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On 8/17/2019 at 3:50 PM, slf said:

Amy earned that trip to Europe with Aunt March in Little Women.

I agree.  Also, Amy burning Jo's writing was pretty bad, but I don't think it makes her completely unlikable for the rest of the book.

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2 hours ago, Billina said:

I agree.  Also, Amy burning Jo's writing was pretty bad, but I don't think it makes her completely unlikable for the rest of the book.

Burning Jo's manuscript was a shitty thing to do, but it is something a temperamental kid would do, so we can't hold it against Amy (heck, Jo didn't).

Edited by Wiendish Fitch
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2 hours ago, Wiendish Fitch said:

Burning Jo's manuscript was a shitty thing to do, but it is something a temperamental kid would do, so we can't hold it against Amy (heck, Jo didn't).

Plus she heartily regretted it. In fact, I think she and Jo were closer after that.

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And most adaptations kind of gloss over, or omit, that Jo knew the ice was thin and chose not to warn Amy in retaliation which is beyond awful. I hate that the argument always gets reduced to, "Amy burned her manuscript!" because while she does, yes, she's a young child and Jo did far worse. 

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On 7/11/2019 at 5:55 PM, Mabinogia said:

I am such an ebook reader that when my friend lent me a book I went and bought it on kindle so I could read it. 

Whenever I read a physical book, anytime there's a word I don't recognize, I press my fingers to the page and can't understand why I'm not getting the dictionary pop-up.

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I thought Sally J. Freedman was an annoying little brat, her mother was a hysteric and an idiot, and the both of them needed to be slapped.

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14 hours ago, Camille said:

Whenever I read a physical book, anytime there's a word I don't recognize, I press my fingers to the page and can't understand why I'm not getting the dictionary pop-up.

I've, unthinking, try to make the words and pictures bigger on physical paper books.

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23 hours ago, Camille said:

I thought Sally J. Freedman was an annoying little brat, her mother was a hysteric and an idiot, and the both of them needed to be slapped.

That used to be my favorite book as a kid and I haven't thought of it in years!  Off to the library to check it out and see if my opinion changes!

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42 minutes ago, LBS said:

That used to be my favorite book as a kid and I haven't thought of it in years!  Off to the library to check it out and see if my opinion changes!

That's still one of my comfort books. I even notice a lot more details as an adult.

Her mother *was* a nervous nellie, but WWII ended not too long ago and she lost relatives. Her son also had health issues which made him secretive. I don't think she was too bad except being afraid to try new things.

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On 8/17/2019 at 6:50 PM, slf said:

Amy earned that trip to Europe with Aunt March in Little Women.

Yeah I never got the Amy hate that was certainly prevalent back when I was a kid and discovering Little Women for the first time.  Yes she got to marry the prize guy (not that there was a lot of competition) but only after Jo turned him down and all of them grew up a bit more and moved on with their lives.  Amy was a pretty normal kid really and turned out to be a nice woman.

On 8/20/2019 at 2:36 PM, Camille said:

I thought Sally J. Freedman was an annoying little brat, her mother was a hysteric and an idiot, and the both of them needed to be slapped.

The only Judy Blume books I liked were the Fudge books.  I couldn't stand her books aimed at tween girls - even when I was a tween girl.

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In retrospect, I find a lot of the YA books I read as a pre-teen or adolescent very preachy and much too directed at convincing girls that having sex one time would almost always result in pregnancy, saying absolutely nothing about the pros of using contraception, and implying to girls that even unplanned and unwanted pregnancies would ultimately lead them to end up in a marriage earlier than planned but a happy one. The two that come to mind are Too Bad About the Haines Girl and Mr. and Mrs. BoJo Jones. In the first one, a high school student gets pregnant, almost has an abortion (illegal at that time) but refuses because of the unsanitary conditions, and ultimately tells her parents that she's pregnant. They of course are completely supportive and understanding. In the second one, the girl gets pregnant and marries her BF, but their child dies when it is born prematurely. Everybody's parents then want them to separate and pursue their original plans of attending college, but they decide they really do love each other and end up in college housing for married students, poor but happy. 

