November 30, 2010

thanksgiving book report

  • About the author EB

As you may recall if you’re a regular reader of this blog, before Thanksgiving I asked for suggestions on what book to read over the holiday. The clear winner was Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, with nearly double the votes of its nearest competitors, Flannery O’Connor’s A Good Man Is Hard to Find, Lauren Oliver’s Before I Fall, and Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad (which our marketing director, Amy, took home over Thanksgiving instead.)

The praise for Never Let Me Go poured out of people, and so I eagerly opened it on the bus to Rhode Island. And it was good . . . and that’s it. I enjoyed reading it, it held my attention on the bus ride (always a feat for any book), I was inspired to go back to it the next day, and I added the movie to my netflix queue, but if I saw it on someone’s TBR shelf, it’s not the book I would insist he or she read.

In a way, it reminded me of my reaction to Donna Tartt’s The Secret History: a book that I enjoyed reading, but not nearly as much as everyone else did (particularly Carrie Kania, our publisher, who may fire me now that I’ve basically said that one of her favorite books is “good.”) It’s possible that my reactions to both these books were affected by reading them years after they were first published; maybe if I had felt that sense of discovery, I would have been more invested in them.

What books have you found to be just okay that everyone else you know went nuts for? And I’m not just talking about huge hits like The Help; I’d love to hear what lesser-known book all your friends love and you’re very “meh” about.