Top 5 Books I Just Didn’t Enjoy

Today has been a day of wondering. I am naturally a very curious being, just ask Leggy. As a kid my uncle called me Rumpenissen (bumgnome) after these tiny creatures in Astrid Lindgern’s Ronia the Robber’s Daughter. They are tiny gnome like creatures who constantly ask “Why? Why? Why?”.

I still run into things that make me just ask “Why?”. A thing that I have been wondering about is my deodorant. Yes, I know how to use it. But one day reading what the tiny print on the spray bottle actually said I saw a sign there saying “Substance abuse can kill!” or something like it. And my first thought was how the heck do you sniff deodorant? I am usually the doofus who somehow manages to almost choke on the fumes every single time I use a spray on deodorant. The neighbours may be wondering if TB is back. And the taste. Just yuck!

Sometimes my curiosity also leads me to writing letters to people asking about strange things like the time I wrote to the local tropical zoo asking if a turtle could get over weight and if so what would happen. Or the time I wrote to the different ice cream companies asking why marzipan ice cream is usually green.

I still haven’t figured out turkey bacon. Where on a turkey is the bacon and if you can make bacon from turkeys can you then also make it from other animals? Cow bacon? Swan bacon? Panda bacon? Anyone know if pandas can swim?

I am back home again. I arrived home to another parcel orgy. Some months ago I discovered cheap nail art things on eBay from China. So I have been ordering all the things I could ever need and a few other bits and bobs. I’m sure the mailman is finding me pretty annoying by now. Amongst all my eBay parcels was my German nail polish parcel so I was a very happy camper. But coming back home after two weeks away also meant coming back to a fridge empty of food. My fridge looks like I’m a stereotypical single male. Dressings, beers and vodka.

Now today’s top 5 was a suggestion from Joe Public to do a sequel to last weeks top 5 books I’m excited about so here is the top 5 books I just didn’t enjoy.

1 Stieg Larsson – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

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For those who read last week’s post this one may not be the biggest surprise. I will say that I really liked Lisbeth Salander and just for that I really tried to like this book but I just wanted to burn it. First of to me it seems like he was trying to press in two different plots into one book. The main missing girl plot and the framing plot of the news paper scandal. I quickly figured out the main one and I didn’t really care much for the other one.

I did however strangely enough rather enjoy the films. They aren’t my favourites but they are okay.

2 Ernest Hemingway – A Farewell to Armes

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I really tried with this book but I just couldn’t. I have read a few of Hemingway’s short stories and rather enjoyed them but I only made it to about halfway in ‘A Farewell to Armes’. I knew about the iceberg thing before going in so I should have been warned but I just found that nothing really happened and when something did happen I wasn’t always sure what exactly was happening. This is one of the few books I haven’t finished.

3 Leo Tolstoy – Anna Karenina

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Another book I haven’t finished and another classic. I had a phase after having browsed through ‘1001 books you have to read before you die’ where I figured that I really should read some of the classics. I bought a whole bunch of them and ‘Anna Karenina’ was one of them. I made it to around page 80, twice, before I gave up. It may get better later on. I may have missed out on a masterpiece. I’m not sure if I’ll ever find out. Well I may watch the film at some point.

4 Holly Black – White Cat

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I get a lot of book recommendations from various book girls on YouTube and this one was one of them. It sounded really promising, magic, a murder mystery and a boy being the black sheep in an otherwise shady criminal family. But I just found it a bit strange. It wasn’t horrible but it just didn’t catch my interest and I never went on to read the next two in the series. It could have been really awesome but I just found it to be Meh!

5 Nova Ren Suma – Imaginary Girls

ImaginaryGirls_pbk_cover

Now this one was a mix of ‘Farewell to Armes’ and ‘Black Cat’. The concept seemed to be really cool but in the end I didn’t really understand it and it didn’t live up to what it could have been. It didn’t seem to know either if it wanted to be a contemporary book or fantasy which to me made it even more confusing. It was just weird.

Which books did you pick up and just didn’t enjoy?

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50 thoughts on “Top 5 Books I Just Didn’t Enjoy

  1. All of Stephen King. I don’t even pick them up anymore. And that’s about it.
    But if you want a set of books to die for try Diana Gabaldon. The Outlander Series. Largely about Scotland and Scottish History.

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    • I have rather enjoyed the few Stephen King books I’ve read. I’ve mostly read his short stories.
      I’ve heard very good things about the Outlander series. There’s a TV show too, aren’t there? It does just look a bit scary to start up a 10 book book series.
      I have read most of the Sookie Stackhouse series but they are really just short fast reads. Perhaps when I’ve managed to control my book shelves of shame I’ll buy the first book.

