12 October 2010

Meme: Top Ten Books I'll NEVER Read

This is another Top Ten Tuesday meme from The Broke and the Bookish.

My attitude to books may be generally described as “never say never”, so filling this list was a real challenge. The list actually covers more than 10 books, because rather than individual books, I mostly have genres and authors I don’t like reading. I tried to stay with books that are either considered to have literary merit or are bestsellers or considered "must reads". Starting with actual books, in no particular order:

1. Clarissa by Samuel Richardson. One of the longest novels written in the English language, about a young woman whose virtue is under siege. It isn’t that its length is overly intimidating, but it seems to me that its fame these days is mostly due to its length.
2. Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce. Experimental novels are fine, but I think reading Ulysses will be quite enough experimental Joyce for me.
3. Angelina: An unauthorised biography by Andrew Morton, and, for that matter, any modern celebrity biography or autobiography (ghost-written or not, with the possible exception of Stephen Fry). The latter generally glorify the subject, while the former often dish out so much dirt that one needs a shower after reading them. Besides, modern celebrities are so predictable.
4. Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley. The mini-series was enough.
5. Hollywood Babylon II by Kenneth Anger. Read my review of the first volume to see why.
6. Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler. Hateful book, written by a hateful man, about a hateful subject.
7. Flowers in the Attic, by V.C. Andrews. The incest theme gives me the creeps.
8. Skýrsla Rannsóknarnefndar Alþingis um aðdraganda og orsök falls íslensku bankanna árið 2008 (The Report by the Special Investigation Commission of the Icelandic Parliament on the Prelude and Causes of the Collapse of the Icelandic Banks). At 2000 pages (and 9 volumes) it isn’t that long, but the chapters I sacrificed a weekend to translate into English (when I could have been having fun) were enough for me.
9. Anything by Danielle Steel. Ages ago, when I was quite young, I read and liked one of her books, The Promise, but several subsequent attempts to read more of her books showed that this book must have been a fluke. One of my worst reading nightmares is to be stuck in an airport lounge somewhere with nothing to read but Steele.
10. Any more Laurell K. Hamilton. The Anita Blake books jumped the shark in a big way for me when Anita started having sex with the monsters. It isn’t so much the monster sex iself that keeps me away, but rather than Hamilton did not give Anita a sufficiently good reason to go against her strongly stated principles.

11 comments:

George said...

As one of the few people who has read ALL of CLARISSA, I'll make a defense of this neglected classic. Yes, it's long (over 1000 pages). And, it's mostly written in the form of letters. But Clarissa's letters are amazing! Once you get the gist of Clarissa's writing style, there's real beauty in her words. I agree with your other choices. Like you, I'm vampired out.

Brenna said...

Clarissa is on my list! I had to read Pamela in college and just couldn't get into Richardson.

Daisy said...

Mein Kampf made my list as well, nasty book, nasty man.
I actually enjoyed Scarlett, but I also enjoy books relating to Jane Austen's books, while a lot of people don't like those kinds of books.

Sarah said...

I put Danielle Steele on my list too. I gave her a try, figuring I'd like her. How much more awful could her writing be??

Love that I wasn't the only one who put Mein Kampf on a list.

Mine is here: http://www.sarahreck.com/blog/?p=281

Hilde said...

Another vote for Mein Kampf here. I almost included Danielle Steel as well.

Are you a translator too?

Kayla + Cyna said...

I feel the same way you do about saying I'll 'never' read any of the books on my list, cause you really never know. But still, there are some that are on the VERY bottom of the 'ever TBR' list. I've got anything by Danielle Steel and other romance-ish authors on my list, as well. And the Merry Gentry series by Hamilton. On the fence about Blake though.

With you on Hitler's book, and celebrity biographies. I mean, really, why does anyone care?

IngridLola said...

OK, I was delighted to see Clarissa on your list because I absolutely detest Richardson. :)

Anne Bennett said...

I thought about adding Mein Kampf, too, and a lot of my selections fell into that category. I think your #8 is the funniest book on your list. Boring.

1girl2manybooks said...

I only made it through the first Anita Blake novel. Someone told me where the rest headed and that was enough for me!

Bibliophile said...

Anne, my no. 8 sped right to the top of the bestseller list when it was published. So many people wanted to own a copy, but I doubt that more than 20% of those who own it have ever read it from beginning to end.

Bibliophile said...

Hilde, yes, I'm a translator. I do technical and legal translations and secretly wish I could break into literary translations.