Top Ten Tuesday: Awful Books I’m Glad I Read

Another week, another Top Ten! To sign up yourself, or see all the other awesome posts, go see That Artsy Reader Girl

This week’s list was an interesting one, because it was nearly impossible for me to do. I try hard to stay away from bashing bad books. In the first place, I wouldn’t like it done to my books. That shit hurts. Second, I might meet the actual author some day, and that would be awkward AF. Can you picture it at a convention?

Me: “Oh, hi, you’re [author]? You must be the one who wrote [this book, which I totally trashed in a review].”

Poor Author: “Yep, that’s me. So you’ve read it? What did you think?”

Me: *laughs nervously* *starts backing away* *chucks champagne glass in opposite direction* “LOOK! Over there!” *runs away screaming*

run away
Any excuse to use Monty Python is a good excuse

Okay, the mental image made me laugh. Still, the reason stands. It’s SUPER different for authors when it comes to writing book reviews. If I can’t think of something I liked about the book, I won’t write anything. It’s unspoken author code. We can’t go tearing each other apart, because one day that person getting shredded could be any of us.

Book Bloggers, on the other hand, kinda have a responsibility to be honest. It’s pretty much the definition of what you do, isn’t it? Read book, write opinion. It would be silly, plus dishonest, to ask a book blogger to pretend to love everything. Your readers come to you to see what you thought about it before they make up their own minds. And they can’t do that if you’re glossing over major flaws. They’d feel betrayed, and they would be right.

(And, fellow authors, can I just say you have zero place commenting on book blog reviews when they’re about your book? It really has nothing to do with you anymore. Your book baby is on their own in the wide, wide world and the book has to speak for itself. I’ve done a whole separate post on it.)

That got really philosophical and long. To get to the point, here’s my list of books I disliked, but am really glad I read anyway. There won’t be any modern authors on this list, and now you know why.

1. Lord of the Flies, William Golding bad books 1

We had to read this one for school. Firstly, I’m too much like Piggy to not be traumatized at his death. Second, this book is WAY too plausible. I’m glad I read it and got the lesson, but I won’t be doing a reread anytime soon.

2. Night, Elie Wiesel

One reading is enough to brand this one on your brain. It’s a terrible read because it makes you aware of terrible truths. It’s another one that I’m glad to have read and hope never to read again.

3. A Tale of Two Cities, Dickens

This is another school read. To be brutally honest, I’m a lazy reader, and wading through Dicken’s Victorian prose makes my brain feel like mush. I’d much rather watch the movies that were made out of his books.

4. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

I know this one is a beloved classic and I freely admit that I’m in the minority with this opinion, but my opinion is firm. Saying this is a moving love story is like saying 50 Shades of Grey is a great couple’s handbook for safe BDSM. I can’t stand how cruel and selfish Heathcliff and Catherine are (mostly Catherine). This is the only one on the list that I hated and I’m not glad I read, even for the bragging rights.

5. Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad

Another school read. For the bragging rights, I’m glad to include it on the list, but I don’t own it, never plan to buy it, and won’t read it again.

bad books 26. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey

God, this one is a tough read. If I’m in a masochistic mood I reread it, and sob quietly at the end. Every time.

7. The Phantom of the Opera, Gaston Leroux

When the movie with Emmy Rossum and Gerard Butler came out I went through a bit of fangirling and read the book. Oops. The phantom is NOT like movie Gerard Butler, where you secretly think Christine should have gone for him anyway. Nope. In the book, he’s a psychotic, abusive, deranged, sadistic serial killer. Just stick to the movie.

8. Oedipus Rex, Sophocles

Issues here, maiming there. Incest issues, everywhere. Ancient Greeks had serious issues, dude. I read it for school, Greek tragedy was tragic, the end. I do feel all erudite when it’s brought up as a classic reference and I get the reference, though.

9. The Last Battle, C.S. Lewis

I love C.S. Lewis. I adore Narnia, and Aslan, and everything in that world. I used to sit inside wardrobes (with the door shut, cause I was a weird little kid) and hope to feel trees prickling me and a breath of snowy air. But to this day I am irked by leaving Susan out of the last battle. The only way I can get through this one is to tell myself that Susan makes it to Aslan’s country someday, in her own time.

10. JAWS, Peter Benchley

You know how the book is always better? Naw, in this case the movie is totally better. It cuts out a bunch of useless subplots and a sideplot about spousal cheating, to focus on the main issue: the shark.



14 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Awful Books I’m Glad I Read

  1. Dude, everything you said about Wuthering Heights is so true… that’s why it was on my list, too! Can we all just agree to stop touting Catherine and Heathcliff as some romantic ideal when they were both clearly bad people? It’s exhausting! 🙂 Great list!

  2. This week’s topic was so hard! I try to be positive on my blog, so I felt bad for bashing books. A lot of the authors on my list are dead, though, so that helps. The Phantom of the Opera made my list. It was just weird and melodramatic. I’ve read the first 8 books on your list, and I didn’t love any of them.

    1. As a story, it’s fine. It’s gripping and tense and the plot moves along. I just hate it because I hate seeing the worst of people. So I am glad I read it, if only to remind myself that humans aren’t all kindness and light most of the time.

  3. Oh yikes, I think I blocked out Night – not because it was bad, but because it was just a lot to handle when we read it in high school and I remember just about full-on weeping over it. That and Flowers for Algernon. Ouch.

  4. I had the same thing with The Phantom of the Opera. Not at all what I was expecting. Even just the /way/ it was written just didn’t work for me at all. I’m not even sure if I finished it…

    1. I’d almost classify it as one of the very first horror novels, right up there with Sweeney Todd and penny dreadfuls.

  5. I am with you. I’ve read lots of books (as part of school mandatory list and out of it) that I’ve disliked. Still, nowadays, especially since I’m an author myself and knowing what a bad review means, I decided, especially when posting on my blog and social media, to not post anything below 3 stars. Tastes are different and we are all aware of it. Now, going back to being an author, I have read recently “Big magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert and she was saying something like this: The moment I publish a book I don’t bother anymore as I am aware that I have no influence whatsoever how will the readers accept it.

    I am trying to do as she said, although it is not so easy.
    One book I could mention here, that I really disliked and I even didn’t finish (and rarely I don’t read a book till the end as I always want to give it a chance knowing all the effort put in) was “Lolita” by Vladimir Nabokov. It is a classic and well ranked, but I just couldn’t continue reading it.

    To end my comment, I wish everyone only good reads :-))))

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