Which books have you thrown at the end of the bed?

I’ve just been having an interesting conversation on Twitter about books we’ve thrown at the end of the bed either during or at the end of the reading process. Of course there are many reasons why we might be frustrated with a book. Much of the time it just didn’t live up to the expectation we had of it or was simply substandard in some way in our estimation. But there are other potential reasons. Perhaps the material was too close to the bone. Perhaps it was very similar to the amazing novel we wrote five years ago and never had the courage to send out.

So which novels spring to mind? I’ve had some interesting answers so far: Lessing’s Good Terrorist, Miller’s “Demo”, Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code and The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters. Perhaps the individuals who gave me those answers might visit and tell us why in the comments. My own examples are ‘One Day’ by David Nichols, The ‘Terrorist’ by John Updike and ‘The Unconsoled’ by Kasuo Ishiguro. My husband also threw the much lauded The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen at the end of the bed. It was ‘too much’ for him.

With ‘One Day’ ( A book I’m almost afraid to criticise because of the hype and exaltation around it) I was not moved in the way I expected to be, I didn’t warm to the characters over time, I felt it all quite superficial and the ending (which I won’t reveal) was just a bit let down. Particularly with film, I try particularly hard not to hear too much before I see a film because I don’t want to know what it’s about or how amazing it’s meant to be. I think I suffered with One Day with expecting something extraordinary due to the hype surrounding the book. The premise was great enough for me to buy it but ultimately I didn’t enjoy it.

With The Terrorist I was put off again by the superficiality of character and lack of real insight into the character’s motivations but also by the unnecessary misogyny evidenced more by the writer himself than the main character.

With the Unconsoled it was a far more complex reaction. The reaction was visceral, physiological. The book engages from the off but then continues it’s narration over the long book in the manner of our dreams, endlessly truncated journeys and quests, a push towards a climax that ultimately dissolves. Sometimes I physically could not stand reading the book. I threw it to the end of the bed but retrieved it just to find out what happened. One of the quotes on the jacket says that it it ‘probably a masterpiece’. An apt description. Despite my difficulties reading the book, it has never left me. It’s dreamlike qualities have infiltrated my brain as if he spoke the very language of consciousness. And perhaps we, the readers are the ultimately ‘Unconsoled.’

So tell me, which books have you thrown at the end of the bed, and why?

46 thoughts on “Which books have you thrown at the end of the bed?

  1. “The Historian”. I didn’t throw it at the end of the bed as I drive a lot for work and listen to a lot of audiobooks. I really hate to give up on a book but I ejected the disk and took it back to the library. Dracula is a… a… Bibliophile? Really? The Prince of Darkness own a printing press? That was too much for me.

    It was already seeming to be pretty self-indulgent as if written by a History major with an affinity for books.

    Also, “A Call to Arms”, a book on the George W Bush’s group and the lead-up to the Iraq war. Yeah, as the parent who lost a son in that war it pissed me off to find the crap and greed that led to this war. It is a well-researched and well written book, so I did finish it.

    1. alisonwells

      Thanks for taking the time to reply. A book can jar with us for many personal reasons. It’s interesting that you finished a book that was difficult for you to read for the reason that it was well written. It would be good to think about what can be forgiven or tolerated in a book once it is argued or written coherently.

  2. Alison Percival

    I agree with you on One Day although it does seem almost sacriligeous to say so! I’d read so many articles/author interviews about it and after a day seeing SO many people with copies in cafes, in the street, on the tube etc I thought I’d see what all the fuss was about. But whilst I thought the structure was a clever idea, the characters never really came alive for me. I sometimes think there’s something wrong with me that I didn’t ‘get it’ – millions of people can’t be wrong so it’s refreshing to find someone else who didn’t either.

    WIth The Corrections, I gave up before the end because I was finding it so heavy going, it smacked of just trying so hard but maybe I wasn’t giving it my full attention. I wasn’t that invested in any of the characters and was glazing over. I see it more as a failng on my part that I didn’t finish it – it’s on my shelf to tackle again at a later date. I wonder why it frustrated your husband so much?

    I think hype is always diffiicult to live up to. Two novels I have recently enjoyed have been The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey which is getting a lot of attention but deserves the accolades in my opiion, and The Bird SIsters by Rebecca Rasmussen which had a great viral internet campaign.

