Books to Throw In the Bonfire

Hello bookish friends!

Since it’s the fifth of November, I thought it appropriate to talk about some of the books that have frustrated me to the point that they deserve no better end than the fire. I rarely get so annoyed by books, but when I do, boy do I!

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The End of Mr. Y by Scarlett Thomas

This book was my first ever DNF. It’s a 500(ish) page book and I had less than 80 pages to go but I just couldn’t force myself to read another word. The plot was so far-fetched and ridiculous and, honestly, kind of up itself. The main character was very pretentious and it felt like the author was just using this book to show off all their knowledge. Also, this contained possibly the worst case of instalove I’ve ever come across. I hate that I wasted so much time on such a ridiculous book. And you know what the funniest thing is? The author teaches Creative Writing at the uni I went to for my undergraduate! I’m not sure if she’s still there but, wow – teaching students how to write? The irony!

Candy

Candy by Kevin Brooks

CW racism.

This book was an immediate DNF for me. I talked about this book recently, in my unhaul. It was horribly racist. It used, twice, the ‘scary Black man’ stereotype. The following quote is what made me want to throw this book into the fiery pits of Hell:

“The big black guy who sat down between us had the emptiest eyes I’ve ever seen – empty of feeling, empty of heart, empty of everything but himself. […] His face was a death mask.”

The main character thinks this literally as soon as he sees him and, honestly, there just aren’t any words. This is disgusting and I can’t believe this pitiful excuse for a book got published. BURN IT.

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Lobsters by Tom Ellen & Lucy Ivison

CW amisia.

I read this book over a year ago and it still boils my blood thinking about it. It contained horribly amisic language (offensive to both aros and aces) and called people who hadn’t had sex by the time they were 18 “some kind of freak,” amongst other things. If you’ve grown up ace, chances are you’ve probably grown up feeling broken and like there’s something wrong with you. Bullshit books like this make you feel even shittier about your existence. So I would definitely take great pleasure in burning this arsehole book. Page. By. Bloody. Page.

I actually wrote a review on this one (gasp!) if you want to know more of my in-depth thoughts. It’s a little outdated in the style I use nowadays, but goes into more specific detail, using quotes.

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Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

CW ableism.

This has to be one of the biggest disappointments I’ve ever read. First of all, this book is ableist and it really annoys me that no one had really mentioned that in their reviews before I bought it. I kept reading it to try to find out why people loved it so much and, honestly, I still have no clue. It’s the most predictable story. Everything was so obvious, I don’t get how people could actually be surprised by the ending. I also really, really disliked the main character. I hated how she believed that ‘love could conquer all’ and nothing else mattered. That’s not how life works. Also, that’s not how depression works. Which is another thing that annoyed me! Depression was completely glossed over. It was rarely considered by any of the characters. This book failed on so many levels – I really don’t get why it’s so popular. Each to their own, I guess!

Rivers of London

Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch

CW sexism.

I’ve temporarily DNF’d this book after reading 12 pages a couple of weeks ago. In those 12 pages, there were 4 instances of misogyny. And, I mean, shit got real creepy, real quick. First of all, the main character fancies his co-worker. But it’s not just that he fancies her, it’s the language he uses to describe her. He refers to her as “angel” and wishes he could wake up next to her which is creepy at the best of times but when you’re co-workers? Nope. Don’t ever think that way about your colleagues. Ever. It’s disgusting. Also, he has a poster of Estelle on his wall?? If you’re a teenager, okay, this is sort of understandable. But he’s a grown-ass man! Again, so very creepy. Then I finally decided to give up when he was thinking about how he’d never let his daughter marry someone with a certain occupation (I can’t remember for sure which one now – I’ve already returned the book to the library), which just sums up his general feelings about women really. He sees them as things he can control, that exist purely to please him. And all of this is contained in just 12 pages. 12!! It’s such a shame because I’ve been looking forward to this series for so long and I’m just so bitterly disappointed. To the point where I might end up forgetting about what annoyed me and picking it up again in a couple years’ time. I just really wanted to like it. 


