May 15: Top Ten Books I Disliked But Am Really Glad I Read
I don’t think that there’s a single book that I’ve not been glad to have read, or have got some positive reading experience out of. I genuinely believe that every book contains within its pages interesting or informative concepts, and as a result this list was surprisingly easy to compile. Every book listed on this week’s TTT only received two stars (out of five) on my Goodreads profile, but I certainly gleaned benefits from reading.
1. The Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope
Upon completion of my first year of university, I enrolled on an online summer course about modern fantasy fiction, and this was the first novel studied. As far as fantasy goes, it couldn’t be further removed from the genre; it read more like historical fiction, and as my least favourite genre I simply didn’t connect with the subject matter.
2. Don Juan by Lord Byron
This epic poem was heavy going. It was intense and required intense study, but as required reading for part of my English Masters I definitely gained a significant insight into the work.
3. Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
This novel is Jane Eyre accompanying novel: set a number of years before Charlotte Brontë’s masterpiece, it focuses on Mr Rochester’s first wife, Bertha, and their turbulent relationship upon a Caribbean island.
4. A Study In Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle
Before reading the first Sherlock Holmes novel, I was convinced that I would absolutely devour and love the stories, but in reality I found it hard going and strangely dull, given that it concerned a murder.
5. Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
Another novel that was required reading for my fantasy fiction course, it was certainly interesting to read the original work that inspired the Disney character, but it was actually much darker than I was anticipating.
6. Eragon by Christopher Paolini
I’ve read this particular novel twice; the first time I read it I was about twelve and I absolutely devoured it (this was during my most prominent fantasy-loving phase), but the second time I read it, only a few years ago, I found it incredibly slow and tedious.
7. Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding
Given that I absolutely adore the film series and the character portrayed by Renée Zellweger, I expected to love the novel that inspired the adaptation more. Sadly, I found it too trivial and colloquially written.
8. Antigone by Jean Anouilh
The very first text that I studied for my MA English was Antigone by Sophocles, which I genuinely loved, as it read very much like a modern day dystopian. However, this retelling set in fascist Germany felt dull in comparison, and it concerned a historical time period with which I am neither well versed, nor particularly interested in.
9. Paradise Lost by John Milton
The epic poem starring Satan that I read as part of my English MA was an incredibly detailed and heavy going read, and required intense concentration. Thankfully, listening to the audiobook whilst reading along provided a much more manageable reading experience.
10. A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin
Having read and loved the first novel in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, A Game of Thrones, I was fully expecting to also enjoy the second volume. However, this book suffered from second novel syndrome, and was unfortunately incredibly dull in comparison.
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