A positive start I am sure. The reasons are not always entirely negative though, some are because they resonated with me in a specific way I might not feel the need to experience again, or even be able to. The desire to search out a particular book and read it in the first place might have been for specific reasons or the book moved me in such a specific way would the experience potentially be ruined by a re-read when the initial experience was so powerful? What if it proved to be anything less than that? Perhaps that is rather a hard order to expect of a book at all, never mind as a second read through.
Sometimes it is simply due to the book being badly written/edited that makes it almost unreadable.
Sometimes it is down to the specific mood/reason I initially sought out that particular book etc.
Luckily, I find that I form this particular view very infrequently. I’m not saying I reread every book I’ve ever read, I rarely do with the majority, but the ones listed below are those that I definitely do not look into reading again.
So, in no particular order, here we go. (Sorry “No such thing as a Fish”)
“Sugar Rush” – Julie Burchill
For someone who wrote a regular, and not at all bad, column for a Broadsheet newspaper I had expected a lot more from this book. The writing was trite, ineffective and not at all engaging. The characters likewise. I think she might have heard of teenagers but never actually seen one. Kind of like Michael Palin’s character in the Monty Python sketch “The Vocational Councillor: who wants to change from being an accountant to being a Lion Tamer…except what he thinks are lions are in fact Anteaters (ironically probably just as dangerous as Lions in some regards).
I honestly could not fight my way through this terribly slim volume. In an extremely rare move for me I quite fancied burning/ripping it up. (It was a library book so I refrained) It was so flabbergastingly awful. Disappointingly, I had really wanted to like it, I tried so hard to be fair and give it a decent amount of pages, but “Alas! Earwax!” – granted it wasn’t the flavour, but I found it as enjoyable as Earwax.
“The Turn of the Screw” – Henry James
This is a short novella, the version I read came in at 130 ish pages…I fell asleep THREE times whilst reading it (not quite as good as Virgil’s “Georgics” for curing insomnia – I have never got past page 3…Roman farming methods in poetic form are exceedingly soporific!). Gripping it was not. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad I’ve read it. I’m glad I persevered and finished it, but “God, at what cost?” Dull and lacking in riveting-ness. Blech.
“The James Joyce Murder” – Amanda Cross
Nothing. Happens. At. All.
I love Amanda Cross’s books, I genuinely do. Literary, nerdy crime solving is totally my jam. This book was dull as dishwater, I still have no clue as to why it was written or what the purpose of it was. Truly disappointing, and the only book of hers that I have emphatically culled from my shelves with no regrets. (Might I recommend “The Theban Mysteries” – absolutely bloody brilliant! I’ve read it twice.)
“Chosen” – Nancy Holden
This one was truly unfortunate. I used to love the Buffy tie-in books and Nancy Holden was one of my favourite authors. This book is not awful due to the subject or the author, but the sheer laziness of the editing. Out of 688 pages it averaged a grammatical/spelling error PER PAGE! Many pages had multiple of these issues. The story was great, the writing engaging…the editing absolutely appalling. How they had the gall to charge what they did for that book, or even publish it in the first place is utterly baffling.
Again, if it hadn’t been a Library book I would have taken a red pen to it and sent it back to the publisher. Someone should have been fired for that level of ineptitude. (Please don’t misunderstand, I don’t generally advocate the firing of people over an incident, but whoever edited this volume should not have been in that particular job in the first place)
“Allison” – Tatiana Strelkoff
Awful. Melodramatic and not even vaguely positive. Almost as if the author felt that the protagonist deserved the ending. Which was dire!
I thoroughly recommend giving this one a miss unless you have a serious yen to a)read EVERYTHING LGBT that is out there or b)you are looking to purposefully depress yourself and are filled with a severe level of hatred (either of self or sexuality)
“Slithers Tale” – Joseph Delaney
To start I want to be quite clear; I loved the Spook’s tales right up until this point. I always found his brand of misogyny (Witches are evil, women are witches therefore women are evil and not to be trusted too) rather irritating, but went with it as a sign of the time he was supposedly writing in/around (Pendle Witch Trials)
However, this book takes that view to another level. It involves the selling of women as slaves (read that as sexual I am quite certain) and is just generally full of veiled hatred of women.
As a children’s book I find this particularly concerning; either from the point of view of teaching young boys this or from girls reading it and realising that that is a view people have. I went right off Mr Delaney at this point. It’s not new, or clever, or innovating and thrilling story telling. It’s small minded, misogynistic claptrap and he doesn’t deserve validating in that regard.
Go sit in a Witch pit Mr Delaney.
“Cyanide and Happiness” – Kris Wilson
Basically a bunch of “funny” cartoons by a bunch of privileged white boys. Not funny. Not original. Racist, homophobic and misogynistic.
Conversely, there are several that I am not sure if I will ever be able to read them again or not. Though this is for radically different reasons to the above selection.
“The Book Thief” – Markus Zusak
Gah! I cried so hard. I have never been quite so wrecked by a book. I ended up phoning my Aunt and talking to her for a bit. Then took a bath to stop shaking. Having not read it since (and it was probably a little over a decade a go when I last read it) I am no longer certain what it was about it that affected me quite so extremely. I do not feel I am able to or want to read it again to find out.
I do recall it being an amazing read, utterly gripping. I recommend it a lot. I think I just don’t want to run the risk of ending up feeling “meh” about the book if re-reading it doesn’t have a similar effect, or it doesn’t have a significant impact. Not sure I could handle the disappointment to be honest.
“To Kill a Mockingbird” – Harper Lee
I only read this in 2013…I never read it in High School and I am so glad. I am glad I read it at an age where I was in a frame of mind to truly appreciate the novel and the themes it raised.
Similar reasoning to The Book Thief. It didn’t make me cry, but I found it so enthralling, thought provoking and emotional, I’m not sure I could cope if a re-read left me anything less than as moved as the first reading. For similar reasons, I was both disappointed and monumentally glad that Harper Lee had never written anything else. Of course a couple of years after reading TKaM, that was proved wrong, but I live in denial and I have never picked up “Go Set a Watchman” (Admittedly, also because I was in a quandry as to the moral veracity of it being published after her death)
I feel I became a lot more negative with the three prior to my no re-reading for an emotional reason. Sorry about that. I do feel rather strongly about them, but I don’t think I was very constructive with my criticisms! I think they were the three that made me the angriest whilst I was reading them.
Any books you recommend people stay thoroughly a way from?