RW4: Novels I despise

Wicked Jenny D requests that I write more

scathing posts about novels you don’t like in which we have to guess what they are and you annoyingly and mysteriously refrain from telling us.

First up I have to establish the rules of this game.

    Rule no. 1: If you are a friend of mine who has heard my rants and knows what books I refer to you may not act like you’re guessing in the comments thread. That would be evil, immoral and wrong.

    Rule no. 2: All guesses must be as vague as possible and not include actual book titles or author’s names. That way no author will get offended that you’re even guessing that any of these dreadful books could be by them. This rule does not apply to dead authors.

    Rule no. 3: No authors may guess that I’m talking about their novel. I adore all novels written by authors who read this blog. Even those I haven’t read.

    Rule no. 4: I will annoyingly and mysteriously refrain from telling you what the books are. Yes, even if you email me and beg.

Despised novel the first:

It starts off and the reader1 thinks it’s going to be the best book of all time. The situation is exciting and funny and wry, but also a little bit sad. It then turns into a blokey stream-of-conscious-my-life-sucks-and-no-girl-loves
-me-especially-not-the-girl-I-have-a-crush-on-who-is-too-good-for-me pile of steaming excrement. Someone is tormenting him. The torments make no sense. He runs around doing stuff. The girl-who-is-too-good-for-him rejects him. The reader is more and more inclined to agree that the girl is too good for him. He does more stuff. The girl unrejects him. The reader is aghast. It all turns out to be a dream. The reader throws the book across the room.

Despised novel the second:

An obsessive bloke ponders whiteness and pursues a whale. Oh, bugger it. The book’s Moby Dick and I hate it so much I cannot express my hatred. Gah! I wish I had never ever tried to wade through its turgidity. Stupid book club.

I do love Melville’s short fiction, but. I’m not a total philistine, people.

And before you suggest it, yes, it’s prolly because I’m not American that I do not get the most genius work your nation has ever produced. Let’s leave it at that, shall we?

Despised novel the third:

There’s a new girl at school. Although she’s worried about how she’ll adjust everyone loves her, even the coolest guy in school. This is fortunate as she loves the coolest guy in school too. They hang out. The new girl falls over a lot. The cool guy picks her up a lot. There are lame unbelieveable obstacles that are quickly cleared. But in the end they are separated for some reason that is not particularly clear to this reader. The follow-up books are even worse and feature more falling over and being picked up. The protag’s real name is Mary Sue.

Despised novel the fourth:

A middle-aged-but-still-sexy-damnit college professor has an affair with one of his students while his wife washes dishes slowly, seeing her life reflected in the suds. Or so the college professor imagines. However, as he rarely speaks to, or pays any attention at all to said wife it’s a puzzle where his conjectures come from. I’m thinking out of his arse whence the novel derives its origin. The protag’s name should be Gary Stu (the male equivalent of Mary Sue). Which is ironic as I bet a gazillion dollars that the esteemed author never heard of no Gary Stu. I confess that I couldn’t even finish this one.

If I get into trouble for this post I would like to point out that it’s Jenny D’s fault. Hate her, not me!

Feel free to rant about novels you hate in the comments. But, please, keep it vague! Very very very vague. We authors are delicate creatures whose feelings can be crushed with even a slightly unenthusiastic word.2 Do you really want to make an author cry?

  1. I say “the reader” because I cannot conceive of an intelligent human being who could like this book or have a different reaction to it. Sadly I have some friends who do like this book, but clearly they were under the influence of a malign star while reading it, so I forgive them. []
  2. Possibly even the dead ones. Sorry, Mr Melville! []


  1. molly on #

    I am totally convinced the falling down book is [redacted]! Which I enjoyed reading but then hated as soon as I thought about it! (In fact I just read my post about it and am embarrassed that I liked it in the first place. Youch.)

    Blog overlord says: No naming specific books or authors! Look at the rules, people!

