Popular Books I Hated

A lot of these aren’t necessarily highly rated (most of these don’t have the best GR scores) they’ve just been read by *a lot* of people. But for the ones that are well loved- try not to crucify me for having a different opinion- thanks! The clue is in the title: these are not books that I liked, so don’t get upset that I didn’t like them. And if you think the title’s harsh, just consider the fact that I could’ve titled this “shit books that I hate” like Lily C on Youtube (really recommend by the way).

Fifty Shades of Gray– let’s start with the obvious one. I can’t be diplomatic about this: I think Fifty Shades of Grey is one of the most loathsome books of all time. In fact, it’s my quintissential example of a bad book (so thanks for being that I guess, everyone needs a go-to bad book). I mean, you’re free to like it, whatever floats your boat, but it’s objectively awful: badly written, has a bad plot (*ahem* no plot), bad romance (not the ra ra ooh la la kind), bad sex, bad characters, bad messages. Just bad. It reads like it was written on a Blackberry when the author did her groceries… and I know for a fact half of that statement is 100% true. *Sigh*.

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin– I started my book blog to complain about this book- no joke! (so I guess I owe it a vote of thanks, cos I don’t think I’d ever have plucked up the courage to get going otherwise). This was my first review (not the best review, but whatever)- I was bored for huge parts of it and when I wasn’t bored I was raging.

Da Vinci Code– I don’t really need to explain this one. It’s a dumb book. The plot is dumb, the characters are dumb and the writing is dumb (also I read this when I was thirteen and it made me lose faith in adult’s taste in books for a good five years).

The Selection– I feel like this is low hanging fruit at this stage. I hated the characters and if I’d heard of the bachelor before I’d read it, I never would’ve picked it up, cos this not. a. good. idea. Plus, America (the character not the place) sucks.

As I Lay Dying– this book basically explains why I hate postmodernist claptrap: it’s illogical, it makes no sense and the people peddling it are out of their mind with pretentiousness (and that’s me being generous).

Nutshell– bravo for butchering Shakespeare! (*sarcasm detected*) Perhaps I wouldn’t have hated this up-itself book so much if it hadn’t been a retelling of Hamlet- oh the folly of writing such crap and calling it intellectual. Then again, it’s also really crass, so I don’t think it could have stood on its own merit anyway.

Lolita– I don’t despise Lolita- it is at least well written. But it is also completely disgusting and I hated every second of my experience with it. I would have happily DNF’d this if it hadn’t been for a class.

The Sun is Also a Star– this is probably the highest rated book on GR to make it onto this list- I just… hated it. The premise is stupid and basically reads like instalove on acid. And the female lead rubbed me the wrong way.

The Fault in Our Stars– yep grab your torches and pitchforks! This isn’t the worst book on here, but I still didn’t like this book. It was predictable, the characters didn’t talk like normal human beings let alone teens and some of the *oh-look-at-this-symbolism* went too far- that scene where they’re snogging in the Anne Frank museum is in poor taste.

The Eye of the World– I’m sorry, but I’m not sorry. I really didn’t like this and I don’t think anything’s going to change my mind. It’s dull and full of infodumps and feels like a ripoff of far better fantasy. I have never looked at the page count more for any other book.

Girl with a Pearl Earring– way to ruin a great painting with stupid internal monologues and presumptive bilge. The worst thing about this is that the mc’s voice and story doesn’t even fit with the feel of the painting. It doesn’t capture any of the essence of Vermeer’s artistry and feels like it’s piggybacking off of a much finer piece of work.

Okay, so agree or disagree with my list? Do you hate any popular books? Let me know in the comments!

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Movies (and TV shows) That Were Better Than The Book

So I mentioned a few days ago that there are a fair number of movies I like better than their book counterpart and I thought I’d share them with you! I should probably say, first of all, that these are adaptations I personally prefer- not that they’re actually better- to each their own and all that jazz. Anyhoo, let’s get to this:

Princess Diaries– to be fair, I really really dislike these books. The main character is whiny, most of the other characters are pretty loathsome and basically this book got on my last nerves. The movie, on the other hand, is a lot of fun (I think the books did get more bearable, imo, although the second film was… ehh).

Stardust– I feel like this comes up in every “better than the book” list ever. And there’s a reason for that- and it’s not that the book is bad- it’s just that the movie is seriously A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! I get all light and happy when I think about it!!

Oliver!- well for one thing, Fagin comes across as slightly less of an anti-Semitic trope in the musical (I’m not even sorry for pointing that out, cos if you think a money grubbing, dirty Jew character that preys on children isn’t anti-Semitic, then maybe have a long hard look in a history book). I do like Dickens, but that last statement should probably explain why I’m not the biggest fan of this book. On the positive side for this musical, it’s practically perfect in every way, so there’s also that. And yes, the musical is more chocolate-boxy than the book, but I prefer it that way.

