11 August 2012

2. least favorite book

This is a hard one. I’ve started a lot of dumb/boring/time-wasting books, but two in particular come immediately to mind, and I can’t decide which one I detested more. Both of them were things I had to read for school. Both have clueless, indecisive protagonists with bad attitudes. And they were both – to use my best, most thought-out literary academic language – incredibly lame.

Catcher in the Rye…do I even have to explain this? Cool cover art aside, Holden Caulfield is the proto-hipster (no offense to any hipsters in my audience, but seriously, this guy makes y'all look pretty bad). He doesn’t stand for anything. He doesn’t care about anything. He knows nothing about the world he lives in, and he drifts through it with a complete lack of motivation to do anything but take up space and smoke cigarettes. Just having to spend an entire book (albeit a fairly slim book) riding around in his head pissed me off so much, I had to go have a lie-down. I have a hard time putting up with useless, apathetic people. Especially when I have to write papers about them. 

The Red Badge of Courage…funnily enough, for all this story was about a Civil War soldier (Confederate side, I think?), it had basically the same problem! The whole time, our protagonist is all “Do I desert? Do I stay? I hate everything. Let me ponder my place in the universe. Should I desert?” Good God. He’s as bad as Hamlet, but whinier and not nearly as well-spoken. The only reason I even remember anything about this story (despite the stupid reflection paper I had to write about it – sorry Mom, but it was super-lame) is because they did an episode of Wishbone on it, and even an adorable talking Jack Russel terrier couldn't make it a good story. 

Please, somebody tell me – does anyone actually like these books? And if so, WHY?


  1. It was the Union side. Shows how much YOU paid attention. :P

    And I did enjoy the Red Badge, but only 'coz I'm a junky for all things Civil War.

  2. Red Badge of Courage was okay. I read it ages ago so I found it boring. I wanted to hear about battles and cool stuff like that, but it's mostly psychological which, I think, is why it's so famous. Nobody had really tried to get into a soldier's head before that. Well, I'm sure somebody had but The Red Badge of Courage was the first psychological (and mostly apolitical) book about the Civil War to catch on. I'm not defending it as a great work, but I do think it has merit. No idea about Catcher in the Rye.

    Also, I liked the Wishbone episode.


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