    1. alisonwells

      Thanks Alison. I love your use of the word sacrilegious with regard to not enjoying One Day. Sometimes it does seem as if there is such a momentum behind something that you can’t argue against it. I think it was pretty much the same for Eat Pray Love which I overall enjoyed although I did have some issues with the protagonist.

      As far as I can remember my husband got fed up of one unnecessary sexscene too many! He felt that they were there for no good reason. A novel has to have its own internal logic. He didn’t think it did. However he also stopped reading A Fraction of the Whole which was a madcap book that I did stick with. People’s personal tast differs over how much they can take! However I think that a book like the Corrections would have to be really good to earn it’s hype, so for me it’s already handicapped by that challenge.
      Thanks a million for sharing your book recommendations. I’ll certainly check out the two you mention.

  3. The most recent book that got tossed was Jennifer Egan’s ‘The Visit of the Goon Squad’. I found it very difficult to engage with the characters though I tried a couple of times. Abandoning the novel was a little painful because it had come recommended by a writer friend….and I felt I was letting her down?? I also felt I was letting down the author because it was well written but I couldn’t get it to work for me.

    1. alisonwells

      Yes, it’s funny we almost feel guilty when we know how much work goes into things. I agree on your comment about the Jennifer Egan book. I loved certain parts but overall felt it didn’t gel and didn’t care about some of the characters. That said, I will probably give it a re-read.

  4. I am so glad someone else felt the same why about “Unconsoled” – that book made me throw out a lot of curses but then I thought “maybe I just don’t get it.” I am still not sure.

    1. alisonwells

      I think it was a very experimental book on his part and I think it worked on that level but it’s a tremendously difficult book to read. I would not say I enjoyed it but as an interesting project it’s worth a read.

  5. I enjoyed One Day! The thing I hated about it was the end, and the realisation that there’d been a significance to the date – I felt cheated and angry that I’d let myself be interested when that was the pay-off. It smacked of the stories you used to write as a child that conveniently ended with it all being a dream…argh. I also found ‘Blue-eyed Boy’ by Joanne Harris quite a hard read that I had to take breaks from for my own sanity.

    1. alisonwells

      Thanks Abigail. The end is a real make or break time isn’t it. We can be happy enough as readers until, oh no, it doesn’t quite stick. I felt that a little bit about Her Perfect Symmetry by Niffenneger which I otherwise loved. Also interesting is your comment on the Joanne Harris book. I haven’t read it but many books can be challenging in their style or subject matter and it’s difficult to keep going. Being part of a book group can really challenge you that way. I found The Kite Runner very hard subject matter wise and didn’t ‘enjoy’ reading it. Sometimes it’s not necessary to enjoy to appreciate but again it begs the question whether books of unremitting misery (not saying the one you quoted was because I don’t know) can ultimately work. I’m thinking also here of Mr Pip, there was a very difficult and I’m not sure necessary scene in there that put me off the book although I read it to the end.

  6. Ok – here’s one for ye – I threw Emma Donoghue’s ‘Room’ at the end of the bed. I think the hype around it definitely played a part – for me, it just didn’t live up to it. It took me ages to admit I hadn’t finished it because so many of my friends were ecstatic about it. Maybe there is something about it that I just didn’t get, but from the off I could warm neither to the story nor to the language in which it is told. I got about half way through it and then decided life is too short!

    1. alisonwells

      Thanks John! That’s just it, isn’t it. If a book isn’t working for you, you have to weigh it up at some point and decide whether the language or the author’s previous track record is enough to make you persist. Otherwise as you say, there are many other books out there you may prefer. I also read Room and I did get it and stick with the change of scene later which others didn’t think work. I enjoyed it but agree it may have suffered from the hype.

  7. Interesting post. I loved most of the books thrown here (including Jennifer Egan’s, which I thought one of the best reads of last year; and Franzen’s The CORRECTIONS, which felt so real to me and because I heard him speak before I read his work and he got me pumped up to know this family he had created).

    But I do slide books to the floor in disgust. Most recently, ATMOSPHERIC DISTURBANCES which started off with a bang but, two-thirds in, seemed to flounder forever in Patagonia, along with the author’s own (narcissistic) need to remember her own brilliant physicist father. I tried to read a book by Jennifer Weiner and got three pages in.