Thanks for sticking with me in this post! I know I’ve ranted and let out quite a lot of feelings but I feel like this exercise was quite therapeutic and I feel tons better!! What are some books you’d like to cast in the fire?
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Series I (Probably) Won’t Finish

Hello bookish friends!

I’ve read some great series over the years but there’s been a few that haven’t quite lived up to the hype or that I’ve fallen out of love with. So here’s a list of all the current series that I intend to (probably) not carry on reading.

Divergent

1. Divergent – Veronica Roth

I adored Divergent. I thought it was fun, action-packed and very quick-paced which made 18-year-old dystopian-obsessed me love this book a whole dang lot. I bought the sequel but didn’t read it straight away. Then Alligiant came out and I was reading some reviews on it to motivate me to pick up Insurgent, but I got spoiled. You know which spoiler I’m talking about!! Which completely ruined the trilogy for me and put me off reading the rest of the books altogether. And then I heard quite a few not-so-great reviews so now I’ll definitely never finish reading this series.

Watersong

2. Watersong – Amanda Hocking

I loved Hocking’s Trylle trilogy back when I was 17/18 so I thought I’d like her mermaid series too and I did, at the time, enjoy the two books I read in that series. But I know that if I read the next one, I just wouldn’t enjoy it. I’ve read so many more books inbetween that and it’s just not a story that’s for me anymore. I think I’ve grown out of it, sadly!

The 5th Wave

3. The 5th Wave – Rick Yancy

I loved The 5th Wave! It made it onto my favourites list of 2015, it was that great. But I definitely won’t be continuing on with this trilogy. I’ve heard really negative things about the rest of the trilogy from people whose reviews I trust. I don’t want to read the other two books only for that to take away from my enjoyment of the first book, which I will always think about really fondly.Legend

4. Legend – Marie Lu

This is definitely the series I’m the saddest about probably not continuing. It’s not that I don’t want to, but it’s been such a long time since I’ve read Legend that I don’t know if I’ll be able to get back into that world (or if I’ll even remember it!). I don’t have the time to re-read Legend at the moment, but I would definitely like to continue on with this series at some point. But, for now, it’s on hold.

Red Queen

5. Red Queen – Victoria Aveyard

I think I can be convinced to pick this series back up. Possibly. I did enjoy the first book, as tropey as it was. But I’ve read a lot of books like this and I don’t know if I have the energy to read three more books to complete this series. So this is a probably, most likely won’t end up finishing series.19041032

6. Sea of Shadows – Kelley Armstrong

I really disliked the first book in this trilogy. The plot was slow and repetitive. The world was confusing. And I just really didn’t enjoy the writing style at all. I sort of liked the main two characters but nowhere near enough to continue on with the rest of this series. 12568505

7. Black City – Elizabeth Richards

This is one of the series I potentially might continue on reading BUT only if the next two books become available at the library. The first book was very cliche and predictable. Obvious plot, typical one-dimensional characters, a bloody love triangle. But I loved the world and I found the writing style highly addictive, so I haven’t made my mind up yet about this one. But I’m putting it on this list because I’m not going to actively pursue reading this series.8475505

8. Rebel Belle – Rachel Hawkins

I loved the first book in this trilogy but I’ve heard pretty mediocre/negative things about the rest of the series. Since I enjoyed the first book so much (similar to The 5th Wave), I don’t want the other two books to taint the original enjoyment of the first book. So this is a series I definitely cannot be convinced to pick back up. I’m satisfied with this being a standalone.A Thousand Pieces of You

9. A Thousand Pieces of You – Claudia Gray

I did like this one but I didn’t love it and I want to get out of the habit of trying to finish series even if I felt very meh about the first book. Yes, it might get better, but there are so many other series out there that I might enjoy more, so I need to be picking those ones up instead. And let go of ones like this, that are perfectly fine, but don’t make me feel really excited.the-wrath-and-the-dawn

10. The Wrath and the Dawn – Renee Ahdieh

Okay, so I think I might pick up The Rose and the Dagger if it’s in the library. And I did enjoy this one. But it was just a pretty meh read for me and I wasn’t at all keen on the characters – I found them to be really frustrating with the decisions they were making. But, on the other hand, I am still interested to find out how this story ends. Particularly since this is only a duology, too.