And it's not that the books were completely unrealistic; there were arguments and hurt feelings, and concerns about money and crushed dreams. But I think about the people I knew who did get pregnant in high school and got married, and their reality was often quite different. There were parents who were horrified and threw their daughters out of the home, or forced them to go to homes for unwed mothers, or insisted on having a pro forma marriage with the father so the child wouldn't be illegitimate. There were parents who were convinced that the girl had gotten pregnant deliberately to trap their son, and harassed the girl. There were couples who got married because of an unplanned pregnancy and were divorced within a couple of years. I can think of exactly one girl from my high school whose path seemed to mirror what was in these books, and the last time I saw her she had two toddlers by age 20 and not the slightest expectation of ever having a paying job, when prior to the accidental pregnancy she'd been considered very bright and definitely planned on going to college. Who knows, maybe 5 years down the road she decided to get her GED or something and go to college, but I'll never forget the look on her face when I saw her last. She was looking at her two kids and she obviously loved them, but there was more than a hint of being resigned to a life quite different from what she'd envisioned just a few years prior to that. 

I know there are books now that give a more realistic and diverse view of sexuality in high school kids, the problems with marrying solely because of a pregnancy, emotionally abusive parents, and so forth; I also know that the books I read reflected some societal attitudes of that period. But I can't help feeling that with those books, and so many similarly themed books (don't go steady with someone because things will get too "serious;" don't be in a hurry to grow up because you should stay a child as long as possible, etc.), the intent was less to explore a character and more to be propaganda. 

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Apparently very unpopular opinion -- I liked Leigh Bardugo's first Grisha trilogy but I have never been able to get into SIX OF CROWS (or subsequently, CROOKED KINGDOM). Looking on Goodreads, it's obvious that these books are sooooo beloved by so many, but... I just don't like it when all the main characters are cruel, murderous, mean, etc. 

Honestly, I do not get the love for Kaz Brekker AT ALL. He's a jerk who's mean to his supposed friends, kills without remorse, and is all angsty all the time over HIS problems, (while other people in the book have equally bad or worse pasts). I just want to kick him in the teeth, but apparently he is the new "ideal" book boyfriend. Gah!

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Putting aside the books rose-colored glasses view of slavery and Reconstruction days. . .

I don't hate Scarlett O'Hara.

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1 hour ago, Camille said:

Putting aside the books rose-colored glasses view of slavery and Reconstruction days. . .

I don't hate Scarlett O'Hara.

Neither do I. She was a product of her time and she did the best she could with the resources she had.

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2 hours ago, Camille said:

Putting aside the books rose-colored glasses view of slavery and Reconstruction days. . .

I don't hate Scarlett O'Hara.

I actually don't either.  I don't think she's a stellar human being, and she does do some supremely shitty things,  but damn if she isn't interesting!  I actually think she's one of the more fascinating characters in American Literature.

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3 hours ago, Camille said:

Putting aside the books rose-colored glasses view of slavery and Reconstruction days. . .

I don't hate Scarlett O'Hara.

I always thought that Margaret Mitchell was making fun of the whole "Lost Cause" mythos with the book.  Scarlet has no time for any of that, she was too practical and had too many mouths to feed.  Scarlet had no idea that her husband and Ashley were involved with the Klan until it was too late.  I really felt like Frank's death while necessary to the plot was also a way for Margaret to poke fun at the Klan and the backwards thinking of its members.  

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4 hours ago, HazelEyes4325 said:

I actually don't either.  I don't think she's a stellar human being, and she does do some supremely shirtty things,  but damn if she isn't interesting!  I actually think she's one of the more fascinating characters in American Literature.

I'm pretty sure I would hate her if she were real and I had to interact with her on a daily basis, but yes, as a character, she if fascinating. For me she is possibly the greatest example of "you don't need to like the character to love the character". I loved reading her story though if she were a real person I don't think I'd like her at all. Maybe as a casual "see her once a year at the ball" kind of acquaintance, but if I had to deal with her to get my work done or something I might kill her. (metaphorically, I wouldn't do well in jail so I'm not killing anyone literally.) 

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On ‎10‎/‎09‎/‎2019 at 10:43 AM, Camille said:

Putting aside the books rose-colored glasses view of slavery and Reconstruction days. . .

I don't hate Scarlett O'Hara.