    I had Sarah Waters’ book up, loved the NIGHT WATCH, but now not so sure. Let’s see how I like CITY OF THIEVES, next up on the bedside table. Peace…

    1. alisonwells

      Thanks Linda. I love your own turn of phrase “seemed to flounder forever in Patagonia”. Again you have a different perspective on A visit from the Goon Squad and the Corrections which is interesting to hear. Particularly in the case of the Franzen book. Your insider insight into the world of Franzen’s family gave you what was needed to engage with the work. Also your comments on Atmospheric Disturbances are interesting from the point of view of our own writing, our relationship with books as readers makes us ask the question of how far we should go with our own narcissistic journeys or obsessions and how far we should go to make it possible for the reader to engage with us. Also interesting to ask that in relation to The Unconsoled.

  8. I loved One Day, though I read it on the recommendation of a friend, long before all the hype started. I agree the ending was a bit of a let-down but it didn’t ruin the book for me.

    I lost it with The Lovely Bones. I was a bit baffled as to what all the fuss was about from the start, but thought it was okay and stuck with it. But the end really gave me the rage – it just went beyond daft and I lost all patience with it. Disbelief came crashing down and the book went crashing to the end of the bed.

    1. alisonwells

      Hi Clodagh. It’s great to hear the other perspective on One Day, that for you it held it’s own enough for you to get past the ending. I read the Lovely Bones years ago. The opening scenes of the crime were hard to get past and the end went mental as you say. We have to suspend our disbelief when entering the world of a book and sometimes it goes just too far. However others have said the same about We Need to Talk about Kevin. In that case the book, for me, was strong enough to sustain the melodrama.

  9. ‘Unconsoled’ was one of the very rare books that I actually abandoned and almost put me off Ishiguro, except that I read an article about his short story collection ‘Nocturnes’ and did enjoy it, thus all is forgiven.

    But my throw the book book would have to be ‘Perfect Hostage’ by Justin Wintle, puporting to be a biography of Aung San Suu Kyi, conveniently using a photo of her on the cover to entice the reader. More of a narration of Generals and massacres, I could have handled the history lesson, if it wasn’t for the persistent patronising comments the author made about his alleged subject. And the 2 weeks I lost reading it. The only joy was the challenge of writing a review about a book I didn’t like, while trying to remain respectful.

    1. alisonwells

      Thanks for that most interesting comment and particularly your description of Perfect Hostage. Again it seems like an example of when a book thwarts or destroys our expectations or sets false expectations. We invest both our time and ourselves in a book and we feel let down when it doesn’t match up.

      On Ishiguro I remain a fan even though I was tempted like you to give up on the Unconsoled. He is never a straightforward read but the investment can really pay off when he’s at his best.

  10. As a biographical novelist of the Georgian (/Victorian) era, I decided a few months ago it was past time I explored Maria Edgeworth’s work. Sadly, this proved an exercise in patience.

    The author has the amiable complacency of the middle classes of those times, but I found her prose more woolly and rambling than a flock of Herdwicks. She has little idea of dramatic structure and her sentences, whilst readable, are too full of clauses to shine. For readers who want to steep themselves in the era, these rhythms may be telling, but no way would ME get past an editor today. That’s probably also true of Dickens, but at least he could tell a compelling tale with sharply drawn characters and well-constructed plots. His stories are strongly atmospheric, too, something which appealed to readers of his own time and to successive eras.

    Maria Edgeworth’s work is not without wit. She flies the flag for women. There are some sly wisdoms. The Jane Austen idiom is seductive, though she doesn’t quite have JA’s charisma. The whole is spoiled by her indisciplined approach. It’s as if she puts pen to paper and writes till she thinks she’s come to the end.

    Perhaps I am doing her an injustice and just haven’t the time to wade through layers of relatively inconsequential data. I dare say she deserves to be revisited sometime in the future. But we demand a slicker product of our novelists nowadays. Perhaps it’s no accident Maria Edgeworth seems little spoken of outside academic circles.

    My bed doesn’t have an end, so I didn’t throw *Helen* and *Belinda* at it, but they did shuffle their way under a nearby armchair!

    1. alisonwells

      A terrific and erudite reply! Here’s another example of why a book might not work: fashions, styles, tastes and the altered brain wiring of the modern reader. I don’t think I’ve read Edgeworth but I read a lot of Dickens in my teenage years and found enough story and character to utterly engage me. The wordy phrasing can often add kudos to the narration. On the other hand, I’m now reading The Group. A significant book for it’s time but more a social treatise than a novel, it’s very hard to wade through.

