Aug 26, 2013

30 Day Challenge: Day 29

Day 29: A Book Everyone Hated But You Liked

Our penultimate post! How exciting. We've reached that point in the thirty day challenge that's almost a little tragic. It's been a fun few weeks of blogging. We've learned a lot, reflected a ton, and made assumptions and assertions that have been unpopular, well-loved, and debated. Books have a funny way of creating dialogue within the community that loves them.

Today's prompt is a little trickier than most. It's hard to gauge just how disliked a book is relative to your love for it. So, I thought I would look to my Goodreads list and do a little cheating. It's nice to have a fairly comprehensive list of books to reference when you're stuck as I am today.

I don't think it's fair to say any book is universally hated. That's a bit hyperbolic for my taste. But I do know that Donna Tartt's The Little Friend was not a stand-out compared to her other writing. Many were so enraptured with her first book that The Little Friend--and its failure to standup to its precursor--simply crowned the book as a failure.  It's not the case. It's a crushing story that doesn't wrap up nicely: which, in American Literature, is not appreciated. Perhaps it's not a hated text, but it's certainly not as adored by the masses as it is by me.  


Second to last day! Oh my! Is anyone else as sad as we are? It's been really fun discussing all these great books from our reading pasts, and we hope you all have enjoyed it.

The problem with today's prompt, however, is that I have no idea what the majority of readers in this world love and hate, so I can really only base my choice off those that I know. Such a teeny fraction! Regardless of this fact, I had a really hard time choosing today. I could pick The Book Thief (again) because a friend I recently lent it to, just said it wasn't her style, or I could pick Slaughterhouse-Five because my fiance said it was really slow for him to struggle through. But just because one person I know doesn't like a book that I loved doesn't make it worth today's pick for the challenge. So as I think back through all the books I've ever read, I decided to pick Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer.

I can understand why people don't like this book. It's hard to get through, and I almost didn't like it! The story is fragmented, told through letters and hodgepodge of writings that might or might not be parts of a novel. Then there are stories within the stories. There are awakenings and not-truths. There is humor, tragedy, friendship, love and the idea of love, and memories. There is, in general, quite a bit going on in this book. It's intense, and sometimes the pace is slow because that certain story is meant to be slow. It's meant to be savored. Jonathan Safran Foer has an ability to revive our senses, to make us care and to love again, and to break our hearts within so few pages. His writing is beautiful.


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