  2. jenny d on #

    justine, you don’t really hate moby dick, do you?!? it is a work of total genius! and i didn’t read it for many years out of a strong impression that it was rather like what i know i do not like, the weaker sea tales of joseph conrad (i am not crazy about sea-related books, this also led to me putting off reading patrick o’brian for a regrettably long time); and then when i finally picked it up out of a sense of shame at not having read it i was, like, “wait a minute, thomas pynchon was a lot less original than i thought, i cannot believe what this guy does with language!” i don’t know, i think it might be worth another look…

    i am sorry to say that you have been so discreet that i cannot recognize any of your other books. but thank you for being temporarily slightly evil!

    nb on despised novel the fourth i have tried three times now to read the academic novel “straight man” and though it seems to me very well-written (and with a delightful first chapter) once i get to the actual professorish part of it i just can’t do it! in fact i have sort of a ban on reading academic novels in general, unless they are, you know, terry pratchett wizard university-type ones! which of course are the kind of books i most love…

  3. Veronica on #

    Don’t be absurd re: Moby Dick. It is not even close to the greatest book the US has produced. Where the Wild Things Are is the greatest book the US has produced.

    I am not joking. Not even a little bit. Name 5 American books you think are genuinely better than WtWTA.

  4. veejane on #

    I read a nonfiction book about the real historical event on which moby-dick is based (Nathaniel Philbrick’s In the Heart of the Sea, and thus feel I have gotten a gretest hits version of moby dick without all of the fappery about pickling methods.

    Also, since I live in whaling country, there is this weird backwards-in-time sensation whereby I am Herman Melville’s grandmother, and he is trying to teach me to suck eggs. It’s a bit tiresome.

  5. Jez on #

    I’m really not sure what any of those are, except for the one about a giant whale.

    A book I couldn’t stand reading (which will probably get me yelled at because it’s a “classic”) and had a hard time getting through for school was about a crazy guy who decided he’s going to create another crazy guy. He does this by means that are never actually revealed in the book, we’re just supposed to accept that it happens. So he creates this monster person-thing and then realizes “oh no, I shouldn’t have done that!” Crazy guy rants on about how horrible life is…a lot, so does his creation. His creation makes observations about humanity, and they both complain some more. And at the end of the book the monster was following the guy and then the guy dies and soon after the “monster” dies. The whole book was one big complaint.

  6. Kathryn on #


    Your hatred of Moby Dick has forced me out of lurkerdom.

    Me too! It was the most painful reading experience of my life! (And only last year so a relatively fresh one).


    (PS: I also agree with veronica that ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ is awesome 🙂

  7. alisa on #

    fun. a book i couldn’t stand reading was:

    orphan finds Something Special. the special thing is, like, his destiny, and he discovers that because of this thing he gets to be the one to destroy the big bad guy, but of course he can’t just go straight there and do it, he has to get training first. so, he bumps into an army or two, and mostly feels sorry for himself while he gets to do things most everyone else would think were way cool. also, he falls in love with unattainable girl, who may love him back except that she’s unattainable (and why would she love the whiner? she’s way wiser and smarter than he is anyway?). the worst part of this book was that it didn’t really end, instead it is the first of a long-ass series.

  8. alisa on #

    also, i’m jumping on board with wtwta, and i never could finish moby dick, stopped about 2/3 of the way through of BOREDOM.

  9. Stephanie Campisi on #

    I do believe I wrote a ranty blog entry about despised book #3. . .and said pretty much exactly the same things!

  10. molly on #

    OOOOH, sorry, Justine. I read that rule too fast; I think I was too enthusastic about the possibility of guessing, but you refusing to tell. Bad job, me!

  11. Jeff Hentosz on #

    Hi, Justine. First-time commenter here to (sort-of) defend Moby Dick. I tried three or four times to read the thing, but could never get out of New York with Ishmael, let alone to New Bedford or out to the Pequod.

