“Some books are better unread”, this is a harsh statement even coming from me. My mother worked in a library when I was young, so I’ve been around books for quite a while and they are apart of me, and I’ve always respected books and consequently their authors.
So it’s not often that I stumble across a book that genuinely puts me to sleep or bores the hell out of me. When it does happen I am shocked and dismayed perhaps at myself, the publishers for letting garbage be published, or for talentless hacks who somehow are able to get a book published that isn’t fit for a bathroom reader.
When a book begins to bore me I usually put it aside for a while, I never start a second book – I’m a one book man thank you very much -, hoping that a cooling off period will clear my head and I’ll be able to get back into it no problem. This almost always works, I have been able to finish (almost) every book I have ever started though I’ll never touch them again. So I wish to share with you some books that I believe no one should read.
This is my list of ten books that, I think, no one should read; knowing full well this will cause many to run out buy them then read them. These are in no particular order, no hidden meanings, no pretexts, just plain dull books. Eight of these ten books I have finished from cover to cover, and those have all been read within the last 4 years, I also own paper or digital copies of all these books, so don’t go making me out as a book-hating monger. What two have I been unable to finish? Books number two and three, but I won’t go into details as to the whys and particulars, you can judge for yourself.
1. “How to be Good” Nick Hornby
2. “Portrait of a Killer” Patricia Cornwell
3. “Blindness” José Saramago
4. “Brisinger” Christopher Paolini (book three of a series)
5. “Atonement” Ian McEwan
6. “Kafka on the Shore” Haruki Murakami
7. “Son of a Witch” Gregory Maguire
8. “Anansi Boys” Neil Gaiman
9. “His Dark Materials” Philip Pullman (entire series)
10. “The Da Vinci Code” Dan Brown
The majority of these books, for one reason or another, failed to capture my interest, I only kept reading because I cannot stop reading a book once I start it; there are exceptions as I have noted above. I have come across books that I have no clue as to what the author was trying to say or write about, the characters were confusing, the story was weak, the writing was fit for children, it should never have been published.
With many books it’s the writing style that can take a potentially good story and warp it into a bed time book; lights out after two pages. Writers want to be true to their stories and if they are writing a period piece from the 17th century I can sympathize that they would like to include or use language and prose that is historically accurate, I’m not from that period so I cannot truly grasp what is being said and that makes me wonder “did people actually talk like a bunch of pompous know it alls?” Even the children are highly obnoxious with their use of “quarter words” Does the author even realize what is going on? Moreover, character names that change, or are none existent, stories from totally different frames of time and space, each of these can either make or collapse a story. In rare moments a book will garner the attention of an entire nation, or have global recognition but not for being well written but being written in a style and language that is easily grasped by the masses.
There are not many books that fail to grasp and hold my attention, once I start reading I will finish the book, unless it’s truly horrible. There are many books that fail to attract my attention, for example at a bookstore, yes I judge a book by it’s cover (I make no apologies for that) but I tend to think that I am usually dead on with that judgement. For those of you who are clucking and ticking your tongue against your teeth, I am calling you all out, EVERYONE, absolutely everyone judges books by their covers and what’s written on the dust jackets and back covers. If no one judged a book by it’s cover everyone would have their own personal library at home that would be a rather substantial size. When we visit a bookstore or a library we need a quick and efficient method to weed out potentially boring books, hence we judge from the cover unless we are otherwise told something different.
Do not think ill of me, I respect what authors can do and what the editors manage to do with a poorly written book to make it readable. Admittedly, I would like to have the experience and time and patience to write something that could be published, but I lack the skills and the gumption to carry that out. More to the point, what I write doesn’t deserve to be printed and saved for the ages, I only wish more authors would understand that about their own works.
Do you have any truly horrible book experiences to share? I would love to hear from you.