Shit Books I Unapologetically Hate

It’s time to get salty.

Inspired by LilyCReads’ ‘Shit Books That I Hate’ that came out quite a while a go, I decided it was time for a little collection of my 1-2 star ratings of books that I hated. As a disclaimer (#1), I have read all these, and won’t be going into books I haven’t read but know are problematic, they’re just, in my opinion, terrible. And I’m not going to be speaking constructively like a normal review so, if you’re not into me saying ‘this books sucks’ then this post probably isn’t for you.

DISCLAIMER #2: Just because I hate them, this does not mean that you cannot. I would never tell anyone that they should hate a book just because I do and if you love any of the books mentioned then great! I’m sure there are books that you loathe and I love too.

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

27883214This book was so hyped. So fucking hyped. People were clambering over themselves at YALC 2016 to get the one proof they were giving away. Everyone was talking about it. Comparing it to The Night Circus, and how fucking dare you.

This was the one book I received for my birthday. It was every word synonymous with beautiful but oh my god, it’s innards were bladdy awful. Not only did the plot make absolutely no sense, there was no heart to the book? It was literally slapped together, and I feel really sorry for Stephanie Garber if she worked so hard on the world building because where was it? All the characters are unlikable and stupid as fuck, the main character was just dragged from one place to the next and could’ve been swapped from a human to a doll and you wouldn’t have had to make many changes to the text. Characters just threw information at her and then when she had questions, they would just say “it doesn’t matter” or “never mind about that” and we just had to move on. Who cares about that thing? I certainly don’t. What utter shit.

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

rrcoverTurns out even your ‘handsome’ face can’t help you write a good book.

I didn’t even finish this nonsense because it wasn’t science fiction at all. It was a book about the perfect man being perfect and having sex with women and then them dying except it happens on Mars. Nowadays I just expect shitty female characters from male authors; if it’s sci-fi/fantasy, they’re sexually promiscuous with giant breasts and have no personality, or the opposite, an innocent virgin maiden, then if it’s gen-fic, they’re a bitch who cheats on the main male character. In most situations, she’s raped or killed or both. Without spoiling anything, Red Rising ticks a lot of these boxes in the first 100 pages. I couldn’t be asked to read the rest. Do one.

 

 

The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich

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This was a lot more disappointing than most. #Ownvoices LGBT rep, how could I say no? I bought this the day it came out and read it in about two days. But what I read was just shite. It was just a poorly written story, but then again the concept itself was a bit odd. I get why; it’s meant to be a bit of a piss-take of spy movies and also a commentary on heteronormative stories. It could have been interesting…sort of. What it actually was a description of things happening, it was dire to read. I wrote a scathing review about it including some examples taken right out of the book. Read them out loud and you’ll see what I mean. Did anyone actually read this book before they published it? It’s just notes, it ain’t even a first draft.

This is a novel from a debut author too, which makes me a little guilty for saying all these things. But the work and the grind and the passion that has to be put in a debut novel just to get your foot in the door of an agent is so mighty that many just give up after a billion rejections. So to see this be taken on and published is such a shock and there, the guilt has gone.

The Host by Stephanie Meyer

the_hostThis book was just generic Stephenie Meyer forumla. Take a special girl and make two guys fight over her. It’s not flattering, because the guys are also mean to the girl, who just moves from one room to the next to receive a few info dumps before nothing happens. And this is a thick book. Ughhhh. I can’t believe I read the whole thing, what’s wrong with me?

I didn’t put the Twilight series on here because, despite giving the books 1-2 stars on Goodreads, when I read them as a teen I adored them, so I don’t think lil’ Hollie would appreciate me trashing them now at 24. So I’ll do her a favour and just diss this nonsense.

 

 

 

 

Please, don’t take any of these to heart. I would never hate a person for loving a book I dislike. The freedom have a difference of opinion is a beautiful thing and hey, if there are any books that you hate but think/know I love, then tell me in the comments and we can all be salty together!

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Twilight And Other Things You’re Not Supposed To Like.

Some time ago now, I wrote a post on my Tumblr about how we’re dictated what to like and what to not like. Some less time ago, I wrote specifically on the pressure to enjoy certain books. Popularity + hype = pressure. You’ll be in the middle of a beloved book and you’re just not feeling it.

And so, I wanted to write about the flip side, with a smattering of the old Tumblr post, here is an updated post on the pressure to dislike things.

I like liking things.

Whether it’s shows, movies, books, these things have mixed together the right amount of awesomeness to make me go ‘Hmm, I like this’. What I’m saying isn’t new; everyone has things they like, things that make them happy. Things they love to talk about and completely immerse themselves in.

Entertainment is often put into categories by society; what we should like, and what we shouldn’t like. You don’t have to necessarily stick to the categories, but people often do.

Because if you don’t, well, time to get whacked by the judgement stick.

It’s something you see everywhere, but you don’t necessarily register. People are constantly judged and shamed for something so innocent as liking a thing. And so, because you know that this thing that you like will make people think they can just shit on you because of it, you start to call it a ‘guilty pleasure’.