I don't hate her as a character.  As a real person, I probably would, but as a character she's fascinating.

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Jo turning down Laurie in Little Women. I didn't like it the first time I read the book and watch the movie. But its something I've really come to like in countless re-reads and re-watching. Its not something you see often in books, TV or movies. Sure we see a lot of breaks up and turning down proposals. But that usually never lasts. Its usually the "problem" or conflict they have to over come. Whether its change like in Pride and Prejudice, or we were on a break or misunderstanding, miscommunication, something. Jo turning down Laurie and having it stick and her reason is still vary rare. She doesn't want to marry him. She loves him but not in the way of loving a spouse. She loves him like a best friend and/or brother. Its so rare. They do have a lot in common, they have a lot of fun together, been close for so many years and seem like they would be a perfect fit.  But she doesn't love him. She knows they would be miserable married. And she's not wrong. They both a have tempers and as adults its easier to see why they wouldn't work out and why Amy is a better choice for him. They both love the rich lifestyle, the balls, the clothes, everything. Jo doesn't she has zero interest in that. But because we see it so often. When we see rejected proposal in books, TV and movies. The woman/girl usually gets the endless why did you do that? That was stupid? Are you crazy? Friends and family trying hard to convince her that she made a mistake and we're use to them being right. That eventually he or she will figure it out and go try to get them back and does. No one ever accepts that she might have been right to reject the proposal. Months and years later they'll still be telling him or her that they made mistake and we are so use to that being the case. No matter how annoying that is or that they always end up being right. Or if it doesn't then there's always a bunch of signs that it'll never work out. But that doesn't happen here. At first yes her sisters are surprised which makes sense they've seen Jo and Laurie playing together, hanging out and being inseparable its not surprising their surprised. But Jo never changes her mind or regrets her decision. She's sad of course. She cries. She knows things will never be the same, their friendship won't go back to what it was before he proposed. But she never regrets it. When she goes off to New York she does well. She makes friends, writes her stories, and goes to the theater a lot. She's happy. Not secretly miserable, not trying to throw herself into life or bury her feelings or grief. She moves on with her life. Amy worries that Jo will but hurt and/or angry when she marries Laurie. But she's not. She's happy for them. Jo and Laurie restore or probably more correctly figure out what their relationship always was. Friends and family. Its so rare to see. Its also so rare for the reason that the girl turns the guy down is because she's not in love with him and it sticks. It would be nice to see a little more of that. Not every guy and girl who become friends, best friends end up falling in love. A lot remain friends.

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34 minutes ago, andromeda331 said:

Jo turning down Laurie in Little Women. I didn't like it the first time I read the book and watch the movie. But its something I've really come to like in countless re-reads and re-watching. Its not something you see often in books, TV or movies. Sure we see a lot of breaks up and turning down proposals. But that usually never laughs. Its usually the "problem" or conflict they have to over come. Whether its change like in Pride and Prejudice, or we were on a break or misunderstanding, miscommunication, something. Jo turning down Laurie and having it stick and her reason is still vary rare. She doesn't want to marry him. She loves him but not in the way of loving a spouse. She loves him like a best friend and/or brother. Its so rare. They do have a lot in common, they have a lot of fun together, been close for so many years and seem like they would be a perfect fit.  But she doesn't love him. She knows they would be miserable married. And she's not wrong. They both a have tempers and as adults its easier to see why they wouldn't work out and why Amy is a better choice for him. They both love the rich lifestyle, the balls, the clothes, everything. Jo doesn't she has zero interest in that. But because we see it so often. When we see rejected proposal in books, TV and movies. The woman/girl usually gets the endless why did you do that? That was stupid? Are you crazy? Friends and family trying hard to convince her that she made a mistake and we're use to them being right. That eventually he or she will figure it out and go try to get them back and does. No one ever accepts that she might have been right to reject the proposal. Months and years later they'll still be telling him or her that they made mistake and we are so use to that being the case. No matter how annoying that is or that they always end up being right. Or if it doesn't then there's always a bunch of signs that it'll never work out. But that doesn't happen here. At first yes her sisters are surprised which makes senses they've seen Jo and Laurie playing together, hanging out and being inseparable its not surprising their surprised. But Jo never changes her mind or regrets her decision. She's sad of course. She cries. She knows things will never be the same, their friendship won't go back to what it was before he proposed. But she never regrets it. When she goes off to New York she does well. She makes friends, writes her stories, and goes to the theater a lot. She's happy. Not secretly miserable, not trying to throw herself into life or bury her feelings or grief. She moves on with her life. Amy worries that Jo will but hurt and/or angry when she marries Laurie. But she's not. She's happy for them. Jo and Laurie restore or probably more correctly figure out what their relationship always was. Friends and family. Its so rare to see. Its also so rare for the reason that the girl turns the guy down is because she's not in love with him and it sticks. It would be nice to see a little more of that. Not every guy and girl who become friends, best friends end up falling in love. A lot remain friends.

