Have you ever read a book that you wished you hadn’t? Thought it was a complete waste of time? I have and here are my ten. It doesn’t happen often but it does happen to me. Maybe, jut maybe, I can spare someone else from some terrible books.
- Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
- Remember to Breathe – Simon Pont
- Beowulf – Unknown
- The Girl From Krakow – Alex Rosenburg
- We of the Never Never – Jeannie Gunn
- The Elegance of the Hedgehog – Muriel Barbary
- The Ladies Lending Library – Janice Kulyk Keefer
- Christmas Love – Alathea Wright
- The Awakening – Kate Chopin
- The Art of War – Sun Tzu
‘Orphaned into the household of her Aunt Reed at Gateshead and subject to the cruel regime at Lowood charity school, Jane Eyre nonetheless emerges unbroken in spirit and integrity. She takes up the post of governess at Thornfield, falls in love with Mr. Rochester, and discovers the impediment to their lawful marriage in a story that transcends melodrama to portray a woman’s passionate search for a wider and richer life than Victorian society traditionally allowed.’
This may be controversial for some as for some this is a favourite but I couldn’t stand reading Jane Eyre. It literally took me a year and a half to read. And I have read bigger books in way less time. It was boring. I appreciate she is a plain jane (pun intended) but it took way too long to find out everything and seriously that ending. This was the second time I could say that the movie was way better than the book. I cannot see any reason for me to read this again. This story was just incredibly bizarre.
Remember to Breathe
‘Remember that time when Twitter sounded like an insult, no one had a Facebook page, and Britney Spears still looked innocent in pig tails?
Set in the buzzing location of London in 1999 ‘Remember to Breathe’ charts the highs, lows and in-between dreams of Samuel Grant, wild bunch of one, twenty-something survivor and lover of life.
‘Remember to Breathe’ is a rom-com trip set to a retro beat, for anyone who’s ever partied like it was 1999. And woken to realise that the last tequila was unwise.’
This book was awful. Despite it saying the highs in the blurb, there is no highs. Just a god awful man who surrounds himself with godawful people and blames everyone else for everything that happened in his life.In my Goodreads review I stated “I found Sam to be a misogynistic, pathetic, narcissistic and egotistical. He cheats on his girlfriend, deliberately drives her away then sinks into a depression over her leaving. I wanted to grab Sam by the shoulders and shake him. I get depression. I do. But seriously? You didn’t want her anymore, then she leaves you and you all of a sudden decide you want her again?” and my opinion has not changed in the slightest. Every time I have reason to think of this book, I think of the time I wasted reading something that just frustrated the hell out of me. I am curious to know if the author is just as misogynistic and narcissistic.
‘The national bestseller and winner of the Whitbread Award. Composed toward the end of the first millennium, Beowulf is the classic Northern epic of a hero’s triumphs as a young warrior and his fated death as a defender of his people. The poem is about encountering the monstrous, defeating it, and then having to live on, physically and psychically exposed in the exhausted aftermath. It is not hard to draw parallels in this story to the historical curve of consciousness in the twentieth century, but the poem also transcends such considerations, telling us psychological and spiritual truths that are permanent and liberating.’
I read this book as a part of the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge. I thought it would be fantastic and full of rich history but I was oh so wrong. In fact I have put off writing a review for this for so long as it just was s disappointing. My biggest complaint was that it was so repetitive. I swear the tale repeats itself three times, just in different ways. It was a bore. I thought it would be a great story of Beowulf defeating the monster but I dreaded reading it.
The Girl of Krakow
‘It’s 1935. Rita Feuerstahl comes to the university in Krakow intent on enjoying her freedom. But life has other things in store—marriage, a love affair, a child, all in the shadows of the oncoming war. When the war arrives, Rita is armed with a secret so enormous that it could cost the Allies everything, even as it gives her the will to live. She must find a way both to keep her secret and to survive amid the chaos of Europe at war. Living by her wits among the Germans as their conquests turn to defeat, she seeks a way to prevent the inevitable doom of Nazism from making her one of its last victims. Can her passion and resolve outlast the most powerful evil that Europe has ever seen?’
