Books I would throw on a bonfire (except not really cos book burning is bad)

day after tomorrowAnd how could you think I would do such a thing! Buuut say there was a post-apocalyptic ice age, where there was a desperate shortage of energy, and I was stuck in a library The Day After Tomorrow style… well then I’d have to think of a few books that would be the first to go (after we’d got rid of the tax section of course). In honour of bonfire night, I thought it’d be a good idea to try this thought experiment (insert all the obvious disclaimers that I do not condone book burning under any circumstances except the apocalypse). And since this is for a noble cause, I figured I’d try and stick to books that actively bother me with their wrongness rather than simply the worst books ever. So without further ado, here’s the books I’d choose to burn baby burn:

thirteen reasons why

Thirteen Reasons Why– I’m going straight in there with a controversial choice. Now it’s not that I don’t think we’ll need books on mental health in the scenario- quite the contrary! Yet while a lot of people praise this for “starting a conversation”, I genuinely believe there are more productive conversation starters. Of all the books of this sort I’ve picked up, this one sets my teeth on edge the most thanks to its questionable portrayal of depression. I know a lot of people will disagree with me on this- and that’s okay- but I’m not ever going to be on board with this representation of suicide as a revenge fantasy. I’d think keeping the DSM would be a better conservation of resources than this.

fifty shades of grey

Fifty Shades of Grey– okay, going from possibly the least popular book to bash, to one where a lot of people are gonna agree. I simply don’t see the need for the world to keep this book around. If humanity is really desperate for books of this sort, we may as well go on literotica and make printouts. That would be a better alternative.

New Moon/Eclipse/Breaking Dawn– c’mon, it makes total sense to get rid of the book that inspired Fifty Shades. And if we don’t get rid of this, some other middle aged woman might be inspired to write another fanfic (possibly called One Hundred Tones of Mauve). I’m doing the world a favour.  I kept trying to figure out which one of these was the worst- but after the first one (which, sparkly vampires aside, isn’t terrible) they all get on my wick- so it’s onto the pyre with them!

ashes to ashes

Ashes to Ashes– now here’s perhaps a strange one for me to pick, cos I didn’t actually hate this book and liked the series as a whole- BUT I think the ending here was so disappointing. So the reason I’m tossing this one onto the flames is cos I want to give the authors another shot at writing the ending. (Also it was kind of appropriately titled for this list 😉 )

court of thorns and roses

Court of Thorns and Roses– oh boy, people are gonna come at me with torches and pitchforks for this choice. Now, don’t get me wrong, this isn’t the worst book in the world… I just think the story could have started at book 2.

dorian will self

Dorian– this choice is sparked by my absolute love of the book this is based on: Picture of Dorian Gray. The original is wonderful, this book is crap. It doesn’t add anything to the original story except for an unhealthy dose of AIDs. And while I’m trying to not put books on here just cos they disgust me personally, this doesn’t do anything with the story except for add an air of pretension. It’s like it was written to say “look, I’m so clever, I reimagined Dorian Gray as gay”- which isn’t clever, it’s an on-the-nose interpretation that anyone could have made (but made better).

NutshellMcEwan

Nutshell– as for other retellings the world could do without- this one tops my list. Like the previous choice, it’s based on a much finer work (in this case Hamlet). Frankly, the world doesn’t need a version of Hamlet where the main character is a foetus. Forgive me if I’m wrong, but it also isn’t necessarily a good idea to butcher all the beautiful quotes from the original in an attempt to come across as smart. That’s only as smart as it is to write as a sentient baby with teen attitudes and a middle aged voice.

girl with a pearl earring

The Girl with the Pearl Earring– while not originally a book, I did also pick this because it detracts from the original artwork on which it’s based. Like a lot of books on this list, I don’t believe it’s terrible. In fact, it’s actually pretty well written. That said, I don’t think it even slightly captured the beauty of the Vermeer piece. Nor did it make any sense for the mc to completely lack the enchanting innocence of the painting. It was the kind of voice that would have gone better with an interpretation of something like the Mona Lisa. It was like this book was written by someone that had never actually seen the painting and was endlessly frustrating because of that.

as i lay dying

As I Lay Dying– this is my least favourite book ever- so yeah, I’m feel no guilt about putting this in the furnace of forgotten literary history. This is one of the few times I’m being totally biased with this list (okay the whole list is biased- but I haven’t just put down all the books I hate in case other people like them). But this is the pinnacle of postmodernist bull and it totally deserves to be on this list. It’s a book that deliberately confuses you in order to justify its foregone conclusion that words are insufficient to convey meaning and arghhh it never ceases to make me heated. Since this book feels like a slap in the face to literature, I don’t even imagine the author would mind us burning it.

communist manifesto

The Communist Manifesto– it’s fairly simple why this is on the list: it caused the deaths of 100 million people. And as much as I like to tell people to read this cos it’s important we learn the lessons of the 20th century, if it comes down to the world being rebooted, then yeah, this shit can burn.

mein kampf

Mein Kampf– cos I’m all about equality 😉 Again, it’s important this book exists cos it teaches us about the past- buuut it’d make great firewood. Also it’s poetic justice, you know.