Game of Thrones– this is a curious one for me to include, because I’m increasingly realising how well these work in tandem. What worked best (imo) was the TV showrunners cutting the fat from the original books. And boy, is there a lot of fat. In fact, some of this is literal- why on earth there needs to be long, tedious descriptions of feasts and food, I have no idea. Add to that a bunch of characters in later books I had limited interest in and, yeah, I’ll happily admit to liking the TV show more (most of the time, when characters aren’t going north of the wall wearing impenetrable plot armour and fighting zombie bears… man that was dumb)

Lord of the Rings– ermm I think I’m about to have my Tolkien-fangirl card revoked for saying this… I just prefer the movies! I’m sorry! Don’t get me wrong, I really love the books- only the LOTR movies are probably my favourite movies ever. The way I see it, the LOTR movies streamline the story and deliver the emotional punch of a lot of the backstories and are simply full of epic awesomeness- okay? (I do however much prefer the Hobbit book, not just because it’s up there as one of my fave books, but also cos the Hobbit movies suck- and yes, I will fight you on that *catch me outside*)

The Last Kingdom– this is another one that might piss of fans of the books. Hear me out, I did actually really enjoy reading the first four books (and am waiting on number 5 at the library) I just think the TV show got my blood pumping with *even more* fervour than the books did. And I also frankly adored the portrayal and slight changes to Uhtred’s character, which made him even more likeable.

Bleak House– poor Dickens isn’t getting very nice treatment from me today, because the main reason why I prefer the tv version is that I saw it first, and that ruined a lot of the book’s impact for me. I do think this translated so well to the small screen and it’s one of my favourite adaptations, while, like many of the others on this list, it’s not one of my favourite books.

Okay, that’s my list! It’s not very long, because I usually like the book better. Anyway, what movies do you think are better than the book? Let me know in the comments!

And thank you so much for your brilliant responses to my last post- I’m still going through them and I’m thoroughly enjoying every single one! 😀

Forgettable Books… Already Forgotten…

The problem with a forgettable books list is I’ve forgotten a lot of the books that I want to put on here. Never fear- goodreads is here! After trawling through some books I read years ago and documented on there, I was able to find at least some books that I don’t remember reading at all.

Wolf Brother– I *wish* I could remember this- I know that I loved it and I have a vague sense of the characters and story- but not enough to continue the series (and I only had one book to go as well!) It’s been driving me nuts that I can’t think of enough of the plot, because I feel like I’d have to reread the rest of the series to finish it and I can’t be bothered to do that.

 

Across the Nightingale Floor– even reading the synopsis, I don’t remember it at all. It sounds very different and like something I’d enjoy- apparently I did as well.

 

 

The Merrybegot– reading the summary I have vague memories of this and apparently I liked it.

 

 

Goddess of Yesterday– I seem to recall once reading a loose YA version of the Iliad that was decent… could this be that book?

 

 

 

Unwind– apparently I hated this, so it can’t be such a bad thing that I can’t remember this- apparently time heals some wounds!

 

 

Odin’s Voice– I do remember parts of this, but I’ve blotted out huge amounts, cos for ages it was my least favourite book. It starts off as an interesting take on slavery, takes some weird turns (I don’t remember what they were thankfully) and then they go into space for no reason. Yeah this book sucked. It’s no wonder I don’t want to remember it.

 

Sepulchre– this was part of the series and I liked the first one and can picture some of the scenes, but I cannot for the life of me think what happened here.

 

 

The Savage Garden– I actually remember two things about this: really overlong, up itself descriptions of the garden and an awkward sex scene. Kind of explains why I thought of it as pretentious and didn’t like it at all.

 

 

The Pledge Series– I can recall that this was really generic and not much else. I know that the girl had powers that made her *super special* and there was *romance*. But yeah, this was the height of the whole dystopian YA phase- I don’t know why I should even be worried that I don’t know what was in it. She saves the world and defeats the baddie. That’s it.

The Testing– one thing I remember from this incredibly mediocre dystopian story is how often we were told the mc was *the smartest smarty pants among all the super smart people!* and how rarely that was actually shown. Other than that it’s a blank slate. I think there was some sort of Hunger Games style contest?

 

See this whole list is why I do reviews! I don’t think I’d have forgotten nearly as much of these books (a lot of which I apparently liked) if I’d just written something down about my impressions! It’s a little frustrating! Then again, some things are better left forgotten…

Do you know any of these books and can you fill in the gaps for me? And do you have any books that you know you’ve read, but can’t remember? Let me know in the comments!