    Then I discovered the unabridged audiobook, and the door swung open. Took about a month of commuting to get through it, but it’s amazing how comprehensible three-page-long paragraphs — with half-page nested clauses — are when a great voice is reading them to you. Some parts are actually laugh-out-loud funny! Even the whale lore chapters approach interesting.

    Maybe on some future road trip it’d be worth another try.

    Regardless, it’s really not the most genius American work. Huckleberry Finn is. (WTWTA is in the top five, yes.)

  12. Sherwood Smith on #

    that mary sue book reminds me of one in which our heroine is ever so much prettier than anyone and is instantly popular wherever she goes, oh, and smarter too….but all she really really wants is a strong man to lean on and to support her and tell her what to do….ugugugugug

  13. Amanda Coppedge on #

    Haven’t bothered to read Moby Dick but LOVE Ray Bradbury’s Green Shadows, White Whale. It’s an exaggerated take on the time he spent in Ireland working on the film version.

    Also, worth watching the film of Moby Dick solely for the purpose of seeing this woman with an elaborate, curly white beard. It’s like she has the hair of a 1940s movie star on her chin. She’s only in the movie for 15 seconds or so, but, man.

    I am too scared to write about the book I hate to pieces, mostly because the author wrote another book that’s one of my favorites. It’s the only book I’ve ever thrown across the room in disgust after finishing it. I hate it so much that, among my friends, the title of this book has become a synonym for “crap.”

  14. Rachel Brown on #

    i read the falling down book! it has shiny happy [redacted]! unless there are two such books.

    i hate all romances in which the hero lectures the heroine in a condescending manner, and then she realizes her flaws. i think i have read five or six where that happens. hate. hate. hate. hate.

    Blog overlord is very stict!

  15. robin on #

    This is indeed a fun game. I’m hoping that book #1 is the book I actually DID throw across the room a month ago — but even if it’s not, it echoes perfectly the tirade I delivered to my empty apartment after coming face to face with the so-called ‘twist’ ending.

    Another book I hate: the one where the poor little rich boy runs away from school because everyone’s a phony, only to discover that everyone in new york’s a phony too. And then he rides a merry-go-round. Yes, I realize that I can get stripped of my YA-writer badge for hating this one. But hate it I do.

  16. chance on #

    I will annoyingly and mysteriously refrain from telling you what the books are. Yes, even if you email me and beg.

    What if we buy you drinks at Wiscon?

  17. Herman Melville on #

    I’m devastated. Was it the bit about whaling that you didn’t like?

  18. Herman Melville on #

    P.S. Glad you like the short stories, though.

  19. orangedragonfly on #

    a novel i hated: man is on a quest to find the secret of a certain thing (he happens to be an expert of said things). man meets woman, who predictably offers to help. dusty research ensues, including narrow escapes from unknown dangers. man and woman predictably fall in love. in the end woman leaves man and (if i remember correctly) steals researched object. man is sad.

    when i finished above hated novel i looked at my husband and said, “i haven’t a bloody clue what i just read.” i probably would have thrown it, but it was a library book. and hardcover. i likely would have broken the wall or something.

  20. marrije on #

    look, justine, you invoked mr melville!

    What a delightful, giggle-inducing post. Thank you! Though I have no clue about three of the books you mention, but I do think that ‘it was all a dream’ should be an automatic dismissal from the union of working writers. And I must admit that I feel slightly tempted to give moby dick another try after this passionate pro-and-con…

  21. Justine on #

    I’m sorry to offend Mr Melville and all his fans, but Moby Dick is still of the excremental variety. Blerk! I’d rather eat my own eyeballs than even be in the same room with that book!

    Where the Wild Things Are is a work of genius. As is Huck Finn.

    Thank you all for being so entertaining. Even when you’re dissing Frankenstein and making Mary Shelley cry.

  22. A.R.Yngve on #

    About “Despised novel the fourth”… it belongs to a sub-genre of pretentious pap which I have named the “horny old man” story.