Excellent analysis, and I agree wholeheartedly.

I realize that Jo marrying Professor Bhaer has always been controversial, but it never bothered me that much. Granted, that could be my own bias talking (I'm married to a brainy German myself). I still think the best Professor Bhaer was in the 1994 film version (I love Gabriel Byrne).

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3 hours ago, andromeda331 said:

Jo turning down Laurie in Little Women. I didn't like it the first time I read the book and watch the movie. But its something I've really come to like in countless re-reads and re-watching. 

I'm the same way.  Jo turning down Laurie is one of the best things in classic literature, in my mind.  When I first read the book as a tween, I was shocked by it and it took my a loooong time to forgive Amy for marrying him.  Now, I realize the best thing Jo did was turn down Laurie and, while I don't feel any need to forgive Amy, I do think she probably deserved better than Laurie.

Also, I just got back from seeing the new movie, which was fantastic--probably the best version I've seen.  However, it's definitely a movie for those who have read and loved the book.  My daughter, who is still working through the book (but has seen the musical and read a modern graphic version) was a bit lost in it.

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I never cared about Jo turning down Laurie because I didn't ship Jo and Laurie, so it was like "eh, whatever". That said, it still didn't make me like him and Amy at the end and I still don't to this day. And it's not because I disliked Amy, it's just the whole thing read as creepy and pathetic as hell.

Weirdo neighbor boy obsessed with the March sisters and willing to take any one of them that would have him. Lucky for poor Beth that she passed because he'd have probably proposed to her too. And Alcott's own writing basically confirmed that's exactly what this was when Laurie himself gave his whole speech about feeling like it was his right to be a part of the March family.

Like I wasn't sure how I was supposed to feel about this. The whole thing just read as creepy as fuck to me. When I was a kid and first read the book, Laurie and Amy ending up together was a "huh, where did that come from" to me. It was as I got older and re-read that I grasped the full creepy and randomness of it. 

How I felt about Laurie and Amy is the same way I felt about Harry and Ginny in the Harry Potter series and felt like it in a sense was that same creepy obsession with a family and need to fully belong to said family. In the HP series case, that was of course the Weasleys. J.K. wrote it in such a way that at some point it felt like Harry and Hermione's whole identities became wrapped in having to become a full fledged Weasley. FOR WHY? 

That aspect of the series was where I saw the influence of the Classics on J.K.'s writing because it was very Romantic/Victorian period.  Except we were supposed to believe the Harry Potter series existed in the 90s. And as much as I didn't understand or empathize or connect with Laurie's creepy ass obsession with the March sisters, I wasn't here for the everyone becomes a Weasley shit in the Harry Potter series either.

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I was upset as a kid at Jo and Laurie not getting together, but I was only about ten at the time and it was the first novel I read, I think, where romances were part of the story. Now I appreciate the writing choice.

I only wish Alcott had been able to take it all the way; instead, her publisher insisted that Jo be married by the end. Jo was Alcott's stand-in, and Alcott herself was a lesbian who never married.

Alcott did get to, in the third and fourth books, write another Jo-like character, and this time not marry her off. The final book closes with the assurance that Nan stayed unmarried just as she'd always wanted. She became a doctor.

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9 hours ago, Black Knight said:

I was upset as a kid at Jo and Laurie not getting together, but I was only about ten at the time and it was the first novel I read, I think, where romances were part of the story. Now I appreciate the writing choice.

