Books you read because you appreciate the intent of the author more than the book

This thread on the Thursday Next series of books by Jasper fforde led me to make this statement:

“I find them okay, but I keep reading the books because I appreciate the intent and effort of the author and wish there were more books out there like this.”

So - what books do you read because they attempt to fill a niche you love - and do it closer than anything else you’ve come across - but still don’t quite fill the bill?

Another example for me is books by William Gibson. I love the noir, exitentialist feel, but don’t like the thumbnail-sketch characters, the lact of humor, etc. There are other cyberpunk authors, but nobody captures the Hammett/Chandler feel that Gibson does. Wish he could invest his characters with more humanity…

Karel van het Reve (Dutch professor teaching Russian literature) wrote that the novels of Fyodor Dostojevski read to him as long, enthusiast descriptions of the novels Dostojvski had wanted to write, but didn’t quite succeed in writing.


Strangely enough, I just picked up the first Thursday Next book at lunch today. I’ll get back to you on how I feel about it once I’ve actually opened it. :slight_smile:

Back to the point, I have a similar opinion of Gregory Maguire’s novels. I’ve read *Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, Wicked, *and Lost, and always come away feeling dissatisfied. I love the ideas, the new-angle-on-an-old-favorite feel of his work, but every one of his books has been … anticlimactic, I guess. Sure, when I read Wicked, I knew how it had to end, but it just didn’t “do it” for me. And I don’t even want to talk about Lost. sigh

I suppose that’s why I haven’t gotten around to Mirror, Mirror yet. I absolutely adore the idea–Snow White was the first story I ever read all by myself, so it holds some sentimental value to me. The idea of Lucretia Borgia as the wicked stepmother makes me almost giddy with excitement. But it’s Maguire’s style I don’t like, and I can’t bring myself to spend the time and money if I’m just going to walk away disappointed again.

I just had to read A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway for school. I didn’t like it as I was reading it, but in the end I realized that the very thing I hated most about it – the lack of a traditional plotline (exposition, rising action, climax, falling action) – was actually something I kind of appreciated. I think Hemingway’s goal was to make the book more like real life, if that makes sense. In real life, you don’t have one simple aim which drives all your thoughts and actions. The dialogue also wasn’t all plot-driven. Sometimes people just talked about nothing. In that sense, I appreciated it.

Or maybe I’m just subconciously making all this up to try to convince myself that I didn’t hate it. :dubious:

I suppose an example of this for me would be John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces. Since I come from the South, a biting, kind of satirical look at New Orleans is very appealing to me. As I read the book, though, I was rather disappointed. I just didn’t find the humor altogether funny, and there was really little that connected my view of the South with that of the book (of course, to be fair, the book was written well before I came along, so things have changed). I finished it, and I didn’t dislike it, but I expected more.

And A Farewell to Arms is one of my favorite books. :smiley:

If it makes you feel better, I hated it when I had to read it ten years ago. :slight_smile: