What Not To Read

May 8, 2009 | My Jottings

I would much rather read a good book than watch television, but when I do watch TV, I get a kick out of TLC’s “What Not To Wear.” So please join me today as we consider “What Not To Read.”

I’ve already written several times on this blog about books I love, and a few days ago my friend and neighbor Rob F. gave me an idea for a participatory blog post. He sent me a link to a blogger who shared about books she hated, and she invited others to tell of their rotten book lists as well. It was pretty interesting. Especially because I liked some of the books others despised. 🙂

So for this month’s bloggy giveaway, I invite you to leave a comment and share a book you disliked, or even detested. If you can think of more than one title, list them all! Perhaps there’s a children’s book you know of that you would never read to a child – which one is it?

Here’s my “don’t waste your time” list of books:

1.  The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver – the only book I have ever thrown directly into the garbage after reading. Don’t get me started on why.

2.  Brave New World by Aldous Huxley – a truly depressing read.

3.  The Haj by Leon Uris – I learned important things about the Middle East in this book, but having to slog through everything else made it torturous and maddening to read.

4.  Beloved by Toni Morrison – The critics say this Pulitzer Prize winning book is “magnificent, superb, brilliant, haunting, glorious”, etc. I never got it then and I don’t get it now. Oh well.

5.  The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley – People I respect adore this book and I really tried to like it, wanted very much to like it. I forced myself to read ten pages a day in order to get through the book, hoping it would get better, but it never did.

Now it’s your turn. What book have you intensely disliked? Or maybe you can think of more than one. Why didn’t you like it?  Just think of the public service you’ll be providing to your fellow readers who’ll appreciate a heads-up about what not to read.

Comments will be open until Monday, May 11th at 12:00 noon, and the winner of this month’s bloggy giveaway will be announced later that day.

Happy persnickety reading!


  1. Carolyn says:

    ‘The Lovely Bones’—BLECH!

    I don’t have many on this list because if I am not enjoying a book I usually feel no obligation to finish it.

  2. Savannah says:

    Ok… so this book was SO bad that I can’t remember the title or the author. Let me first say that one of my favorite books is ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’. I also enjoyed the book, ‘Geisha, A Life’. So my choice of “What Not to Read” is a book in that similar genre/whatever and is the story of a young Japanese girl who falls in love with a stranger. In the usual novel conflict, her father has arranged a marriage for her and refuses to tell her who the man is. Here’s the kicker… she starves herself to death over her grief that she can’t be with her true love, and the day she dies she finds out her secret lover was the man her father had chosen. This all happens in the first two chapters. So the rest of the book she is a ghost who watches over her lover’s life, like when he gets married and has kids. It was SO disappointing. I stopped after just a couple chapters.

    I know we aren’t supposed to share our favorites, but I have to quickly tell this story. My former roomie and I, on the days when Civ 102 was cancelled, would go and sit in the university bookstore and read children’s books for hours. Our favorite was “Mars Needs Moms!”. It’s message is a little bit deep for little ones, but hey, the moms are REALLY the ones that enjoy the kid’s books anyways…right?

  3. Savannah says:

    Oh, and I’m pretty sure that I read “the Haj” for a World Civ class (as extra credit or something) but since my mind tries to block out painful experiences I’m not sure…


  4. Rob Franck says:

    Is there going to be a bunch of last-minute comments?

    I think the hard thing about listing books I read but didn’t like or wouldn’t recommend is that, like someone said above, if I find I’m not liking a book, I just put it down and stop reading it, so can I really list those as books I’ve read but don’t recommend? I don’t know. Probably not, since I know there are books I THOUGHT I wouldn’t like, stopped reading them, and later returned to them only to find that reading them through was beneficial. (Maybe that could be ANOTHER blog post–books you gave up on only to return to them later and now heartily recommend them.)

    I suppose there books I had to read as class assignments, and afterward would not recommend them. I usually try to put those out of my mind, and the only one I can think of at the moment is the Metamorphoses of Lucius Apuleius, usually going by the name “The Golden Ass.” I just found the whole thing kind of stupid, as well as pornographic at times.

    I know there are a whole lot of MOVIES that I have watched that I would heartily not recommend. Maybe THAT could be a blog post, though I’m usually happier getting recommendations for movies that are good.

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