Are there any series you’ve decided to give up on? Or do you power through and try to finish anyway?
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To DNF or Not to DNF…

That certainly is the question! Like many readers I, too, struggle with the choice between putting a book down and never coming back to it or carrying on and finishing a book even though I’m not particularly enjoying it.

The Problem

On the one hand, I read fiction purely for pleasure. So, surely, if I’m feeling miserable whilst reading a book, it would be only logical to put it down and never come back to it, right?

But, on the other hand, it annoys the crap out of me to know that I gave up on something.

My Experience

I have (sort of) DNF’d books I really haven’t been enjoying for whatever reason but in the back of my mind, I’m not thinking, ‘I never want to read a single page of you again.’ No, I’m instead thinking, ‘hmmm, but I might enjoy you someday.’ And so I keep the book on the off-chance that I might like it maybe in the future. Which is ridiculous!

Severed Heads, Broken Hearts

For example, I tried reading Severed Heads, Broken Hearts (Robyn Schneider) a couple of months ago but really disliked it. I found the narrator to be incredibly juvenile and judgmental and sexist. Take this quote:

“…most of the girls at Eastwood, or at least the ones worth noticing, all looked the same: blonde hair, lots of makeup, stupidly expensive handbags. The new girl was nothing like that.”

Um, are you serious? Looks like we got a special snowflake on our hands!

That lovely little piece of misogyny was found on page 28. I decided to give it 20 more pages (which I definitely shouldn’t have bothered with) and then DNF’d it.

BUT IT’S STILL ON MY SHELVES!?!?

Consciously I’m thinking, ‘I HATE THIS BOOK.’ But subconsciously I’m thinking, ‘but so many people enjoyed it… therefore, it must be good… mustn’t it!?’ Hell, I thought I’d really enjoy it, too. And that’s probably why I keep it on my shelves. That, and I invested  my money (and my time) in the reading experience. But, every time I look at it, all I’m reminded of is the bitter disappointment I felt whilst reading it.

On a brief side note though, I actually feel completely different with library books. I’ll read a few chapters and, if I’m not really enjoying it, I will have no problem whatsoever putting it down and taking it back to the library and forgetting all about it. So money definitely plays a part in the DNF’ing process for me, too, as well as the not wanting to give up on a book. Perhaps even more so considering the amount of library books I’ve done this with.

I go back and forth with this ‘to DNF or not to DNF’ mindset all the time. And it’s frustrating for two reasons: 1) The unenjoyable book is taking up valuable shelf space that could instead be used by a book I’ll probably enjoy a hell of a lot more; and 2) It just stresses me out. I don’t want to have books on my shelves that I didn’t enjoy reading. I want my shelves to be full of books I adored and I want to feel happy when I look at them, without feeling so ughhhhhhhhh.

The Solution

So, I need to come up with a solution to my internal struggles. At the moment, I allow myself to put down a book if I’m really not feeling it. But I also allow myself to believe that I’ll get back around to it someday and give it a second chance (and third and forth and fifth…).

I really need to put an end to this. I need to start being a tad more ruthless with the books I own, just like I am with library books. I just need to get rid of the books that brought me no joy whatsoever even if I do think that maybe one day I will enjoy them. I need to get over this weird fear of mine and start cutting out all the negativity!

That’s the plan anyway! Hopefully I’ll be posting an update of the books that I’ve managed to let myself part with soon. I need to learn how to completely DNF a book without feeling guilty about it. As they say: so many books, so little time!

What are your thoughts about DNF’ing books? Do you get as stressed out about it as I do? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to know how other people feel about this topic!Stark Reviews Logo