A term I’m really starting to hate.

How is a guilty pleasure different from something you just like? Well, nothing, a part from the reaction you get from the rest of the world.

Fun fact; I like the Twilight movies.

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Hey! Stop telling people what they can and can’t read! So go get a REAL life!

I read the books, loved them, and then soon after, decided I didn’t like them. But when I’d first read them, that enjoyment was completely pure and innocent. I’d started reading them just before they became popular, and so didn’t have that view already pressed onto me. As I got older, yes, I realised they weren’t for me; I’d read Breaking Dawn and had felt betrayed. But then, the films came out.

These hilarious, car crashes of films. Films that were shot in beautiful locations, with fantastic soundtracks, and serious dialogue that you can’t help but laugh out loud to. At first, I felt ashamed for liking them; they’re not exactly high brow films, with stellar lines and deep, meaningful themes. The acting is fine, I guess, and the makeup the vampire characters wear is downright hilarious. If you don’t like them, I get it, and you have every right to dislike something. But if you decide to shit on a person because they like them? All I hear is a small person trying to lift themselves up by standing on the toes of others.

It’s really, really, not necessary.

I decided that no pleasure was a guilty pleasure (unless it was illegal). If it makes you happy, then how could it possibly be guilty? You don’t need approval by your peers or society to like something just because society looks down on it, or because you don’t ‘fit the category’ of people liking that certain thing.

I see this far too often when it comes to liking what you read. Having an unpopular opinion can be fun, but shitting on those who do has an impact on absolutely nothing. If you loved Twilight, 50 Shades of Gray, or One Direction fan fiction, then fucking own it. While you may acknowledge the problematic reasons for fictions such as these (romanticisation of relationships, shipping of real life people), if you enjoyed reading it, you are allowed that right. And you’re allowed to talk about it if you want.

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DNF: The Pressure to Enjoy Books

Not finishing a book is an often difficult concept to me.

I am easily impressed and entertained, it takes something big (or I guess, not big at all) for me to put down a book. Either it’s really boring, or there is an element of the story I really don’t like.

Of course, that’s the same for everyone; you put down a book because you don’t like it. Books are subjective. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion yada yada yada.

But when being a part of a reading community, you can often get whirled up in hype. I hate hype. It’s like this infectious thing that latches onto a book/series and spreads, deeming the book too boring and disappointing. Hype has put me off books completely, tearing down the idea that I’ll even pick it up!

But then there are some books that I’m dying to read, are incredibly popular, and so well loved.

Last night, after reading only forty pages, I DNF’d a really popular book in the online reading/book blogging community. I was actually offended that this book was so popular; after reading not even a tenth of it, I had ticked off almost everything off my checklist in what I don’t like about a book: misogyny, a Mary-Sue, a poorly developed world, the hashing out of old ideas, character stereotypes (manic pixie dream girl for one), and unrealistic dialogue.

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This book, that so many people love, was awful. How, as an avid reader and book lover, though, could I not enjoy it? I began to doubt myself, staring at the book as I discussed with people on Twitter why I didn’t like it, and why they actually loved it. Was it me? Was I the problem? Was I not reading it properly? Missing the point? I mean, I’d only read forty pages, that’s not really enough to decide whether a book is good or not.

But…don’t agents, don’t publishers, only read the first chapter? I read five, and I would have put this manuscript in the trash immediately.

But it must have something; people love it! They love the author, they love the story, the characters, the messages. Yeah, it must definitely be me.

For a long time I felt very guilty about putting a book down that I didn’t like. Because maybe I just didn’t get it, I was missing something that everyone else was seeing. But it was only after talking about it to myself more, rereading parts, and talking to others on Twitter about it more, did I realise that no, I will not feel guilty about disliking something.

I have genuine feelings about why I dislike this book, and just because it’s so popular, does not mean that I am wrong. As I said before, reading is a very subjective experience, and through outside factors along with the individual past and present experiences of the reader, you are also bound to have a different interpretation of it as the writer. Just by being a woman, I already have a different outlook on the world than the writer. Hell, just by being another human, I do.

And just because I did not like this book, does not mean there is anything wrong with me, anything wrong with the writer, anything wrong with the book, anything wrong with people who enjoy the book. It all boils down everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I didn’t really feel it until I had this largely unpopular opinion. It wasn’t until people who loved the book sent me smiling emojis and told me my review was interesting.

To me, life is too short for books you don’t enjoy, life is too short to feel forced to pick up books you don’t fancy. Book recs are great, publicity is what get a book out there. But if you don’t like a book, do not be afraid to give it one star, do not be afraid to show an understanding and give constructive criticism (without being downright rude). Do not be afraid to put a book down and say “Yeah, I’m done.”

Considering I only read forty pages, I think it would be redundant to post a review. However, I have put down some thoughts on said book on my Goodreads. If you haven’t read the book and were planning to, please do not be put off by my opinion. Still want to read it? Absolutely go for it, there’s obviously something in there that readers love, and I would hate for you to miss out on a story that could very well be your best read of the year!

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