And 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– 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– 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– 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– 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– 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).
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.
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– 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.
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– 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!
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!