      I enjoyed your descriptions of Maria Edgeworth’s work. As you say, perhaps to appreciate her we need to read her in her context. As for discarding difficult books under the chair or bedstand is a fine alternative to the end of the bed!

  11. Liz

    My one (to my shame) is Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall. I haven’t totally given up on it but just couldnt get into it at all. I love her modern day books but got completely bogged down in the large cast of characters and all the detail. Never finished the Unconsoled either. I rarely throw a book down – I normally struggle through to the end regardless. I have only ever thrown a book away in the bin. can’t remember the name but it was a kind of chick lit book (a genre that I love by the way) but was so badly written I decided better to end it’s days rather than inflict it on another innocent at the recycling centre/charity shop!

    1. alisonwells

      Hi Liz. Yes by all accounts Wolf Hall is a whopping wolf of a book. She keeps hundreds of files of research as she writes and her love of the era is translated into the detail of her books. For those not as interested in the particulars what she needs to keep her reader is a cracking good storyline. Not having read this book yet I don’t know if that is the case, although I’ve really enjoyed several of her other books. Your comment on not inflicting your chick lit book on another innocent is hilarious. I should start another thread on ‘books you wouldn’t inflict on ‘or ‘books you wouldn’t give to your mother. Brilliant!

  12. As you know, Alison, I didn’t enjoy ‘One Day’ at all, particularly because I felt the characters were not engaging enough. Another book I disliked was ‘The Little Women Letters’ by Gabrielle Donnelly. I actually did a blog post on it a while back: http://mareseosullivan.wordpress.com/2011/08/03/thirty-day-book-challenge-day-2-least-favourite-book/ Between the spelling/grammatical errors and the terrible character development, unfortunately I felt as if the author was using the ‘Little Women’ fame to attract readers to the book. I finished it but was just frustrated with its content.

  13. Oh, very interesting. I loved One Day – but I think I read it at just the right time, before it was being hyped to ridiculous proportions, and it’s so difficult for a book to live up to that.

    Atonement frustrated me a little bit I must say, the ending…

    There is a particular YA author (American) whose work I do not find as wow-worthy as many of her fans seem to think it is (no, no vampires involved! But professional courtesy suggests it may be better not to name names…). Have read a few of her books and they’re good but not amazing – I have that sense of ‘what, that’s it? Meh.’ It’s such a personal taste thing, but when it’s the field you’re writing in there’s always that extra sense of ‘why does this work for other people and what can I learn from this?!’

  14. Anouska Huggins

    A great post, Alison.

    I loved One Day, but then I read it before the hype started, having seen David Nichols at a book talk, just as it was published. I read it with no expectations – having been relatively unimpressed with his earlier works – and I think that’s the difference. Hype can ruin a reading (or viewing) experience.

    I’ve had a few book throwing incidents over the years too. I adore Henry James’s The Portrait of a Lady, but the ending makes me shake my head and weep with frustration every time. Oh, Isabella. I’ve launched Captain Correlli’s Mandonlin at the end of the bed many times. No matter how often people tell me it’s wonderful, I just can’t get past the first chapter. Robinson Crusoe is another missile of choice: post-shipwreck nothing happens for pages and pages and, well, even more pages. Even so, I keep trying with it, feeling that it is a book that one ‘should’ read. As for the The Little Stranger…oh dear, this was practically hurled out of the car window (audiobook) for almost sending me into a coma at the wheel.

    More recently, Aimee Bender’s The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake found itself hurtling towards the end of the bed. A lovely book for the most part, as it neared the end magical realism merged with the distinctly odd, making for an unsatisfying resolution of one of the plot strands. Strangely, I still seem to have given it 5 stars on Goodreads, so thumping it against the foot of the bed doesn’t necessarily result in it’s demise…

    1. alisonwells

      Hi Marese, Claire and Anouska,

      Differing opinions there on One Day which is how it should be. And thanks so much for adding your other less than favourite reads and why. It’s interesting to see that some books that frustrate to some level still manage to hold some sway over us, particularly in the Aimee Bender and Atonement examples. Again it all comes down to how much we are willing to forgive based on the quality of what went before.

