Open Thread

Open Thread: Now Even Open-er!

Thursday is upon us once again, which means it’s time to chat about book related things. (Or other things, too. Also: stuff.)

So why not talk about books we hate? Have you ever hated a book so much that you didn’t finish it? Or, have you ever hated a book but kept reading it anyway, the power of your loathing giving you some kind of energy?

I hate Catch-22. I’m sorry. I hate it, and I’ve tried to read it three times without success. (I know! A lot of people I love and respect really like that book, but I just… can’t.) On the other hand, there are books I really despised but had to keep reading so I could keep coming up with more reasons to hate it. The Art of Racing in the Rain comes to mind. I just… argh.

Oh, and bonus topic: Have you ever thrown a book across a room? If so, why?

Photo: Getty

32 replies on “Open Thread: Now Even Open-er!”

Ok, my most hated book ever (as in, I don’t know why I read it, I just sometimes pick up crap books from the library when I am really stressed about grad school) was The Nanny Diaries. It’s just such a classic example of injustice is only injustice when it happens to a middle class white woman. Injustice in this situation being the crap treatment of nannies by their employers which in Canada recently extended to a certain (now former) politician being accused of underpaying and seizing passports of nannies who were recent immigrants and employed by her. It’s just not something to trivialize with college student angst and a freaking Scarlett Johansson movie.

Catch-22 is one of the top five books about war, ever. I’ll spoil the end for you. “Yossarian ran.”

I threw “The Kite Runner” across the room at page 83, shortly after the Afgan boys find the kite in the alley and are cornered by the blonde german bullies. I won’t say anything more about it except that I don’t read about any character who could stand by and let that happen to a friend, for a kite.

So, i actually have mixed feelings about the Art of Racing in the Rain. It had a lot of redeeming qualities….but in the end I found the main plot point, despite how delicately the writer tried to handle it, too skeevy to really warm up to the protagonist. Oh well.

As for books i hate, there was a Mr. and Mrs. Darcy mystery given to me by a friend. I love mysteries! I love Jane Austen! So this should have been one of my favorite books ever, but the writer managed to psst me off two-fold by writing a horrible mystery where no sensible rules applied and writing characters that barely resembled Jane Austen’s. Ugh!

I read a lot of light books… ones I can take on a plane, get into for a couple of hours, toss back down for a week until my next plane trip, but be able to pick back up without having to retrace the plot.

So, My Sisters Keeper was one that pissed me off so much. (The movie, for anyone who has seen it, ends completely differently than the book. ) I found myself bawling my eyes out in a foreign city’s Applebee’s (okay, Jacksonville is not that foreign) because I refused to put it down even though it made me mad how it ended.

Also, most Anne Rice books, not that they are bad. In fact, the stories are good, I just have such a hard time reading them – too much detail. I get bored with three page long descriptions of doors that have no relavance to the overall story.

I too, have to jump on the Twilight bandwagon… I made myself read them all, but they are terribly written and Bella is such a lame protagonist. I almost didn’t get through the second book, I felt the series was slightly redeemed with the third, but then jumped the shark again with the fourth.

While one of my very favorite authors is Kurt Vonnegut, I could never make myself finish Galapogos. It’s been so long I don’t even remember what the story was or what was so horrible but I really hated it.

And since somebody mentioned it, the Twilight books were insanely horrible in my opinion. I read the first one for a book club. I kept thinking, this is going to get better, right? And finished it only mostly hating it. And then I wanted to be “in” so I read the second one. Oh my word, that was the longest book of nothing-ness I’ve ever plodded through. I remember being several hundred pages in and NOTHING HAD HAPPENED YET! Yeah, I gave up after book two. And no, I’ve not seen any of the movie.

ooo, I have a list!

– Most of the ‘chicklit’ I have read. There was one about some American woman who knitted and then moved to England to knit some more and I nearly tore it up to use as toilet paper… UGH.
– John McGahern’s Amongst Women. It made my skin itch.
– Colm Toibín’s Brooklyn. Blahblahblah Booker list blahblah Hated It.
– Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. Perhaps I was too young when I started it, but I remember it as ponderous and boring and everything that is bad about fantasy fiction.