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      • Yes, Outlander is being shown on TV. Brilliant it is. But they aren’t allowed to broadcast it in Britain, despite being filmed in Scotland with British actors, because The Government don’t want the hoi poloi to know how badly Scotland got stitched up by The Glorious Union.
        I have been watching it on Pirate TV. Worth downloading if you can find it. And very true to the books. But I gather that Amazon will be releasing the whole thing before long on DVD. I will be buying it despite having all of the books.

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        • Seriously? That’s just daft. I do wonder about the world.
          I’ll keep an eye out for it. I still need to watch the rest of Doctor Who first though and I got rather hooked on Elementary when I was visiting my parents. A tv channel was doing a marathon showing one season every weekend so I saw a few episodes here and there. I saw one episode when it first began and was all Watson as a woman? That’s all wrong and then stopped watching, but it rather liked it when I gave it a fair chance.

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  2. A while ago, whilst recovering from the effects of a nasty car crash, the author Mary Gentle decided to take the piss out of the entire “middle earth” sort of fantasy scenario with the book “Grunts!”. The scenario is the usual sort of stereotypical one: world with a lot of different races/species, including rarely-seen sentient dragons, plus an assortment of hominids.

    The final battle between good and evil is looming, and it is widely predicted that good will triumph. As such most of the evil races, Orcs especially, are looking forward to a damn good fight and subsequently forming bands of bandits after their sides’ defeat. However, the top command of the evil sides has a cunning plan: steal the hoard of an ancient dragon known to be obsessively collecting all manner of strange and wonderful weapons.

    This the orcs in the story do, but neglect to note the curse upon the hoard: “You shall become what you steal”. As curses go, this one’s more of a blessing than a hindrance, as the most easily used weaponry formerly belonged to the US Marine Corps…

    Cue every old military joke ever written, and a load more invented specially. The book even has a nice dedication which ought to be a warning: “This book is dedicated to Dean ‘Pass me another elf, sergeant’ Wayland without whom it would be in much better taste”.

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  3. I don’t know whether seeing the movie adaptations of books before you read the clouds your judgement of the written versions*, but a couple of examples spring to mind.

    At college many, many moons ago, a gang of us went to the local flicks to watch Catch 22. We found it hilarious.

    A couple of years ago I decided the book would make fine holiday reading.

    About 3/4 the way through it, the Major Major ‘joke’ had been used so repetitively, I gave up. To me, reading should be a pleasure, not a perseverance.

    Another watched-before-read ‘classic’ was One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest. The book was a good read, but I dodn’t consider it half as funny as the movie. Whether it was the visual interpretation of Jack Nicholson’s McMurphy’s antics & battles with Nurse Ratched, I don’t know.

    Maybe over the years, my sense of humour has changed.

    * There you go CSM, another topic perhaps, for a future posting.

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  4. Karenina gets better, but it largely depends on the translation – most are tedious.

    My best book ever is still The Leopard by Guiseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa. It was made into a half-decent film starring Burt Lancaster (speaking crazy Italian); but the book rather than the film is a gem, conjuring up a bygone age. You can taste the dust of Sicily in summertime.

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    • I have the version in the picture.
      I once read a tiny book about McEnroe and Wimbledon doing that era. It was absolutely amazing. It was really good at showing not just the time but also the mood. I later tried reading his biography and found it rather dull.

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  5. Looking at my bookshelf, I can see 5 books I couldn’t finish:

    ‘Pompeii’ by Robert Harris. I liked ‘Fatherland’, ‘Enigma’ was okay but I stopped reading him with ‘Pompeii’.

    The ‘Death of Dalziel’ by Reginald Hill. I really liked the Dalziel and Pascoe books but got bored and stopped reading them at this point (there are loads of series of books that I absolutely adored but got bored with eventually).

    ‘The Ice Twins’ by S K Tremayne a.k.a. Thomas Knox. I should have known, I got bored after the first two Thomas Knox books.

    These last two hurt… ‘Monsterous Regiment’ by Terry Pratchett and ‘Flashman on the March’ byGeorge MacDonald Fraser. Maybe the timing wasn’t right. I will try them again sometime, unlike the first three listed.

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  6. Sadly, I have rather more books on my “lost the will to live” list than I have on my “great reads” list. Maybe it’s just that, like music, there’s an awful lot of stuff out there which is, at best, mediocre and, at worst, bloody awful, and the little gems lie hidden amongst all the rubbish and have to be searched for by tortuously reading all sorts of crappy writing, lousy storylines and one-dimensional characters in order to find them.

    Most of my “dreadfuls” are titles which most people have never heard of (with one or two exceptions), usually picked up in a rush from the library because they “looked like they might be OK from the write-up on the back cover.” How wrong I was!

