Ten Books Everyone Loves But I Don’t

tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and The Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week’s TTT is all about the theme of love (what with tomorrow being Valentine’s Day). As someone who’s chronically single and not a reader of romance, I struggled to come up with something that could align with this topic.

Until I remembered that I can be a snarky betch and am more than willing to dump all over your faves for a blog post. 😀

So here are the ten books everyone else seems to love but I hate.

1) The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

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*sigh* Oh, John Green. Where do I begin? Like a lot of people, I discovered John Green’s work yearrrrrrs ago when he and his brother, Hank, started their vlogbrothers youtube channel. I was a fan and wanted to check out John’s work. I read An Abundance of Katherines and Looking for Alaska and wasn’t blown away by them at all.

Then Paper Towns came out and I was pleasantly surprised. Finally, Green was addressing the manic pixie dream girl trope that he himself had been guilty of using in his books. I was impressed with how Green had grown and improved as a writer. By the time The Fault in Our Stars was published and garnering rave reviews, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.

And then I was sorely disappointed. Green had gone back to his old formula – Quirky, smart boy meets manic pixie dream girl. Throw in some cancer and the most inappropriate setting for a first kiss you could ever dream of, and you’ve got this rubbish.

I hated it. I hated it. I hated it.

I will not be reading anymore John Green.

2) The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Everyone loves this book and flocked to go and see the film when it was adapted by Baz Luhrmann. I don’t get it.

I’m usually pretty okay when it comes to dealing with unlikable characters. But everyone in The Great Gatsby was so detestable that I truly didn’t care what happened to them. I was just irritated the whole time and can’t say I’m in any rush to try more of Fitzgerald’s writings.

3) White Oleander by Janet Fitch

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I felt like I was committing sacrilege when I DNF’d this. Every American I knew was so excited that I was reading it because they’d loved it as a teenager.

I enjoy the film adaptation so I thought I’d give the book a go. Unfortunately I found it too slow and boring for my taste. That’s pretty much it. I wanted more to happen and just didn’t have the patience for the pace.

4) The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

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This book is torture.

25 pages about how a turtle crosses a road? Thank you and fuck you for wasting my time.

I also have zero sympathy for white people in the Great Depression. Experiencing drought and economic hardship? Call it Karma for what you did to the natives.

“Grampa took up the land, and he had to kill the Indians and drive them away” – Chapter Five, The Grapes of Wrath

5) Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

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Okay, I don’t hate this book.

I’m just starting to believe that Roxane Gay’s writing isn’t for me.

I’ve now read all of Gay’s books and the only one I’ve liked was her novel, An Untamed State.

I think I’m just always underwhelmed by Gay’s writing. Like I’m waiting for something more but it just never happens. Even when Gay is writing about her deepest, darkest secrets, I’m still not blown away.

I found Bad Feminist to be a little all over the place. I think this book was marketed wrong because I get the impression a lot of people (myself included) thought this was going to be about feminism. It’s not. It’s a collection of personal essays. And, while I enjoyed some of them, they didn’t make any lasting impact on me.

But that’s okay. She still has lots of people who love her.

6) Sofia Khan is Not Obliged by Ayisha Malik

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This book was promoted as being a new Bridget Jones-style novel told from the perspective of a Muslim Londoner.

I was bored. I didn’t even finish it. I was that bored. I wanted to like this but I couldn’t force myself through it anymore.

7) The Hours by Michael Cunningham

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I read this because I love love love the film adaptation with Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore, and Meryl Streep.

I was so disappointed with the book though. The book felt stale and impersonal compared to the film. I wanted to get deep into the characters’ minds and really hear what they were going through. And, yet, that didn’t happen.

8) Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D. H. Lawrence

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I think this is another one I was bored with. I was expecting something exciting and sexy but ended up with a dull and long read.

Having said that, I think I read this when I was about 19-20. Maybe I wasn’t ready for it. It’s been ten years since then so I might be willing to give it another go. Maybe. If I have nothing else to read. Maybe.

9) The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

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It feels like a crime among sci-fi fans to put this on the list. I didn’t hate this. I was just a bit underwhelmed. Once any action started, the book ended. I guess that’s how they get you to read the next book in the series.

For me, the humour was great but it took a long time to actually build up to something. I was expecting this incredible, mind-blowing adventure. What I got felt like something one of my 12-year old students would write for writing class.

10) The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

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I could write a whole blog post on why Atwood is problematic and why we should stop hailing her as some sort of feminist heroine. But that’s another topic for another time.

The Handmaid’s Tale is one of those books that’s seen as a sacred text in terms of feminism. I read this last year and found it to be … okay. Not terrible. But not great.

I did feel as though it was quite dated and also that people were being a bit ridiculous in saying that this near-future dystopia Atwood had created was becoming a reality in the West. (No. It is not and it will not ever happen.)

