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Day 11 – A book that disappointed you

The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera was the first and only Kundera book I've read so far. Given the weight and reputation of the name Kundera, I expected a lot better.

It's basically a romance novel with a lot of heady and arrogant introspection and philosophizing, the only point of which is, imo, to indulge the author's ego. Also to indulge the ego of the audiences that believe to understand and find significance in such things. I have no patience for such things. I don't blame the author, really, moreso the audience I'd expect the book to have. It reeks of something people read to feel like they're smarter and better and more intellectual than everyone else. Those faux-academics drive me up the wall. You find them in droves at Columbia.

I'm not a fan of romance as the driving plotline in my novels, but it was done very well, but I have never seen a duller or dumber main couple. However, there are two side characters that also have POV chapters, and those are simply excellent, they come genuinely and highly recommended. Sabina is the genuinely strongest and empowering female character I have ever encountered in fiction. Franz breaks my heart, and the irony of his story is so obviously penned by the great author I expected Kundera to be. I wanted more of both of them.

Anyway, if I weren't stuck on the train for 13 hours, unable to fall asleep, and bored out of my mind, I would never have finished it. It has the slowest start ever, and the character he chooses to open the book up with is about as sympathetic as Navi. Or Rose. That's Zelda and MGS for those without any geek flowing in their veins. It's pretty bad. Luckily, his character development is excellent even though it came far too late. Didn't care for his love interest either, but she's easy to pity and hard to dislike.

I mean, it was okay, ups and downs, you know. I could see why a lot of people would like it. I think it appeals a lot to the masses. That's fine. That's good, actually. Whatever.

Day 01 – A book series you wish had gone on longer OR a book series you wish would just freaking end already (or both!)
Day 02 – A book or series you wish more people were reading and talking about
Day 03 – The best book you’ve read in the last 12 months
Day 04 – Your favorite book or series ever
Day 05 – A book or series you hate
Day 06 – Favorite book of your favorite series OR your favorite book of all time
Day 07 – Least favorite plot device employed by way too many books you actually enjoyed otherwise
Day 08 – A book everyone should read at least once
Day 09 – Best scene ever
Day 10 – A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving
Day 11 – A book that disappointed you
Day 12 – A book or series of books you’ve read more than five times
Day 13 – Favorite childhood book OR current favorite YA book (or both!)
Day 14 – Favorite character in a book (of any sex or gender)
Day 15 – Your “comfort” book
Day 16 – Favorite poem or collection of poetry
Day 17 – Favorite story or collection of stories (short stories, novellas, novelettes, etc.)
Day 18 – Favorite beginning scene in a book
Day 19 – Favorite book cover (bonus points for posting an image!)
Day 20 – Favorite kiss
Day 21 – Favorite romantic/sexual relationship (including asexual romantic relationships)
Day 22 – Favorite non-sexual relationship (including asexual romantic relationships)
Day 23 – Most annoying character ever
Day 24 – Best quote from a novel
Day 25 – Any five books from your “to be read” stack
Day 26 – OMG WTF? OR most irritating/awful/annoying book ending
Day 27 – If a book contains ______, you will always read it (and a book or books that contain it)!
Day 28 – First favorite book or series obsession
Day 29 – Saddest character death OR best/most satisfying character death (or both!)
Day 30 – What book are you reading right now?

(no subject)

Date: 2010-11-11 09:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fantasmadaopera.livejournal.com
"It's basically a romance novel with a lot of heady and arrogant introspection and philosophizing, the only point of which is, imo, to indulge the author's ego. Also to indulge the ego of the audiences that believe to understand and find significance in such things. I have no patience for such things. I don't blame the author, really, moreso the audience I'd expect the book to have. It reeks of something people read to feel like they're smarter and better and more intellectual than everyone else. Those faux-academics drive me up the wall. You find them in droves at Columbia."

Totally agree. Though I congratulate you for finishing it. I picked it up, read about...2?3 chapters? and closed it. It was just unbearable.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-11-11 10:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] liaku.livejournal.com
Thank god for someone that agrees! I had to read it for uni, and I have no idea what I'm going to say when we start discussing it. Everyone else in the class I've spoke to so far has loved it, and I'm terrified the teacher will ask me my opinion because I'm not going to lie.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-11-11 10:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fantasmadaopera.livejournal.com
Just say what you think. It's Uni, you have cientific freedom. You'll probably get extra points for having an opinion of your own. (I bet you most of those who "read" it, just say they love it 'cause other do, and won't be able to explain "why") ;)

(no subject)

Date: 2010-11-11 10:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] liaku.livejournal.com
Well, my professor *has* been bugging me to talk more. Maybe that'll be my opportune moment. What I really don't want to do is insult the people that did like the book, since the main reason I dislike it is because of the sort of self-flattering people it's written for. But it'll be the end of the semester anyway.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-11-11 09:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greenie1980.livejournal.com
I sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo agree with you. But you're brave, having it at least picked up like that with an expectation as towards the author's skill. We were forced to read it in school. I think that was the worst mark I ever got in a German test because I couldn't be bothered to read the damned thing. Anna Karenina was so much more interesting.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-11-11 10:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] liaku.livejournal.com
♥ I was really nervous posting this since I thought I was alone in my opinion! I had to read it for uni too though, so I'm not exactly brave. I honestly expected it to be good though since the grand majority of what we've read so far was decent to phenomenal, and everyone I know that's read Kundera has gushed about him. =\

(no subject)

Date: 2010-11-11 11:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greenie1980.livejournal.com
You know what? At uni I might have enjoyed it more but at school in class 11, barely turned 17... in the same class we read Spring Awakening and I can see the rationale for that since Wedekind at least wrote in German but Kundera? There's no way you can call him a German author. I quite liked The Confusions of Young Toerless though, strangely enough, which we did when I was 18 or 19. And Radetzky March wasn't too awful either at that age. I mean looking back at school a lot of my enjoyment (or rather not) had to do with how 'close' the content sometimes was and how far you could distance yourself from it. At uni you already start to develop a different idea about life and the world, which might make a difference too. But I don't think you have to keep silent about not liking Kundera. You're definitely not alone in your opinion.

EDIT: I just read the summary on wikipedia for Kundera and I have to say it rings totally different with me now, maybe also because I heard something vaguely similar from our cameraman on the film, who was born in the DDR and all that. His story really is tragic in a way, so there's definitely something about the title of the novel which is true. Maybe I re-read the book when I'm home for Christmas.

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