    Here they are:

    Just Above My Head by James Baldwin
    Black Water by Joyce Carol Oates
    The Plague by Albert Camus
    The Solitaire Mystery by Jostein Gaarder
    A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving (Odd one this. Some bits of it were good, even amusing and occasionally touching, but it somehow (twice!) managed to completely lose my interest!)
    The Trial by Franz Kafka

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  7. “Can pandas swim?”
    Yes! Like seals, they are much better suited to water. But they become transparent when wet, so nobody notices. They are so fast, they can actually leap out and fly for short distances.
    We only ever see the lazy land-bound ones, which is why everyone thinks they are endangered.

    A plague of predatory water pandas in the North Sea was responsible for the collapse of the cod-fishing industry, but it was hushed up. David Attenborough has been silenced on the subject. That mad Australian guy was going to spill the story, but he met with an unlikely sting-ray “accident”, we are told.

    Now that you know this, you are in danger. It would be best to say that you don’t believe a word of it.

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  8. I’d dearly love to complete Cloud Atlas and I’ve tried a few times. As a book it’s tricky as a film it was wonderful.

    I’ve read everything Stephen King has written. Some brilliant and others not so much.

    Diana Gaboldon. Outlander. Bodice ripper. My wife’s been watching the first series and it’s pretty violent, it wouldn’t be shown on BBC1 so it must be good. The stone circle is really down in a dip to the south of Culloden, Doune Castle is a ruin and it’s set mostly in Culross and Falkland. It’s a gift for the SNP.

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    • I think that was the point of Outlander being kept off UK Television. The Referendum was underway, and it’s surprising of how many Scots don’t know of what a horror The Glorious Union was for The Scots. Bearing in mind that the first book was written at least ten years ago, if not longer.
      The TV Series is surprisingly very close to The Books. And Diana Gabaldon’s research is phenomenal.
      Violent? Perhaps. But it was in those days.. And it didn’t actually upset me to see it on screen. And I am one of the most squeamish people that I know.

      Sorry, a bit of a cause celebre for me. My Irish Clan is the largest grave at Culloden.
      But the time travelling love story is gripping. And No, it isn’t soppy.

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      • It’s showing on Amazon. It was a bit 50 shades of tartan last night. Girly had upset chap who took belt to her bottom. There’s a lack of Scottish granny moaning etc. maybe they’ll get to that later. I think wife is on Episode 8 maybe? Only another 8 to go to end of first series. They ve been up filming again. All the food you see is made by a butcher in Abernethy. It’s all flaky but looks the part. He also makes fab real pies. Mr C,s pies. He sells them through Hopetoun House just a couple miles west after the bridges.

        It’s festival time here at the moment. More Johnnies than you can run over. They wander about a lot. Celebs are also here. No one bothers them at all.lots of stuff to see etc. we’re not going to anything this year. We did 20 shows in three weeks a couple of years ago. It was exhausting!!!!!

        This would be a good time to visit Edinburgh, South Queensferry and the Outlander spots. The new bridge is about to start having the wires wound between huge concrete pillars. You’ll soon see two giant aircraft carriers with no where to go and the absolute delight of several Decommissioned nuclear subs still with their reactors in them less than 15 miles from our capital city.

        We may well send them south to be tied up beside the Houses of Parliament. It’s not like anyone would complain is it? If it’s okay to store them in the Forth it’s bound to be okay to do the same in the Thames?

        You can get the pies at Fortnum and masons also.

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  9. TT – the city of my birth at Festival time? The horror, the horror; the touristy bits are bad enough in the depths of winter.

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    • I just found them boring. There’s a Danish classic writer, Blicher, who was writing short stories for magazines and from what I head he was paid per word so they’re filled with long descriptions of nature. That’s a bit the same way I feel about Lord of the Rings.

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  10. I like Jeffrey Deaver. His plot twists have you spinning all over the place. A really good read. He is one of the few that you just can’t guess who it is until they are exposed.

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  11. Strangely the two books I really COULD not finish were both Terry Pratchett (!) “Moving pictures,” and “Pyramids.” ALL his others are great. Just those two.

    Someone mentioned Kafka above. I tried “The trial,” but, the paragraphs can be three or four pages long.

    It is not that his ideas are hard to read, but having paras that long is just eye-bending. You have to give up after ten minutes because of the impending migrane.

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  12. From your descriptions, old girl, I don’t think I’d want to read any of those either. In our first A-level year, for English, we had to choose from the “Set Books” about WW1. I was glad I didn’t choose Hemingway. Instead I did Robert Graves “Goodby the all that” (you’d like it I think – I came across a first edition copy a few years ago and simply had to buy it for no reason), Siegfried Sassoon’s “Memoirs of an infantry officer”, and Wilfred Owen’s poems.

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