Monday, November 25, 2019

The Body In Question

The Body In Question is a 2019 literary fiction novel by Jill Ciment. It was published in June 2019 by Pantheon. I read it as part of a book club, along with another book. The novel tells the story of two sequestered jurors engaging in an affair during a highly-publicized murder trial. Although they agree to keep their oaths as jurors not to discuss the trial, things become complicated once deliberations begin.

The two main characters are C-2, the woman Hannah, and F-17, the man Graham. Other characters include the other jurors, who are referred to be nicknames C-2 gives them, and C-2's husband. There isn't a lot that's shared about these characters at all. F-17 is an anatomy professor who falls in love with C-2 during their affair. C-2 is a married photographer whose much older husband is dying and she begins the affair mostly to get it out of her system before she becomes a widow. She tries to insist she has no attachment to F-17, much to the evidence otherwise. The other characters are entirely one-dimensional and serve a purpose to either make the pair suspicious that they've been discovered or provide filler. No one seemed to have any motivations or personality beyond surface-level traits. The characters are basically paper cut-outs with no personality. Call me crazy, but if I'm reading a book, I need to at least feel something for the characters within.

One thing I dislike most about the story is that the focus seems to be on the wrong thing. Yes, the blurb explains that the story is about the forbidden love affair between two jurors, but Ciment made a mistake in creating the story of the trial they're jurors for. Rather than the pair be jurors for just any highly-publicized murder trial, the crime in question involves the death of a child in a fire and if the defendant, the victim's older autistic sister, set the fire on purpose. This part of the story was meant to be just the simple backdrop, the plot device bringing the two characters together, but was actually the most intriguing part of the story.

The trial, in the few scenes where the trial is actually about the crime and not C-2 waxing about details that don't really matter or her lover, presents an interesting mystery. Was the defendants confession coerced? Did her twin force her to confess? Why would she kill her brother? The mystery, sadly, takes second place to two very boring characters having a affair and being paranoid about being caught. Then, it's time for the jury to deliberate and, shocker, the two lovers are on different sides. One is the hold-out preventing a unanimous decision from being reached which only annoyed me more. Eventually, a decision is reached and the trial ends. The defendant is found guilty. Shortly after the trial, someone leaks it to the press that C-2 and F-17 were having an affair. Now, I was expecting some kind of consequences for the secret being revealed. Maybe the defendant's lawyers get her a new trial citing that one influenced the other's decision. Maybe the two jurors are held in contempt for violating the court's orders regarding how sequestration works. None of that happens. C-2's husband feels understandably betrayed, F-17 seemingly faces no consequences and the other jurors get trashed in the media at first for the verdict and later for not speaking up.

While I didn't like the plot, I can't say that this book is all bad. From a technical writing perspective alone, the book isn't bad. The writer clearly has a lot of talent and based on the reviews for her other books, this one seems to be an outlier. It's also a very short book, which works in its favor. Coming in at under 200 pages, I wasn't completely outraged at how I felt about the story when it was over. If this book had been twice as long, but with the same outcome, I'd be a lot angrier about the time I had wasted.

I honestly thought this book was a waste of time. In literature, words such as "story arc" or "journey" or "growth" get thrown around a lot. The Body In Question has none of that. The conclusion isn't really a conclusion. Nothing happens. The story goes exactly nowhere. C-2 isn't different at the end of the book. F-17 isn't. None of the events that happen after the trial make any difference or sends any kind of message to the reader. The most that happens is the jurors doing a symbolic "revote" on the verdict, but that's it. I've read books with good endings, I've read books with bad endings, but this is the first time that I've encountered a book with a pointless ending. There wasn't enough substance in this novel to justify an ending of any kind. If there was more focus on the characters, and they had actual personality, I might feel differently, but the lack of anything sticking out to me makes me feel like this book was a complete waste of time. I wasn't given enough reason to care about the jurors, their affair or anything going on, which made this book completely unremarkable. I can imagine that, in a few years, someone might ask me if I've read this book, and because its so unremarkable and unmemorable, I'll say "no" because I'll have completely forgotten about it.

