No Joy in Book Reviews

Urval av de böcker som har vunnit Nordiska rådets litteraturpris under de 50 år som priset funnits

I do not read nor write book reviews on Goodreads or other social mediaish book websites. I don’t know the people writing them, their tastes in books, their education..so, yeah, I don’t trust them when it comes to an important part of my life: reading. Even reading the New York Times book review or Paul’s corner at the Prairie Lights website, gives me pause.

(That’s actually a really funny thing for me to write because at one time I engaged in online dating, and I totally and naively trusted everything everyone wrote on there. Ha! Live and learn.)

Today’s writing challenge asks me to mention a book I love and a book I don’t like. I’m not sure how much my preferences should inform yours. In fact, as with all things (most especially dating sites!) take this with a tablespoon of salt.

I really enjoyed Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth and World Without End. The spirals of characters and intrigue kept me reading. I am trying to enjoy All the Light We Cannot See. It’s slow going because I have to construct the worlds; in educator speak, my background knowledge is lacking. I enjoy reading Aimless Love by Billy Collins over and over. Currently, Neil Gaiman’s Trigger Warning has my attention: what an unusual collection!

Two despised books that I dislike are hated for the same reason: flat main characters. Both Philip Carey and Huckleberry Finn wend their ways through odysseys only to end up the same unchanged bastards at the end of their stories. A few years ago I read Of Human Bondage because I felt I should – English teacher and all. Ugh! I’ll never get those two summer time weeks back. I taught The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and the capstone to this novel reading was a classroom debate on whether or not Huck matured as a character.

I really cannot think of others books that I have disliked; however, if asked what my all time favorite book is, I do have an answer. Olive Kitteridge. The realness of the characters, and their struggles and emotions really speak to me when I read this novel. Sadly, I don’t have a copy of it any more.

As with other enjoyed volumes – Dear American Airlines, This is Where I Leave You, The Penelopiad, and Dear Committee Members – I leant my copy to someone who kept it.

Book reviews are really a vehicle for employing reviewers, reflecting on what we read and what we love to read can show us who we were and who we are becoming.

So, what are you reading?

Join me.

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