  15. My books slide off the side of the bed as I pass out — I think it’s a mother-of-baby thing.

    So far, my little sad heap contains We need to Talk about Kevin by Lionel Shriver — I’ve reached page 15 about 6 times, and page 25 once. I’m going to persevere because I think it is a book that I might enjoy when I can give it more attention — but that could be a year or two away… Likewise Hilary Mantel’s A Place of Greater Safety… again, this requires more of me than I can give with a tiny baby, but it comes strongly recommended and I will attack it, perhaps when Youngest starts school.
    Also in the heap, Diamonds and Pearls… which makes me evil because it’s a charity anthology. I’m not going to diss a charity anthology, so let’s say that it’s brilliant, and the fault lies entirely with me.
    A book that I love (and will return to) is One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez — but it’s a bit like doing your own body piercing… still, the haunting memories of the book are worth the initial pain so each time I threw myself off the bed with the book, and climbed back up with it still in my hand.
    Stories that I didn’t like… Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. He was pants, what a loser. He flew like a bird and hit the far wall. I cheered when he slid down and hit the floor.
    (But I loved Birds Without Wings by the same author.)

    1. alisonwells

      Hi Martha,

      I’ve been laughing at your witty and engaging reply. I think many of us can identlfy with the books sliding off the bed as we pass out. I wouldn’t say that I need to talk about Kevin is a book you’ll ‘enjoy’ perhaps ‘admire’ and probably not one for a mum of a new baby. I loved 100 years of Solitude and Love in the time of Cholera but I don’t think I had as many children then! Your other reads sound interesting and worth checking out, probably when I’m retired. Need to go on a reading retreat there are so many books to read!

      1. Ooh, will have to grab Love in the Time of Cholera — have been meaning to. I did finish 100 Years and I did enjoy it, but it took sugar and caffeine and a couple of attempts. I used to read a book every couple of days and we have WALLS of books so it’s a bit sad that I’ve managed so little recently… and yet also happy, with the gorgeous babies. Plus, of course, I have managed to read a lot of stories about Harry Potter, Bramble the Bunny, and The Twits. I love The Twits… do you see what’s happened to my brain, here?!

  16. This is such a brilliant post, Alison! I’ve loved reading the comments – both the books I wanted to list have already been mentioned – but they are the ones I threw at the bedpost. The first one which I hurled across the room with great force (and it made one heck of a thump) was Wolf Hall. Not because of the mountains of detail – I love detail – but because Hilary Mantell absolutely refuses to use Thomas Cromwell’s name! After about a hundred pages of counting bloody speech tags to try to work out who was saying what, because Mantell won’t use anything but pronouns, I totally lost patience! And the other was Room. It’s a great story, but I found the little boy’s narrative voice SO irritating. It’s partly his refusal to use the definite article, as though every noun is actually that object’s name, but also the saccharine pet-names … it was ‘meltedy-spoon’ which finally did for me, I’m afraid.

    1. alisonwells

      Thanks Gaby, great analysis on why the books didn’t work for you. It’s a personal thing but also something that those that write should be aware of.

  17. I do worry about the state of your bed. Can you stretch your legs out at night or are you curled up in order to accommodate all those discarded books? Me? I have a pile next to the bed so I have to circumnavigate them in the night if I need to ‘pay visits’.

    It’s interesting just how many people disliked One Day. I haven’t read it. Maybe I won’t bother. Wolf Hall was an amazing read but I know what Gaby means about Mantell’s use of pronouns. I couldn’t cope with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I can’t handle the cruelty and yet when I read The Kite Runner I couldn’t put it down even though parts of it made me feel physically sick.

    1. Have you read A Thousand Splendid Suns? It’s one for under-the-pillow love, although heartbreaking of course… but Hosseini is an amazing writer.

  18. I suppose I better justify my two choices which you mention in your blog. Alison Miller’s “Demo” was purportedly about two left-of centre young people who opposed the Iraq War and the book starts out on an anti-war demonstration. But then it turns out they’re Trustafarians playing at politics really and goes on to list their woes of the heart. It is shockingly bad and unengaging, and for a book called “Demo”, there were surprisingly few words devoted to the sounds and smells and sights of being on a demonstration, which I found a bit odd. However, once aspect of the book that mollified me, was that it meant my own political novel about related themes and with a protracted description of a demonstration, had not been beaten to the punch! I don’t know, maybe the Miller book was so bad, it provoked me to self-publish mine!

    And to La Grande Dame of novelists Doris Lessing. “The Good Terrorist” so badly wants to satirise the militant Left of the 70s and 80s who drop out, form their own communes and snipe at conventional society. In fact it’s just trite and clichéd and manages to undermine its own cogency by using a hammer to crack a walnut.