Books That I Think Will Be Future Classics

No doubt whatever I put on this list will be controversial for academics and bookworms alike. So I do want to clear some things up: I’m specifically going for “classics” in the academic sense, not “stand the test of time” books (there is, in my humble opinion, a difference). You’ll probably be able to note the books that I think are simply wonderful, but that don’t fit well enough into that category. This is a combination of books I personally admire and my own experience of the canon, not what I think the most popular books of our time are and I do hope people won’t be offended by what is/isn’t on here. And obviously, this doesn’t mean that I think I’ll be right, because who knows what the future holds? University students might very well end up studying Noddy in 2200 for all I know- at least I won’t be around to see it 😉 Without further ado, here are some books that I reckon *should*/*will be* the classics of the future:

The Book Thief– I hadn’t mentioned this book in ages… and now I’m mentioning it twice in a week- figures 😉 It is an *amazing*, inventive and emotional book. I definitely think this is the sort of book that would be worth delving into a little deeper, whether or not it does end up getting studied in the future- at least in schools surely!

Homegoing– a modern day epic, spanning centuries, it’s a remarkable piece of literature. With so many embedded themes and stunning writing, I’d be amazed if this didn’t end up on a university syllabus in the future.

Memoirs of a Geisha- Again, I’ve mentioned this recently, but I do think it’s a singularly striking story. I think this already has the label of “modern day classic”- but I don’t set much stock in that label. Most of the time it seems like a marketing ploy to be honest. However, when it comes to this book it’s pretty apt.

Never Let Me Go– yep, this also falls into that category of “modern day classic”- yet it’s fully deserving of that moniker. The writing, while unshowy, is very powerful and there’s a lot of fascinating themes about what it is to be human here. I certainly think it’s worth studying in greater depth.

A Thousand Splendid Suns– I know a lot of people would put the Kite Runner ahead of this- and I’ve no doubt that both will end up as future classics. The reason I put this ahead of Hosseini’s other books is quite simply because I love it so much!! Beyond the emotional depth, the writing is seductively beautiful and the story itself speaks to the human experience.

The Shadow of the Wind– I’m trying to not include books in translation, but I can’t help it with this one, because what a gem this book is! In any language, this book speaks to my soul and truly captures the essence of what it is to fall in love with stories. There’s so much here to admire- the characters, the multi-layered story and the wonderful writing. I certainly think there’s grounds for further exploration of its literary merit.

The Northern Lights– this could be hit or miss, because there’s a snob-value that goes into these decisions, and depending on the university, some do not see fantasy like the Hobbit or Lord of the Rings as a classic (they’re wrong, but whatever). Purely going on my own experience at a redbrick, this could be studied…

Neverwhere– again, I can’t say for certain that this will end up as a future classic- but it definitely deserves to be. Unlike a lot of the books on here, this isn’t my favourite by the author (though it’s wonderful), only I think this is the best example of all the symbolism and intrigue that Gaiman has to offer. I do know someone that did their dissertation partly on American Gods, so it’s not totally implausible as well.

There are a couple of other books that I’d like to put on here but I’m a bit more sceptical about whether they’d make it into the canon (even if I think they should). In the meantime, which books do you think will be future classic? Let me know in the comments!

Once was enough… Books I Loved But Probably Won’t Reread

 

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I don’t normally do weekly memes, but I do really enjoy reading them. As a lot of you probably know, Top Ten Tuesday had a fantastic topic this week on “Books I loved, but will never reread” and it really got me thinking does this apply to me? I mean, I’m not a huge rereader anymore (so many books, so little time!) however, I do hoard books that I love in the hope that I will get a chance to reread them someday. Nonetheless, the more I thought about it, the more I realised there are some books which I gave all the bananas to and can’t see myself picking up again. Evidently, it’s not Tuesday, but I thought I’d share my list, because why not?

memoirs of a geisha

Memoirs of a Geisha– I adored this book. Still, this is one of those books that I feel I read at the *exact* right moment and I don’t know that I want to ruin that. Especially since I now know how inaccurate it is- I think I might be better served staying in that world and exploring it from a more authentic angle in the future.

facing the light

Facing the Light– do you ever have a book that you look back on with rose tinted glasses even if you know objectively it’s probably not as good as you remember? That’s what this book is for me. I was captivated by this when I read this as a teen and ended up fixating on the authors work (even though none of her other books ever held the same magic for me again). So yeah, it doesn’t make sense to reread it and risk ruining my memory of it.

