Okay, so “hate to love” is maybe a bit strong. Think of this more as guilty pleasure reads. What are some books or series that you can’t stop reading to the point that it’s maybe a little embarrassing?
For me, The Wheel of Time definitely goes here. I devoured the first seven books of this epic series, despite too many scenes of people traveling around in wagons (even though they have magic), talking about action rather than doing it, the disturbing plethora of women hitting each other with branches (and the pervasive gender dichotomy as a whole), and the story lines that never seem to go anywhere (I’m looking at you, Egwene).
And yet, I’m excited to read the last book, and not just because it’s the conclusion and I’ve spent so much time on the series thus far—though I did only get back into it when Brandon Sanderson took over and I knew there was a firm end in sight. The overall good defeats evil paradigm is a bit tiresome—I’m pretty sure good’s going to win—but yet I feel compelled. I want to know how things will turn out, and though there will likely be plot holes and hasty conclusions, I’ll probably feel a sense of satisfaction when I’m done.
Similarly, I’ve read about 20 books from Raymond E. Feist’s Riftwar Cycle and I give up on these/pick them up again every 3-4 years or so. I’ve read the first four numerous times, and there’s something about the immortal magician Pug that I find intriguing. So I wait until there’s a few out that I haven’t consumed yet then read them all in a week(end). The more of them I read though, the more I feel they are meant for teenaged boys, which might explain why I liked the early ones better.
As for books I love to hate, the main one that comes to mind is Life of Pi. Yes it won the Man Booker, is still on bestseller lists thanks to the movie, and when it came out it was the book everyone had to read. Typically, I avoided it for latter reason but ended up reading it for a university class. While I’m usually a fan of magic realism, I had a lot of trouble finishing this. Many love it, and that’s great. I’m not here to say you shouldn’t. I’m a huge fan of Midnight’s Children, as I’ve mentioned, and similar criticisms can apply to both novels (I’m not going to go into those here). The point is that I’m still a bit hung up on my difficulty reading Life of Pi, 6 years after the fact. Some books or characters just have ways of getting under our skin, for good or bad, and never letting go.
I’m a sucker for punishment and always looking for more, so feel free to share some of yours!