Oh, hello! Come on in and have some Check Party Mix. It’s really good.

Have you ever been talking about books or movies with a group of people and one (or more) of them say something to the effect of “OMG! You HAVE to see/read this. It’s so good!” or “You haven’t seen/read it? It’s a classic!” or “WTF is wrong with you?”

I’ve done that before. But the more I thought about it, the more I realize that sentiment is really obnoxious. Just because I like something, doesn’t mean everyone will. Or should. Ain’t that great?

I think the last movie I gave into peer pressure to see was “Eyes Wide Shut”. There was so much hype about it – the 2 stars were married, and the director died – I guess I wanted to see what it was all about. I should have known better. I am not now, nor have I ever been, a big fan of either Tom Cruise or his then wife, Nicole Kidman. They are probably delightful people in real life. I just don’t like their acting style. That should have been my first clue to not see this movie. What I remember about it is that about half-way through, I wanted to stab my own eyes out, but not before hunting down the cold, dead corpse of the director and killing him again. That is 2+ hours of my life that I will never get back and someone should pay for that. Luckily, in this instance, I am certain that I am not alone in my opinion.

As far as other movies that I haven’t seen, but have been told that I HAVE TO SEE IT!! are (in no particular order):

  • The Godfather (any of them)
  • Star Trek/Wars (any of them) (and really, what is the difference between them??)
  • A Christmas Story (I’ve seen parts of it, but not the whole thing)
  • Anything Vampire-related

Movies that I have seen, but wish I hadn’t or have no wish to EVER see again:

  • Dirty Dancing
  • Grease (any of them)
  • Gone with the Wind
  • Little Miss Sunshine
  • Anything starring the above mentioned actors

While we’re at it, let’s list TV shows I haven’t seen or have no wish to see:

  • Lost
  • American Idol
  • Any of the cooking competitions
  • Anything vampire-related

And now books:

  • Gone with the Wind – read it after I saw the movie to find out if it was any better. Hated it.
  • Anna Karenina – read it once. Hated it. A few years later, read it again to see if maybe I just hadn’t “gotten” it the first time. Hated it.
  • The Kite Runner – couldn’t even finish it.
  • The Hobbit and any of the LOTR books – tried reading the Hobbit a few times. Not interested. At all. Didn’t even bother with the LOTR books.
  • Anything by Stephen King – I’ve read Misery and Pet Semetary. That’s enough. I don’t need to read any more.

I’m sure there are others in  the above categories that I could add. That was just off the top of my head. And there might be people who are offended that I have disparaged their favorite book/movie/TV show. But I’m sure that there are others who would hate most of what I like to read or watch. So we’re even.

Which brings me to another classic. I’ve written about this before, and had added it to my list of New Year Intentions. I thought I would try to read War and Peace this year. It’s been on my book shelf for ages, as one of those “Well, it’s a classic and it’s supposed to be really good and how many people can say that they have read it?” type things. I picked it up earlier this week, all 1,500 pages of it, and started leafing through it. Turns out, I had forgotten that this book was by the same author that brought us Anna Karenina. GAH!

I thought originally, too, that as I read it, I could blog about it. Um, yeah. That is NOT going to happen. Why? Well, mostly because if you read my blog, I would like you to KEEP reading it, and that would just be cruel. I read 6 chapters and thought – there is NO WAY I will get through this. Ever. Back in the day, I would finish every book I started, just on principle. But then about 10-15 years ago, I decided that life is too short to read bad books. I have other things I could be doing and not slogging through some dreck just to say that I have read something. Even if that other thing is staring at my belly button.

So, dear readers, I will NOT be boring you with War and Peace synopses this year. Life is too short to read bad books. And while, Tolstoy is, no doubt, a prolific and much-loved author for many people, I don’t care for his writing style. Or his characters. Or his story development. Or his plot lines. So, I am putting down War and Peace, without guilt or sense of failure. My life will not become less enriched by having not read it, but it may become more enriched by what else I do read.

War and Peace has been crossed off my “To Do” list, and has been replaced with “Read or re-read the Classics (that you choose)”. So last night, I picked up Madame Bovary. I’ve already read more than I had in several nights of W&P. So, Mr. Tolstoy, I wish you and your fans much continued success. But I will not put anymore energy into thinking about you.