Top Ten Tuesday was create The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.
This was a pretty tricky one for me, if I’ve disliked a book then I’m generally not that glad to have read it. However, after much deliberation, I did manage to think of ten books that I disliked or rather didn’t enjoy when I read them, but that I’m glad to have read!
1. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
Wuthering Heights is a wild, passionate story of the intense and almost demonic love between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, a foundling adopted by Catherine’s father. After Mr Earnshaw’s death, Heathcliff is bullied and humiliated by Catherine’s brother Hindley and wrongly believing that his love for Catherine is not reciprocated, leaves Wuthering Heights, only to return years later as a wealthy and polished man. He proceeds to exact a terrible revenge for his former miseries. The action of the story is chaotic and unremittingly violent, but the accomplished handling of a complex structure, the evocative descriptions of the lonely moorland setting and the poetic grandeur of vision combine to make this unique novel a masterpiece of English literature.
I first read Wuthering Heights when I was fifteen years old, so just over a decade ago. I read it because it’s such a famous classic and because I loved Jane Eyre which was written by Emily Brontë’s sister, Charlotte. However, I just could not get into it at all, I found it bleak and unenjoyable to be honest but I am still glad to have read it just because it’s a book people often discuss and I like to be able to have an opinion on it. I do think sometimes you are just not at the right stage in life to really appreciate some books and so I’m going to try and reread Wuthering Heights this year at some point and see if I feel differently about it at 26!
2. Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James
When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms.
Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.
Like quite a few others, I pretty much hated Fifty Shades of Grey. No judgement if you loved it, everyone just has different opinions when it comes to reading and all are valid. I am glad I read it purely because it was such a hot topic of conversation a few years ago and I felt like I couldn’t disregard it as rubbish without actually having read it. I just found it endlessly irritating, Anastasia Steele has got to be one of the most annoying characters I have ever read about. I wanted to kill her ‘inner goddess’ who is always bizarrely doing gymnastics and who Ana thinks about quite a lot. I could go on and on about the many things I think are terrible about this book but lets just leave it at – I hated it.
3. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
Introducing one of the most famous characters in literature, Jean Valjean—the noble peasant imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread—Les Misérables ranks among the greatest novels of all time. In it, Victor Hugo takes readers deep into the Parisian underworld, immerses them in a battle between good and evil, and carries them to the barricades during the uprising of 1832 with a breathtaking realism that is unsurpassed in modern prose. Within his dramatic story are themes that capture the intellect and the emotions: crime and punishment, the relentless persecution of Valjean by Inspector Javert, the desperation of the prostitute Fantine, the amorality of the rogue Thénardier, and the universal desire to escape the prisons of our own minds. Les Misérables gave Victor Hugo a canvas upon which he portrayed his criticism of the French political and judicial systems, but the portrait that resulted is larger than life, epic in scope—an extravagant spectacle that dazzles the senses even as it touches the heart.
I didn’t hate Les Mis, I can totally see why some love it and think it’s a great work of literature but I just found a lot of it very dull. I think the book could have accomplished what it wanted to in half the pages if the story wasn’t periodically going off on tangents that were not relevant to the story. I have nothing against long books but I do find it annoying when I feel they are needlessly long and for me Les Mis is. I’m glad I read it because there were parts I enjoyed but overall I did not particularly like it and I’m certainly not rushing to reread it.
4. It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
Sometimes it is the one who loves you who hurts you the most.
Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up
— she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.
Ryle is assertive, stubborn, maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily. And the way he looks in scrubs certainly doesn’t hurt. Lily can’t get him out of her head. But Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing. Even as Lily finds herself becoming the exception to his “no dating” rule, she can’t help but wonder what made him that way in the first place.
As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan — her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.
I read this book as part of a book club. I wouldn’t have picked it up as I am not a fan of romance-centric novels in the slightest but I think it’s always good to challenge your perceptions occasionally and I’m glad I did but I can’t truthfully say I liked it. I certainly didn’t hate it, but I just found some of it pretty cringeworthy and clichéd. I am totally in the minority with this one because it seems to get amazing reviews and I know a lot of people love Colleen Hoover which is totally understandable, it just isn’t my thing.
5. The Godfather by Mario Puzo
The Godfather—the epic tale of crime and betrayal that became a global phenomenon.
Almost fifty years ago, a classic was born. A searing portrayal of the Mafia underworld, The Godfather introduced readers to the first family of American crime fiction, the Corleones, and their powerful legacy of tradition, blood, and honor. The seduction of power, the pitfalls of greed, and the allegiance to family—these are the themes that have resonated with millions of readers around the world and made The Godfather the definitive novel of the violent subculture that, steeped in intrigue and controversy, remains indelibly etched in our collective consciousness.