    You wouldn’t believe how many “horny old man” books get praise from critics — perhaps because many critics are old men themselves.

    incidentally, Peter Jackson’s King Kong is a “horny old man” story, with Kong playing the part of the horny old man who is loved by a much younger (and smaller) woman… ;-P

  23. niki on #

    actually a.r.yngve; if you noticed, PJ’s Kong has no exposed genitals, so kong is actually a female. Similarly the mermaids in HP4 have no tits, so they are actually meraphrodites …I love the US censorship board.

  24. marrije on #

    my pet hate is that book they hit you over the head with in uni english, written by that guy in the milkman suit.

    i had a professor who set out to prove in his accepting-the-professorship speech that the rather charming writer of tristram shandy had been influenced by this guy who couldn’t string a plot together coherently to save his life. what a mount of go-nowhere mumbling. the book. not the speech, which may have been eloquent, but i didn’t attend because the thesis was silly and impossible, and much too cute.

    oh yeah, and the same professor had a reading club where they read the book in question to each other, one chapter a session i believe, and when they had finished the book they just started over again! incomprehensible.

    not sure what they did on that day in june, because I probably clapped my hands over my ears before they could tell me. we hates it, we hates it, yes we does.

  25. John H on #

    I believe I know which book alisa is referring to, and if it is I liked it more than she did. The biggest knock on the book I’m referring to is how closely it parallels a certain story set in a galaxy far, far away…

    A book that I read recently that left me wishing for those two weeks of my life back had to do with certain mythological figures constantly reliving their stories over and over again with no real beginning or end… but with different [redacted] to help you realize when the story suddenly jumps from way back when to sometime in the future.

    All must quake before the mighty blog overlord!

  26. Rebecca on #

    oh boy. i’m pretty sure i know which book you’re talking about for number three. i’ve heard a couple other people complain about it as well. i love it. i’m not sure why, as the problems you mentioned are quite real and if it were any other book, i’d probably feel the same. but for some reason, i still love it. (if it is, indeed, the same book we’re talking about.) i honestly can’t explain why. 😛

    on the other hand, i completely agree about moby dick. and i’m american. we had to do that for summer reading before my junior year for this teacher who is cool but certifiable (he read the thing to his daughter when she was still in the womb, and then several times after she was born. !!!!). and, er, i admit that maybe i didn’t give it much of a chance, but i just couldn’t make myself sit down and read the thing for longer than a few chapters.

  27. Rebecca on #

    hehe, i also think i know what alisa’s talking about. i read that one too, and i pretty much agree.

  28. Rebecca on #

    argh. i keep remembering more things.

    so yeah, there’s this book, and basically it’s about a bunch of the filthy rich children of powerful people, and suddenly they find out that things about them are “changing” and people die and more people are in danger, and the filthy rich kids run around holding parties and suddenly meeting their true loves and snubbing the less popular kids. and then the bloody thing doesn’t even really end. there are people i know who like this book, but i just don’t understand it. the vast majority of it sounds like the book version of my super sweet sixteen.

  29. John H on #

    Another one that left me shaking my head in scorn, because I happen to like most of the author’s other books, was about a small sleepy town in which the residents are transformed into homicidal aliens, except for the ‘hero’ because of the steel plate in his head. My best guess is the author hit his page quota and decided to wrap it up by having the ‘hero’ find a spaceship that’s causing all the problems and fly it into space. Everyone dies. The end. (GAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!)

    Same author, different book – man can’t sleep, so he wanders around noting all the things happening when he would otherwise be asleep. The book is a sure-fire cure for the title of the book…

  30. Justine on #

    Chance: What if we buy you drinks at Wiscon?

    As I will not be at WisCon I am impervious to such blandishments.

    This is fun, isn’t it? I’m really enjoying all your contributions. And am so tempted to add more of them as, like Rebecca adn John H, I remember more and more books that drove me spare.

  31. Mely on #

    I hate this thread so much. It is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle without having a picture on the box and in fact not being sure if you are working with one jigsaw puzzle or several dozen tossed in one place.