Rating: 1.3 stars

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Monday, November 18, 2019

Days of Rock & Roll

Days of Rock & Roll by [Holm, Kelly]

Days of Rock & Roll is a 2018 thriller novel by Kelly Holm.  It was published in July of 2018 by the author. I was provided with an advanced copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

The story follows a photopgrapher named Ariana who argees to photograph her ex-boyfriend Zak’s band while they’re on tour for a magazine. The pair had a bad break-up many years ago and Zak intends to use Ariana’s assignment as a chance to win her back. Ariana, despite their break-up, hasn’t gotten over Zak as much as she claims and just wants to get through the job as quickly as possible. Complicating both exes plans is the presence of a Hollywood starlet who has decided Zak is hers and a shady figure from Ariana’s past that’s not willing to let her go. When Ariana disappears, Zak does everything he can to find her.

First, let’s begin by discussing the characters in this story. Ariana is one of the point of view characters and one of the two main characters. Ariana is one of my favorite main characters in a while. She’s not a reader-insert type character, she’s her own person and is dripping with personality. Not only that, but she has her own goals, and her own agency, which characters in some stories like this tend to lack. When she finds herself in a dangerous situation, she doesn’t just let things happen to her, but at the same time, she’s smart about how she reacts to things. I was rooting for Ariana from beginning to end in this story. The other main character is, of course, Zak, the guitarist of the world-famous band Dark Horse and Ariana’s ex. I feel a little less favorably towards Zak than I do Ariana, which is mostly because of a few things he does early in the story. He clearly has his own plans, and demons and things going on, but I found myself getting annoyed with him in parts. Rick is Ariana’s boyfriend, who she breaks up with very early in the syory because she thinks he’s too clingy. I hate Rick. Every reader is supposed to hate Rick. At first, I thought he was just going to be an obsessive ex who causes some problems for Ariana because he’s mad they broke up, but it turns out to be that he’s part of some very dark things. Rick is, undoubtedly, the villain of this story. Jules is Ariana’s sister and manager. I expected her to be a side character at first, mostly existing for Ariana to talk about her conflicted feelings for Zak, and not much else. Then, Rick becomes very embittered by their break-up and Jules becomes one of the most important characters in the entire story. The last character to discuss is Josie Winters, the Hollywood starlet who’s decided she and Zak are going to be together, no matter what. She starts off as an annoyance, and continues to be an annoyance, up until the very end of the story where she goes completely off the rails. Like Rick, we as the readers are meant to dislike her. The story is, on its surface, about Zak trying to get Ariana back so any character that threatens the happy ending needs to come off as unlikeable.

The actual writing in Days of Rock & Roll is great. The author does a fantastic job of mixing telling information to the reader with properly displaying it. There’s enough detail being shared for the reader to get into the story and the setting without it being overkill. We know what all of the characters look like, and the places that they are, without it seeming like the author wanted to explain every single object in the room a character is in. There are a few minor mistakes, but nothing that made me want to stop reading. I’ll discuss the pacing in a little bit, but Holm did a fantastic job building tension in the right places. In the climax of the story, when Rick’s almost cornered and Ariana’s almost safe, I wasn’t completely sure if the plan to save her would actually work. I enjoy that in a story. Characters need to struggle, especially in the final confrontation. They need to fail, or get tricked, and here that’s what happened. It’s a very well written book from a character and emotional perspective, but has room for improvement where the plot is concerned.

The pacing of the novel is a little uneven, which in turn makes the plot a little hard to follow and jarring in some places. More than half of the book is about Ariana and Zak remembering the beginning of their relationship and what happened during their break-up, while they also go back and forth about what feelings they still have. A lot of these scenes have the awkward “I’m talking to my ex” feel that gets interrupted by one external factor or another, usually Josie showing up and insisting that she’s dating Zak. The Ariana-Zak drama is broken up by Josie plotting how to “make Zak hers” and Rick getting increasingly angry and frustrated about Ariana dumping him until he goes as far as to kidnap her sister to find out where she is. After he kidnaps Jules, he kidnaps Ariana and that’s the point where the story takes a very hard left turn that had me thinking “what am I reading?”. Rick, it turns out, is nowhere near the person who Ariana thought he was. She broke up with him because he was a little boring, and very clingy. After their break-up and he starts to spiral, it comes to light that he’s a very, very bad person and that he’s not going to stop until he gets what he wants and he doesn’t care who gets hurt or dies because of it. Until this happens, the main antagonist looks to be Josie, who absolutely will not leave Zak alone, and she’s then more or less sidelined until after Rick is dealt with.