Oops that list got away from me at the end and got a little dark. Still- let’s be real- Guy Fawkes Night always was somewhat political 😉 So with that in mind, I wish all my compatriots a great bonfire night!

fireworks new

Okay so *deep breaths everyone* but do you agree or disagree with my choices? And- if you had to- which books would you put on a bonfire? Let me know in the comments!

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117 thoughts on “Books I would throw on a bonfire (except not really cos book burning is bad)

  1. Nicola @ Thoughts on Fantasy says:

    😂 Such scathing reviews! Very amusing! I’ve only read a couple of these books – I didn’t like A Court of Thorns and Roses either but I’m still working up to trying the second one since everyone says the series gets better (and since I’m a Throne of Glass fan). And while I quite liked Twilight, I found the remaining three books very unnecessary. So it looks like I won’t be protesting any of your fuel choices at the apocalypse bonfire 🙂

    Btw this sentence: “It’s a book that deliberately confuses you in order to justify its foregone conclusion that words are insufficient to convey meaning” – so perfectly describes the kind of book that would wind me into a fury!!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Norrie says:

    I only read 13 reasons why from this list. I didn’t think it was bad, but i think it’s not the best YA book on this topic. I think it’s more suitable for adults.

    For the rest, I’ll take your word for it. Never been interested in shades of grey or twilight. 😁

    Liked by 1 person

  3. nsfordwriter says:

    What a ‘sparky’ post, ha ha. I’ve only read one of these (so I have good taste then?!) – Tracy Chevalier. It’s an OK book, I wouldn’t put it on the bonfire.
    If I was to put books I’ve actually read on to the fire, I would make the very controversial choices of Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt (see my review for the reasons why!), Into the Water by Paula Hawkins and How to be Both by Ali Smith. For being rubbish and overhyped.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. KattitudeReads says:

    Ohh no, lol. I’ve been hoping ACOTAR was good, as I didn’t like Throne of Glass one bit, even though everyone loves it. I held out hope for ACOTAR, but maybe it’s for naught, lol. And I do agree with you on the Twilight books/50 Shades, even though I did read all of them. I liked the first Twilight book, and the rest were ehh. The sparkling vampires always made me cry-laugh. 🤷🏼‍♀️ 13 Reasons Why rubs me the wrong way with the revenge-suicide, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Well it’s not terrible and I did like the rest of the series- but I just wasn’t a fan of the first one. Maybe it’ll be different for you though! I’m glad you agree! Yeah I felt the exact same way of about the rest of the twilight books. Ah so glad you agree!!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. klkranesya says:

    I love this post. It made me laugh several times, starting with the title. I’ve never heard of Nutshell book by Ian McEwan, which might be a good thing…Just the premise alone sounds awful, which is disappointing because much of his other work is great. Could not agree more about 50 Shades. While I also don’t condone book burning, that what tries my convictions. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Jenna @ Bookmark Your Thoughts says:

    Great post! I totally agree with New Moon/Eclipse/Breaking Dawn…I’m not gonna lie, I read them in high school. But even then, I found the relationship between Edward and Bella not only unhealthy but just disturbing (dude…he watches her sleep…). I don’t like the unhealthy and unrealistic representation of romance it represents, especially for that age demographic. But, to each their own.

    I refuse to read Fifty Shades…though I’ve read a few passages. What I don’t like is the promotion of mentally abusing someone in a relationship – the main guy is just cruel to her. The “kinky” stuff is I guess to each their own – but I couldn’t get over the few passages I read with how verbally abusive the main guy is.

    I actually read Mein Kampf in undergrad, for I did a psychology paper on Hitler and his followers. It was a fascinating read, one I really think a lot of people can learn from. It’s terrifying how poetic his writing is yet how damaging and horrific and disgusting his thoughts are. I get why you would choose this one, but it’s books like this that I think should be kept so we learn from our past mistakes. It’s a tough call…I can agree though…the fireworks would be miraculous!