On the other hand, I love Catch 22, so…

In my eyes, Wheel of Time started of with a bit of potential (believe you me, it’s less bad than Goodkind’s Sword of Truth), but I think it just drowned in its own hugeness. “He’s the saviour!” “He’s the super-super saviour!” “End of the world!”

Wheel of Time…saddens me. The stakes were high, the payoffs enormous, the world complicated and read. Handled right, I think it might’ve been right up there with Song of Ice and Fire, but Jordan just didn’t handle it well. It’s like he created a weapon so enormous he couldn’t actually wield it.

Such a shame, too. Started out so promising.

Last book I genuinely hated (and wrote the piece Burn this book about on my fb) was Flatmates from C. Manby.

It was chicklit, (but) in all its baddest forms. All of the women were horrible/airheads/only caring about money-weddings-clothes and just.. o my gosh. I just kept reading because I was sure that I couldn’t have picked out such a bad book for myself.

I generally enjoyed the assigned books in high school, and got really annoyed at people who bitched about them just because they were required reading. But I had no patience for A Tale of Two Cities. I didn’t feel sympathetic towards any of the characters, because none of them seemed to make reasonable decisions. And Lucie Manette drove me insane. But I was 15, and probably not fully appreciative of “great literature”.
Recently, I’ve been super frustrated with Mockingjay. I know everyone loves the Hunger Games series, and I did enjoy the first two. But I’ve been struggling to get through Mockingjay because it’s boring and repetitive and nothing is happening and Katniss is angsty and I don’t care about the love triangle and UGH.

David Copperfield.
I was assigned it for AP English my Junior year, and it was the first book I didn’t read first page to last page. I was so bored and so complainy about it, my mom finally taught me the “read the first page, read the last page, read one page in between” chapter strategy so I could finish it.
I don’t usually remember books too often, as far as plot, after I read them. Maybe that’s a blessing, judging from these answers!

Too easy? I tried to read Twilight because I felt funny about criticizing a book I hadn’t read. I couldn’t do it. Just couldn’t. After the first third, I just started turning pages and yelling, “shut up shut UP SHUT UUUUPPPPPPP!”

I also hate most things Hemingway (which I am usually quiet about because GASP.) His style is like sandpaper on my soul.

I threw a Jane Austen across the room because the main character was insufferable. I get that it’s a commentary on expectations or something, but I was in high school and in the midst of girls who just wanted to have babies and thought math & science were uncool, so I couldn’t put up with it. I think it was Northanger Abbey

I loved Catch-22 and ended up reading a bunch of Joseph Heller books after it. I was very into him, Kurt Vonnegut, and Aldos Huxley at the end of high school and beginning of college.

Like so many others, I hate Ayn Rand. I read “The Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged.” One of my professors said I was noticeably crabbier when I was reading the former, and when I finished the latter, I threw it across the room and let it stay behind my dresser until I moved. AUGH I can’t believe those books.

Now can I vent about this wedding I am being guilted into attending in November? It’s for a good friend of my boyfriend, and while I can get over my issues with the friend (he is a whiny, immature baby who told my boyfriend “If you don’t come to my bachelor party you are uninvited from my wedding”), I can’t get over the girl he is marrying. Here is why: when I first met her, I had been with my boyfriend for about three months. This gal had just gotten together with BF’s friend, and apparently it was at a prior wedding and there was a huge fight about him hooking up with her because he had just scammed on the groom’s sister, but anyway, my BF is not a drama queen and I knew none of this. My BF went off to socialize and I was left at a table full of people I did not know. I tried to make small talk with this girl, because she was the closest. I asked her how she met BF’s friend, knowing NOTHING of the whole fiasco, and she proceeded to YELL at me in front of everyone about what I was “implying” and how I better not start anything with her because she’s too good for me and my crap, then stood up, threw her chair back, and stormed away. EVERYONE was looking at me, the new girl, as if I had just asked her if she would like to eat some babies with me. It was humiliating. Also, I have social anxiety, so this was like my nightmare happening. I had to make sure I was still dressed and not literally in a nightmare. So that’s why I don’t like her.