I think the root of my criticism about Rick’s actions seeming to come out of nowhere is the lack of foreshadowing. During the first few scenes with him, he seems like just an angry ex-boyfriend. I expected him to chase after Ariana, possibly stalk her. Maybe he gets into a confrontation with Zak because he refuses to accept that they broke up. Then, he kidnaps Jules and it seems like he’s starting to unravel, and a little dangerous, but not a serious threat to Ariana. He then abducts her, and the reader learns his backstory, which is much darker than anyone expected. (I should mention that I can see some problematic elements in Rick’s backstory and motivations. I don’t believe in spoiling major plot points unnecessarily, so I won’t get to in depth, but Rick’s motives, philosophy and especially his behvaior once he thinks he’s “won” create a stereotypical, and damaging image of the culture he’s a part of.) The problem is that Rick, his skills, his connections, et cetera, seem to come out of nowhere. There’s no mention of a mysterious job early on that indicates there’s more to him than appears. Ariana never mentions finding anything off or strange about him. And outside of one character saying Ariana and Rick didn’t make sense as a couple, or a friend of hers saying she never really like him but couldn’t explain why, there’s no indication or foreshadowing that things with Rick are going to get as intense as they do. I don’t like major plot elements spelled out for me, but I also don’t like feeling that they come from absolutely nowhere.

As I mentioned earlier, Josie seems like she might be the main antagonist until Rick turns out to be a complete monster. Josie just seems to be conniving and manipulative. She wants to date Zak, not because she has real feelings for him but because she wants him to make her famous. Her logic is that, if she marries someone super famous, she’ll be super famous too. She doesn’t like Zak, but she loves what he could do for her. She’s even willing to commit fraud and blackmail in order to make him be with her. Her plan of course, makes no sense and blows up in her face, but it was strange to me how much emphasis was placed on her and her plans when they only seemed to have a secondary impact on the plot.

Now that I’ve discussed my biggest criticisms of the story, let me just touch on a few other things I want to mention. I said earlier that the pacing is a little weird, this is because there isn’t a clear divider between one POV and another if its not in between chapters. The same can be said for transitions between Ariana’s memories of her relationship with Zak and the present events. One paragraph, she’s in Berlin five years ago, and the next she’s getting off of the plane in Detroit in the present. Something as simple as a break in between paragraphs would’ve made the transition less jarring.

Days of Rock & Roll is a good book, but the last third or so of it doesn’t seem to fit with the rest. The main conflict sort of comes out of nowhere and it makes a book with very little tension up to that point suddenly become incredibly serious. I can’t decide if the author wanted to write an abduction story and framed the whole “exes reuniting” idea around it, or if she wanted to write about two exes reuniting and then found a way to include the kidnapping plot. In either case, it’s not well-executed, which is a shame because I liked the beginning of the story, and I like the actual kidnapping plot, but they didn’t really work together. I’d recommend this book to others, but not without warning other readers that the conflict seems to come out of nowhere.

Rating: 3.6 stars

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Tuesday, November 12, 2019

November TBR

Hello everybody!

I know that I'm a little late to be doing my monthly TBR, but in my defense, the first week of November was a little crazy. Could I have foreseen the craziness? Yes, but for some reason I didn't and I'm now dealing with the consequences. Anyway, let's just get straight into all of the books I plan to (hopefully) read this month.

The Books
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Days of Rock and Roll by Kelly Holm

Ariana is a very talented photographer who agrees to photograph her ex-boyfriend Zak’s band, Dark Horses, for Sound Trip magazine. Zak is thrilled and plans to use the occasion to win her back. However, when Ariana arrives, she catches Zak in a very compromising situation with Hollywood starlet Josie Winters, who wants Zak for herself.

Before Zak can explain to Ariana that what saw was a complete misunderstanding, Ariana mysteriously disappears in the middle of the night, and Zak is filled with guilt and wonder. When he realizes that she has been kidnapped, he’ll stop at nothing to find her. Will Zak find Ariana before it’s too late? 

Beneath a Scarlet Sky

Beneath A Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan
Pino Lella wants nothing to do with the war or the Nazis. He’s a normal Italian teenager—obsessed with music, food, and girls—but his days of innocence are numbered. When his family home in Milan is destroyed by Allied bombs, Pino joins an underground railroad helping Jews escape over the Alps, and falls for Anna, a beautiful widow six years his senior.
In an attempt to protect him, Pino’s parents force him to enlist as a German soldier—a move they think will keep him out of combat. But after Pino is injured, he is recruited at the tender age of eighteen to become the personal driver for Adolf Hitler’s left hand in Italy, General Hans Leyers, one of the Third Reich’s most mysterious and powerful commanders.
Now, with the opportunity to spy for the Allies inside the German High Command, Pino endures the horrors of the war and the Nazi occupation by fighting in secret, his courage bolstered by his love for Anna and for the life he dreams they will one day share.

