Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Not-Recommended Reading List

Since I am such a book-nerd, I have come across some books that I would not recommend. There are not that many books, though, on this list. I like to read books that enlighten me as to a time period or culture or that are purely entertaining. I do stick to fiction, although in recent years I have been adding in the non-fiction selections to help further me as a Christian and a mom.

With that in mind, I would like to post a few books that I recommend readers skip.

First, Wicked by Gregory Maguire. I made it through half the book by the time I realized that I was not being edified by this story. The beginning was interesting, but then the heroine starts sleeping with a married man (not sure if he was a human since the book takes place in another world) and I got disgusted. I wanted this girl to have a happy ending, but I didn't like it happening at the expense of a family. I started reading this book after all the hype about the Broadway Show, which is currently running. I tend to think that the show is more enjoyable, since they sing and dance. I have not seen the show or read about it so I don't know if the story ventured away from the original novel.

Secondly, The Source by James Michener. I read this as my first Michener (and only to date) book. I have heard that Hawaii is better. The Source is a little boring and I didn't get all the way through it. Also, since the book was written in the 60's it has some outdated information. I read it hoping to get an idea of the development of the region of Israel, but instead I got a secular and worldly account of how the monotheistic religion of Judaism came about. So, I was disaffected and stopped reading it. I would recommend skipping it as well.

Thirdly, The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman. This has gotten a lot of flak recently from the Christian community because Hollywood has made and is about to release a movie with the same title. I found the book extremely disturbing as it is written with a teenager audience in mind. The themes of religion, science and the quest to be rid of religion were disturbing for me, and I've read a lot of books. I would be cautious to recommend this to anyone.

I don't mind reading things that challenge me and in fact encourage me to think about things and defend my faith against it. I found that The Golden Compass was a good exercise in thinking through why I disagree with the themes of this book. And especially since my non-believer neighbor recommended the book, this book allowed me and her to discuss Christianity in a non-threatening way. (She liked the book, and read all three.)


chandy said...

I so totally agree about Wicked. I forced myself to plod though that one and I just didn't get it.

I'll try to think of a few to add:
Cormac McCarthy's The Road was so, so boring. People just raved about this book, and I think it won awards, but I didn't get the appeal.

Pretty much all of the later books of the Left Behind series. This started out as a moderately entertaining Christian fiction series, but toward the end they were just rehashing the same tired characters and shaky story lines, just to make more money. And what kind of impression does that make, you know?

And I can't necessarily relegate One Hundred Years of Solitude to the not-recommended list just yet, but I have tried to start it three times now and can't get past the second chapter. Maybe someday!

Jessie said...

Chandy, I heard (from the same neighbor who recommended The Golden Compass) that the Road was okay. But she had a very similar reaction to yours. She said that for all the hype it really disappointed. My suggestion was that maybe the pace was similar to what it would feel like to actually run across the country. Kind of like a poem would do.

I am so glad you said One Hundred Years of Solitude. It's written by the same author of Love in the Time of Cholera. I can imagine that would be a disappointing book. And yet, it's an Oprah book and now a movie. From what I can tell, I would probably dislike that book as well. (Stories about adultery are tasteless to me.)

Interesting thought about The Left Behind Series. I wasn't concerned about the making money thing, until the very last book. I thought at that point they threw that one in just to see if they could make a few more dollars. But, hey, the beauty of capitalism is that people who provide something that nobody wants is not going to make that person any money. But I liked the rest of the books. They were entertaining and I loved having an end-times story that relies on Scripture. It was easy reading, but still entertaining.

Heather said...

So interesting. I was just talking to my mom about Maguire's book as I tried his book, Mirror, Mirror and stopped it due to the crass nature and obsene amount of sexual inuendo. I called my mom and chastised her for keeping it on her book shelf... ;) She mentioned the same thing about the differences between the book, Wicked and the musical. (I just wish you had posted this last week and saved me the misery of starting his other book...)

I also read the Golden Compass this summer. If you thought book 1 was bad, it's a good thing you quit when you did. Book 3 was so awful that I just couldn't stomach reading past the first couple of chapters.