I only wish Alcott had been able to take it all the way; instead, her publisher insisted that Jo be married by the end. Jo was Alcott's stand-in, and Alcott herself was a lesbian who never married.

Alcott did get to, in the third and fourth books, write another Jo-like character, and this time not marry her off. The final book closes with the assurance that Nan stayed unmarried just as she'd always wanted. She became a doctor.

I wish she had too. Jo never showed any interest in marriage. Meg and Amy yes but not Jo. She wasn't interested. That was half the reason I never bought her relationship with Bhaer. She never seemed interested in him more then a friend. She seems like she'd be happiest writing, reading, going to the theater and other things, having a circle of friends and family. Probably traveling. In the book when she had enough money she took Beth to the beach. That seemed to fit more. I could see her taking more trip sometimes with friends or family and other times on her own. I wish they had kept her single. The other half I didn't like him being so dismissive of the stories she wrote for one as she pointed out those stories paid. She needed the money to support herself and send money home. But even without that Jo loved writing those kinds of stories. She had so much fun writing them and they sound like great stories. 

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On 6/9/2019 at 8:54 AM, Haleth said:

After hearing Elizabeth Gilbert interviewed by Oprah long, long ago I knew I'd never be able to read Eat, Pray, Love.  She thinks very highly of herself.

My UO is that I avoid everything on Oprah's list. And now I have found out that I also have to avoid Reese Witherspoon's list. Can't remember the book title but it was about a woman who befriends another woman and wrecks her life but in reality nothing is as it seems. The premise was okay but the writing was all kinds of dumbed down dreck. I later found out it was a RW recommended book. She lavished praise up the wazoo over it. Only made me think that she is not very bright nor does she value depth in a book. 

 

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On 12/28/2019 at 8:32 PM, LucindaWalsh said:

My UO is that I avoid everything on Oprah's list. And now I have found out that I also have to avoid Reese Witherspoon's list. Can't remember the book title but it was about a woman who befriends another woman and wrecks her life but in reality nothing is as it seems. The premise was okay but the writing was all kinds of dumbed down dreck. I later found out it was a RW recommended book. She lavished praise up the wazoo over it. Only made me think that she is not very bright nor does she value depth in a book. 

 

I have never actually seen a great well-rounded literary celebrity book club.  Oprah, Reese, Jenna Bush Hager, even Emma Watson all have in my opinion disappointing book club selections.  All of their book clubs are designed to highlight Big 5 published authors in order to sell more books.  Most of the authors they pick will sell thousands of copies without the endorsement.  Colson Whitehead did not need Oprah's endorsement for The Underground Railroad nor does Jojo Moyes needs Reese's.  They are not choosing authors from small presses or self-published authors, nor are any of the books doing anything to shake up the status quo.  Rarely do they choose a book by a queer author, or a graphic novel, or push the non-hearing impaired reader to try an audiobook, or a novel in translation, etc.  

 

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I didn't like Looking for Alaska. I get- and greatly appreciate- what John Green was going for (a parable about not idealizing people, and not designating the girl you like as your Manic Pixie Dream Girl), but I feel that in the end...

Spoiler

 

He seems to go back on it, and that Alaska is just Miles's MPDG after all, because he dramatically claims he'll always love her, and she died taking flowers to her mom's grave. Okay, first off, Miles knew Alaska for a few months at the most, she wasn't his girlfriend at all (they were both with other people), and they kinda sorta fooled around once. Second, Alaska's death is indeed tragic, it shouldn't have happened, and she definitely had some serious issues that needed attention... but in spite of the Colonel calling Miles out for idealizing her, it feels like the book goes ahead and does that, anyway. Third, I hated Miles's snotty essay that takes adults to task about mocking teens for thinking they're invincible, then saying that they (teens) are, because they're not afraid to try and fail, they're not old and afraid like us mean adults.

I call bull. Lots of teenagers are afraid to try things, and Alaska's death is proof positive that no one is invincible, even teenagers. I mean, I sometimes welcome narratives where kids are right and adults are wrong, but I feel John Green muffed this one.

 

 

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5 hours ago, Wiendish Fitch said:

I didn't like Looking for Alaska. I get- and greatly appreciate- what John Green was going for (a parable about not idealizing people, and not designating the girl you like as your Manic Pixie Dream Girl), but I feel that in the end...