    Also, I think you are making up the one about “And it was all a dream.” I do not believe people really write that. Or, okay, I believe people write it by the skazillion in workshops and submit it by the bazillion in slush piles but I do not believe such stories actually get published.

    And I say this having actually read one or two Golden Age SF stories where the end was “And they were Adam and Eve.”

  32. Diana on #

    Stories I hate:

    1) A family is in trouble because their livelihood is, through environmental change, no good. So they have to leave and go, um, elsewhere. Along the way they starve. And die. Oh, how they die. Grandparents die and children die and for goo measure, a dog gets hit by a car. Unrelentingly bleak. And adult breastfeeding. When I finished that one, which was the second by the author that I read (the first was about another animal who dies), I swore I was never going to read another book by this author again, and I don’t care how much of a classic he is.

    2) A chick is very popular and successful in her business and yet she doesn’t want to marry the popular, attractive, successful guy who apparently isn’t keeping her happy in bed, but at the same time, she isn’t really into the guy who she keeps bumping into who is supposed th be the hero of the book. However, unbeknownst to her, the “hero” has actually been memorizing her schedule, breaking into her office to leave presents on her desk, and watching her exercise through a telescope. He’s depressed because his ex wife is married to an abusive racist who beats her every time she thinks about her ex husband. I don’t know what happens. I got so fed up with the stalker-as-good-guy I threw it against the wall and never finished.

  33. Diana on #

    I just remembered another:

    3) Man loses wife. Is very depressed. Woman by chance discovers how much man loved his wife and then tracks him down and manipulates him into a position of dating her. When he discovers that she purposefully insinuated herself into his life and made it look like chance, he gets understandably angry and drives her away. But it’s too late. They’re in love. So they get back together, but then he dies in the most annoyingly idiotic chance way possible.

  34. pixelfish on #

    stories i hated, even upon re-reading to see if i might be mistaken

    1- there’s this beautiful girl, see, and everybody who sees her either loves her or lusts after her, but whatever, they all have to help her or hate her. she’s supposedly beautiful, wise, witty, and good at just about everything. we never actually see this, because she’s also extremely oblivious. anyway, she falls in with a set of companions, has some adventures and finds out she is supposed to save the world somehow. which of course she does and gets reunited with her twue luv!

    2- It’s the end of the world as we know it, and there’s this girl. And she has to survive on her own. And there’s basically a lot of her surviving on her own and being lonely until one day somebody finds her. and this is a bad thing because he is not her true lover or anything like that, no, he is going to probably kill her or force her to do horrible things, so she runs away.

    3- there’s this guy on a ship and he gets into a shitload of trouble, and our english teacher wants us to think he is some kind of christ-like sacrificial figure, and hell, we’re back to melville again. damn you, billy budd. well, at least i learned the meaning of the word cynosure because of you. not a complete waste of english class.

  35. pixelfish on #

    Also….before I forget:

    4- There’s this dystopian future where everybody’s lives are planned out for them, and of course, there’s one special kid who is just so sensitive and special that he realises everybody would really be happier if he could just free them all from their dystopian planned lives. So…he runs away.

    (I don’t often like stories that end with the protaganist running away and LEAVING all their problems. Well, most of the time I don’t. I think, isn’t that where the story is. Did I waste my entire time on set-up? where’s the resolution. But that’s just me.)

  36. camille on #

    diana’s #1 is my most. hated. ever. ever.

    no, really, ever.

    moby dick is my almost most hated ever, tying with considerably shorter book by same author; must-have-pretty-young-boy-must-destroy-him-because-i-want-to-kiss-
    him novella. sacrificial lambing and hanging from the yard arm ensue.

    baa-a-a-a, and thar she blows.

  37. Seth Christenfeld on #

    personally, i hated that acclaimed novel about the guy who takes a long-ass walk while his girlfriend is at home, listening to a mean drifter play the fiddle.

