Monday, August 23, 2010

Books You Hate

For yet another week, I'm drawing a blank as to what I want to discuss. Luckily, I had another post saved - Megan at Read It, See It wrote about books she was embarrassed to have hated.

I don't get embarrassed about disliking a book. Some books are just meant to be hated. Not by everyone, but by me. We all have our personal preferences and we all have the the right to absolutely despise certain books because of these opinions.

These books aren't necessarily bad. In fact, they're usually well-liked, or at least well-respected, by most people. They could very well be your absolute favorite books. Still, I would give anything to get back the hours I wasted reading there torturous books.

18. Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
What can I say? Through the Looking Glass was pure gibberish disguised as classic literature.

Death Qualified (Barbara Holloway Novels)17. Death Qualified by Kate Wilhelm
What was this book about? Damned if I know. I read it. It was some sort of legal/sci-fi mashup of sorts. I can't even begin to explain what was going on, so needless to say - I didn't "get" it.

16. The 13th Warrior by Michael Crichton (aka Eaters of the Dead)
I have a strong love/hate relationship with Crichton books. His works are so varied that it was inevitable that I would strongly dislike some. This one, with a Muslim man joining the Vikings on a mission of some kind, was not my thing at all.

15. The Great Train Robbery by Michael Crichton
Another huge Crichton miss for me. Historical fiction about - big surprise - a train robbery. I actually thought I might enjoy this one, but it was one of the more boring contemporary books I've ever read.

14. Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut
I loved the first Vonnegut book I read (Galapagos). Ever since, none of his books have spoken to me strongly. Mother Night was by far the worst, taking Nazis and World War II and telling a story in his quirky way. Vonnegut's style can work well in books that have a subject I'm interested in. When I'm not, his voice is one of the most grating I've experienced.

Everybody into the Pool13. Everybody into the Pool by Beth Lisick
Non-fiction is hit or miss for me. I usually choose to just avoid it all together. Lisick's book sounded like a fun bunch of wacky true stories, but managed to only make me wonder why she didn't get her act together rather than write a book about it. Not one thing in this book was the least bit funny.

12. Mirror Mirror by Gregory Maguire
I've enjoyed a few of Maguire's fairy tale re-tellings, so I had pretty decent expectations of Mirror Mirror. It was almost completely unrecognizable as a re-telling of Snow White and managed to make a good fairy tale unbelievably dull.

11. The Cherry Orchard by Anton Checkov
The first on the list of required reading. I had to read this for some college class that I don't even remember. The in the play names were all long and similar. Nothing actually happened that I could call a plot.

10. The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer
I read this because I knew Stephen King was behind it. Even my love for him couldn't save this book. It was a haunted house story (which I almost always hate) told as a supposed true story. I tried to like it, but it failed as either fiction or non-fiction.

9. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Through the Looking Glass was classic gibberish, but Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is somehow over-the-top beloved classic gibberish. Having known the story going in, I thought I was prepared for how messed up it was going to be, but there was no way I could have truly prepared myself for whatever the hell this was.

Great Expectations (Penguin Classics)8. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
How could anyone care about Pip? He was so bland. So what if he got the girl or not? Did it really matter who his mystery benefactor was? It just kept on going on and on and on.

7. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
My very first Dickens. I'm surprised I ever gave him another chance. "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times" it began, and then pummeled me with another of my personal bore me to tears topics (the French Revolution this time) providing to some of the very worst reading times of my life.

6. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Humbert Humbert is a wannabe pedophile (he's fallen in love with a twelve-year-old girl) and he tells us all about it. It's okay though, because Dolores, that little Lolita, is just asking for it. It's truly her fault. Are you freaking kidding me? This is a classic? This is considered good literature because of it's symbolism and metaphors, but really? Just eww.

5. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
Fanny Price has to be the most dreadful Jane Austen character ever. She's just such a doormat. I was unable to care about her and the end was both predictable and very awkward.

4. The Hunchback of Notre-Dame by Victor Hugo
The Hunchback of Norte-Dame was less a novel and more a Parisian tour book. The description was so heavy that multiple chapters would go by with nothing relating to the story mentioned whatsoever.

3. Beowulf
Another required reading title, this time from high school. It was an epic poem about, um, something? Yeah. I don't remember, but to be honest, I didn't know back then either. And I had a teacher holding my hand, explaining every word to me. I'm not a fan of poetry, but I don't let it scare me away from a book. I should have this time. Beowulf was definitely no Dante's Inferno.

Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H. Lawrence - Restored Modern Edition2. Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H. Lawrence
I've read my share of erotica as well as books that are nothing short of in-your-face vulgar. My dislike of Lady Chatterley's Lover has nothing to do with the the sexual content. The real problem is Lawrence tried to make the book deep. Instead of just writing a book about an extramarital affair, he wrote in a flowery way that was constantly trying to point at the inner meaning behind each action. While that might appeal to some, it was an unbelievably huge turnoff for me and has kept me from even thinking about picking up another of his books.

1. The Sonnets by William Shakespeare
I love Shakespeare. While everyone struggled in high school to decipher what he was trying to say, I was picking up some easy extra credit writing papers about the plays. Shakespeare was my chosen literature elective in college and The Sonnets almost caused me to tank the class. Why, oh why, did he need to write some god-awful, ridiculous poetry? And for what reason do people actually believe that The Sonnets match the literary merit of his plays?

Did you have the same reaction to any of the books on my list? A very different reaction? What are some of the books that you've read that you wish you had skipped?


  1. I hated the international best seller and award winning Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson.

  2. Ha! I admire your courage. A classic book I thought I'd love in high school: The Crucible. It's about witches, how can it be boring? It was.

    Totally agree about Lolita. The writing is fantastic. But when I think about it, it creeps me out.

  3. I liked Great Expectations very much, and absolutely *loved* A Tale of Two Cities. Well, I was thirteen when I last read it, so it might change if I re-read it now.

  4. You are killing me with your hatred of Alice! *weeps silently*

  5. I loved Lady Chatterley. I thought Rebecca and The Sun Also Rises were boring, and I didn't even finish The Sound and the Fury. I was outraged that Faulkner was allowed to purge such crap onto page. That was the mild, polite version of how I usually describe it. And I don't want to mention names of newer releases, but I've been seriously underwhelmed with some books that have gotten gushing reviews lately.

  6. Books I Hate:
    The Red Badge of Courage
    The Canterbury Tales
    Breaking Dawn

    I'm sure there are more but for brevity's sake these are the ones that stand out.

  7. I am the only loser I know that liked Beowulf.
    Books I have hated:
    The Girl who loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King - it never went anywhere. Seriously. I was bored to tears and I am big King fan.

    Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak - kill me quickly, it was WAY to detailed with trivial bs.

    there are more but none spring to mind quite like these two.

  8. I'm also not a Dickens fan. One book I had to read for high school and I absolutely hated it - Ethan Frome. Ugh. Awful book.

  9. O agree with you on Great Expectations and Lolita. I read them both for classes and hated them. Some of these books are on my to-read list, so I am looking forward to seeing if I agree with you!

  10. I hated wicked by gregory maguire - ugh, never again.

  11. I agree with 18, 9, 8, and 6. The others I haven't read. I thought I was the only person on earth who didn't love 'Alice.' :<)

  12. @Man of la Books - I've never even heard of it :)

    @Robin Becker - I read The Crucible by choice a bunch of years ago and sort of liked it. I did expect something a little more entertaining, but the Salem Witch Trials are a favorite topic of mine, so I never truly dislike anything that involves them.

    @Alessandra - I read both of these back in my "must catch up on the classics" phase when I first started getting back into reading for pleasure.

    @Smash Attack! - lol, I'm sorry :) There are a lot of us out there, but w tend to keep our dislike quiet most of the time. You fans can be rabid sometimes.

    @Bethany C. - I haven't read any of the others you mentioned, but I did own them all at one point. I did a large purging of books I knew I should read, but would never be able to force myself to.

    @Kristina - If I had made the list longer, The Red Badge of Courage would have been in there somewhere.

    @LilyofDarkness - I haven't read Tom Gordon, but I do own it. It's always particularly painful when a long time favorite like King fails me.

    @Nicole Zoltack - So far, the only Dickens I liked was A Christmas Carol and it is very different from the rest of his books.

    @caitieflum - I get a weird sense of pleasure when I read something people hate and I love it. I hope you get that from these books!

    @mummazappa - I liked Wicked and Son of a Witch. Mirror Mirror just did not work for me. I still hold out hope I'll like some of his other books.

    @Nan - Nope :) We're definitely out there.

  13. I hate A Tale of Two Cities with a passion!! I had to read it in high school and will never read Dickens again. It was so booooring.

    Strangely, I'm the opposite with you on Shakespare though. I really don't like his plays and struggle with them, but I ADORE his sonnets. They are pretty much the only work of his that I like. I had to take a Shakespeare class last year focusing on the tragic plays and it was a rough one, that's for sure lol.