  Hide contents

 

He seems to go back on it, and that Alaska is just Miles's MPDG after all, because he dramatically claims he'll always love her, and she died taking flowers to her mom's grave. Okay, first off, Miles knew Alaska for a few months at the most, she wasn't his girlfriend at all (they were both with other people), and they kinda sorta fooled around once. Second, Alaska's death is indeed tragic, it shouldn't have happened, and she definitely had some serious issues that needed attention... but in spite of the Colonel calling Miles out for idealizing her, it feels like the book goes ahead and does that, anyway. Third, I hated Miles's snotty essay that takes adults to task about mocking teens for thinking they're invincible, then saying that they (teens) are, because they're not afraid to try and fail, they're not old and afraid like us mean adults.

I call bull. Lots of teenagers are afraid to try things, and Alaska's death is proof positive that no one is invincible, even teenagers. I mean, I sometimes welcome narratives where kids are right and adults are wrong, but I feel John Green muffed this one.

 

 

I agree. I read The Fault in the Stars and then Looking for Alaska. I get on some level why teenagers like his style, and the former is better than the latter because of the points you've made. Alaska was too much of a cipher and MPDG. Miles was a bit too Holden Caulfield at times. I didn't get the hype and have basically not read John Green since. 

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Completely agree with both of these posts. Read Looking for Alaska and Paper Towns and DID NOT GET IT. And I thought both were essentially the same damn story. Guy idolizes girl he barely knows, places her on some ridiculous pedestal. Seems to eventually come to a realization that he didn't really know her and no, she's not this super amazing being he thought, only to regress and decide to still be obsessed at the end. The whole thing is so tedious and repetitive.

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4 minutes ago, truthaboutluv said:

Completely agree with both of these posts. Read Looking for Alaska and Paper Towns and DID NOT GET IT. And I thought both were essentially the same damn story. Guy idolizes girl he barely knows, places her on some ridiculous pedestal. Seems to eventually come to a realization that he didn't really know her and no, she's not this super amazing being he thought, only to regress and decide to still be obsessed at the end. The whole thing is so tedious and repetitive.

My brother has quite the take on John Green, with which I completely agree.  "His books are seas of mediocrity with only the occasional buoy of excellence."  

I read The Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns, and couldn't really get on board with either one of them.  My niece (the daughter of above mentioned brother) steered me away from Looking for Alaska.  I believe she thought that I wasn't cool enough to understand John Green's genius.  I had to remind myself that she was 17 at the time and no one over 18 is cool enough for a 17 year old.

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Brandon Sanderson. I've tried a few times over the years, both in print and audio. It's just the bloody terrible characters and performances in the audio version of Way of Kings. He seems to be a pretty decent guy, and I want to enjoy his stuff. A prolific writer of epic fantasy is right up my alley. But ultimately, it has never clicked for me.

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I have never understood the point or the meaning of "Is That You, Miss Blue?"  

Phyllis Anderson Wood should be much more broadly read.  "I've Missed a Sunset or Three" is a great depiction of adolescent depression, especially from a male lead's POV - although his issues are resolved a bit too effortlessly.  

(These aren't necessarily unpopular, I've just never heard them expressed one way or another!)

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Wuthering Heights: Instead of just making the tiniest asides to Hareton Earnshaw's budding romance with the widowed Cathy Linton Heathcliff with them being engaged (with the certainty that HE would be master of both estates via being her husband due to the same legalities that Heathcliff had used  to orginally deprive  Cathy[his daughter-in-law] of the entirety of her father's inheritance) and Cathy teaching Hareton literacy via flirtation while going into excruciating detail before/ and AFTER this postscript  got mentioned of Heathcliff's decline, death then being believed by the locals to be reunited with Catherine Earnshaw Linton afterwards, I wish Emily Brontë had expanded on Hareton's and Cathy's growth and renewal. It would have been great if she had perhaps even had written a sequel about their lives together with Hareton making the joint holdings (that Heathcliff had ruined for his own angst), a thriving, happy community AND Hareton being a bridge between the gentry and the laborers since he had been both all along (as well these Earnshaws as being the progenitors of a large family and living to ripe,healthy old ages). 

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