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
*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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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. 😉