There comes a moment in the life of every reader when you pick up a book because of the hype or simply as a spur-of-the-moment thing and you end up thinking “why have I started reading this?” If you’re like me and can’t stand to leave books unfinished, I sense trouble.
I should first say that my obsession to finish every book I start unless it’s so bad it’s unreadable has a good side, and that’s the fact I do a bit of research about a book before starting it. This happens most of the time, but I’ve had my lapses in judgment. These are ten books I read, but I wish I hadn’t wasted my time with them.
Alain de Botton – The Romantic Movement: Sex, Shopping, and the Novel
I picked up this book because I’ve heard good things about Alain de Botton from people I follow on Goodreads. Maybe it’s just a matter of taste, but I believe this was full of pretentious, pompous writing that’s also patronizing. This book has it all. It’s like a bad case of mansplaining on 300 pages. Drawings to summarize the pseudo-philosophical explanations of why things go wrong in a relationship? You can’t make this up. It’s also a book I couldn’t finish. I gave up after about 150 pages. Yes, it was that bad. Suffice to say I’m never reading de Botton again.
Suzanne Collins – The Hunger Games
The Hunger Games is one of the books I was pushed to read by the hype. I made it to the end of the first part and hadn’t felt the need to read more. Maybe I was too old for this kind of thing, but while the idea behind it was rather interesting, the writing was so, so bad.
Liane Moriarty – The Husband’s Secret
This appeared on my recommendations list on Goodreads a couple of times and I thought I should give it a try. Bad move. It’s a shallow book with a childish style and I was quite astonished by what can pass as a bestseller these days. It’s more like a teenagers’ attempt at a novel, a bad one at that.
Paolo Coehlo – Veronika Decides to Die
About 10 years ago, I wanted to see what the Coehlo hype was all about. Twenty pages into Veronika Decides to Die I decided that I don’t care about hypes after all. It’s so badly written, that it makes you wonder how someone who writes this way can be a bestselling author like Coehlo is. The book landed into the “never touch again” pile.
Paula Hawkins – Girl on the Train
Again with the hype. (In my defense, I do believe that as a rule of thumb, if a book is glorified too much, it’s not worth it. But sometimes I’m mistaken and find that I actually enjoy a hyped book very much. This is how I discovered A Man Called Ove and Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, to name a couple of recent ones.) With Girl on the Train, I knew I was taking the risk of wasting 4-5 hours of my life from the beginning. My instinct was right – so not worth it. The characters were very poorly built, and don’t get me started on the actual plot. Bonus points for setting the story on a UK train – I think catching the actual feeling of travelling on one was the best thing about this book.
Helen Fielding – Bridget Jones Mad About the Boy
Bridget Jones’ Diary was published in 1999 when I was a teenager. I remember being captivated by the witty writing and I devoured the book at a time I should have been studying instead. (Yeah, I know, but who can say they didn’t read fiction just to postpone studying just for a little bit?). So when I heard that Mad About the Boy was published after all those years, I jumped at the occasion to read it. The disappointment was as massive as the initial excitement, unfortunately. While Helen Fielding’s voice is still funny, the plot was uninspired and downright infuriating sometimes. (SPOILER ALERT) What has Mark Darcy ever done to you, Helen? Was it really necessary to kill him?
B.A. Paris – Behind Closed Doors
The plot of Behind Closed Doors is implausible and the entire construction of the book was just poor. We read about a 21st-century woman who is locked in a room by her husband for years and no one knows about it because he somehow forces her to act normal with friends? And she accepts the abuse because she’s scared he’ll send her to an asylum? The 19 century called – they want their plot back. One of those books I kept reading because I couldn’t believe how bad it was.
Gillian Flynn – Gone Girl
Boring and predictable are the adjectives that would best describe Gone Girl. The characters are awful and the plot goes nowhere. The woman is whiny and the man is a misogynist pig. I can’t be bothered to go back and look up their names. If that is “Thriller of the Year”, I feel bad for thrillers.
A.S.A. Harrison – The Silent Wife
I really can’t remember why I decided that this book was worth reading, but it doesn’t matter because it was a bad one indeed. One of those stories that try too much to hook the reader and end up with characters you don’t give a flying f*** about.
Jodi Picoult – Handle with Care
I made the mistake to pick this up after I read Small Great Things. Terrible characters and an ending that was really amateurish. Suing a doctor because they didn’t inform you that your unborn child would be disabled because you can’t cope with said child is not my idea of a good premise for a novel.
Christie Watson – Where Women Are Kings
This wasn’t a very bad book per se, but I still regret the time I spent reading it. Maybe because it reads too much as a lesson in child abuse. Or maybe because of the ending, which was unnecessary and disappointing.