Book Meme: Mel’s Day Eight Insanity

Book Meme Challenge:

Most Overrated Book

Hello! Melpomene here. I want to give a disclaimer: I am in the middle of finals week, and my brain is tied up trying to cram for the exams – which are all on the very first and second days of the week  – and might be lacking the ability to use words to make sense of anything other than my class work. So if I go overboard on absolutist statements, chalk it up to the late hours, the coalition of school and work life, and the fact that I do actually try to have a social life.

Silly Muse of Tragedy. It will all be better on Tuesday.

With all that said, I prepare to duck behind my computer  as projectiles hurtle towards me after my answer to this challenge. As I mentioned before, I am normally out of the loop when it comes to popular literary hype. but there are several books that have managed to force their way through my protectively phlegmatic approach to  culture. And yet when I tried to engage these books, they rebuffed my friendly advances and left me rather befuddled in the Streets of Mediocrity.

And because my decision-making skills left me at about 3am yesterday morning, I will only honor you with the top three. In brief.

Twilight

By Stephanie Meyers

This is just a duh. Style, scope, creativity, purpose, etc., are all so juvenile that several shots of whiskey could not even make it funny. I kept reading, out sheer perversity and the belief that it could not possibly get worse, pointless-teenage-angsty, or self-destructive. Ooh, was I wrong. Also, it show-cases an incredibly blase heroine. Why do all the guys love her? I don’t know. And while I understand that teenage girls identify with the “normal girl who gets the hot guy without needing to grow or change or be awesome,” most people do have to go through painful experiences that make them mature. Not moon about like sheep. This is not a real fairy tale.

But just in case there are any sparkly vampires hanging about, I now refuse to use strawberry-scented shampoo.

And if you have any doubt about the literary quality of the book, just go check out Reasoning with Vampires.

Harry Potter

By J.K. Rowling

I know there are many Potter fans – including Terpsichore – but  while I respect these people, I was never able to muster an appreciation for Rowling’s books. The writing was only okay, and the plots were predictable and annoying. Which is sad, but there is so much that can be done with the premise! The main characters were blandly rebellious and clichéd, a combination I hadn’t really thought possible. It is was only the side details of the magical world that I found attractive: the way the wizarding world lives, and the kooky peripheral characters. But compared to Jane Yolen’s book “Wizard’s Hall,” (and it really seems like Rowlings stole Yolen’s idea,)  or Dianne Wynne Jones’ wizard books, (which are adorably fun and awesome and magical and creative,) Rowling’s overarching tale feels overblown and at the same time rather silly. Like a bull-dog in a dress.

All that being said I did only read until the third book, when I got bored and gave up. They might get better after that. Also, I do enjoy the movies. Although I think that is mainly because of the beautiful scenery and the cute guys accents.

Catcher in the Rye

                                                              By J. D. Salinger

This was recommended to me by someone whose opinion normally I trust, but I could not, not, not like, admire, or acknowledge any greatness about this book. It was depressing and almost evil in its wallowing in the mediocre life. I could not even notice the style because the story made me nauseated. Maybe I need to go back as a more mature reader, but I really do not want to. Anyway, this book should not be on most high school reading lists. It is not good for the teenage – or any age – soul.

In my ever so humble opinion. What do you think?

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8 thoughts on “Book Meme: Mel’s Day Eight Insanity

  1. HA! I’m so pleased we agree on Stephanie and Salinger, anyway. Although I humbly submit that mocking Twilight with the friends who made me read it was funny, and several shots of whiskey wouldn’t have hurt. Maybe I’m easily amused.

    As for Catcher in the Rye, I feel like it is beloved of the same people who listen to indie music and dislike popular things on account of their popularity (which is as silly a reason to dislike something as it is for liking it).

    • Well, there might be difference between mocking Twilght *after* reading, and ploughing through it. Becuase mocking it is always funny. In fact, I think we three should all write parodies of it. And much whiskey should be involved.

      As for Salinger . . . I honestly remember nothing of the plot or characters or style. But I do remember the feeling of sickening disgust at the sheer banality. Who would live that way? Why does anyone want to immerse themselves in that?

      • Hmm. Well, I mocked while ploughing. Also, I have the suspicion that we’d have difficulty writing a parody on the same level…

        I think some want to immerse themselves in banality so they don’t feel alone in their own loserdom. This might be uncharitable, but sadly it might also be true. While rereading it, I thought “Hmm…I bet a few people have gone ‘I’ve felt just like this’. How sad for them.”

  2. Ah . . . maybe a groups reading then? Drama-style? And as one of the purposes of this blog is to practice and discipline our writing, I think difficult parodies might be just the right challenge for us. . . . . *evil* snigger.

    As much as I sympathize with recognizing one’s epic angst in literary form, Salinger’s works almost revels in the mediocrity – interspaced with attempts to dip into sin – this book just made want to scream a paraphrased Luther quote at it; “Damn it, just SIN BOLDLY!”

  3. Interesting choice of Harry Potter. Like you, I only read up to book three, and that was before they had really gotten popular. I initially stopped reading as a reaction against the obsessive fandom, but I was also frustrated with Harry’s blandness, the way plots were always so contrived so that he would win, the relentless singing of his (unearned) praises, and the way the heroes always had to save the day by disobeying the adults and putting themselves in unnecessary danger, and then getting lauded for it. As adventure I had enjoyed them, and the worldbuilding was really fun and fascinating, but the above elements bugged me.

    Strangely, though, the movies have given me a stronger appreciation of Rowling’s accomplishment. She may not be the genius she’s heralded as, but she seems to have found an excellent blend of high school drama and fantasy, done much with infinitely more skill and creativity than Twilight. I enjoy all the movies greatly except for Goblet of Fire (which I think is the most insultingly nonsensical). I do, however, try to stay far away from Potter fans. Dangerous sort, they are.

  4. I’m glad to finally find something in this blog that I do not share a 100%.
    Potter, yes definitely overrated. I’ve read them all but the first one: they are amusing stories but she could have done much more with them.
    I’ve not read Twilight and I won’t. No time for it.
    Regarding Salinger’s… Well, I think it is true the story does not lead anywhere and keeps going over and over the same idea… But it is well written. He should have written a short story with that material.
    Finally regarding Catholics trying to find out if others are Catholics too: I think he’s 100% right, at least in my case. Is it really annoying?

    • I don’t find it annoying. I just think its funny and kinda cute. Perhaps you guys should adopt some kind of symbol to draw in the sand with your foot…hehe.

      • Well, in person we do have things like medals and scapulars that are of great help in assuaging our curiosity . . . but would the internet/blog-world equivalent be?

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