  38. dubjay on #

    would like to make a plea on behalf of the tour de force. i admire the hell out of books where the authors pull out all the stops and push the balls to the wall and stick their fingers in sockets and do every other goddam thing in their power to make their audience scream and shrivel with awe and terror and feelings of complete inadequacy.

    moby dick is one such (and i adore it). the book by the man in the ice cream suit is another, and i love some of it and respect other parts and dislike others. and then there’s the one about the family who rows out to the lighthouse, which i didn’t quite see the point of though i haven’t read it lately, and also the one about all the oversexed people who are chasing the mysterious V2, or A4 if you’re German, which I think is just wonderful and which has been a significant influence on my work, a fact which no one seems to have ever noticed (and if you’re an academic you could get some papers out of it, probably).

    the tour de force about the iconic senile spanish gent didn’t quite work for me, possibly because i don’t think that crazy people getting their teeth knocked out is really funny; but the one i really disliked is the one about the retarded fellow who hangs around the golf course because the people there sometimes shout out his sister’s name.

    at first i thought i disliked this book because all the technique seemed borrowed from the book about dublin, but then i read more books by that author where the borrowings were not quite so obvious and hated all of them, too. so it’s probably my fault, not the author’s, unless of course everyone in the american south really is sick and depressed and crazy, in which case it’s history’s fault, not mine.

  39. Darice on #

    I was going to write up my most hated book, but I can’t remember enough of the plot. Thankfully, it has been driven from my brain! But it had to do with Beautiful People and Drugs and Destructive Behavior in California, and it was made into a movie with [redacted] (which I never saw).

    The thing was, I hated the book the entire time I read it, but I couldn’t stop reading it. Eccch.

    Blog overlord says naming actors is too much of a giveaway. Bestselling authors have feelings too!

  40. Diana on #

    See, Camille, I’ve kept my never-read-that-guy-again vow, but now my very good friend has insisted that I read another book by him which she says is nothing like the everyone starves and dies book OR like the animals dies book. it was the one that oprah wanted everyone to read. it’s been my friend’s favorite book for years. So I may have to be forsworn and give it a whirl…

  41. orangedragonfly on #

    mely: i tried to post this last night but my net went down. anyway..spread all over my dining room table is one of those jigsaw puzzles with no picture on the box! i have put many small bits together, but fitting them *all* together…

    pixelfish: your #4 is one of my favorites, has been for years. isn’t it great that we each get to have our own opinions? 😉

  42. marrije on #

    mely @#31: i do not recognise the book justine is talking about, but i can promise you there is at least one book out there by a rather well-known author that does, indeed, end with an it-was-all-a-dream.

    remember that book about the woman who was giving birth to the child of [redacted]? the one who cut her hair? that had a sequel, and the writer pulled that exact trick. kept building it up and up and up and i kept wondering how are you going to pull this off? and then he did not. very sad.

    i hear the writer was not very well at the time, so i forgive him now, but not when i came to the last page of the book. oh no no no.

    Blog overlord says that was a dead giveaway. Sloppy!

  43. suzanne on #

    Robin said:
    Another book I hate: the one where the poor little rich boy runs away from school because everyone’s a phony, only to discover that everyone in new york’s a phony too. And then he rides a merry-go-round. Yes, I realize that I can get stripped of my YA-writer badge for hating this one. But hate it I do.

    I hate that book too, but hating it doesn’t get you stripped of your badge; it might even get you critically acclaimed. Have you read King Dork ?

    I can’t figure out mystery novel #4, but I’ve read a number of books like it and hated them all. The whole professor-sleeps-with-student genre is extremely annoying.

  44. Darice on #

    abject apologies, blog overlord!!!

  45. Justine on #

    Mely @ 31 said Also, I think you are making up the one about “And it was all a dream.”

    I so did not make it up! Talk like that will get you banned from this blog, missy. I may have to force you to read it. Or I would if I could tell you what it is.

    Sorry you’re not enjoying this. Mwah hah hahaahaha!