    I’m interested that so many of your responders are relating their disappointment in best seller titles. It doesn’t surprise me. I go by the subject matter or theme of a novel as to whether I’m interested in reading it. The only two mentioned I’ve read, “Room” and “Goon Squad” – well Room I though fundamentally flawed but still a worthwhile and impressive read, while I have to say I loved Goon squad, feeling that it has one of the best opening chapters I’ve ever read. The book doesn’t continue at that high level thereafter, but it is still very good.

  19. Hi Alison. I really enjoyed this post. Surprising how many of us fell for the hype of ‘One Day’ and bought it, only to wonder what all the fuss was about. I too expected something extraordinary and though it would be a book with a strong message that would resonate with me. Instead I found it flat and unmemorable. It just shows we are all duped into reading the books publishers present on the bookshelves. It also shows that the success of some books often lies in good marketing, rather than a good product. I have also just bought ‘Switched’ by Amanda Hocking and found it’s not for me. It’s difficult to define why some books don’t appeal to us. I’ll give Hocking another go, but in future will be much more careful about following book trends.

  20. Thank you for this post! Two throw-worthy books in my house are The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry and So Much for That by Lionel Shriver. The Lace Reader started in a very interesting way — it is about a woman with the ability to read the future in patterns of lace; setting is the witchy town of Salem, Massachusetts. But the promise collapsed for me under the increasing weight of Big Plot Events — various twists and turns that felt as though they were there for their own sake. By the time the big boffo Hollywood finish rolled around, I had had it. Stopped 30 pages from the end. Lionel Shriver’s So Much for That is ugly and depressing. I don’t object to a downer novel featuring the US healthcare system. Not at all. But Shriver loads the dice all the way through. Characters take positions rather than acting like recognizable human beings. The awfulness of the awful people is exaggerated and the good people seem equally unlikely. Ending is unbelievable.

  21. Life Of Pi – I didn’t actually throw it anywhere but just couldn’t get into it. Unfortunately I’d joined in with a read-a-long organised, I think, by the publishers, so I was more irritated because everyone else was claiming how marvellous they’d found it to be. About half way through I stopped reading, dropped out of the read-a-thon and put the book away till another day. Several months later I went back and finished it but it didn’t improve.

  22. pen

    ‘The Woman who Walked into Doors’ by Roddy Doyle. About domestic violence/abuse. I read it while I was trapped with a guy who beat me up constantly. It did not convey the depths or complex twisted layers of such an experience. It skimmed the surface. Grr.

  23. I haven’t thrown a book at the end of the bed for ages, which means either my standards are dropping, or my selection process has improved. I tend to forget about these books completely, mainly because I don’t finish them, life being too short to waste time on something irritating. Interesting comments about One Day, most of which are in line with what I’ve heard as well, mainly a lack of connection with the characters, therefore, it’s not going on my long list of ‘must reads’. Great post btw.

  24. I never threw it at the end of the bed (it was sent flying across an entire room and out an open door): Thomas Hardy’s Jude the Obscure. I was 14 and could only manage so much suffering in one place. When the real nightmare of the story happens (if you don’t know the book or other readers here haven’t read it or seen the film, I won’t spoil), it was one terrible thing too much. Some stories can just be a punishment to read and, for me, that book was it.

    The Da Vinci Code was another book that found its way out of a window, too – and it was a hardcover version, so the thud was sweetly cataclysmic.

    I also enjoyed turning Stephen King’s The Stand into a door stop.

  25. I recently finished a collection of John McGahern stories which I want to get out of my house as soon as possible. It was all masterfully written, of course, but there was a scene of animal cruelty in one story that left me sickened for days. I can barely stand to look at the book now.
    One Day was long and unfunny, and I felt manipulated throughout, especially by the ending. But if I’d somehow found these twerps lovable or interesting, it could have been different. I liked Wolf Hall, but the pronoun meltdown also bothered me at times. Here’s one I hated: Love in the Time of Cholera! I actually left the last page and a half unread just so I could say I never finished it.

    1. alisonwells

      Thanks Jan, I felt manipulated by One Day as well but I must disagree on Love in the Time of Cholera (though it is some years since I read it.) Books are laden with experience, emotion and a way of looking at the world. It’s impossible that we would love the sames things or that an author could really annoy us. I’ve recent experience of reading an author I love (Margaret Atwood) but finding no emotional resonance with this particular book at all.

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