Monday, September 19, 2016

Unpopular Opinions Book Tag!

This is another tag that went around BookTube a while back, and I thoroughly enjoyed the snark of it all.

Sharon, I would love to read your answers to these!

1) A popular book or series you didn't like: Outlander. I tried really hard with that thing. And I didn't think it was bad; I just couldn't see what about it makes people so obsessed with it that they're willing to read so very, very much of it.

2) A book or series everyone seems to hate, but you love: Kushiel's Legacy series. Obviously this one has plenty of fans, but I've also read some scathing reader reviews of it-- many of them deserved! This series definitely has its flaws, but whatever reason, I eat it up with a spoon.

Interestingly, some of what infuriates people about these books are the very things I enjoy. For example, I've read several reviews by people who couldn't get past the first few pages of book 1, in which the main character describes in loving detail how beautiful she is for, like, paragraphs. What a conceited bitch! the reviewers cried. And yet, I kind of loved that, because I am SO TIRED of female main characters bemoaning how unattractive they are when from their own descriptions of themselves, you can tell they look like contemporary models. "Ugh, I'm so slender, with such long legs, and I can never tame my curls, and my eyes are freakishly large! I'm hideous!" Bitch, please.

But young girls really do have insecurities! But being thin really was considered unattractive during many periods of history! But-- ! Don't care. I'm done with that shit. It's disingenuous, it's a raging cliché, and it sends the horrible message to young female readers that being aware of your own physical attractiveness is an unforgivable character flaw. DONE WITH IT.

Sorry, went on a rant there. But I loved it that Phedre was like, "I'm a courtesan from a nation of people famed for their beauty because they mated with angels. Yeah, I'm gorgeous. Deal with it."

3) A love triangle or romantic pairing you're not a fan of: Harry and Ginny from Harry Potter. Don't get me wrong: Ginny's great. It's just that the romance always felt forced to me. I never bought it. I thought Harry had more chemistry with Luna.

4) A popular genre you hardly ever reach for: Historical or Fantasy Romance. I rarely read romance, but when I do it's always contemporary. I love Historical and Fantasy books to have romance subplots, but when it's an actual Romance novel that is also an Historical or Fantasy, then I can't get into it. I realize that's weird of me.

5) A beloved book character who gets on your nerves in a major way: I don't know how beloved she is, but I'm pretty sure I was supposed to like her: Gwen from the Ruby Red series. OMG. You know how some protagonists are all-around smart, and some are book smart but have no common sense, and some are uneducated but street-smart, and maybe some are even ignorant and naïve but have great emotional intelligence? Well, Gwen is perhaps the only protagonist I've ever read who has no type of intelligence whatsoever. She was stupid in literally every sense: low intellectual capacity, willfully ignorant, no common sense, and no understanding of how human emotions function in a normal person.

It was both hilarious and infuriating. Hilarious, because time-traveling Gwen keeps meeting men in the past who are like, Women can't do things because they're not intelligent and are ruled by their emotions. And she's like, That's sexist crap! Which it is. BUT, Gwen is dumb as hell and is constantly making nonsensical, impulsive decisions based completely on how she feels. The hell? If this book was written by a man, I'd be calling out an anti-woman agenda. But really, I think the author probably isn't even aware of how totally freaking moronic her character is.

And it was infuriating because even when she starts time-traveling, she resists learning anything about history that might help her, and is always rolling her eyes that all these nerds think that learning stuff is important. And then she's right! A few things she's been taught turn out to be incorrect, so that means all of it is useless crap, and since all her idiotic blundering turns out mostly okay, that means she was right. The ultimate message of this book seems to be: Learning stuff is super lame, and won't help you in the real world! And a boy will probably wind up rescuing you anyway!

6) A popular author you can't seem to get into: Catherynne M. Valente. I know she's the darling of literary quirkiness, and she has indisputable skillz, but I just can't connect with her writing. It's too... overly fond of itself, or something. I read Palimpsest and only finished it because I had been so sure I was going to love it. And then I gave The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland etc. a try, just to be fair, and... it's just not for me.

7) A trope you're tired of seeing: Aside from the "I'm so unattractively caucasian and coltish!" beef mentioned above, I'm pretty over Chosen Ones. I'm more interested in reading about heroes who choose themselves.

8) A popular book or series you have no interest in reading: Twilight. I am convinced I would hate it, and I am willing to live with the incredibly slight possibility that I'm wrong.

9) The saying goes: the book is always better than the movie. But what movie or TV adaption did you like better than the original book?  I liked Dune, but I liked the 90's mini-series even better. (NOT the movie starring Kyle MacLachlan and Sting; that thing is a hot mess.)


  1. I think the chief problem with my doing this after you is that all my answers will look EXACTLY the same as yours!