    I do indeed know the book you mention, Marrije. And it was as annoying as that whole season of Dallas.

  46. PixelFish on #

    orangedragonfly @41: Hey, whatever, works for you. If we are talking about the same book, I will admit I like the setup but I don’t think the world building was completely thought out in terms of long range consequences. And it’s the last part of the book that I really don’t care for.

  47. camille on #


    i visit your blog, so if you forswear yourself, i would request an on-line confession and mini-review of said formerly-forsworn author’s work. not in a punitive way,


    no…not at all…

  48. Haley on #

    The one I’m about to say is a good way to get myself KILLED. So hopefully I’m vague enough.

    There’s a boy. A SPECIAL boy. So special, in fact, that said boy is teased mercessly by his classmates. One attacks him. The Special Boy fights back and kills him (but we don’t know until later).
    Special Boy is then taken away to train to be a soldier. Because he’s SPECIAL. His siblings are special…but *too* special.
    So, Special Boy (or SB from now on, because it amuses me) goes to school to be a soldier. The kids hate him, but then love him. Probably because they’re scared of him (he kills ANOTHER kid).
    SB finally learns enough to kill the alien invaders. SB then feels bad, and…uh…goes on a journey for spiritual enlightenment or something.

    >> I’m probably gonna get burned alive for saying I didn’t like that one. Part of it could be that my friend liked the book a lot, so I had too high of expectations? But yeah, I didn’t like it.

  49. Diana on #

    HALEY!!!!!! HOW can you hate that book? I love that book! And then I love the sequel. The sequel is one of my favoritist books of all time. And then, well, I didn’t entirely hate the one that came after the sequel, since it had that really cool character with that really cool disease, but by the fourth, it had gone right off the rails, and I hated it then.

  50. Rebecca on #

    i loved that book too! but i never did finish the fourth one either.

  51. Diana on #

    I think we’re nailed on this one, though. wait’ll justine wakes up tomorrow and sees this.

  52. marrije on #

    Diana, I haven’t a clue which book you and rebecca and haley are talking about, so you’ve been vague enough to keep me in the dark (and make me slightly frustrated!!).

  53. orangedragonfly on #

    rebecca and diana: i loved that book too! i also really liked the companion books, the ones about the other special boy. but i think you’re right, diana, i think dr. blog overlord is going to have something to say about that! 😉

  54. pixelfish on #

    Anybody who has read haley’s will instantly recognise it, I think. I did. I love books 1-3, but you are right, diana, book four jumped the shark. And that is to say nothing of the stories that show the timeline of events from a different character’s pov, which in my opinion completely obviate the need for SB’s personal sacrifices and struggles in the first place. So i pretend those don’t exist at all.

  55. pixelfish on #

    wow, forgive my run-on sentences, o lord, I pray.

  56. Diana on #

    pixelfish, I didn’t read the companions, because of the off-the-rails nature of book 4. Still, though, I love the second book, and i always look to it as a stunning example of dealing with a large cast of characters.

    Also, it’s possible that I would not have liked the first book so much if I hadn’t read it *AFTER* having read the second book, and also, if I, like Haley, had realized the level of hype going in. For me, I had no idea the book was such a big deal, and so I was able to love it on a pure level.

    My only problem with it was on an environmental scale: I have enough biodiversity studies in my background to know that if I had been a person who found myself in an environment such as the one described in that story, I would have hightailed it out of there so fast…

  57. janet on #

    I have a theory about reading the books that haley and diana and pixelfish are talking about. My theory is that most people can read two or three books by this author and enjoy them, but at some point something clicks (or snaps, or whatever metaphor you like) and you can’t take any more. It’s like taking Tylenol, where there is only a very small difference between a therapeutic dose and toxicity. Anyway, after you reach that threshhold, not only can you not read any more of the author’s work, but it puts a retroactive bad taste in your mouth for the books that you have already read and genuinely liked. In my case, it was an almost physical sensation, a sudden feeling that if I read any more, I might throw up.