    I actually haven’t read “13 Reasons Why”, but I did watch the show. As someone who has struggled in that department, I connected with the characters a lot in the show. But I can see where you are coming from – society shouldn’t be pushing for the “suicide to revenge fantasy” for that completely disregards the seriousness of depression and suicide and other mental health issues. Great pick! I like seeing people’s thoughts since I haven’t read it.

    If I were to add to your list, I would put Lolita…I never read it, so I’m going on reviews and the description. But ANY book that sexualizes children or underage individuals should be burned in my personal opinion. No questions asked. LET THEM BURN AND THE FIREWORKS COMMENCE! Now if the book was about a person’s struggle going through this and learning to move on into the world, that would be different since that could help other people cope. But the story is disgusting and what happens to the victim is more depressing (though i don’t think the male character actually does anything to her thank gosh…but I ain’t reading it to find out).

    Man…long comment…SORRY! I love these kinds of topics! People get so nervous to discuss topics like this since some people will either really agree or disagree…so thank you for providing a source of discussion on the matter!

    Like

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Thank you! I’m so glad you agree!! I read them in highschool too. But I also think that it’s unhealthy and unrealistic. But I understand why people like the series and that’s fair enough as well.

      And yeah I completely agree with you- Christian Grey goes beyond just being kinky to being abusive.

      I think that’s completely fair- I do think it’s an important read. And I definitely think it’s helpful to learn from past mistakes. That said, for the purpose of this thought experiment, it’s a book I’d miss the least.

      And that’s fair- I don’t want to denigrate that other people have got something from the representation (though I’ve been in the same boat and didn’t find it helpful)- I think that’s a personal thing. However, there’s some aspects of it- like the revenge suicide aspect- that I can’t get behind- because like you said, it detracts from the mental health aspects (which in my opinion weren’t properly addressed).

      Ah I did consider putting that book on here, cos I personally hate it. I don’t think it sexualises children though- more that it explores a very, very sick mind (it’s clear he’s not to be trusted and that his views are wrong). The main reason I didn’t put it on this list though was cos it’s well written and explores some other things beyond just having a gross mc, so I didn’t want to choose it just cos it personally disgusted me.

      No worries- I thoroughly enjoyed reading your comment!! Thank you so much for sharing!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jenna @ Bookmark Your Thoughts says:

        I totally agree with you on Mein Kampf…it’s such a tough call. For the purposes of a “let’s pretend we can get rid of something”, part of me would have to agree. We can learn about the atrocities through others pieces of literature.

        With “13 Reasons Why”…it’s SUCH a tough call. It really differs from person to person – but it’s such a BIG topic that I think authors really need to be careful how they discuss them. All I know is if I wrote a book on this topic, I would write it VERY differently, but that’s just me. I would want it to be informative but not glorified if that makes sense…

        This is true…I get your perspective. But it’s just…disgusting. And I technically haven’t read the book (only some sections bloggers posted in their reviews), so I’m going ENTIRELY off of that ha-ha! But even it is doesn’t sexualize them…I unno…there are just some topics that really need to be delicately touched upon when writing about them, and the few sections i read were just…ugh…But again…I can’t have a real opinion unless I fully read it…which i don’t plan on doing ha-ha!!

        Great counter points and comments! I love these kinds of discussions!

        Like

  7. bookbeachbunny says:

    A Court of Thorns and Roses can go. I actually liked it but it pisses me off how much she worked to destroy Tamlin in further books solely in order to make Rhys the most precious little pooh bear ever. Great choices all! Though a part of me things we should keep Twilight as a what not to do for future generations.

    Liked by 2 people

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Ah yeah that’s fair. Personally I liked the later books and never liked tamlin- but I do get how frustratingly it was done cos there was a very deliberate shift (i mean, I know I was sort of tricked to like rhys, it just also worked on me if that makes sense). Thank you! Hehehe fair point!

      Like

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Sorry- I disagree. The whole thing is founded on a resentful ideology- it’s no coincidence that a very different country like China (and every other culture that attempted communism) fell victim to precisely the same murderous issues of communism. This probably isn’t the place for an overlong discussion, but I do recommend looking into the works of Solzhenitsyn (his book The Gulag Archipelago is the definitive work on the failure of communism)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ola G says:

        Oh, I did read Solzhenitsyn 😉 I was born in Poland in pre-transformation times. I’d still maintain that Communist Manifesto, while definitely not the best work of Marx, at least in the ideas department exhibits certain continuity with his other, better works. Engels did a lot to butcher Marx’s ideas after Marx’s death, no doubt, and yet I’d be far from burning this book 🙂 Marx never envisioned communism even remotely similar to what was actually built on his ideas – which is an omission on his part, granted :). But to me saying that Communist Manifesto should burn because of what ZSRR and China did after using it as their prop seems a bit like saying that we should burn Nietzsche’s works because they inspired Nazis, or condemn the Bible for the crimes of the Church.
        Btw, the diversity of opinions and the chance to discuss them online is something I value very much, so thanks for this! 🙂

