books i hate

Top Ten Tuesday: My Favorite Books to Hate On

the broke and the bookish

Good morning my fellow bookish peoples!

I’ve missed the past few Top Ten Tuesdays (hosted by the lovely gals at The Broke and The Bookish), but I’m back! This week is a freebie week, and the topic I came up with is my Top Ten Favorite Books to Hate On.

haters gonna hate

 

Here’s the dealio – Books that are awesome are always the hardest for me to talk about, because I want to convey all the wonderfulness and get everyone else to read them, and that’s a lot of pressure, especially while trying to avoid spoilers. Books that are “meh”… well, you don’t have much to say on them, do you? Books that suck, however, can be super fun to talk about because there’s no pressure to get everyone else to read it and agree with you on how awesome it is. Plus books that suck can lead to fun discussions. So here we are – my favorite books to bash 🙂

1. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton – Suicide by sled? Are you freaking kidding me? I don’t even think I need to say more than that.

2. A Visit From the Good Squad by Jennifer Egan – A bunch of skanky, drug-addicted loser hipsters reflect on how these choices could have possibly led them down the wrong roads in life. PASS.

3. Norweigan Wood by Haruki Murakami – If you went by this book, you’d think everyone in Japan was depressed (if not downright suidical), promiscuous, and had a weird affinity for ears and handjobs.

4. Lord of the Flies by William Golding – This is supposed to be a look at how humanity would regress to barbarians in the absence of civilization’s rules, but leaves out females, adults, family members, and in the end, actually seems to cheer for the barbarian way of doing things. Also, Golding was a wannabe rapist, which I found out recently and feel like more people should know.

5. Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison – The main character was SO annoying that I couldn’t continue on with the series, despite solid world-building and great secondary characters.

6. The Magicians by Lev Grossman – My dislike for this book grows with time. Grossman stole ideas from classics like Narnia and Harry Potter and threw in drugged-up angsty teenagers. Lame.

7. The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan – Oh, hello Pretentiousness with a capital “P”.

8. The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker – What could have been a really cool look at how one girl struggles to survive in a world where Earth has literally stopped spinning, it ends up just being a story of a girl coming into her teen years with some end-of-the-world going on in the background. Snore.

9. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte – Jane Eyre starts off as an interesting, feisty child and then ends up being Mr. Rochester’s doormat. Not my idea of a good heroine or good start to a romance.

10. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green – I know everyone loves this dude as the best YA author ever, but this book was rough. It was very “teen existential crisis” which is getting old these days, and the constant use of the word “fug” instead of “fuck” drove me INSANE.

So, those are my picks! See, wasn’t that fun? Feel free to agree or disagree with me in the comments 🙂 And tell me, what are books that you can’t stand and love to hate on? Let your inner mean side out!

~Sarah

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A Visit From the Good Squad by Jennifer Egan

Dude, this book sucks.

I know, harsh way to start off a review. But this is why I relish being a book blogger that doesn’t receive books from publishers to review – I don’t feel the need to be nice about a book that I want to complain about all day long.

Soooo… This is basically a book of loosely-connected short stories about a bunch of people who grew up in the age of punk and rock music, so I guess back in the 70’s to 80’s. The general theme of the book is supposed to be “How did I get from where was I was to where I am now?”, which could be an interesting theme in any other book. Unfortunately, the answer for almost all of the characters featured in this book is “Because I’m a self-centered dumbass who did hard drugs and acted like a little asshole for the entirety of my young adulthood.”

The very first chapter was the most interesting – it focuses on Sasha, who’s in therapy to deal with her kleptomania (that’s a compulsive urge to steal stuff). I’ve never really ever seen kleptomania mentioned in a novel before, so I was definitely hooked and wanted to know more – but this is the only chapter that really focuses on Sasha, and she isn’t even a great character – she’s one of those emo young kids who is depressed and unhappy for no real reason. But still, it was a promising start. And then it IMMEDIATELY took a nose-dive in chapter two, where were meet Bennie – an aging man in the music industry in drinks actual flakes of gold in his coffee and for some reason can’t stop reliving every embarassing moment that’s ever happened to him. From there we meet a ton of other random characters who are all screwed up in similar ways and it got really old, really fast.

I read some reviews online that claimed this was such a heart-breakingly beautiful book about growing up and coming-of-age – no it’s not. Books like that are relatable to a wide audience. There is nothing relatable to the general public about watching your best friend blow some guy while he has his arm around you at a concert. That’s something only drug addicts and weirdos can relate to. How the hell did this get a Pulitzer prize?

Oh, and the big “Powerpoint chapter” was 50+ pages of boring slides, and to me definitely seemed like the author was just trying to be edgy. Which she tried to do throughout the whole book. But on the upside, those 50+ pages went really fast and hence I was able to finish this book quicker, thank goodness.

So yeah, I’m sorry to the people who voted for this book as November’s read, but this book is a huge ball of suck. And the fact that it’s so popular makes me think that maybe I’m just not intellectual or thinking deeply enough or something. Or maybe everyone else really likes to read about cocaine and whiny bums more than I do. It was like Holden Caufield in Catcher in the Rye, except like 20 Holdens and way more annoying.