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Poison– my nostalgia is strong for this one. I can remember falling in love with this and being blown away by the story in so much detail. However, that’s in some ways to the book’s detriment, because I can’t bear the idea of not loving it as much the second time round. It’s such an unusual book that I’m even reluctant to mention it sometimes in case other people don’t love this hidden gem as much as I did- so how could I cope if I reread it and didn’t fall under its spell the second time round? Nope, as wonderful as I remember this book being, the experience of reading it is best left safely in the past.

book thief

The Book Thief– I do actually want to reread this- I’ve picked it up many times thinking I might. Yet the thing that always stops me is how much it emotionally *wrecked* me the first time round- I’m not sure I could knowingly do that again. (Who knows though, I might end up feeling like a good cathartic cry someday…)

1984 book

1984– I have actually reread this one, so it’s kind of cheating putting it on here, but the first time I read it I was sufficiently creeped out to say “I’m never reading this again!” Of course, I didn’t keep to that, so who knows? I could totally end up going back on my word again for this one.

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Jude the Obscure– speaking of emotional books, I don’t know many other books that are as traumatising as this. I think it’s a masterpiece- and yet I can’t see myself ever being able to reread it.

rape of nanking

Rape of Nanking– okay this is not something I will say I loved per se, but it really fits with the “once was enough” theme. Quite simply, there are few books more harrowing than this and I can’t foresee any situation where I’d want to even think about it too much. This is one of those books that it’s worth reading once in a lifetime- and no more.

and then there were none

And Then There Were None– it doesn’t really seem worth rereading a murder mystery, does it? Well at least not for me, knowing exactly what happens kinda ruins the pleasure of wondering who dunnit. Besides, there’s loads of other Christie books to choose from- I may as well pick one of those.

we were liars

We Were Liars– this has turned up on a few lists and I totally get why. It was beautifully written and incredibly moving- however, knowing all the twists will kinda take a lot of the fun out of rereading it I think. The first time I read it was so impactful- I don’t know that I could ever replicate that feeling.

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Life of Pi– this book is so hit or miss for people, so I was nervous about going into it. Luckily for me, it was a massive hit. As much as I don’t like to be swayed by the court of public opinion, I do see its faults and I’m worried I won’t get as much out of it the second time round- particularly because I now know exactly how it ends.

And that’s all from me for today! What do you think of any of these books? Which books do you love but won’t reread? Let me know in the comments!

“What would the world be like without Captain James Hook?” Villains I Can’t Live Without

I wasn’t actually planning on making this post… Somehow though, I couldn’t let my thoughts rest after talking about why villains are the greatest and I started mulling over which crooks are the very best at being bad guys…

AKA what villains could I not live without? Well, I’m here to tell you which baddies are some of my faves:

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Captain Hook– there’s a very obvious reason why I named Hook in the title of this post- he’s probably one of the best villains of all time! (not just because I love the movie Hook) As a man who grew into a tyrant, he is the perfect foil for someone who doesn’t want to grow up at all. There is no better symbol of what a person can become if they let their worst impulses get the better of them. Indeed, what would the world be like without Captain James Hook?!

richard iii

Richard III– I’m mostly trying to avoid putting anti-heroes on this list, because then I really could go on forever. Still, out of all Shakespeare’s villains, this is the one I find most compelling. I especially wanted to mention him, because I was reading the most incredibly thoughtful post a couple of days ago from Cameron @Here Be Wyverns (seriously recommend checking it out), where he described how you can’t make someone less villainous with a backstory and, well, I thought that’s it exactly. Characters like Richard III are a great example of this- they’re the sort where you see where they’re coming from and yet it’s impossible to excuse their actions. Plus I had to include dear old Richard; he’d have got the hump if I didn’t 😉

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Joffrey Baratheon– GRRM has created some of my all-time favourite villains- yet I don’t think there’s any that I loathed more than Joffrey! (and that’s saying, especially since Ramsay Bolton was in the running!) One of the reasons he’s my pick is not only because he’s one of the first big bads in the story, he also somehow managed to get a lot of the action rolling by being such a vicious idiot. Also, as Drew pointed out in my why I love villains list, he’s a very notable villain- this one’s for you Drew 😉 I don’t think I can formulate the words “I love Joffrey as a villain” though- he’s not even remotely lovable.

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Cathy Ames– aside from how much I love her introduction, she’s one of the most spiteful, vicious characters in literature. I love to loathe her.

 

 

 

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Lydia Gwilt– it’s fairly simple why Armadale is one of my favourite classics: it has one of my favourite villains. I adore this femme fatale- she’s not one to be underestimated.

