‘Controversial’ Book Opinions

I should begin by saying that this is just meant to be a bit of fun, and I’m not saying that you’re wrong and I’m right if we happen to differ in opinion. We’re all right! The great thing about reading books is that it’s such an individual experience, and each person will take something different away from the text and may be moved to different emotions. And I think that’s brilliant! And I think it’s even better if we can talk about our different bookish thoughts and opinions because the power of books to generate discussions is amazing, even when we’re completely disagreeing with each other. We don’t have to be saying the same things, but as long as we’re talking about books, I’m happy!

With that in mind, I thought I’d make this post for a bit of fun, as I said, and because I find these things interesting. I was inspired by a conversation I had recently where the other party was really surprised at one of these opinions. I’m playfully dubbing this ‘controversial’ because I know these opinions contradict more popularly held opinions, at least according to the people I’ve discussed them with, but that doesn’t really mean it is controversial. In a way, I don’t really think any book opinions can be controversial, and of course all are valid. I think it’s perfectly reasonable to dislike a book without having to explain what it is you dislike, and the same goes for the books you enjoy. I’m really interested to hear what your ‘controversial’ book opinions include though, so feel free to leave them in a comment and let’s continue the discussion.

  1. I hate Shakespeare.
  2. I loved Catch-22.
  3. I didn’t mind the epilogue at the end of Harry Potter.
  4. I think the films of The Lord of the Rings are better than the book.
  5. I don’t think there is anything romantic about Wuthering Heights in the slightest.

Do you agree? Do you disagree? Tell me your own controversial book opinions in the comments below.

Edit: Also I think it’s worth saying that just because I don’t like certain books/authors, it doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate their skill and recognise that it is a ‘good’ or ‘worthy’ piece of writing, it’s just not one that I personally enjoy reading.

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6 thoughts on “‘Controversial’ Book Opinions

  1. I love a bit of controversy! but I agree with almost all of these…

    1. Shakespeare was meant to be performed / watched… I think it’s fine to hate reading Shakespeare (sometimes I do!), but I have yet to watch a live performance of shakespeare and dis-like it… (but I have avoided some of his heavier / more boring work!)
    2. I’m ok with that!
    3. Still doing ok…
    4. I couldn’t agree more!
    5. ok…. I agree – but as it is one of my favourite stories / books of all time – I wonder if you were missing the point a little. It’s not supposed to be romantic – it’s supposed to be about passion, lust, desire, and all the other things that people confuse with love and romance. I love it for it’s horror, for the brutality of Heathcliff (both physically and mentally) – I love it for the uncontrollable feelings that Catherine deals with and the mistakes she makes, and the people she hurts. But I also love it for the way the characters are trapped in their situations and that any romance or love that could have been, is destroyed by those around them. But I do agree with you, so I don’t suppose it really matters! 🙂

    • 1) It’s the language barrier for me. I have seen performances, and I’ve still really struggled because I just can’t keep up with what’s being said!
      5) I may be missing the point, but I know some people who think it’s the greatest love story of all time, and as far as I’m concerned it’s a story of obsession rather than love. I do think it’s a brilliant story, I just don’t really understand the romance aspect that I know some people associate with it. I think you’ve probably articulated it far better than I can 🙂

  2. 1. I used to hate Shakespeare, but Macbeth was hammered into us at school and I ended up loving that particular play. For me, the tragedies are the only ones that feel worth the time… but no matter which one I watch, I always have to read the synopsis first. (They’re just melodramatic waffle unless I’ve clued myself in on the plot.)

    2. I read Catch-22 because I thought I should… so it wasn’t much fun. I love quirky stuff, so will probably try again sometime. I can remember there were a few bits of it that were laugh-out-loud funny, and I’m still kinda proud that I know what the ‘catch’ is.

    3. I think I remember you mentioning this the other day. Did people get grumpy about the Potter epilogue, then? It wrapped everything up really nicely, I thought. Maybe the people who complained were the same people who moaned about the ending of Lord of the Rings. (Silly people… just because the baddie dies doesn’t mean the story’s over. Well-written characters should return to their lives after a war. Let an author wrap everything up, will ya?!)

    4. A thousand times yes. No songs, no Tom Bombadil. Win. Much win.

    5. I’ve forgotten most of it, but can remember ‘Wuthering Heights’ was agony to read. (Miserable people being miserable to each other. Might as well watch Eastenders instead.) I don’t remember any romance, so maybe I’ve blocked it out! And who was that grumpy ex-servant guy by the fire who “talk’d l’ke th’s”? Accents in dialogue… ugh.

    • 1. I don’t think I’ve tried a tragedy, so maybe I should look into that. I’ve been very put off by what I’ve read so far though (Twelfth Night, Romeo & Juliet, Measure for Measure). The best adaptation I saw was A Midsummer Night’s Dream at uni which resulted in Puck jumping in the lake (still not sure if it was meant to happen!), but I’ve struggled with adaptations too because of the language barrier.
      2. Catch-22 is very much a Marmite book, and people either love it or absolutely hate it. It is really funny, but also really (surprisingly) sad. I’d definitely recommend giving it another go.
      3. A lot of people seem to get really angry about the epilogue. I like seeing another generation of characters, but I know a lot of people who stop reading before the epilogue because they think it’s kind of cheesy. It was one of the first parts of the series that J.K. Rowling wrote and I think it does show that her writing has developed since and the epilogue hasn’t quite caught up, but I liked seeing what happened to everyone after.
      4. Also hellooooo Viggo Mortensen.
      5. Accents in dialogue is something I really, really don’t like. If I’m on board with the story I can generally overlook it, but I do find it really difficult to read usually and it tends to put me off further if I’m already struggling with the plot itself. Just watch the Kate Bush video, you’ll get all you need to know 😉

      • Completely agree with Stephen that the plays are much better watched than read. “Globe on screen” productions are brilliant, plus you get to sit on comfy cinema seats while watching theatre, so lots of winwinwin there.

        Have you seen Othello? I saw it at the RSC and it knocked my socks off with such violence that my shoes went too. I’m also a big fan of the Baz Luhrmann version of R+J, but that might be more because of Luhrmann rather than Shakey.

        Ooh, ooh, another thought: AwesomeHildaLady did a great class where she got all 8 of us to read one of the sonnets aloud. The first few readings were just gibberish to my ears but, by the time it got to the 6th and 7th reading, I understood every word and really started to appreciate the piece. Was kind of amazed… sonnets *are* understandable after all! I guess Shakespeare is just one of those things that’s an acquired taste, i.e. the more you’re exposed to something, the more you like it. (This is also one of the definitions of Stockholm Syndrome!)

        Right, am off to watch the Kate Bush vid (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BW3gKKiTvjs) … it’s like a revision guide told in interpretative dance!

      • This all makes sense, but the problem I have is that if I’m not enjoying it I don’t really want to read/watch it again and again or keep trying new ones. I don’t know, I might give it another go but I think this could be Shakespeare’s last chance with me!

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