I'm in the process of re-reading the Harry Potter books. I'm on book 3. There is only one other book with fewer than 1 picture per page that I've ever read more than once: Catch-22. So for me to re-read Harry Potter is a pretty big deal.
Reading has always come to me in spurts. As you may imagine, it takes quite a bit for a bok to hold my attention. When I was in high school I didn't read at all. When I was in college, the first couple years, I read quite a bit, but then I stopped. And then when I was working with Accenture, I read constantly (nothing better to do in an airport or on a plane).
As for what I read, I usually read books by recommendation only (with the off gambling related book being an exception). It's like a book needs to know the secret pass word to get on my shelves and only my friends know the password. I've had various people recommend various books. I will read absolutely anything recommended to me by my friend Brent for 2 reasons: he's read more books than anyone I know and he recommended Catch-22 to me. For the most part, at least since high school, I've enjoyed just about every book I've ever read.
This leads us to the topic of this post: the worst book I've ever read was Catcher in the Rye. I hate that book on so many levels. And I don't think I could trust a person who reads that book when he's not in school. I feel a little bad about saying that because a new guy at work is reading it right now. He seems nice enough, but reading that book (and the copy he has seems to indicate he's read it before) is a strike against that youw ill never be able to make up. Dennis Miller named his son Holden after the title character at which point I lost all respect for Dennis Miller (the rest of the world followed suit shortly there after once his HBO show started to tank at around season 4).
REASON 1 I HATE CATCHER IN THE RYE: The lead character is by far and away the least sympathetic literary character in the history of fiction (I say in the history of fiction becasue Biographies about Hitler would rank #1, pushing Holden Caufield to #2 in the entire history of literature). A person would have to go out of their way to deliberately write a character with less spine, less intrigue and less personality. When the pimp is beating him up, I was disappointed that the book continued. Had it ended with that scene, I would surely have honfder memories of it since it would have ended on a high note. But know, Holden goes on the torture us for another few chapters. I hate him.
REASON 2 I HATE CATHER IN THE RYE: It's supposed to be a coming of age story, but anyone as horrid as the title character doesn't deserve to live into adulthood. When the entire premise of a book is following lifeless child turn into a lifeless adult, you have problems. For a coming of age story to work, somewhere along the way you have to say to yourself, "I wonder what he'll be like as an adult." At no point should you say, "Why isn't this person dead yet?"
REASON 3 I HATE CATCHER IN THE RYE: Nothing happens. For a coming of age story, it's pretty light in the category of "Life Changing Events." Falling for a hooker and having the pimp kick your ass just doesn't quite cut it. Give us something, ANYTHING, that would support the statement, "Holden Caufield has learned an important life lesson from this event and will be wiser as a result." If all you can say is, "He knows better than to fall in love with a hooker now," I'm not buying it.
It's been a long time since I read the book, so I'm certain there are other reasons to hate it. Yes, it was nicely written. But sometimes my shit is nicely cylidrical.
If you insist on continuing to say, "But it's a coming of age story, " please see the Harry Potter books or A Prayer for Owen Meany for lessons on coming of age done right.