in time; so the novel begins in 1945 (or ’46… somewhere in there) and ends in 1941.  The problem with this book?  It’s only about 5 chapters, and each one is so long.  So basically, we’re in the 1945 narrative… and it keeps going for a hundred pages – now WAIT, STOP, we’re traveling back in time to 1944.  And then the 1944 narrative moves forward for a hundred pages – now WAIT, back another year.  Etc.  It felt so disjointed to spend so much time in a certain year only to be jerked backward somewhat arbitrarily.  I think I would have made different use of the backwards timeline if I’d written this novel… and it’s frustrating, because there’s so much to love, including a great host of LGBT characters.

cover-mischlingMischling by Affinity Konar.  I either want to rewrite this book or just stop it from existing tbh…. I found this so, so, so offensive.  It’s another WWII novel, this time about a fictional set of twins who were the subject of one of Josef Mengele‘s inhumane experiments in Auschwitz.  This was a subject I’d learned about in high school, and I was eager to delve into a fictional account of Mengele’s zoo.  Unfortunately, I thought this whole novel was basically an elaborate literary exercise for Affinity Konar to show off her prose (which I found overwritten and mostly rather vapid), and I thought the whole thing was mostly sensationalized garbage.  I just didn’t think the Holocaust was a particularly appropriate subject for what struck me as an elaborate creative writing exercise in trying to come off as literary~.  If I wrote a novelized account of Josef Mengele, I would try to do so with more sensitivity than I found in Mischling.  (Sorry, I know some people love this book, I just… really hated it.)

26893819The Girls by Emma Cline.  This one seems timely with the death of Charles Manson yesterday.  I admit to being morbidly fascinated by cults, so I’d been excited to pick up The Girls, 2016’s ‘it book’ of the summer about a young girl who joins a Mason-esque cult in the 1970s.  But man, did I not like the execution.  First of all, I thought the prose was terrible, and second of all, what frustrated me the most was how the protagonist (and therefore, the reader) was held at an arm’s length from most of the action of the story.  Evie was always on the sidelines of the group and never really a true part of it, so I sort of felt like… what’s the point?  I hadn’t learned anything about the psychology of what drives a person to join a cult other than what I already knew, which was not a whole lot to begin with.  For how little research was in here, I was shocked at this book’s rumored 2 million dollar price tag.  I’d love the chance to rewrite this story and really delve into the subject in a way that Cline hadn’t.

My prompt:

Top 5 books you feel like you read at the wrong time.  Whether or not you intend to give them another chance, what are some books that you think you’ve unfairly hated over the years because it was a case of the right book at the wrong time?

I nominate:

Chelsea & Steph & Hadeer & Marta & Callum

(As usual, I will not be offended if you skip it!)


20 thoughts on “The Listicle Tag #2

  1. The Vitner’s Luck sounds SO COOL omg I’m so sad it didn’t turn out to be a good book. I also think I had the Penelopiad on my TBR at some point…I don’t know why I took it off but I guess it was for the best…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Re: the Vintner’s Luck OKAY SO there is one element to it that would make me tentatively recommend it to you and that is the fact that there’s a lot of religious symbolism in it that went right over my head, but I know you are more religious than I am so you may enjoy digging into that??? It wasn’t like….. Awful…. I think Chelsea gave it 3 stars?? So I hesitate to be like YOU SHOULD READ THIS IMMEDIATELY but I do wonder if our tastes may actually veer in different directions in this case?? I WOULD BE CURIOUS.

      Tbh I guess the Penelopiad is worth reading if only because it is SUPER short but I was like 😒 do better, Atwood. If you ever feel like reading it I can always give you my copy I think I spent like 3 cents on it on Amazon

      Liked by 1 person

      • Omg that’s why I’m a bit iffy about Til We Have Faces….it gets a biiiitttt on the religious and allegorical side. It was such a different story than I expected, but it still worked for me so I hope it works for you!

        Perhaps if The Vitner’s Luck happens to fall into my hands I’ll give it a try….3 stars from Chelsea still isn’t a stellar recommendation….I’m going to trust you guys 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • I MEAN it’s C.S. Lewis so that’s kind of what I was expecting hahahah. I’m interested in religion so I definitely do not mind a religious narrative, but some are just So Much that I get lost?? Tbh that may end up being the case here BUT I’m keeping my fingers crossed. I AM TRYING TO LIKE YOU C.S. LEWIS DO NOT MAKE THIS DIFFICULT FOR ME.

        GOOD CALL our recs have yet to lead you astray!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Omg I have such a difficult relationship with C.S. Lewis, I just finished a book of his that was 158 pages but took me THREE MONTHS because it was A Lot and kind of boring, but in the end he still stopped me from a disastrously low rating because I still enjoyed the allegory….

        Liked by 1 person

      • THREE MONTHS OMG I feel that though I have been reading this one book since September (maybe August?? I am scared to check) because it is A Lot even though it’s like 200 something pages so IT HAPPENS. Omg that sounds so intriguing and frustrating I’ve definitely gotta check out your review


  2. Thank you so much for tagging me in this, it sounds like a very interesting tag! I agree so much with you on the Penelopiad, I was so conflicted by this book because when I first read the Iliad and the Odyssey, I really loved Odysseus – because he was such a great strategist and he was the only in that damn book that seemed to think and not only fight and fight senselessly. I think I’ve read it when I was 13 years old (it was a version for children or something similar) and they brushed off the cheating parts and everything else, which made me pretty shocked about Atwood’s rep of him and then I researched everything and yes, it’s ruined everything for me. But I agree with you that some things were incredibly wrong, especially Helen’s characterization. I think she’s quite a tragic character more than anything else.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad I’m not the only one who was conflicted about the Penelopiad. Atwood is a pretty great writer but so much about that book didn’t sit right with me. Actually one of the things that frustrated me the most was that the character who seemed to be given the most depth in that book was Odysseus – he’s undoubtedly a fantastic and complicated character and I like that Atwood explored the darker side to him, but I felt like she was doing so at the cost of a lot of her female characters, particularly Helen. I was frustrated that I was reading this supposedly feminist retelling, but Odysseus was the most complex character and Helen was written off as a vain whore, which completely misses the point of her character imo.


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