Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Will (Probably) Never Read

Top Ten TuesdayThis week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme at The Broke & the Bookish is “Top Ten Books I Will (Probably) Never Read.” While you should never say never, I also think it’s important to make honest assessments of ourselves as readers and admit we will never read anything, because it is just not possible.

So, that said: my Top Ten Books I Will (Probably) Never Read. Fair warning, this is more like #unpopularopinion: the blog post.

  • Pride & PrejudiceThe Bible, Anonymous  I’m not Christian. I was raised with a kind of bland, default Christianity: I was baptized, we celebrated Easter and Christmas with candy and presents, but there was no belief, just tradition. I have no particular reason to read the Bible. For one thing, it’s impossible to live in America and not at least get the gist of the Bible stories: Eden, burning bushes, golden calfs, Bethlehem, forty days in the desert, the Last Supper, crucifixion, and so on. For another, it doesn’t have any interest to me as a person of (no) faith. I know it’s a hugely important work of literature in Western history, but… I just don’t care, and there are only so many hours in a day.
  • Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen Oops? My aunt bought me a copy of this in high school and I just didn’t care. I still don’t, really. I’m not sure there’s anything less interesting than the heterosexual romance of a couple of well-to-do people and, as far as I can tell, not a whole lot else happens. As I told my mother when I first tried to read this, “There aren’t enough sword fights.” Sorry, but this sounds like a snoozefest.
  • Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy This sounds like another old time-y straight romance, and that just doesn’t sound interesting to me at all. I think it’s a tragedy. I don’t really care to find out. I remember a high school friend of me was bribed to read this. I don’t remember if she ever finished it, or if she liked it. I do remember that my mother didn’t like the idea of bribing me to read anything, no matter how edifying.
  • Lord of the FliesDiary of a Wimpy Kid, Jeff Kinney My students love this series, but I picked it up, skimmed it, and decided it was not for me. Unlike The Lightning Thief, I’m not even sure I would have cared for this one at all if I were still in the target age range. The illustrated novel format alone isn’t enough to make it appeal to me, and the story was mostly boring and the kid was a jerk. (No, I have not shared this opinion with my students.)
  • Lord of the Files, William Golding Oh, boy! A whole book about a bunch of boys being horrible to each other with some really horrific violence against animals and woman-hating in a book notable for the fact that there are, as far as I know, no women. This is the only book I was ever assigned but did not read. I still got to hear all about them murdering the sow in English class. I wanted to barf.
  • Ulysses, James Joyce Is this book actually about anything? I don’t even know. It’s always sounded long and boring and generally if people list it as one of their favorites, I take that as a sign to start backing away slowly. I’m sure plenty of wonderful people have loved this book. I just haven’t met them.
  • UlyssesLolita, Vladimir Nabokov You know what I would rather do than read 300+ pages about a slimy pedophile blaming his victim? I would rather get shampoo in my eyes, and if there is one thing that always ruins my morning, it is shampoo in my eyes. I hate that awful burning, stinging sensation, and I would rather get shampoo in my eyes every day for the amount of time it would take me to read this than actually read it, even if Humbert Humbert is supposed to be the bad guy and it’s technically very well written.
  • 50 Shades of Grey, E.L. James I don’t only hate on classics! I’m an equal opportunity hater. I picked this up because I thought it would be so bad it’s good, ready for some dramatic readalouds, like with that Harry Potter fanfic, “My Immortal.” Instead, it was just horrible and boring and I put it down after about two pages because the prose was awful.
  • Deathless, Cathrynne Valente Nope, nope. I just don’t want to read this and you can’t make me. There’s a lot in it that I think I might like, but there’s a lot in it I know I won’t like, and it has really negative associations that have nothing to do with the book itself and everything to do with the people who first recommended I read it. Now every time I hear about it, I cringe. Unlike the other books on this list, it’s not even the book’s fault. So I feel a little bad, but I’m still never going to read it.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire, G.R.R. Martin Is there any book I am less interested in reading than Deathless? Yes, and it is A Game of Thrones. Even though it has sword fights, I was never really interested in political intrigue, and this just sounds rapey and violent and full of terrible people being terrible to each other. There’s enough of that in the real world, thanks.
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14 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Will (Probably) Never Read

