Friday, April 16, 2010

The Book List Meme: Three Books I Should Love But Actually Hate

Rebecca has chosen a really interesting Book List topic this week -- Three Books That I Should Love But That I Actually Hate ...

I can't help but start with Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote.  I had watched the film a bunch of times before I read the book.  The book turned out to be much darker, Holly was shown to be more self-absorbed and damaged and the entire thing depressed me to no end.  I honestly wish I had never read the book.

Next I'll go with Walden by Henry David Thoreau.  This is really one that I "should love" with its focus on nature and solitude and communion.  But actually reading it was so incredibly painful for me.  Honestly, I will probably try and read it again one more time in my life just because I want to like it even though I really don't.

Finally, I'm going to sadly say Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.  If you had asked me twenty years ago, I would have said I loved this book.  But each subsequent read has made me like this book less and less and there were definitely parts when I read it last year that I hated.  It's depressing to have lost this as a favorite classic but I think I am done with it -- at least until I am old and need to say goodbye to Catherine and Heathcliff.

This was a tough list to make this week!

Moving on to something happier,


  1. You know, I thought I was the only bookworm willing to stand up and say "I hate 'Wuthering Heights'?" Actually, I never even finished it--when I got to the scene of the kid hanging a litter of puppies, I said, "I'm outta here."

    I don't care for any of the Bronte sisters, but that book was one of the worst things I've ever read. Badly written, too, IMO.

  2. Interesting post. I love Wuthering Heights, but if I read it now again, I may not love it so much. Thus, I don't:) Because I want it to remain one of my favorites:)I never read 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' but I love the movie. Thanks for the warning. Now I will not read the book as I don't want the story spoiled:)

  3. Yes to all three of these. I had to read Walden for a class in England called "American Literature for 1850" - then when I got back to the States I had to do an early American lit class where, guess what, we read Walden AGAIN. I really want to love it, and it's not that I don't like the writing. I am just not the hugest nature person and I got so so bored.

  4. Ha! We'be had the opposite experience of Wuthering Heights. I hated it on first read and liked it more on subsequent reads.

    I'd put Mrs Dalloway on my own list, but then I wonder if I would like it more on rereading. And then there's Tale of Two Cities, which I suppose I can't actually say that I hate as I've never finished it, but every time I try to read it (many times of the years), it puts me to sleep. Repeatedly.

  5. I never read breakfast at Tiffany's so I can't really say anything about it, I remember having to read Walden but I wasn't all that impressed with it. It is sad though to hear you no longer like Wuthering Heights. I have to re-read it again to see if my opinion changed as well but last time I read it I still loved it.

  6. It's the same for me for Wuthering Heights. I loved it when I was younger before I realized that Heathcliff was not romantic at all--he's creepy.

  7. Our lists are very similar! I loathed Walden, and I think Thoreau was a poser. heehee And I've managed to block the book version of Breakfast at Tiffany's completely out of my mind, so as to keep the movie version steady. And I've never loved Wuthering Heights, but each time I reread it, I liked it less and less. So I'm leaving it alone.

  8. Me and my mum watched the film Wuthering heights a few years ao and both of us were thinking the whole time 'what horrible people'

    I know the book I'm sure is very different but I was so horrified by the film its really put me off.

  9. Another Wuthering Height hater here. :)I've tried to read it a few times, but could not go through with it.


  10. I've read NONE of these ... and I suspect I shall not eiher.

  11. Undine - I think that the haters have been slowly showing themselves lately. :) I do like Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre and Villette.

    Passionate - I sort of regret reading it again and losing my young impressions of it. And yes, Eva agrees that the movie is better than the book (minus the racism, of course!).

    Jenny - Walden is INCREDIBLY boring!

    Teresa - Interesting! I'm going to re-read ToTC this year. I have feelings of dislike about it from high school but I really think it was the massive project we had to do and not the book itself. Except the knitting ...

    Lilly - I think a lot of the difference was really just growing up and becoming less tolerant of bad behavior. Those Wuthering Heights kids are so bratty!

    Shelley - Totally ... and disobedience is much more annoying to me now.

    Eva - Funny that we agree on all three. :) Or not!

    Jessica - If you didn't like the film version, you won't like the book.

    Tiina - I've read it through at least three times ... just don't like it anymore.

    Jenners - Yeah, I wouldn't put them at the top of your TBR list. ;) Although I would love to see one of your creative reviews about any of these!

  12. Walden is SOOOO boring. I think Thoreau was a poser too. I think I finally gave up when I had about 30 pages left. I still like WH, but I haven't read it in a while. I might be less tolerant now. I've never read Breakfast at Tiffany's, but based on your (non)recommendation, don't think I ever will. :)

  13. I'm the opposite about Wuthering Heights - when I first read it twenty years ago, I hated it! I re-read it for my bookclub last year, and appreciated it so much more. Whilst it's a long way from being a favourite novel of mine, I don't think it deserves to be hated, though I can understand why people do - the two 'main' characters, Heathcliff and Cathy, are just so unlikeable - but it's a very atmospheric, gripping story, incredibly claustrophobic considering it's set in the wide open Yorkshire moorland.

  14. Corbetts - I think Walden was made worse for me by having to read it in high school. I didn't exactly have a strong desire to meditate on nature then!

    Tracy - Interesting! I don't hate everything about it -- the setting is awesome and I like the narrator and the nanny/housekeeper. ;)

  15. I like Nelly Dean too, and Hareton Earnshaw, but I thought the narrator was vain and patronising - you've just inspired me to post my original bookclub summary of it :)

  16. I didn't care for Wuthering Heights, but my all time least-favorite book that I thought I'd love was One Hundred Years of Solitude. One Hundred Years of Boredom was more like it.

  17. Tracy - I'm torn on Hareton.

    Jenn - I read a couple of Gabriel Garcia Marquez books probably about 10 or 15 years ago and don't remember having a problem with them. But then again, I don't really remember ANYTHING about them so that can't be good. ;)