Authors I Love to Hate

You know what I’m talking about. Someone mentions their favorite writer and you’re all like EYE ROLLLLL. Of course, everyone has their own literary taste, and we shouldn’t judge one another, but we should understand that one person’s favorite is another’s nails-on-the-chalkboard.

Now you know me and how I get very emotional about my favorite writers and books (i.e. just say “Thomas Mann” in my presence and I melt into a puddle of devoted awe). Not surprisingly, I have equally strong emotions when it comes to those works that…irritate me.

Below are some authors who make me impatient, irritable, or just downright tired. I know this list will anger some people, so just direct all of your hate-mail to rachel@fakeemailaddress.blah. Thanks!


D. H. Lawrence

I’ve read most of what this man has written and OHMYGOD if I could grab him by the shoulders and shake him for an hour straight I would because LOVE DOESN’T HAVE TO BE SO COMPLICATED. Yesss, I appreciate his in-depth exploration of sensuality, sexuality, and love-angst in general, but after reading Women in Love, Sons and Lovers, The Rainbow, and Lady Chatterley’s Lover all within a few years, I was so very very tired. And confused. And tired. He’s definitely worth reading, don’t get me wrong. But you have to be in the mood.


James Joyce

Let’s all just admit that the man really enjoyed f-ing with his readers’ brains. He must have gotten a kind of sick thrill from it. Now, I read Ulysses on my own when I was about 17 and I understood exactly none of it. I then took a course in grad school devoted mostly to that novel, and after reading the bazillion annotations and going through the text word by word with my professor and fellow tortured souls classmates, I understood just how brilliant and rich it really is. I also really love Leopold Bloom’s cat. But really, if it takes months and tons of annotations and a lot of tormented brain cells to read ONE BOOK, I don’t know, do you think it’s worth it? I do love Dubliners– good stuff. But Finnegan’s Wake? I’d rather feed myself to a crocodile than deal with that monster. Or maybe I should just feed the book itself to a crocodile. Do crocodiles like paper?


Emily Dickinson

Uuuuuuuuuuuuuugggggghhhhh- woman and her slant rhymes! For me, hearing her poems read out loud is like listening to atonal “music” and I despise atonal “music.” I acknowledge her wit and brilliance, and some of her poems are so perfectly pithy, but I wish she would have elaborated on some of her ideas in, you know, more than 10 words or whatever. And you seriously can’t get away from her when you flip through an anthology. It’s like the editors say “hey who do we include in this anthology, oh, Dickinson of course cause her poems are short and we can fit like 500 of ’em in there. Cool.” And some of these poems are so depressing you just want to bang your head against a very solid brick wall. Or is that just me?


Samuel Beckett

Yeah, I just really hate Beckett. Period.


Gertrude Stein

Resurrect her and ask her if she knows what the heck she’s writing about. Geez.