The words don’t get me started spring to mind. Narrowing this post down to just a few books was not easy, believe me. For this reason, I decided not to have another swing at 50 Shades of Grey when I have already blogged about it once. I don’t really feel that it is worthy of more of my blog space. So let’s just take it as a given that I think that 50 Shades, Twilight and their ilk are overrated and I’ll have a rant about some other books instead.
My first choice is One Day by David Nichols. This book went round my co-workers like a particularly virulent dose of the flu. Everybody loved it. Everybody thought it was tragic when… I was one of the last to succumb as I already knew it was probably not the sort of thing that I would like (due to my anti-romantic nature). Nevertheless, I gave in and bought a copy. Perhaps my expectations were too high.
It is quite a neat idea – the same day year after year but it quickly seemed that the days were not that different from each other, particularly at the beginning. Then there was the fact that both characters were unappealing but particularly Dexter. If the novel was building towards a romantic end
for these two, I felt that it seemed more than a little unfair on Emma, who although annoying was nowhere near as obnoxious as Dexter. So the romance was already alluding me.
Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t badly written and I have read another David Nicholls book which I did like better, I just thought it was a little forced and the characters seemed more like types than people. I wasn’t bothered really even though the events could be described as tragic. There was no emotional resonance. I felt like I should be saying please try harder.
My second choice is Solar by Ian McEwan but it could be any of his more recent novels. I used to quite like Ian McEwan and was happy studying him for my MPhil. I don’t know if my tastes have changed or if his writing
style has become more pretentious but I find it harder and harder to read his work. It seems, more and more, that he writes like a man in love with his own prose. The sentences scream off the page ‘look at me, look at how clever I am’. This is more than a little off putting.
His characters are also becoming more and more obnoxious. Michael Beard, the protagonist of Solar is a womaniser, he steals another’s ideas and claims an enormous amount of fame and money afterwards. I’m quite fond of unreliable narrators who are difficult to like but there was little that was appealing or even worthy of empathy. Again, I was left not caring about his inevitable downfall. It is disappointing that McEwan seems to have almost become a parody of himself.