        Like

  8. Briana | Pages Unbound says:

    This is pretty funny. I always like seeing what books people don’t like. (And I’m generally only sad and take it personally if they say they don’t like LotR! :p)

    And I completely agree with bookbeachbunny up there. I enjoyed the ACOTAR series. It was entertaining. It was NOT well-written, and Maas has a terrible habit of writing stuff that sounds dramatic, at the expense of characterization. Sorry, but the Tamlin twist was ridiculous, and it was absurd everyone else got sympathy for doing weird/bad things because they’d been through tough times, but Tamlin gets nothing even though he was abused too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Thank you! (hehe yeah there’s few times I take it personally- one of those rare times Tolkien- cos, ouch).

      I completely understand that. I personally like Maas in general- but I really, really didn’t like Tamlin from book 1 to be honest and just really didn’t like the first one either. And yeah that’s a fair point about the writing and the fact that Tamlin is in the same boat as other characters.

      Like

  9. Joelendil says:

    Great post! I’ve only read one of them (The Communist Manifesto), but several of them are on my “I have a good enough idea of what this is about and have no desire to waste my time and sully my brain with such drivel” list. The only other one I’ve had some desire to read was Mein Kampf for the sake of better understanding and recognizing fascism when it rears its despicable head, but I just can’t bring myself to read something that long just for the sake of a better acquaintance with evil (at least Marx & Engels kept theirs short enough to read in an hour or so).

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Carolina Carvalho says:

    I didn’t even know Dorian existed and I’m really glad, because The picture of Dorian Gray is perfect and I have no idea why someone thought they could do a better job. I’ve never read a single Sara J. Maas book, she’s just one of those authors that screams “not for me”, I know I’m not her intended audience in a very caustic way, so I’ll never read anything of hers. I never read the communist manifesto, but I’ve read Das Kapital for many college classes and I personally really enjoyed it, I think Marx was a terrible politician and maybe should stay away from sociology but he was a brilliant economist, every single of his economic predictions in Das Kapital has come true and it’s honestly scary.

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Ah I wish I hadn’t known it existed. My teacher (who hadn’t read it, but had heard of it) suggested I check it out when I was using Dorian Gray for an independent study. To say it’s not necessary doesn’t do justice to quite how bad it is. That’s totally fair. I do actually recommend analysing the communist manifesto (particularly in conjunction with Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago- it’s the definitive work on the failure of communism- or failing that some of his shorter work). I do still need to check out Das Kapital

      Like

  11. Bookstooge says:

    The only one I was kind of iffy about was Mein Kampf and that is more about having Hitler condemn himself in his own words instead of whoever is studying him saying he was a bad person.

    However, even with that, I would gladly burn such a book. Such filth is going to contaminate any mind that comes into contact with it 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Edmark M. Law says:

    Normally, I don’t read books that I insticntive know that I wouldn’t like. My to be read list is already long enough to waste my time. However, there are times when I have to read books like The Communist Manifesto and Mein Kampf for research purposes.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. jennifertarheelreader says:

    While I liked Girl with a Pearl Earring (hist fic involving art is something I typically love), 13 Reasons Why is a book I would not read and a show I would never watch. The revenge fantasy with suicide is not something I want to see promoted in any way, so I can definitely understand your reasoning.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. lucindablogs says:

    I have so many thoughts on this but I’m going with the one that we haven’t previously discussed: Will fucking Self. I have never hated an author so much in my life. I read a different book to you (The Book of Someone? I can’t remember) and it was the most pretentious, trying to be clever for the sake of it bullshit that I’ve ever read.

    Also, just registered 100 Shades of Mauve as my NaNoWriMo title 😉 I could be that middle aged woman!

    Fantastic post!

    Liked by 1 person

      • lucindablogs says:

        It was The Book of Dave (I just googled it) and it was APPALLING. Look how it’s described: “At once a meditation upon the nature of received religion, a love story, a caustic satire of contemporary urban life and a historical detective story set in the far future”. Utterly pretentious nonsense. I read it over ten years ago and it still makes me angry 😡

        Liked by 1 person

  15. Maria H. says:

    Very interesting post. I would only burn the last Twilight book as I remember liking it when I was a young vampire enthusiast.

    I haven’t read any of the other books on the list so go ahead and throw them on!

