"When will they ever learn,
when will they ever learn?"
So now there's a negative book meme making its way around the blogosphere, passing through Paperwight to Dr. Laniac, who sends it on to me.
Here's the thesis:
Which book, out of the millions ever published, do you most wish never to read again?
For me that's easy. Great Expectations, by the fun-loving and whimsical Charles Dickens. I read this book in the Vliegenbos Campground in Amsterdam in '72. It was loaned to me by a guy from Canada who was passing through, and I was hungry for some reading material to absorb late at night, by candle, after everyone else had crashed.
I'm enough of romantic and liberal softie that I truly like a happy ending, and while I don't absolutely hate an ambivalent or even sad ending, this book made me want to commit ritual suicide, as it left (to me) no hope at all for the future of anyone anywhere.
I mean, sure, the Ayn Rand stuff is depressing, Philip K. Dick makes you think, Moby Dick is a little dour, but Dickens really sucked the life out of the room with this piece.
But maybe I'm just too sensitive, I dunno. Even Mighty Casey at least swung for the fences. But Pip never really seemed to get it into gear, but rather sailed on currents that were both random and at odds with his happiness.
Others may not feel this way, and clearly I could be wrong, but that was my feeling at the time, and I haven't picked up any Dickens since then.
So now in a shot heard 'round the world, I pass this exercise in speculation to those lovely folks at 12th Harmonic, Jon & Gail.