    Sorry for all the rampant metaphors. I could say more if we weren’t so assiduously being vague to protect the feelings of the author.

  58. Justine on #

    I haven’t read those books, neither has the blog overlord.

    I suspect I know what they are though, and if the author comes here and yells at you lot then you deserve what you get.

  59. John H on #

    I’m pretty sure I know which books they’re talking about, and I enjoyed them – especially the first book. Although the author is a bit of a wanker…

  60. janet on #

    Yes, well, tastes differ. I have heroically refrained from mentioning, for example, how very wrong spot on Justine is about Moby-Dick.

  61. calliope on #

    i despise the one about the girl whose parents die so she has to work in a factory and has to work 12 hours a day with no windows and is depressed and nothing gets better and it’s just depressing. i hate super depressing books, especially whiny ones.
    dr. suess is one of the top 5 american writers.

  62. kalyn marie on #

    I’m not normally a harsh critic, and will pretty much read anything that has words on it with an optimistic patience, but there are a few books that managed irritate me.

    vague, got it.

    1) One of my favorite authors actually wrote one. Not sure if it was one of her first trys at lit. or what. Stars a certain heroine in the real world. no magic or strange happenings as far as i can tell. stays with evil caretakers. tries to tell adults of said evil caretakers, but is waved off, told that they are nice people, blah blah blah, couldn’t possibly have done such a thing, blah blah blah. Series goes on for three books with the same blah blah blah of oblivious adults. Because aparently adults cant do anything wrong. Then at the end everyone is dancing because the evil caretakers are gone and they finally believe her. And im left wondering how the h*** they managed to do the things they did in the book (ex. hypnotism, driving numerous teenagers to insanity…)

    2) Then of course the murder mystery that was supposed to have a -gasp- shocking twist. Yet, somehow said twist has been used time and time again and I knew who the murderer was in the summary. Then im thinking why i even bothered. Probably hoping the twist i imagined would turn out to be somthing mind-bogling. Nope.

  63. Addie on #

    I absoulutly hate all those trashy romance novels. Eery one is exactly the SAME! Even the ones by the same author. Why do people read those??

  64. Patrick Shepherd on #

    the items tagged here just prove that there is no book that someone doesn’t hate. the little soldier boy book, imo, is one of the best in the field; ditto for the one with all the starving family travails.

    now i can see where someone might not like moby dick (especially if it was forced upon a poor unsuspecting reader as required reading), as some of those chapters on cetacean trivia can be quite a slog to get through. but as a portrait of true obsession, there may not be a better book out there.

    my pet peeve are books that a) try to cash in on the success of earlier works set in the same universe and b) are written without characters and with abysmally inaccurate or just flat wrong science. One in particular that i’m thinking of attempted to fill in an important period of history of an imagined universe, a period that set the stage for several important societies of the original (and great) book. truly horrid, with stuff that could have come right out of the worst of the pulps of the thirties. this came very close to being thrown against the wall (something i never do, as books are precious), but it has made me swear off reading anything more by this author.

  65. Michelle on #

    OMG! Despised novel number one just MUST be the book the Pretty in Pink screen play was written from only in Duckie’s Point of view. It simply must be…because–because that is the first thing that popped into my head, and I know from the ‘rules’ that you will never tell me the title and really I’m okay with that but had this unresitable urge to leave a comment. Blame it on the four pots of coffee I’ve had today!

    I’m a first time commenter here but have to say that I’ve enjoyed your blog. I’ve gotten more than a few chuckles.

    Enjoyed your blog…

  66. Dess on #

    i hate this one book that we have to read for english about people who drink. well *supposedly* about other stuff. but all they do is go from bar to bar and drink. this will be deleted by super blog overlord because its probably not vague enough, but the title has to do with a celestial body.

  67. Dess on #

    aw it probably will be deleted by blog overlard now because its awaiting moderation. 🙁

  68. Dess on #

    erm… thats wierd.

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