This is a tricky one to explain because I found The Godfather compelling whilst reading it and I didn’t hate it but I definitely didn’t love it. I haven’t seen the film but I decided to randomly give the book a shot. The problem I have with it is that I hate the way women are both portrayed and treated in the novel. I get that it was written in the sixties and is probably of it’s time but I just found it so frustrating. They are seldom attributed any kind of value or respect throughout the whole long book and it just irritated me. I’m glad I read it as it satisfied my curiosity about a franchise that so many people adore but it had too many problems for me personally to have enjoyed it.
6. The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
If you were told the date of your death, how would it shape your present?
It’s 1969 in New York City’s Lower East Side, and word has spread of the arrival of a mystical woman, a traveling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the day they will die. The Gold children—four adolescents on the cusp of self-awareness—sneak out to hear their fortunes.
Their prophecies inform their next five decades. Golden-boy Simon escapes to the West Coast, searching for love in ’80s San Francisco; dreamy Klara becomes a Las Vegas magician, obsessed with blurring reality and fantasy; eldest son Daniel seeks security as an army doctor post-9/11, hoping to control fate; and bookish Varya throws herself into longevity research, where she tests the boundary between science and immortality.
This was one of my most anticipated reads of 2018, I thought the premise sounded so intriguing and original. I think this was a case of my expectations being too high. I really wanted to love it and I found it just okay. It wasn’t bad at all but for me, it was disappointing. I found some of the characters frustrating and I think a lot more could have been done with such a great premise. I’m glad I read it as I liked certain parts of it but as a whole piece of work it just didn’t work for me and I didn’t feel any emotional connection to it.
7. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by Jack Thorne and John Tiffany
Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.
It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.
While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.
The Harry Potter series is so close to my heart, I grew up with it and will love it forever and for me, this play was a betrayal of the original series. I hated it, I actually think it reads like bad fan fiction. The characters are nothing like themselves as written by JK Rowling and the story is convoluted and strange. It had none of the magic of the series and I like to pretend it just doesn’t exist in the Harry Potter canon. I’m glad I read it because I had to satisfy my curiosity but it actually really upset me as it felt so unlike the characters I love.
8. The Girls by Emma Cline
Northern California, during the violent end of the 1960s. At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park, and is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, their dangerous aura of abandon. Soon, Evie is in thrall to Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader. Hidden in the hills, their sprawling ranch is eerie and run down, but to Evie, it is exotic, thrilling, charged—a place where she feels desperate to be accepted. As she spends more time away from her mother and the rhythms of her daily life, and as her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is coming closer and closer to unthinkable violence, and to that moment in a girl’s life when everything can go horribly wrong.
This book sounded right up my street, I find the mystery and danger surrounding cults fascinating and the story sounded great. After reading it however, I felt it was just kind of ‘meh’. The plot didn’t live up to it’s promise for me and I found some of it quite boring. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I hated or disliked it but I definitely didn’t enjoy it and as I was so excited to read it I felt immensely disappointed. I’m glad I read it as I would be wondering about it otherwise but I won’t be reading it again.
9. Hunger Games – Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss’s family is safe. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol. District 13 really does exist. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding.
It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it. District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plans–except Katniss.
The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss’s willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels’ Mockingjay–no matter what the personal cost.
I really like The Hunger Games as a series, and I think the first two books are fantastic which is why I was disappointed by Mockingjay. I had to read it because I had to know how the story ended and I’m glad I did but for me there was quite a big decline in quality in Mockingjay. I think it felt rushed, to be honest, like the author was trying to wrap everything up too quickly. I also think that because the first two books focussed on the games themselves they felt more original and exciting whereas in Mockingjay things just didn’t feel as suspenseful or tightly plotted to me. It’s not a bad book by any stretch but for me it just didn’t live up to it’s predecessors.
10. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now…
OK, let me just explain this one, because now this is actually one of my favourite books. It is so well written and genuinely terrifying, however I first read The Handmaid’s Tale in English class and at the time found it so tedious. I think this was for two reasons, one is that when you analyse a book over and over for months on end it is inevitably going to become boring and two, I think I was far too young to really appreciate the dark and intelligent undertones. I read this again when I was in my early twenties and was totally blown away by it, I just think I understood it more and realised how frightening and on point it was. I am so glad that I read this in English class because it made me pick it up again a few years later after originally not enjoying it and appreciate it’s brilliance so much more.
So, that is my list of books I disliked but am glad I read! I’m really sorry if I have insulted a book you like but reading is subjective and everyone gets along with some books more than others and will have different experiences of reading them. I would be really interested to know what you think of any of these books! Please let me know in the comments and I can’t wait to read what books made all the other lovely TTT participants lists!