The Body In Question by Jill Climent

The place: central Florida. The situation: a sensational murder trial, set in a courthouse more Soviet than Le Corbusier; a rich, white teenage girl—a twin—on trial for murdering her toddler brother.

Two of the jurors: Hannah, a married fifty-two-year-old former Rolling Stone and Interview Magazine photographer of rock stars and socialites (she began to photograph animals when she realized she saw people “as a species”), and Graham, a forty-one-year-old anatomy professor. Both are sequestered (she, juror C-2; he, F-17) along with the other jurors at the Econo Lodge off I-75. As the shocking and numbing details of the crime are revealed during a string of days and courtroom hours, and the nights play out in a series of court-financed meals at Outback Steak House (the state isn’t paying for their drinks) and Red Lobster, Hannah and Graham fall into a furtive affair, keeping their oath as jurors never to discuss the trial. During deliberations the lovers learn that they are on opposing sides of the case. Suddenly they look at one another through an altogether different lens, as things become more complicated . . .

After the verdict, Hannah returns home to her much older husband, but the case ignites once again and Hannah’s “one last dalliance before she is too old” takes on profoundly personal and moral consequences as The Body in Question moves to its affecting, powerful, and surprising conclusion.

Image result for dune by frank herbert summary

Dune by Frank Herbert

Set on the desert planet Arrakis, Dune is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, heir to a noble family tasked with ruling an inhospitable world where the only thing of value is the "spice" melange, a drug capable of extending life and enhancing consciousness. Coveted across the known universe, melange is a prize worth killing for...

When House Atreides is betrayed, the destruction of Paul's family will set the boy on a journey toward a destiny greater than he could ever have imagined. And as he evolves into the mysterious man known as Muad'Dib, he will bring to fruition humankind's most ancient and unattainable dream.

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Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert

Dune Messiah continues the story of Paul Atreides, better known--and feared--as the man christened Muad'Dib. As Emperor of the Known Universe, he possesses more power than a single man was ever meant to wield. Worshipped as a religious icon by the fanatical Fremens, Paul faces the enmity of the political houses he displaced when he assumed the throne--and a conspiracy conducted within his own sphere of influence.

And even as House Atreides begins to crumble around him from the machinations of his enemies, the true threat to Paul comes to his lover, Chani, and the unborn heir to his family's dynasty...

Of the five books I've mentioned, only one is a reread. I read Dune years ago and I've decided to reread it since there is a film adaptation coming out in 2020. Five books is more than I normally read in a month, but I decided to challenge myself. We'll see how it goes.

What's on your TBR?

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Monday, November 11, 2019

Feathers and Fae

Feathers and Fae is a young adult fantasy novel by Crystal L. Kirkham. It was published in October of 2019 by Kyanite Publishing LLC. I was provided with an advanced copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

The story follows two teens, Kami and Emmett, who have been best friends for as long as either could remember. Emmett, however, has a secret and his past catches up with him when a dark fae known as the Erlkrönig chases them into another realm, Mythos. When Kami awakes, she can detect when people are lying and that means she knows everything Emmett has ever told her is a lie. Emmett wants to get Kami home, to safety, as quickly as possible while avoiding the Erlkrönig, who is hunting them. On the journey, Emmett’s web of lies starts to unravel and Kami learns the truth, which shakes the foundations of everything she knows to be true.

Feathers and Fae is a book that doesn’t hold many surprises. At the beginning of the story, Emmett is somewhat of an enigma. He clearly has this innate need to protect Kami, although the reason isn’t initially clear. After the pair wind up in Mythos, as a result of Emmett using a previously unknown, to the reader, power, there’s a mystery surrounding what exactly he is. It becomes clear that he also has some sort of connect to the Erlkrönig, which adds some intrigue. All of that intrigue goes out of the window the second time Emmett uses his powers. It becomes very clear exactly what species he is, yet the book continues to try and make it seem like a mystery. Some might say that the title somewhat spoils that particular plot twist, but the title is vague enough to prevent me from saying its entirely predictable in that sense. My biggest complaint centers around the narrative acting like Emmett’s secret is harder to guess than it actually is. Rather than being foreshadowed, it’s pretty much spelled out a hundred pages before someone in the story actually says what he is.