  14. Oh my list could be lengthy XD

    With #10 you really had to enjoy the mini-series it was a companion book too (Rose Red) I think. I liked it (despite not being a fan of Stephen King) and I liked the mini-series. My sister didn't like the book or the mini-series.

    Lewis Carroll in general manages to terrify me. I can't read Alice or Through the Looking Glass because I have nightmares.

  15. I couldn't even finish Wicked by McGuire, I hated the last in the Twilight series, and Lord love a duck I am gonna be flamed, I HATED Eat Love Pray so much my review is a rant!

    I haven't read any of the books you listed. This really is a matter of taste, some love some don't. I love Shakespeare and was shocked to find how many hate him!

    Tomes Devotee

  16. Have I told you how much I look forward to your discussion posts? This one does not disappoint!

    I couldn't help but laugh out loud at some of the reasons you gave, because I agreed on so many, but I had never really thought about it before. Back in high school, I had the impression that all required reading was boring. LOL

    Now I'm wondering what your hate list for more contemporary books would be like.

  17. I really couldn't stand Wicked by Maguire, so much so that I gave away all of the other books by him that took up space on my TBR shelf!

    And A Case Of Need by Michael Crichton. It was so technical on the medical jargon. Note: Any contemporary novel that requires a glossary/appendix at the end is probably one to skip!

  18. I completely agree with you on Lady Chatterly's Lover. I was underwhelmed to say the least. Didn't even finish it!

  19. I hate to admit this, but the only book I've read (that I can remember) is Mother Night. I liked Mother Night, but I can see why a lot of people wouldn't.

  20. What a great discussion! I hated Wicked by Gregory Maguire. I thought I'd like it but didn't. Didn't really like the play either.

  21. Like you I disliked Through the Looking Glass, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Great Expectations. I do however like A Tale of Two Cities and Mansfield Park. But I did find Fanny a rather boring heroine. :-)

  22. @StephTheBookworm - I think Shakespeare is like that for a lot of people. Either you get the plays (or maybe just the comedies or the tragedies) but bot get the sonnets or vice versa.

    @Lexie - I did see the mini-series, but I don't remember if it was right before I read the book or right after. I remember liking it better than the book, but not by a huge amount.

    @luv46kdz - I actually listed Eat Pray Love as in my post about books I can't face reading. It definitely seems like a love it or hate it book and I don't think I could ever possibly enjoy it given the subject matter.

    @Missie - Thanks so much! I actually included my contemporary hated books on this list. There weren't many because while I may not love all the newer books out there, most of them don't irritate me to the point of needing to rant about them.

    @Julie P - "Any contemporary novel that requires a glossary/appendix at the end is probably one to skip!" I could not agree more. If I'm reading for pleasure, I'm not going to actually use the glossary or appendix. I am also, most likely, going to ignore any footnotes. And I'm not much of an introduction reader either, so if you need to explain your novel so I understand it even before I've started to read it, you've already lost me.

    @pensees - Most of these books were read before I started allowing myself not to finish books. If I was reading them now, this would probably be my entire DNF list.

    @Tara SG - In my obvious opinion, you haven't missed much :)

    @Amused - Even thought I liked the book, I never saw the play. I'm just not much of a theatre person.

    @Kah Woei - Oh, Fanny. I could not take her seriously. Part of it was her name (yes, occasionally I have the mentality of a 5 year old) but mostly she just was just kind of a noncommittal lump. She sat there, observed, perhaps formed a few opinions, but never seemed to do anything.

  23. I heard a lot about Tangled by Carolyn Mackler. I read it and it was awful. These characters are supposed to be likeable? This plotline is supposed to be suspenseful? This summary is supposed to have something to do with the book? Ugh.

    The other book I hated, which I get weird looks for mentioning, was the Giver. I was confused throughout, and then the ending just made zero sense. How did it end? I don't get it at all.

  24. @Riv Re - I haven't read either of those books, but Tangled is on my wishlist. Not that I exactly remember what the book is supposed to be about. I know I hate it when I don't "get" a book. Constant confusion is never enjoyable.

  25. I absolutely adore "Alice..." and simply have to re-read it every spring. I find it enchanting every single time :)
    I hated "The catcher in the rye". I wanted to scream: "Get over yourself and pull yourself together you malcontent!". Also... "The scarlet letter". I totally didn't get the main character and would hate to live in times pictured in the novel.
    I'm actually looking forward to reading "Great expectations" this winter. I'll remember to let you know how it went.