And because I do feel bad about bashing this book so much because I know a lot of you liked it, here’s a far more positive review over at What Red Read. I’m trying to be all fair and balanced. (Barely succeeding there, I know.)

Sarah Says: 0 stars.

~Sarah

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Man… where to begin. So I had heard some buzz about this book online, but didn’t really pay much attention to it. When I was in Borders shopping the going-out-of-business sale, I saw this on the shelf and looked it over. According to the blurb on the back, “No one who has escaped into the worlds of Narnia and Harry Potter should miss this breathtaking return to the landscape of the imagination.” So I figured what the hell and bought it. The story was a lot darker than I was anticipating.

The story is about Quentin Coldwater. Q starts off as a likable character – he’s really smart, but has low self-esteem and he’s kind of angsty. He often daydreams about Fillory, a magical land in his favorite children’s books. (Basically, Fillory = Narnia. The similarities are really, really obvious.) One day Q stumbles through to a secret college for magic, and as he studies to be a magician he thinks all of his prayers have been answered. But it turns out of the world of magic is a lot different than he thought it’d be, and a lot darker. He eventually discovers that Fillory is real and how to get there, and he heads there with a group of his friends to see what adventures they can embark on.

 Q’s time at Brakebills (the magic college) flies by – I’m not sure if I liked this or not. On the one hand, I’m glad that it didn’t drone on and on. But on the other hand, I feel like I never really understood exactly how magic was working, and like I was only getting a tiny glimpse of this secret magical world. About halfway through the book, Q does some really stupid crap and after that I thought he was a douchebag. I’m not going to go into exactly what he was doing to piss me off, but after that point he could have been killed off and I wouldn’t have cared. And overall, I didn’t like most of his friends. They’re all magicians, but they’re all whiny and depressed for no reason.

Anyways, despite all of this the book flew by quickly. I read the it in two days, and there was a major plot twist at the end that I didn’t see coming. That was really exciting. And I enjoyed that for a fantasy novel, this was actually set in the real world – they mention different U.S. states, and pop culture references. And I liked that the young adults in this book weren’t too goody-goody. They cursed, drank, and generally acted like dumb 18-22 year olds do.

So… I’m on the fence. The story was interesting, but I disliked most of the characters. While the story gets some points for originality in the way that magic was performed, it also borrowed HEAVILY from Narnia & Harry Potter, and that made the author just seem lazy. The characters were realistically flawed, but their flaws made me want to smack them.

I may read the sequel, I may not. I haven’t decided yet. The best advice I can give is to get this book from the library and try it out for yourself.

Sarah Says: 1.5 stars

The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown

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Hokay, for me this book was a disappointment. The book is about three sisters, all named for Shakespearean characters, and all very different from each other. This was particularly intriguing for me, because I have 3 siblings and let’s face it – we could definitely be closer. There are SO many stories out there about siblings that have such remarkably close relationships, so I was hoping this would be a refreshing story about siblings who get along but otherwise don’t have that special sibling bond. The premise of the book is that they all move back home to care for their mother while she deals with cancer, and are forced to live together once again.

Let me first say that I enjoyed the random Shakespeare quotes sprinkled throughout the book, and I loved the setting – the town they were in sounded so quaint and homey and wonderful.

Now, I have two main problems with this book. Let’s start with the characters themselves:

~Rose, the oldest (who, in my head, I pictured as Toni Collette), is responsible, caring, but kind of a martyr. She’s a good person, but she wasn’t very likable.

~Bean, the middle child (who I pictured as Cameron Diaz), is a train-wreck. A list a mile long of problems, including (but not limited to) greed, too much drinking, and sleeping around. I don’t know how I was supposed to feel any sympathy, or any anything, for her.

~Cordy, the youngest (who I pictured as Emily Blunt) is the one I liked the most. She’s a free-spirited wanderer, kind of a hippie, who arrives home pregnant. She hadn’t done any horrible things, and she was genuinely a good person and pleasant to read about, even if she was a little lost.

It’s kind of hard to be all immersed in these characters as women or as sisters when you really only connect to one of them.

My second problem is that nothing happened in this book. Very little action, very little dialogue, but a lot of unnecessary inner drama and flashbacks. I just got too bored. The parents (a Shakespearean professor for a father, and an absent-minded but kind mother) were actually way more interesting. I thought initially that this would make a good chick flick movie – which might be why I had images of actresses in mind while I read – but that’s not even possible because there’s no real climax. No major central dilemma or issue that needs to be dealt with. Just three kind of self-indulgent sisters who learn how to stand being near one another.

Also, the book used the “we” pronoun, instead of the P.O.V. of one particular sister. It was kind of distracting and honestly, even though it was a different, I would have preferred it to be more conventional because it just sounded awkward most of the time.

If I were you, I’d skip this. At least just rent it from the library before buying it.

Sarah Says: 2 stars

P.S. I don’t know why I pictured Diaz as my least fave sister. I actually like Cameron Diaz, so I kinda feel bad about that.

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