I may be getting ahead of myself. Let’s discuss the characters for a moment. There are about five characters we care about: Emmett, Kami, the seer Jewel, a yeti named Bob and, of course, the bad guy the Erlkrönig. There’s not a lot I can really say about Emmett or Kami. I found them both to be rather bland and one-dimensional. Emmett wants to keep is secrets and get Kami to safety. Kami wants real answers about what the hell is happening and flip-flops between being angry or not angry, at Emmett for being reluctant to give those answers. It felt like a few scenes were repetitive with Kami asking for answers, not getting them and then being grumpy about it, and those scenes started to annoy me after a while. Jewel is a seer they meet to ask how to get home, and she invites herself along on their journey. I liked Jewel for the most part. She was the person who prevented Kami from being completely in the dark, because, as a seer, she knew what information she needed to know at each stage of the adventure. Something that I didn’t like was the fact that Jewel, who’s a seer, keeps ending up in situations where she can’t use her abilities. Her powers aren’t written consistently, and she ends up saying “sorry I didn’t see this” too many times. Bob is a yeti. He’s my favorite character because there isn’t a convoluted backstory or explanation to explain why he’s there. They need a guide through some mountains and he offers to be theirs. Lastly, we have our villain, the Erlkrönig, who’s what most would recognize as a pure evil villain. He wants power. He already has power, but he wants more. He won’t stop until he has all of the power. Emmett beat him once, but didn’t vanquish him, and he’s come back to finish what he started. Fantasy novels are where I see pure evil villains and that’s where they kind of fit the best. They don’t have nuance because they don’t need nuance, they just want to take over the world or whatever. He’s evil and that’s all there is to him.

The plot of Feathers and Fae is a little all over the place. Emmett and Kami wind up in Mythos and they need to get home, to their own realm, before the Erlkrönig finds them and exacts his revenge. The premise is simple, but in a story that’s ultimately about defeating the Erlkrönig, a lot of the story is padded with showing the journey they need to take to get to a portal that’s supposed to take them home. Reaching the portal ends up mattering only in a “if they don’t do x, y can’t happen and thus z is harder to explain” sense. I feel like some of this was done as a way of world-building, but it didn’t feel organic here. If a story is chronicling a journey, then the stops made during that journey need to have an impact on the story as a whole. That doesn’t happen here. The pair, and Jewel, go to the elves territory to use a portal there, only to be turned away. The group then needs to head to the dwarves’ land to use a portal deep in the mountains. The run-in with the elves has no impact later, so the story could’ve worked with the original destination being the dwarves’ land. Once they reach the portal, the story shifts again from being about Emmett and Kami getting home to needing to defeat the Erlkrönig, with very few sightings or threats by him between them coming to Mythos and needing to stop him. If there’d been either less focus on the journey, or if the Erlkrönig was written as a more dire threat during the group’s travels, the flow would’ve worked a little better. There’s a clear reason why the pacing is the way that it is. The long journey gives time for more information about Emmett, and his connection to Kami, to come to light without doing an info dump. The problem is that the most important information is still delivered by Emmett, as a clear info dump, right before the climax. If the same information had been revealed slowly, on the journey, I would’ve liked it better.

Now, let’s discuss the conclusion of the story. Emmett, Kami, Bob and Jewel need to defeat the Erlkrönig to avoid him taking over Mythos, and then the other realms. The book is roughly 380 pages. The final battle, the climax of the story, is 17 pages long. It’s not even 5% of the book. Now, there had been tension building for a while, especially after Emmett encounters the Erlkrönig face-to-face and is captured by him, but that’s an incredibly rushed final confrontation. It’s not like prior to this fight, the characters kept having run-ins with the villain either. For most of the story, they’re traveling, with the vague threat of the bad guy chasing after them. The final confrontation is very rushed. It reads as very rushed. The good guys start losing, Emmett as one last idea to try, and then they win. It’s not dramatic, or drawn out and the way that the heroes win falls just shy of a deus ex machina moment.

Thus far, this review has been very negative. I’m aware of that, but there were some things I enjoyed. I liked the actual realm that the story took place in. it had a rich plethora of creatures, species and locations. As part of the journey, the reader didn’t just get to see one section of the map, but several. Through Emmett and Kami, I learned about the different cultures with this world. The magic system wasn’t completely explained, but the parts that were explored, aside from Jewel’s foresight, were easily demonstrated and well-explained. The best way I can really explain it is that I liked the world, but I wasn’t a big fan of the story that was being told in it.