 

 

mrs danvers

Mrs Danvers– MRS DANVERS IS EVIL. That is all. (Seriously, I’ve hated this woman since I was 10)

 

 

thewitchesThe Grand High Witch– I always get the heebie jeebies whenever I think about the Witches- those long nails, bald heads and basically the fact that she’s pure evil made me terrified of her- arghh- like I said I don’t like to think of her!

 

doomspellDragwena– it doesn’t matter how long it’s been since I read this trilogy, I will always be terrified of the witch characters in Doomspell. With extra sets of teeth and a snake wrapped around her neck, there’s something endlessly ominous about her.

 

 

MissPeregrineCover (1).jpgHollowgast– that name is pretty genius, embodying a period of time and sense of dread, and subsequently demonstrating some of the inventiveness that made this series so powerful for me. I don’t always find myself fearing generic monsters in books, however, there’s something so unsettling about the creatures in Peculiar Children.

i see you sauron

Sauron– a lot of people would perhaps argue that Sauron is more of a force of evil and so not the best villain. However, not only is he creepilicious as a dark force overshadowing Middle Earth, having read the Silmarillion now, I can see how fully fleshed out he is, well, minus the actual body 😉

dolores umbridgeDolores Umbridge– more sinister than Voldemort, more unsettling than the Dementors, Umbridge definitely takes the biscuit for being my most hated Rowling villain. There are no words to describe how much I loathe this woman.

 

smaug 4Smaug!!! I was desperately trying not to include two Tolkien villains- but I can’t help it! I pretty much love all of Tolkien’s baddies, nonetheless, Smaug takes all the gold medals for being my favourite fictional dragon.

 

And finally some “you know who” villains ie ones that would be spoilery to name:

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gone-girl-PB

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So what do you think with my list? Agree or disagree with any of them? And who are some of your favourite villains? Let me know in the comments!

Spring Cleaning my TBR!

What I found when I went through my various TBRs is how excited I am to read a lot of the books on my TBR, which was a pleasant surprise, so even though I went through a huge amount of my TBR, I didn’t end up deleting as much as I expected. (I mostly justified this by the fact it usually takes quite a few mentions before a book ends up there in the first place)

I’m not including books I left on, because obviously I don’t need to be convinced to read them, but you know, I’m always amenable to persuasion when it comes to expanding my TBR, which totally defeats the whole point of this exercise 😉

Here’s the ones I removed without a second thought:

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Like I said, I didn’t give that much thought to removing those, I simply reread the synopses and wasn’t too enamoured. If you’ve read any of the above and you were blown away, then do scream at me in the comments something to the effect of *YOU’RE MAKING A HUGE MISTAKE!*. Otherwise, let’s move onto the ones I was on the fence about:

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Soundless– I’ve seen way too many negative reviews of this and I’ve had a million chances to read this book… it’s just not going to happen.

Follow Me Down– I do still want to check out the author, but preferably with a more popular book.

The Boy Book– I think I’ve got to face facts, as much as I was pleasantly surprised by the first one, I don’t see myself finishing the series ten years later. Besides, there’s newer, shinier books by the same author that I have on my kindle I’d much rather read.

Gathering Blue– this is the weirdest one to take off the TBR, considering the fact that I really liked the Giver. And yet, I’m not feeling the rest of the series anymore and I rarely read dystopia as it is, so I’m gonna leave it.

Ghost Hunter– I frickin’ loved this series when I was younger and I so wanted to finish it. Sadly, I lost track of the books coming out and I’ve forgotten most of what happened by now. Finishing the series would mean rereading all the others and I don’t see that happening. If one day I decide to reread it, I’ll add this to my tbr again.

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Exit Unicorns– how cool is that title?! Unfortunately, even the place I originally saw this book wasn’t entirely positive about the book and I really haven’t seen anything good about it to justify reading it (aside from that being one of my favourite titles ever)

All the Lies We Tell– well, I was on the fence about this annnd then I saw the reviews- it’s a romance about a woman hooking up with her brother-in-law- NO THANKS.

The Love Interest– I was curious when I first heard about this- a book playing the love triangle trope sounds fun at least. Since it’s been released though, I’ve only seen reviews wavering between meh and ugh.

All the Wind in the World– admittedly I wavered over this one just because the cover is beautiful. I just haven’t heard enough about it- so maybe someday.

Trust Me, I’m Lying– honestly, it just doesn’t appeal that much. I also don’t know anyone that’s read it and don’t fancy being the guinea pig.

Okay- I’ll admit it, 20 is not a huge amount to delete from my TBR. BUT like I said, I realised there were just *a lot* of books I wanted to read when I did this! Have you tried reducing your TBR? How successful was it? And are there any books on here I should give a second look? Let me know in the comments!