Books that were meh

I haven’t been doing well in terms of books this year. The first two I’ve read were Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt and Cannery Row by John Steinbeck.
I was really excited to read Angela’s Ashes, since I had heard so many wonderful things about it and it has gotten rave reviews everywhere. I don’t know if my expectations were too high, but in all honesty I found the book really boring and repetitive and the language was difficult to read. I was often so annoyed by the characters that I couldn’t identify with them at any level. I tried to remind myself that this was a true story, so maybe I would have more sympathy, but it didn’t work. Maybe I’m heartless, but I just didn’t care. I gave this book a 2.5/5.
Cannery Row wasn’t any better – though at least I could read it without feeling like I wanted to punch someone in the face. Again, I didn’t feel anything for the characters and couldn’t identify with them. For such a character-driven story, they were not developed really well, and so the story just fell flat for me. Or maybe I just didn’t get it? I’ve been told John Steinbeck is a must-read author, but judging from this book I won’t be going back to him for a while (if ever). I’m giving this book a 2.5/5 as well.
To cleanse my pallet, I’m starting Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin – hopefully she can renew my love of reading!
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Comments on: "Books that were meh" (6)

  1. Ohhhhh, you didn't like Cannery Row? That makes me sad because it's my all-time favourite book. I've read all of Steinbeck's novels, one of his travelogues, plus a collection of his letters, and they all share some just beautiful little observations of the minutiae of human nature – the short, humorous novels much more so than the longer, more serious ones – but I've always found that Cannery Row is the one where it all comes together best. I love how Mack uses malapropisms and other tactics to manipulate the people around him – an incredibly smart guy who nonetheless is happy to just sit in the sun and enjoy life – and I especially love Doc. I was sooo happy when I learned that he was a real person, Steinbeck's best friend, and that some of the stories about his parties were true and observed first-hand!

    I read it for the first time when I was 15 or so, and that copy is the only book that's come with me on every move since then. I used to read it when I was feeling a bit down / emo, and it always cheered me right back up. I sometimes think that the age when you first read a book has a massive impact on your response to it, which may well be the case here?

    Agree with you 100% on Angela's Ashes though – I wanted to smack at least half of the characters!

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  2. I totally agree with you about Cannery Row. I will forever love Angela's Ashes, though.

    The book I'm listening to right now is very good and if you liked Three Cups of Tea, I'd highly recommend it. It's called Little Princes by Conor Grennan. Better than Three Cups of Tea in many ways and Conor is great. I've started following his page on Facebook. It'll get reviewed on the blog next week.

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  3. Cath – I'm sure you're right that how we like a book totally depends on when in life we read them. I just could NOT get into this book though. I know there were parts that were supposed to be meaningful, but I missed it. I might look up the Cole's notes 😉

    spacepotatoes – funny that you felt the opposite as Cath. I'll have to look into Little Princes, thanks!

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  4. Have you read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Schaffer? Loved that book!

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  5. It is very generous of you for taking the time to discuss this, the article is very nicely written and I am happy to find so many useful information here in the post.

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  6. I hope this article will help many people knowing about Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt and Cannery Row by John Steinbeck.

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