love in a time of cholera

in high school i tried (unsuccessfully) to get through one hundred years of solitude by gabriel garcia marquez. 

i hate not finishing a book, so when we were supposed to read garcia marquez' love in a time of cholera for penny's book circle (in december--i'm still behind!), i made myself finish it.  i wish i hadn't bothered.

it's about a man (florentino ariza) who falls in love with a girl (fermina daza), and even though she marries someone else (dr. juvenal urbino), florentino carries a torch for her for more than fifty years.  his epic romantic obsession does not, however, preclude him from taking six hundred and twenty two lovers, including his fifteen year old grand-niece, so there is a substantial ick factor that runs throughout the novel.

none of the characters is particularly appealing, and the portraits of love are selfish, broken, and frequently misogynistic.

i just found a review on amazon, titled "at the end, i wished i'd died of cholera."

that pretty much sums up my feelings.

my experience did help me to decide something:  namely, not finishing a book isn't some sort of fatal character flaw.  i have two kids, limited free time, and a long list of books i'd like to read, so i'm not going make myself finish ones i dislike anymore.

take that, garcia marquez!

of course, garcia marquez is beloved worldwide, and he has won the nobel prize for literature, so clearly i'm in the minority in my lack of appreciation.

do you enjoy gabriel garcia marquez?  is there another acclaimed author that we're "supposed" to like that you just can't get through? 

what do you like to read?  any recommendations for me?


Ashley said...

I can't stand the Twilight books (I tried... it sucked) but I can't get enough Paulo Coehlo books! And they're concise (averaging 200 pages but feeling like 100).

I'm lucky to get 15 minutes to quietly read (so long as I'm not needed in a classroom or my coworkers don't storm into the staff room complaining about staff shortages again). I would call these easy reads, but they're hard to put down.

Penny said...

LOL at the Amazon review comment! Yeah - dunno what it is about me but this one just didn't click. Mind you, some of the descriptions were quite lyrical but I got bored with it real quick.

O'Brien said...

I'm thinking it must be better in the original language or we are just culturally different....I didn't like it either but forced myself to read it. I often find that the 'nobel' elites don't think like I do, he he!!!

By the way, thank you for leading me to penny's book circle. I'm really enjoying it, and even brought my sister in who is in Germany!!!

misty said...

i had to read a lot of GM in college and i LOVED him then. maybe it was that feeling of i'm an english major and at a hoity toity academic school so i need to like hoity toity academic personalities. i reread LiToC recently and HATED every minute of it, particularly the love story which i was previously enchanted by. i do stilll, however, like his short story chronicle of a death foretold.

Dorothy said...

I don't have much patience for Jane Austen or Shakespeare. Clearly, they're both big stuff in teh literary world. I read them in college begrudgingly.

I've been on a big non-fiction kick lately. Have you read Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortensen and the follow-up: Stones into Schools? They're both inspiring and convicting. I also just finished Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. It's the most literary food awareness book I've read so far, but also the most disturbing. It serves as a good counterpoint to The Omnivore's Dilemma.

Squeezing in the "me-time" to read a book is a much needed pleasure these days :-)

Mel said...

I totally gave up on Love in the time of Cholera - too. For about 2 minutes it made me feel unliterary(is that a word?) or something since I couldn't read it but so what? Life is too short to read books you don't get/like.

Erin said...

Read Cholera for a college class, loved it. Read 100 Years for another class, and felt like it took me 100 years. Tried to read General's Labyrinth, and felt like I was lost in a Labyrinth. LOL
His writing style can make it hard to read, mystical realism, or something like that.

Recently, I've read Alexander McCall Smith's series #1 Ladies Detective Agency, easy to read and fun.

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