  1. Oh yes, Lolita should definitely have been on mine, totally forgot about that one! Just thinking about it makes me shudder.
    Adore the disdain you have for some of these. And wow, “My Immortal”, I hadn’t thought of that for YEARS. Might have to go and re-read it again for a chuckle.

    • I might have read A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE if I heard about it before the TV show started shoving it in my face everywhere, but it just doesn’t sound like my thing. I love sword fights and ten million characters, but it just seems too rapey and violent for me.

    • 50 SHADES is one of the few on this list that I’ve actually given the time of day. It wasn’t, like, horrid the way LORD OF THE FILES is terrible. I mostly just found it kinda boring.

  2. Oh maaaaaan, you just reminded me of “My Immortal,” a thing that I had not thought of in years. I’m not sure whether to thank you or not.
    I love your list. I feel you on the Ulysses thing – while I suspect I’d like Ulysses (I love books that aren’t about anything!), I wonder what you’re trying to signal when you say your favorite book is Ulysses.
    I went to a book club meeting recently where someone (very earnestly) tried to explain the plot of Lolita to me as, like, being about an adoptive stepdaughter who flirts with and seduces her stepdad. NO. JUST NO.

    • Personally, I think “My Immortal” is one of the most interesting things to happen in HARRY POTTER fandom. It’s just so bizarre, you know? I read a great article about it earlier this year, here.

      I went to a book club meeting recently where someone (very earnestly) tried to explain the plot of Lolita to me as, like, being about an adoptive stepdaughter who flirts with and seduces her stepdad. NO. JUST NO.

      #what.
      I just… I’m not sure if I would just skedaddle away from that conversation like a bat out of hell or stand my ground like “CAN YOU EVEN READ WORDS? DO YOU UNDERSTAND WORDS?!” Yikes. what a creep!

      • I had no idea that there was a “My Immortal” *web-series.* That’s magical and I want to watch it now. And I always assumed that “My Immortal” was written as a parody of self-insert fanfic (and a host of other tropes besides) but after reading this, I’m not sure. Fascinating article in any case. It’s reminding me of lots of things I’d forgotten about – Potter Sues! Bahaha. Oh man, I miss HP fandom.

        I definitely tried to take the latter position in as kind a way as possible, but flames. Flames on the side of my face. (Can you read words? Did we read the same book? WHY ARE YOU TAKING THIS NARRATIVE AT FACE VALUE AUGGHHH?)

    • LOLITA is actually one of those ones I wish I could bring myself to read because I understand that, on a technical level, it’s basically a flawless piece of writing. But why couldn’t Nabokov turn that skill to something less… gross?

  3. I agree with almost everything here, there are some books you shouldn’t have to force yourself through (like Austen or Tolstoy).

    I would rather get shampoo in my eyes, and if there is one thing that always ruins my morning, it is shampoo in my eyes. I hate that awful burning, stinging sensation, and I would rather get shampoo in my eyes every day for the amount of time it would take me to read this than actually read it

    I’m dying of laughter over here. 😀

    I made my own TTT list too!

  4. I will say in its defense that while ASoIaF definitely has a certain amount of rapey-ness and plenty of violence, the TV PTB actually made it a lot more rapey. That’s actually kind of a major criticism from a lot of the book fans–they made rapes out of sex scenes that were not rapes, for…some reason? Ugh, television producers. The books are definitely not everyone’s cup of tea, though, regardless. There definitely is a LOT of violence.
    (Your intense hatred of Lolita is probably the best thing I’ve read all week, by the way!)

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