Overall, though, I feel like while it isn’t a bad book, there are certainly better sci-fi/dystopian books out there that examine the human condition, the powers that be, and the future we’re heading for.

This one’s kind of overrated.

~*~

And there we have it. Are there any books on this list that you enjoyed? Let me know what you did like about them in the comments. I promise I won’t start an argument. 😉

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17 thoughts on “Ten Books Everyone Loves But I Don’t

  1. Man you hit the nail on the head with so many of these! I didn’t bother to read The Fault in our Stars because I was just tired of the formula by then. I’ve never made it more than halfway through The Great Gatsby, and I’ve tried three times. I usually lose all interest by the time the one guy is punching the girl (can’t remember names). I adore the movie adaptation of The Hours – it’s my favorite movie of all time and I think I’ve seen it about 200 times – but the book was so disappointing. I thought it would be better than the movie, because that’s how it usually goes, but no. I read Lady Chatterly’s Lover when I was 21. I made it up to the last two chapters, then abandoned it because I didn’t care one way or another what happened. I still consider it one of the worst books I’ve ever subjected myself to. Hitchhiker? Another book I can’t read past a few pages. And I read The Handmaid’s Tale back in 2008 when I was first blogging, and took so many issues with it. Interesting concept, poor execution.

    The one book I disagree with you on is The Grapes of Wrath, but I think that’s because my heritage hails from a mixed-white-native-American family who suffered through the depression in Oklahoma. I thought I would slog through the book but I sped through it in less than a couple days, riveted. The culture was spot-on, so it was like reading family history. They used the same slang, the same mannerisms, the same gestures and grammatical structure of my grandparents and great-grandparents. I still consider it one of the best books I’ve read. On the other hand, I’ve read some other Steinbeck that was steeped in cultures I know nothing about, and I’ve found them dull as sticks. Others I know who really connected to that culture loved them. I have a feeling that one of Steinbeck’s best assets is that he can really root down deep in micro-cultures and make them come alive for those who have experienced them firsthand.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I really like what you’ve said about The Grapes of Wrath. I think because I have zero ties to that period in history, it’s kind of empty for me. But I can imagine picking up a book set in the Welsh valleys during that time and having characters that were like my grandparents and being completely bowled over by it so I definitely see where you’re coming from. Maybe I should try something else by Steinbeck where there is something I’m more familiar with.

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  2. Whooo this is great, even though I don’t agree with some of it 🙂 Please do write that post about Atwood! She’s been behaving very badly, but anyone outside of Canada gives her a free pass because OMG The Handmaid’s Tale (I read it so long ago, I can’t really comment. I do love some of her other books.)

    I actually loved TFIOS in spite of all the manic pixie crap, but I hated his latest. What a stinker.

    I love The Grapes of Wrath and The Great Gatsby, for all the reasons I’m sure you’ve heard a million times so I won’t bore you. And White Oleander (read when I was a teenager, just barely, probably 19 or 20!)

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  3. #1- I’m not much of a john green fan either, I only finished reading this book because of one character & he dies at the end, it’s a decent book but not my favorite

    #2 – never read it & I never had a reason to

    #3 – I think I saw the movie but I can’t even be sure, honest, this isn’t the type of book I like reading – it’s hard fiction, I think

    #4 – never had any interest in this book

    #5 – ditto for this one

    #6 – never heard of it and I didn’t really much like bridget jones

    #7 – I tried to read it but find it a bit boring or so I think, don’t even remember why I wanted to read it in the first place, it might been because of the movie

    #8 – never had any reason to read this, it’s a classic sure but I just don’t care for it.

    #9 – saw the movie and thought I want to read it but then sort of didn’t

    #10 – never had an interest, not even now with the show which I don’t care to watch, I just think tough subjects like this isn’t for me.

    have a lovely day.

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  4. This is a great twist on this week’s topic! I definitely agree that Bad Feminist was marketed in a misleading way. I enjoyed some of her essays and found some to be rather flat. I hate how problematic Atwood has become. I’ll always be grateful she gave us The Handmaid’s Tale, but she is not the feminist icon I had hoped.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lots of people love her so I definitely think she’s worth a try. I can’t believe how many people are telling me they’re also not John Green fans. I thought I was the only one!

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  5. I loved The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy! But I think that was because I listened to the author’s narration of the book which was just so much fun. I think I had tried to read the physical book a few times and couldn’t get into it, but I’d highly recommend the audiobook (narrated by the author, or even Stephen Fry) if you wanted to give it another chance. I did love The Handmaid’s Tale and TFIOS! I also liked John Green’s latest, if only for the anxiety part, though the other part of the story, the mystery, probably didn’t need to be there.

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