Book Challenge

December 17, 2012 // Miscellaneous Book Nerdery

In my circle of friends there are certain bookish things that we have all bonded over. It seems like every summer one of us reads Battle Royale for the first time. Drood has made the rounds as well (this year is my year.) Amy and I found ourselves coincidentally starting The Blind Assassin on the same day. We both found it to be such an ordeal to get through it that we share a common dislike of Margaret Atwood. And everyone hates Bret Easton Ellis.

I personally have never read anything by him*, but every time he comes up in conversation everyone warns me so vehemently not to read any of his books that it makes me want to. I’m curious what the big deal is and why is he so awful? I saw American Psycho when it first came out, but that was in my younger and dumber days and I didn’t really know anything about Bret Easton Ellis. I just knew the book was controversial and therefore the movie was as well. I remember leaving the theater unimpressed and feeling like maybe I was missing something.

So, against my better judgment and in spite of all the warnings of my friends, I’m challenging myself to read a Bret Easton Ellis book. I’m thinking American Psycho, but I’m taking suggestions. I’m also curious how other people feel about Bret Easton Ellis, both as an author and in light of his comments about Kathryn Bigelow.  If you were a fan before, has your opinion changed because of what he said or do you, like me, think his tweets are so ridiculous that they can’t really be taken seriously?


*No counting his twitter feed, which makes me laugh even though I’m sure that’s not his intent.

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Elise just can't quit you.


  1. Well, I could easily tell you this in person, but I’m here now, so…

    * Remember that the movie was made to be viewable in theaters.

    * I’m with AJW on Less Than Zero. I read that because I wanted to read Imperial Bedrooms (the decades-later follow-up). It was Imperial Bedrooms that made me realize everything anyone ever told me about Psycho was absolutely true. I don’t consider myself easily shocked, but there were scenes so harsh that they made me wonder about his very soul.

    * I still like his Twitter too :)

    • What was everything everyone had ever told you about Psycho?

      I haven’t read anything by him yet and I wonder about his very soul. ;) Makes me wonder how I feel after I do read something.

  2. I would say to give yourself a fighting chance, try Less than Zero. There’s less bias there from your peer group. *cough* (Also, then you can make your book club read it & watch the movie afterwards.) My opinion on him is well known. I think there’s a lot of self hate there. And it breaks my heart that Tartt dedicated The Secret History to him.

    It’s my summer for Battle Royale.

    • You do realize you’re in my book club, yes? And that you’d have to read it and watch the movie?

      I actually tried to watch Less Than Zero over the summer and it wasn’t a good experience. I had jsut woken up from a nap and it was incredibly hot out and I felt gross and wasn’t in the best mood. I had DVR’d Less Than Zero and thought that it might take my mind off of how crappy I felt. I got about 20 minutes in, realized it was making things worse and turned it off.

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