Saturday, April 12, 2008

Books You Don't Like

Today is D.E.A.R., Drop Everything and Read Day. It's in honor of Beverly Cleary's birthday. My kids are still a little young for Ramona Quimby, but I wanted to try to read books to them that don't usually make the afternoon-rest-time or bedtime rotation.

Perusing the books toward the bottom of the bin, I came across titles that had been given to us when the kids were born. Frankly, they're books I don't like. I thought I'd give them another try, but a few pages in, I remembered why I didn't like them.

Since I don't want to take too much time away from D.E.A.R. to write about all the reasons I don't like these books, I thought I'd just list them (both adult and kid books). And invite you to list your least favorite books - especially ones that seem to be popular to everyone else.

Happy Birthday, Ms. Cleary - with thanks for making every day at my house a D.E.A.R. day!

A List of Books I Do Not Like.
I do not like them on a bike.
I do not like them hung on hooks.
I do not, do not like these books.

updated April 2008

The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards
The Diary of Bridget Jones by Helen Fielding
The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Love You Forever by Robert N. Munsch
Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare


  1. OOOH! Contentious! I love it! OK then if we're confessing the hatred of books that everyone else seems to love I'll just say that I really didn't care for either Atonement or On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan. Yes the man can write but I could not have cared less for any of his characters. They were two dimensional, dull and selfish and I really ended up not giving a stuff for any of them. (Sorry McEwan fans!)
    The other book I cannot understand what all the fuss is about is Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse 5. If you want an anti-war book I just thought Catch-22 did it miles better. So it goes.
    I'll probably think of more later.
    (I love Romeo and Juliet).

  2. Oh my, I'd have to take the time to think about them--and I don't want to, lol.

    Agree with Catcher in the Rye.
    Ulysses by James Joyce.
    Rabbit, Run by John Updike.

    All I can think of at the moment!
    Great question. ;)

  3. I'd love to know why you don't like THE GIVING TREE! Or THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE. Or ROMEO AND JULIET.

    M doesn't like (I mean, really) THE RAINBOW FISH.

  4. I rarely find a book that I really don't like but, The Memory Keepers Daughter tops my list as well. I was so excited to get it from my library based on many recommendations but I couldn't even get through it. That's my problem: if I don't like it (no matter how long I've been trying to read it) I just give up - I am a bad book quitter and I'm not afraid to admit it! Besides, there are so many great books out there to read, why waste my time with the ones that I don't enjoy, right?

  5. I did not like Life of Pi. Which I know everyone else just loved!

  6. I love this post! Now I can confess my deepest secret - I hate all things Charles Dickens. If I see The Christmas Carole in any form (Sitcom, Veggie Tales, Real life play, movie, etc. etc.) I will barf my guts out.

  7. Like Water for Chocolate. It bored me to tears and I cannot get over how many friends have raved to me about this book and how much they loved it. It was predictable and silly and the few things I did like were quickly rendered neutral by all the things I loathed. I'm betting I wouldn't like it in Spanish either.

    I loved Catcher in the Rye as a kid, but reread it not so long ago and found it pretty trite. My husband and kids have all read The Memory Keeper's Daughter and all three of them agree with you. I'll have to read it now...

    I love Shel Silverstein, but have never read The Giving Tree. It doesn't sound like him; he got all touchy-feely after his son was born, and I think it changed him.

    I love Romeo and Juliet, and Love You Forever I will probably love forever. We all have to be daft about something, I guess.

  8. Mary - you forgot to list Dr. Seuss!! :)

  9. The House Of Mirth, and everything Virginia Woolf. (Once in college, I was late for registration and the only elective left was Boring Crap You'd Never Ever Read In A Million Years 301.)

  10. What a fine, fine topic.

    I'll have to second Dr Seuss, The Catcher in the Rye (I didn't even like it as a teenager, I thought I was abnormal...), Slaughterhouse 5 and pretty much anything by Joyce. Then I'll throw in The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova, Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Donna Tartt's The Secret History and anything by DH Lawrence. Some of these are still on my bookshelf, because I'm still trying to figure out why everybody else likes them. Not DH Lawrence though. I've given up on him.

  11. I feel guilty not liking Dr Seuss because I recognize his goodness even while failing to appreciate it personally. Also, as a teacher (or former teacher), I am aware of how important they are from a pedagogical point of view. So while I cannot jump on the 'Love that Dr Seuss' bandwagon, I can't say that I hate his books. They just failed to catch my imagination.

    Most of Dickens tires me out too. I used to love reading his stuff, but now life just seems too short.

  12. I'm so glad that I'm not the only one who cannot stomach Love You Forever. My sister gave us that book when my kids were little. I hid it in the basement.

  13. I've been wanting to come here for a couple of days. Now I'm doing a blogroll, so have a bit of time.

    YAY!!! I did NOT like "Time Traveler's Wife."

    Absolutely hated "On Chesil Beach." WTF is everyone saying it's literary? It's 2-dimensional crap about 2 whangers.

    Also hated "The Giving Tree." Have never read that to my own children, thank God.

    Still love Dr. Seuss. Neener neener.


  14. What a cool post! Okay, I detested or were bored by the following:

    The Ice Storm - Rick Moody (I felt indifferent)
    Big Fish - Daniel Wallace (read before I saw the film, and the film was much more thoughtful and entertaining)
    Silas Marner - George Eliot (dreary)
    Atomised - Michel Houllebecq (the single most pointless, pseudo-literary, gross, pretentious piece of rubbish I *ever* had the displeasure of reading. I cannot un-recommend it enough)

  15. Oh my, our tastes differ dramatically...

    I loved almost every one on your list, Aerin - but I hated, hated hated The Catcher in the Rye - seriously, I think the people who love it are really a bit touched in the head or lying, or teachers who think the language pulls in reluctant readers when it's really just an annoyance for actual readers... ah, that felt good.

    Love Dickens, loved Time Traveler's Wife, adore anything Shakespeare, though I will say Romeo and Juliet was not my favorite, it was still good... and I loved The Giving Tree - Dr. Suess I adore.

    Okay, obviously hated Catcher...


    On the Road by Kerouac - I know, everyone loves him, I thought it sucked and I couldn't stand him personally.... I thought maybe I read it too late, though - in my thirties instead of late teens early twenties when everyone gets into it - though I secretly think they only say that to appear more intelligent and literary... okay, not so secretly anymore.

    Rainbow Fish - WTF? Seriously, read that one again, because all I got out of it was a stern message that if no one likes you, you should bribe them to be friendly by giving away all your pretty scales... umn, not exactly the message I want to impart to my children and therefor, add it to the list of suckiness...

    I'm not fond of Joyce - I wouldn't say hate, but I don't seek it out, either.

    And whoever said they hated Virginia Woolf - I'm with you, A Room of Ones Own was the biggest bunch of twaddle I ever had the misfortune to have to wade through. (not a novel, but still)

  16. Oh, how could I forget The Corrections? That book nearly drove me insane, because I felt I had to read to the end because I kept being told how fabulous it was. How I loathed it.

  17. Oh, I should have added Madame Bovary. Yuck.

  18. Oh, I remembered one! Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. Set in the 19th C, it was a novel I felt I should LOVE...but I couldn't even get beyond the first 50 pgs.

    Merry---LOL! You and I have veryyyyy similar tastes...except for Woolf.

  19. OH let's see how many comments we can get that start with "oh".....


  20. Oh, how have there been 20 comments and no mention of Tolkein and Henry James until now?



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