Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Why you should never trust Oprah's booklist... and other holiday splendors.

Well, I would have to say that this Christmas was pretty much the best Christmas ever. Which isn't bad for our first Christmas as man and wife. (Or as anything for that matter, since our first date was on Dec.23, 2006.) So we were excited and definitely not disappointed. And it's fun to have three families during holiday time because you get to celebrate the gloriousness of Christ's birth, not one, but THREE times!!! And you get to open presents three times too. Which presents were all enjoyable, might I add. I mean we're talking great clothes...great shoes... great purses... a trip to New York... great stuff.

I only read one book over the break (because it was like 1000 pages... well 967) and I am sorry to report that it was less than desirable. Which brings me to the central issue of this entry: Oprah's book list SUCKS. I won't lie, I had high hopes for this novel-- it got some great reviews (all of which ended up inside the book... which I think is an attempt to over-compensate for a lack of good material), and Oprah gave a signed copy away to her audience on her "favorite things" episode. It's called The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett, and if you've read it and you liked it, then you have terrible taste in literature. Haha. Just kidding. I'm a firm believer that everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Except Oprah, because her opinion is just all around BAD. ;)

I've read books off her list before, and they're usually just WEIRD. If not weird, terribly depressing and/or sexually explicit and/or disturbingly violent. Granted, there are a few marked exceptions from this pattern, but we're talking single digits-type exceptions. I am by no means conservative when it comes to literature, but I would love to get through a book that is not heavy leaden with f words and c words (sorry, Toni Morrison) and detailed accounts of rapes and other violence. Sure, this novel is set in the 1100s... but I think that a lot of the disturbing content could have been done tactfully, if there is such a thing. Actually, I think those who are masters of their craft can and do achieve such a thing. (Read Native Son if you don't believe me.)

I am not opposed to visceral content in what I read; in fact, said content can in fact prove to be didactic. But I don't want to read something that is constantly bombarding me with this type of content in an effort to titillate me or in some misguided way enthrall me. I find that sort of novel an abhorrence to those who can actually write. I finished the dang book... but only because I was clinging to the hope that it would end somewhat happily so I could drown out all of the, as I like to call it, "TMI" of the novel. To Follet's credit, he was able to kind of tie the story up in a neat little bow, but I was still left dissatisfied.

Do not fear, dear readers, I am now embroiled in a quest to read some classics that I have not yet read in my life, and things are turning out quite well. And hopefully you all had a merry lil Christmas (or a happy holiday if you're agnostic) and a happy new year.


Erin & Mike Featherstone said...

Too funny! I totally agree with you. I tried reading "Pillars of the Earth" but it was such a terrible book right in the beginning that I put it down. I was just talking to Mike about that--Oprah's taste in books is seriously not my favorite. I've read a few others, and I have decided to just avoid her list altogether. By best friend Shannon just read Oprah's favorite "Love in the Time of Cholera" and she had to put it down. Anyway, my comment is that I agree with you! So funny that we both have the same opinion. I am now reading Persuasion. Who can go wrong with Jane Austen? Anyway, thanks for the post. :) Love, Erin

katie said...

LAUREN!! Hahah. I was told Pillars was the best book ever, etc., etc. I read it and the whole time I could not believe it was so bad. Talk about cyclical. I started to get dizzy. Have you heard that a sequel came out just barely? The news around it was huge and it just makes me laugh. I do have to say I really enjoyed "The Road" that Oprah suggested. Anyway, I like you.

The Cooks said...

Yay for newlyweds! Love your blog, you always did crack me up.