I keep an ongoing list of books that I’ve heard are good, though I don’t keep track of who made the recommendation. A few weeks ago, I started reading “On Earth We‘re Briefly Gorgeous“ by Ocean Vuong, one of the books on the list. It started fine, though somewhat sad, about the relationships between the protagonist and his mom and his grandmother, with some hitting and some bullying at school. It was very sensitively written and I was enjoying it, but then it ventured into a chapter with horrific animal abuse. Well, once I saw what was happening, I closed the book, and said, “done”. My life is too short to read stories about that - I do not need to add more things to my life that upset me. Anyone else?
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As if to prove my point, Shuggie Bain wins the Booker! A more depressing book I am not sure I have ever read! It wasn't poorly written, but absolutely no glimmer of hope or resolution to the dreadful situation Shuggie was in. I am sure some peoples lives are lived in that way, but I do need a bit of redemption.
"The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick" by Peter Handke is a book I do not recommend. Not beacause any offensive or disturbing content, but because I found it a hard read. I guess this on topic with the headline to the thread. Not so much with your post. 😉
Ha! After I stopped reading my book, I looked for online reviews. They varied from “absolutely stunning and gripping” to “complete and utter pretentious garbage“ (paraphrasing here) 😄
A couple of years ago I decided I really didn't want to read any more books about slavery or the holocaust. Having said that, I read a book called Blood & Sugar earlier this year, which was about the slave trade in London, and I did learn something from that.
In my book group, we generally say that anything which won a literary prize is probably over rated and not worth reading!
Another in that category: Mr. Pip. I was reading happily along, then out of friggin‘ nowhere, atrocities of war. It was too late - I’d already read too much, and it still bothers me years later.