THEN, I feel justified in continuing to hate her because, so there was a thing with me not addressed on the save the date. My boyfriend told his friend he wasn’t coming to his bachelor party or the wedding because I wasn’t invited, and then apparently now I look like a sad loser and like I need friends I guess because I felt left out (that wasn’t the problem – I don’t want to be friends with any of those people), because that same day, I get a friend request from the girl on FB! Of course if I reject it, I look like the jerk, so I had to accept, which fine, she can’t see any of my statuses and I hid her, but now I can see her page. She has a dozen quotes listed. 10 are from Twilight (one of which is described as “the best quote EVER”) and the other two are her. Quoting herself. About how awesome she is, and everyone who isn’t her wants to be her, and she doesn’t want to be anyone else, because she is AWESOME AND MAGICAL. Oh, and before I got her hidden from my feed, this was the first post I saw from her (paraphrasing): “The lady at the bridal store made me cry, so my mom had to go off on her and grab a manager, and then yell at everyone in the store. Bridezilla day, FML” and then all the comments were about how horrible this poor bridal store lady is and GOOD for her mom, and her wedding is going to be AMAZING AND BEAUTIFUL AND NO ONE HAD BETTER STAND IN HER WAY.

Anyway, I totally don’t want to go to the wedding. I can get past my issues with my BF’s friend, but I do NOT want to show support for anything that girl does. I think she is horrible and I feel like I am not wanted at that wedding (which, evidently, I AM invited to) and I don’t want to be there. It’s going to be tacky and disgusting and she is awful and made me want to cry. But my boyfriend says he is going because the groom is his many-years friend and he wants me to go because I’m his gf and he feels weird doing things without me and he loves me and wants me there and I don’t want to goooooooooo. Do I have to? I don’t wannnnnnnnnnnnaaaaaa.

Sorry. I just had to vent. Oh, also, I hated “The Vicar of Wakefield” the first time I read it, but when I reread it, I loved it. Does anyone else do that?

That bride sounds awful. Seriously dramatic and insane. If you do go, go to have a fun night with your boyfriend making fun of the tacky awfulness. You don’t have to be there because you’re supporting her, you can be there to support the BF in dealing with whatever insanity she’s dreamed up. I try to think of these things as potentially awesome stories to share during future awkward moments. Make sure that you’re going to be seated with BF though and that he doesn’t have some crazy friend-of-the-groom obligations that will mean your stuck by yourself with crazy bride’s crazy friends. If that’s the case, you should totally be allowed to opt out.

I haven’t reread a book I hated, but I’ve been meaning to do so with The Old Man and the Sea and The Sound and the Fury. Both were books I read, or tried to, in high school and people seem to genuinely love them so I feel like I should give them another chance now that I’m supposedly more mature.

That’s how I’m trying to look at it. I just want everyone to somehow know that I… I don’t know. That I’m not happy about being there? But that just sounds jerky. I just want people to know I’m not ecstatic about being there. But I’m sure my non-pokerface will make that clear.

Fortunately my BF is not in the wedding at all, and has promised not to leave my side. Thanks for your post – it’s nice to know I’m not being an asshole for not wanting to go!

For your book choices, I fully support re-reading The Old Man and the Sea, but then, I truly enjoyed it when I read it, which I can’t say of too many Hemingway novels.

I was going to say the same thing, about what I expect was the same event – I was reading on my Kindle, so I couldn’t throw it, but I did chuck it down demonstratively on my pillow and exclaim ‘GRR Martin, you absolute fucking bastard!’

FH was amused.

Oh man. I haven’t been able to pick Book 3 back up yet because of that. I got there a couple weeks ago and am still mourning.

I *know* these characters aren’t real, but I can rarely divorce my emotions enough to avoid feeling every little (and hugenormous) thing that happens.

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