Tuesday, October 26, 2010

five books I wish I had never read and five books I wish I had read instead.

Sometimes spring cleaning forces you to have a good hard look at yourself, or in this case, my reading material. In preparation for a wave of new books due to arrive from The Book Depository in the UK (Mr Curbside has been on a bit of a bender) we've been cleaning out the bookshelves and doing a bit of 'library editing'. Deciding what stays and what goes is usually quite difficult, but this time the job was made much simpler because some truly awful crap had made it's way into my personal collection. Now I must point out that not all of these books were purchased by me and that not all were read in their entirety, this is important because I don't want their inclusion to be considered a reflection of my personal taste, ehem.......

so here goes, the FIVE worst books I have read or almost read and five books I wish I had read instead.

Number 1, The Bride Striped Bare by 'Anonymous', I'll admit to getting caught up in the hype of this book. Described as "telling shocking truths about love and sex" and being "so deeply private" that "I did not want my name attached to it". This book was supposed to be a very personal account of a relationship, but turned out to be a brilliantly marketed, poorly written, gratuitous 'diary' of a very sad woman with poor impulse control. Not worth the $24.95 I paid for it and definitely not worth the time spent reading it.
Book I should have read instead, Perfume, The Story of a Murder by Patrick Suskind

Number 2, The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. This book started off well enough, I'll even admit to enjoying it and getting caught up in the whole conspiracy theory thing but somewhere in the middle it just degenerated into an Indiana Jones type farce and I lost interest. Disappointing because it started off so well and thus the let down was all the greater.
Book I should have read instead, The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Number 3, The Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer, I'm Including all four books as one entry because they are barley distinguishable and frankly would have taken up 4 of the five entries because I truly regret reading them all. I could probably write a very long winded thesis about the many ways that this series of books corrodes the very fabric of society. A series that parades itself as a big, juicy, forbidden love apple is actually a reeking pile of submissiveness, self destruction and apathy. Never have I met a central character I have loathed more than the insipid 'Bella'. Also any author who calls a character 'Renesmee' should have their pen license removed.
Book I should have read instead, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrel by Susanna Clark

Number 4, The Secret by Rhonda Byrne, (I did not buy this, it was a gift and I have not read it all).  I am an atheist so I was never going open this book with an un-biased mind. I was however incredibly curious about the philosophy this book was selling. The power of positive thought is a nice and harmless idea, but the idea that you can have everything you want just by thinking positively is dangerous, idiotic and un-true. Rhonda Byrne would have more credibility if she sold snake oil as a cure for cancer in-front of a children's hospital.
Book I should have read instead, Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

Number 5, Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. This one just didn't do it for me. I got about half way through, put it down and couldn't spare the energy to pick it up again.
Book I should have read instead, Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

What do you think of my 'list o' regret'? Do you have any books you really wish you had never picked up?


  1. Great list... Especially the Stephanie Meyer entry. That is a few hours I'll never get back. The ridiculous thing is I quite enjoyed the first one. After that, yuck. Good luck with the clean out, I think I'm overdue myself.

  2. Hmmm, well I brought a book by Wayne Dwyer once. That was a fail.
    A book called "The food of Love" also a fail
    I can't remember what the title was but a book about a lady who put an ad in the paper wanting to have sex before she died. That was a fail. Should have seen that coming.

  3. The Da Vinci Code. Wasn't that a waste of time and money? Even thinking about its stupidity makes me irritated.

  4. 1. Agree - she annoys me in interviews too.
    2. Agree - I couldn't get past p.22 - ridikalus!
    3. Didn't even bother
    4. Ha ha ha
    5. Exact same experience

    Love Sedaris - though I'm reading his latest Engulfed in Flames and ... not so much. Sad face. I've seen him live too and was a bit disappointed.

  5. i was one of the few people who never read the Da Vinci Code... glad i didn't!

  6. Can I just say...that photo is AWESOME!
    I read Jonathen Strange & Mr Norell earlier this year and is was good, but gosh was it ever so long and detailed! Did you find that? It seems to be every book I pick up this year is historical and tends to drag. At the moment I'm reading Morgans Run by Colleen Mccoullogh and errgg it drags! It dragggsss. (But some sick part of me can't put it down.)

    Oh, in regards to vampire reading. In case you haven't already - don't read the True Blood series. They are beyond shit..(well maybe not quite as bad as Twilight) but still...

  7. I read perfume and was pleasantly surprised.
    I tried to read shantaram but couldnt get through it.
    Twilight was ok but the sequels sucked lemons, and the movies were absoloute torture.
    Books I would recommend - the people of the book by geraldine Brooks
    Rose by Mrtin Cruz Smith (also the author of Gorky Park)
    How green was my valley by Richard Llewellyn

  8. I haven't read the first three - I couldn't possibly go anywhere near anything Twilight related. The Lost Boys of the 80's are my only vampires!
    I'm embarrassed to admit that I read The Secret. I didn't buy it, someone gave it to me as a gift. It was crap!
    My sister gave me Eay Pray Love after she read it. I had just gone through a break up, and I HATED it. It was seriously one of the worst books that I have ever read in my life. I only finished it because I took it to a hospital appointment and had nothing else to do for the three hours that I was forced to sit there.

  9. Loved Perfume and Shantaram :)
    Hated Bride Stripped Bare.
    Didn't mind the DaVinci code as wasn't expecting great literature.
    I was given a book called Do Travel Writers Go To Hell?
    I couldn't even finish it - and that's rare, I'm a stick with it kinda gal but this was a pile of steaming dog turds, the story was horrible but the writing was worse. I wanted those hours of my life back......
    We need a list of book recommendations so that we're not stabbing in the dark on next selections :)

  10. Fab post! And gorgeous picture.

    I've managed to steer clear of The Bride, The Secret and Eat Pray, but got sucked in by the others. I didn't think Da Vinci was as bad as Twilight (yet I, too, read all 4), but that's not saying much!

    I loved The Road, but found Jonathan Strange a bit too dense. Perfume and Shantaram are on my current to read list. And I think you've just added Me Talk Pretty :-)

  11. so so so funny as i LOVED twilight, dan brown and eat pray love lol. i would rank ea pray love in my fave 5 book of all time! teh da vinci code was ok but have you read Angels and Demons? way way WAAAAAY better.

  12. Oh so many! Lovely Bones, Time Travellers Wife and a special 'uurgh!' to Diary of a London Call Girl.

    And everything by Judy Blume. As a teen I thought her books were fabulous and I read them many times but looking back, what on earth was she on? Not a popular opinion I know.

  13. I found this list very interesting. I thought 'The Bride Stripped Bare' was pathetic as well. In fact, I have just donated my copy to my local oppy.

    I haven't read the Twilight series, reading about vampires doesn't interest me. I'm glad to hear I've made the right choice.

    By the way, I dream of having that library in the picture!

  14. Totally agree with The Da vinci code and any thing to do with vampires. I really wish I hadn't read The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.I felt that I should be shocked by the ending but it was so predictable and the fact that I didn't like the wee boy didn't help. I recommend The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns, and The Five People you Meet in Heaven to everyone I know.

  15. Shantaram is one of my all time fav's but I must admit it took me a really long time to finish - it's just such a big book - but SO worth it!!


Thanks ever so for taking the time to say hi!


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