Feathers and Fae isn’t a bad book, just one that I found disappointing. It could be the first book in a series, but it could also be a stand-alone. If it is the first in a series, that would explain why the plot seems to revolve around building the world rather than the main conflict. I feel like the story is actually two stories that are weakly linked together. There’s the story of Emmett and Kami trying to get back to their own realm. And there’s the story of Kami, Emmett and their companions trying to defeat the Erlkrönig. If the author had chosen the first, it could’ve been good. If she’s chosen the second, it would’ve had potential. Instead, she chose both and I can’t say that I understand why. The story had potential, but that potential wasn't fully realized.

Rating: 2.1 stars

Monday, November 4, 2019

My English Teacher Made Me Read It!

Hello and happy Monday. This week, I decided not to post a review, because the book I’m currently reading in order to write a review is taking a little bit longer to finish than I planned. Instead, I’ve decided to do something new. I made a list of all of the books I was forced to read in middle/high school, and I’m going to quickly give just my general opinion of said books. I may do another version of this for college, but I haven’t decided yet.
  • The Outsiders- When I read it in 7th grade, I loved this book. I recently reread this one and I found it to be fairly average. It’s not bad, per se, but boring. There’s action, then a lot of nothing, then a little more action, and then the book ends.
  • To Kill A Mockingbird- A fantastic book that covers a difficult topic. Everyone should read it at one point in their lives. The attempts to ban this book are ridiculous.
  • Adventures of Huckleberry Finn- Like To Kill A Mockingbird, there have been attempts to ban this book for its use of the N-word, or to in the very least censor it to remove the word. Which is a big mistake. It’s a book that should be read, regardless of how uncomfortable the story may make some readers.  
  • The Catcher in the Rye- Over-hyped in my opinion. I don’t know anyone older than 17 that seriously connects with this book. It does a great job hitting the pressure points of teen angst, but that’s about it.
  • The Scarlet Letter- Hester Prynne deserves a Nobel Peace Prize for not snapping one day and killing everyone in that village for being an asshole.
  • King Lear- My favorite of Shakespeare’s tragedies, although that’s not saying much.
  • A Thousand Acres- A modernized retelling of King Lear where instead of being an actual king, the father is a farmer who owns a large tract of land. For the most part, it does a good job of translating the premise of King Lear but its even more boring than the play. There’s also an added plot element, to explain some of the rifts in the family, that isn’t handled very well and seems contrived.
  • The Great Gatsby- I hate this book so much. It’s boring, I don’t understand why it’s considered one of the “great American novels”, and all of the characters are terrible people. Also, anything you have to say about symbolism usually begins and ends with talking about the stupid billboard with the eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleberg.
  • The Odyssey- For a book of this length, and as old as the story is, it’s not half bad. It drags in places and gets formulaic, but it at least kept me mostly entertained.
  • Beowulf- I really don’t know how I feel about this one. The story itself is pretty simple, and who doesn’t enjoy a story about killing random monsters.
  • The Canterbury Tales- I only read parts of this book, but I’m including it. Shakespeare’s hard enough to understand as a high schooler. Chaucer is pretty much impossible. Also, most of the stories are pretty boring.
  • Oedipus Rex- Given how Oedipus in known today mostly because of Freud’s nonsense about the Oedipus complex (and I could write an entire novel explaining how screwed up his reasoning there is), I was surprised that I actually felt bad for Oedipus. His story is tragic and for once, the ending of a tragedy makes sense to me. Also, this just goes to show that no one should ever trust an oracle.
  • The Poisonwood Bible- This is the most boring book I’ve ever read. Every time I read it, I started to fall asleep. It takes forever for the story to get started, and once it does, I quickly became apathetic. I don’t care about missionaries being sad that they can’t convert people to their religion. Maybe showing up and telling people their belief system is wrong isn’t a smart move.
  • Romeo and Juliet- I feel like I don’t have anything to say here that hasn’t already been said. It’s a tragedy because they’re young and dumb and their families both suck. I wish people would stop seeing their relationship as romantic, because that’s just…yikes.

So, there you have it. All of the book I remember being forced to read in English class. I’m sure there are some I’ve just forgotten (or repressed). I can see why these books are required reading in some cases. They’re useful for teaching certain literary concepts and studying things such as themes and figurative language. Just because they’re easy to teach, that doesn’t mean they’re good books, or interesting. As you could plainly see, I thought most of them were boring. Of all of the books I’ve mentioned, I don’t think there are any I would’ve chosen to read on my own.

What were some books you were forced to read and hated? Do you have any opinions on the books mentioned above?