Q: What’s the worst book you’ve ever read?
A: “Midnight’s Children.” I started it but found it impossible. A quarter of the way through, I didn’t know if the bird was a bird, or a shadow; or if I was in a lake, or on a lake; or in a boat, or if I was a ghost or if I was even in India. It was the first book I never finished, and the beginning of a bad habit of not finishing books I don’t understand. I know how revered Salman Rushdie is as an author and a sex symbol, but I mean, come on.
– the surprisingly well-read & very funny Chelsea Handler in this week’s By the Book column in the NY Times.
Midnight‘s been sitting on my own shelf, un-read, for years. No reason, really, other than blind intimidation. And there’s nothing wrong with not finishing books – especially the ones you don’t understand.
I never thought I would be endorsing anything Chelsea said or did – I’ve never thought her trashy comedic style was funny at all & her TV show makes me feel a little sick. When she visited a store I worked for a few years ago, she showed up half in the bag & drank a gigantic vodka something-or-other on the back patio before her book signing. Kind of a train wreck. But hell, her short interview in the Times is pretty great – she’s very funny & shockingly literate. (Although there is an Ayn Rand mention.) I like that she just calls out Rushdie and his universally praised book for being this obnoxious, high-brow tripe. Maybe vodka is the key…