    I don’t condone book burning but if it comes to survival I would justify it by thinking that there are digital copies of everything and one day we will get those working again!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Marie says:

    Oh this is a great list! I agree about Fifty Shades and Breaking Dawn so much. I have mixed feelings about Ashes to Ashes – I liked the series and found it entertaining, but the ending was so disappointing! 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  17. MichaelK says:

    These choices obviously took some courage! I am so glad you don’t hesitate to give your honest opinion on greatly hyped books! I totally agree with you on the books from the list I have happened to read. I was already sceptical about many of these that I haven’t read so it seems that my suspicions are partly justified.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. littlepandareader says:

    I agree with most of your choice especially with Twilight and Fifty Shades (ten thousands of mauve you killed me with that 🤣). Seriously these two series were so bad that I don’t understand their popularity… Also Sarah J. Maas I never could pass the three first chapters of her books…. Maybe I should try again.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. All About Life says:

    I rather enjoyed Twilight and Fifty Shades. Not sure what that says about me and not sure that I care to be honest :O)
    In terms of book burning, there is one but I’m damned if I can remember the name. We studied it for weeks in A level English classes and I was bored rigid. I couldn’t even tell you who the author was but I do remember that he described a moor and took more than 3 pages to to it. Yawn!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. arubunwritten says:

    As I Lay Dying is the worst book that I attempted to read for 3 weeks as part of my 20th Century American Lit module at uni and oh my gosh, I understand your hatred for it. I don’t know how anyone could get through it, let along think it was quality writing!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Ari says:

    Interesting list that I mostly agree with. Now I loved the Court series including book 1 which I found so much better than Sarah J Maas’s Throne of Glass series (couldn’t get past book one) and yet I’m glad to hear you didn’t care for it.

    Because it reminds me that one person’s fave book is another’s “meh” book. As a writer, I can get tied up at the idea of people not liking my work. But that’s okay, not everyone is meant to like it. So hearing someone doesn’t like a book I like, helps to keep me grounded 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      I think that’s totally fair. I actually love most of maas’ work- and I consider ACOMAF one of her best books- I just wish I hadn’t had to read ACOTAR to get to it.

      But I think it’s a really good way to look at things, cos not everyone likes everything and that’s not a bad thing- it’s just different taste 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Beware Of The Reader says:

    Bwahahahah ok hypothetically let’s say we have a huge disaster and we have to light up a bonfire…I would not burn ACOTAR and at that time I liked FSOG and Twilight (yes yes I own my choice) what book would I burn? Well When We Collide by Gail McHugh and probably The Fate of the Tearling.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Adrienne Morris says:

    Yes! I’m totally anti anything that stinks of stifling free speech and thought but The Communist Manifesto is just so so awful. Still, I wouldn’t burn it but wonder how anyone with a basic knowledge of history could ever admire the work.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Beth (Reading Every Night) says:

    I mean, in reality I’d never burn a book either, but there are a few I’ve read that would have a worthy place on my list if I did a post like this! 😀
    I haven’t read the 50 Shades of Grey books, and I’m definitely not going to, but I’ve heard plenty about it. Plus one of my friends has read it and she ranted about it so much I feel like I have already read and hated it myself. 🙂 Great post. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Thank you! Ah I know right!! (I only read the first one- cos wow- that was enough). I think that’s fair enough- I liked the first one, I just thought it went downhill. But even I, who am pretty critical of the series, think there’s something about it (and I was completely addicted to the series, just found myself having more and more problems with each book release)

      Like

  25. Anna-Karien says:

    I would burn ALL the books by Solly Ozrovech, a white South African man who made a fortune in South Africa writing Christian books, but who escaped being prosecuted for peodophilia because he was was frail and senile. Also all copies of Bill Cosby’s Fatherhood which are still EVERYWHERE!

    Like

  26. LizScanlon says:

    First of all, great idea for a post… you really created that scene- I wonder did the characters in that movie have this same dilemma/discussion when choosing books to burn? Or is it, when you’re in this ‘we’re all going to die, it’s bloody freezing’ you just don’t care- if it’s paper, it burns and it it goes? haha… but anyway, howling laughing at this: “after we’d got rid of the tax section of course”

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Sophia Ismaa says:

    I mean Jacob, a grown man, imprints on a baby and I think that alone is a serious cause for concern. I will say that I did slightly enjoy the films, the action sequences were fun to watch especially in the final film. I would probably throw burn The Secret History, that was the literary equivalent to a migraine. 😒

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Yes!! I know right!! I mean there is a certain amount of enjoyment to be had from there, so I hear you there (especially in the last film like you said 😉 ) ah yeah I hear that a lot about Secret History (I’ve never read it, since the only other book of hers I’ve read I wasn’t a fan of)

      Liked by 1 person

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