Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Polarizing Books

This week's topic for Top 5 Wednesday is Polarizing Books, books that people love or hate. Honestly I tend to fall more towards the hate end of the spectrum in this category so I had a really hard time finding 5 books that I love (or even like) that a lot of people consider polarizing. Some of these may be a stretch, but whatever! Enjoy!
(*Beware of spoilers. I tried to be vague, but often failed.*)

Book Number 1: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by Jack Thorne and John Tiffany. 
It seemed to me that a lot of people were ... upset that this is a play script and therefore it doesn't have the prose that JK Rowling's books had. A lot of criticism also said it felt like fanfiction, people didn't like Ron's characterization, the focus on Cedric -- there was just a lot of complaining. Honestly, I had no problem with the plot, or the time travel, I loved Ron and the variability of Cedric's character. I loved reading this script, but I really want to see it because I know it will be such a great experience (as all plays should be experienced, not just read).

Number 2: The Wave by Todd Strasser
A short book from long ago, The Wave is a story of high school social experiment that went to the extreme attempting to explain how the Nazi's gained fervent followers in Germany. I haven't read this book in years, but when I did read it I thought the story was interesting and worth the 150 or so pages to read. Looking at the book now, do I think it's well written? No. Do I still like the book? Yes, but I think it's more of an introduction to the topic for young readers. Still, I love the book for nostalgia if nothing else, and, as I said, I'm stretching myself here.

Number 3: The Memory of Earth by Orson Scott Card
Before starting on this one, I just want to be clear that there is a shit ton of badness surrounding Orson Scott Card and, though I don't know all the details of his shitiness, I know and acknowledge him as a shitty person. I know that he doesn't support LGBT rights and marriage, and politically I disagree with just about all of his opinions. That said, I read this book series from the library of my middle school and never knew anything about the author other than that I really liked the alien worlds he created. I loved the story and the writing was just really good and looking back I still enjoy it. I no longer support him by buying his books, but I will occasionally still read his works from the library because he really served to introduce me to science fiction and therefore this book made the list.

Number 4: Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel
Honestly I don't know if a lot of people hate this book, but I have a love/hate relationship with this book so I figured it counts! This book is so mentally strange. It's about a writer with writer's block (totally relateable) finding a taxidermist who has written a novel about two of his taxidermy animals, Beatrice the donkey and Virgil the monkey. I spent most of this book wondering what was going on but intrigued by the general direction of the characters, and the end of the book with my eyes wide and my mouth hanging open with "WTF WTF WTF" running on repeat through my head. I finished this book and immediately gave it to a friend to read so I would have someone to talk about it too. I honestly enjoyed the strangeness of sensation I got from the novel, but I also kind of hated it and it freaked me out. But yeah, I recommend it!

And finally: Number 5: Red Hood and the Outlaws by Scott Lobdell and Kenneth Rocafort
So many people, especially Starfire fans, hated this reboot - and with good reason! Starfire was almost unrecognizable from her previous incarnations, wore much more skimpy clothing and was totally sexually liberal. She'd slept with both of her male teammates within, probably the first issue. I read this while already knowing all that, and I expected to kind of hate it. But I didn't. I honestly had no problem with Starfire being completely sexualized and without inhibitions (though I was a bit bothered by the way she almost immediately forgets any human she loses consistent contact with). But overall, I loved Red Hood and Arsenal as anti-heroes with the tragic past and Starfire fit in with them really well. This was the first DC title I read with any consistently. Before this I had read specific story arcs, but I just devoured this title (though I didn't finish it because I got caught up in writing my MA thesis and I haven't gone back yet).

That makes up my top 5 polarizing books! What are yours? Any thing I love that you hate? Let's chat in the comments, I am always down for civil disagreements!

T5W is a huge group of book bloggers and youtubers congregating on the GoodReads page at: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/118368-top-5-wednesday

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