Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sunday Salon: Meh


I finally finished Netherland by Joseph O'Neill this week.

I say finally because reading this book was agony for me. Really. I had to force myself to keep reading. Every page. All the way to the end.

I was told it got better.

It didn't get better.

Meh.

I've tried and tried to figure it out. I know I have read fifty reviews of this book and every one was a rave.

What am I missing?

Have you ever felt like that? Have you ever read a book you felt indifferent about, a book everyone else was raving about?

Photo Credit: Яick Harris

20 comments:

  1. I returned this one twice to the library unread; it's just not calling me, so maybe it is not just you.

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  2. The Pillars of the Earth. So many people love this book, and I had to force myself through it. Bored senseless. Oh well. On to the next book. Happy reading!

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  3. That happens to me all the time. I've never been able to get into Jane Austen, for example, and I thought Kite Runner was the worst book EVER. However, I loved Netherland. Oh well. :-)

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  4. I've had that problem before and just had to stop trying to read even after skimming forward some in hopes. I think books call to us and for some they're not so great. That's why I don't think you can judge a book completely by what others say. The Memory Keeper's Daughter was a book I remember trying to read multiple times but I did end up forcing myself to read it all.

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  5. How sad is it that I can't think of a particular title off of the top of my head, but I know that I have had this happen.... Ok, I finally thought of one - A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.

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  6. I haven't read Netherland, but I hate when this happen! It's not often, but it's always disappointing.

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  7. I just finished a book like that. I tried so hard to love it, since everyone I know thinks it's fantastic, but it just didn't happen. Sigh.

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  8. It makes me feel a little better to know that this happens to other readers. Still longing to know the appeal of Netherland....

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  9. Certainly this happens to me all the time, though I was one who loved Netherland. But I also feel like enjoying Netherland in particular is a matter of personal aesthetics. A lot of it for me was based on really enjoying the narrator's voice. I also felt like it was one of the best contemporary novels I've read for the flavor of its descriptions of New York City, especially the outer boroughs, and the cricketing really fascinated me too as I grew up in a New York suburb where there was a surprising amount of cricketing among West Indians.

    I guess I would say that this isn't a book so much about a particular message, more about a time and a place and a culture and an aesthetic, so it makes sense to me that loving it or not would be a bit idiosyncratic.

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  10. I appreciate your thoughts, nicolebythelake. Perhaps my disinterest can be partially explained by my total lack of familiarity with cricket and NYC.

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  11. I read a lot of books that have gotten glowing reviews and I either feel "meh" about them or actually go beyond that to actively not liking them. I won't name names since someone inevitably wants to explain why I should have liked it and it's completely unproductive for me to tell them, "Yep. I know I should have loved it. I just didn't." But I've gotten used to be a bit of a curmudgeon about my reading and am okay with it.

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  12. Oh, Deb, please give yourself permission to abandon books like this in the future. Why suffer through it when there is so much else to be read?

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  13. I don't have any interest in Netherland. Not even sure what it's about!

    The last book I was disappointed in that everyone seemed to adore was The Thirteenth Tale. Meh! I enjoyed parts of it, but overall, I was terribly disappointed.

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  14. I'm a pretty easy to please when it comes to books. I like most things I read. However, when I read Catch-22, I just didn't really get it. Sure, it had it's moments, but I just didn't really like reading the book. It wasn't easy for me to relate to any of the characters and half the time I felt like I wasn't getting something. So yes, I know exactly what you mean. I pushed through but it didn't get better. I'm still glad I read it, but it's something I never plan to read again.

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  15. yeah I felt like that before. Ever read The Canticle of Leibowitz? I tried. Really hard. My eyes had tears over attempting to read a page or two. It was agony. At least you finished yours. I didn't finish my book. It hurt too much. A great applause for you for finishing a book you weren't interested in. It's painful, I think.

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  16. That picture of the fortune cookie makes me hungry!

    I had to put down Shadow of the Wind and The Thirteenth Tale. So many people have loved them! I do want to try them again, but when I first picked them up I did not connect with them.

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  17. Wuthering Heights. I feel like I should like but . . . meh.

    Twilight was bordered on unreadable.

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  18. It took me years to give myself permission to quit reading a book. Now, in the case of me owning such a book, I have not yet learned to pass it on or get it off my shelf. I keep it wondering, maybe now I'm ready? Nah.
    I recommend "setting yourself free!"

    BTW, the photo you used with this entry is perfect, and hilarious!

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  19. That happened to me with The Memory Keepers Daughter. I finally put it down halfway through.

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  20. For me, it was Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Wanted badly to like it, especially as I'd read and loved his wife's (Nicole Kraus) The History of Love, and I'd heard their writing styles were similar.

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