Wednesday, September 18, 2013

I'm bad at books?

I keep trying to read books that have high ratings on Goodreads, but I keep finding myself disappointed and sometimes bored like crazy.

Last week, for example: I tried reading Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and Water for Elephants. And I hated both of them. Why is that? People love both of these books, right? Am I just super bad at liking good books? Well, here's my defense [*spoilers, maybe*]:

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close was... original... but it was just about the most obnoxious book I've ever read. The story takes place in 2003 (I think) and mostly revolves around a weird, depressed kid trying to recover from the death of his father, who was at the World Trade Center during the attacks on 9/11. I'm not really a fan of books that use the deaths of parents as backstory. It just seems... lazy. Like the writer needed a "real reason" for their protagonist to be depressed or something. I dunno.

The author used a lot of gimmicks to move the story along and Give It Character, including using tabs instead of spaces to show a character was using a typewriter to narrate; putting in pictures from the kid's Things That Happened To Me scrapbook; jumbling up all of one narrator's words as he runs out of space in his notebook, forcing him to write over his previous words and turning the pages black; putting blank pages in the middle of the book; ergghhnnnngggggg. There were three things that bothered me about this: 1) It happened so often that I lost track of what was going on; 2) It felt like the author relied on the weird gimmicks to tell the story, instead of, I dunno, his writing; and 3) This is a novel for adults. If I want pictures with my story, I will get a comic book, a graphic novel, or an old-fashioned picture book. More prose, please.

Water for Elephants was so boring I only got through a few chapters. Here's what I didn't like: It was tedious, there was parental death as a plot device, the main character had little to no personality, it felt like the author was trying to "shock" the readers with circus life/a peek into the mind of men/etc. and it seemed sort of over the top.

Did any of you guys like these books? Am I just cray-cray?

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