There were many many reasons I did not like this book. We read it for book club and if I had picked it up on my own, I would never have finished it. The characters were awful with no growth, the writing was a bit here and there sometimes it sounded like a textbook and other times it sounded like porn. I believed that the characters journey was unbelievable and I thought it took away from the seriousness that was the Holocaust.
We of the Never-Never
‘In 1902, newly-married Jeannie Gunn (Mrs Aeneas Gunn) left the security and comfort of her Melbourne home to travel to the depths of the Northern Territory, where her husband had been appointed manager of ‘The Elsey’, a large cattle station. One of the very few white women in the area, she was at first resented by people on and around the station, till her warmth and spirit won their affection and respect.
She had an unerring ear and eye for the sounds and sights of the country, and this is her moving and simple account of her life amidst the beauty and cruelty of the land, and the isolation and loneliness – together with the comradeship and kindness of those around her.’
Another book club selection but this time it was at my own hand and I have no one to blame but myself. We did agree that most of us would never never read it again. While it was interesting to know what actually happened back then in the Northern Territory, it was no masterpiece. It was a struggle to get through. Which is funny, because I quite enjoyed The Little Black Princess.
The Elegance of the Hedgehog
‘We are in the center of Paris, in an elegant apartment building inhabited by bourgeois families. Renée, the concierge, is witness to the lavish but vacuous lives of her numerous employers. Outwardly she conforms to every stereotype of the concierge: fat, cantankerous, addicted to television. Yet, unbeknownst to her employers, Renée is a cultured autodidact who adores art, philosophy, music, and Japanese culture. With humor and intelligence she scrutinizes the lives of the building’s tenants, who for their part are barely aware of her existence.
Then there’s Paloma, a twelve-year-old genius. She is the daughter of a tedious parliamentarian, a talented and startlingly lucid child who has decided to end her life on the sixteenth of June, her thirteenth birthday. Until then she will continue behaving as everyone expects her to behave: a mediocre pre-teen high on adolescent subculture, a good but not an outstanding student, an obedient if obstinate daughter.
Paloma and Renée hide both their true talents and their finest qualities from a world they suspect cannot or will not appreciate them. They discover their kindred souls when a wealthy Japanese man named Ozu arrives in the building. Only he is able to gain Paloma’s trust and to see through Renée’s timeworn disguise to the secret that haunts her. This is a moving, funny, triumphant novel that exalts the quiet victories of the inconspicuous among us’
This book annoyed me more than any other book I have ever read. The main character hated everyone richer than her because they were snobs yet she herself was a total utter snob. She believed her language skills were superior and so in some perverse thinking acted as if she was the dumbest old lady. It was utterly ridiculous and pointless.
The Ladies Lending Library
It is August of 1963, the year of the Taylor/Burton film epic Cleopatra, showcasing a passion too grand to be contained on the movie screen. The women of the Kalyna Beach cottage community gather for gin and gossip, trading the current racy bestsellers among themselves as they seek a brief escape from the predictable rhythms of children and chores. But dramatic change is coming this summer as innocence falters and the desire for change reaches a boiling point, threatening to disrupt the warm, sweet, heady days and the lives of parents and children, family and friends, forever.
This book seemed utterly pointless. In fact I look back at it and I cannot recall much other than I really was bored by it. It seemed to have no purpose. The characters had no real growth.
‘It’s another Christmas Eve for roommates, colleagues, and eternal bickering partners, Lana and Cole. Yet it’s not the same as the previous years, because there is something heavy in the air, charged with electricity and pent-up emotions.
Something happened the previous night, something that could change their relationship and make this Christmas Eve the most special and memorable of them all.’
An author friend of mine says that stories and movies can only be labelled as Christmas if they actually need Christmas for the plot to work. This is not a Christmas story. Just because they are decorating a tree and decide to get it on, doesn’t make it a Christmas tale. I was confused most of the time while reading this. It a quick attempt at erotica that just wasted my time.
‘When first published in 1899, The Awakening shocked readers with its honest treatment of female marital infidelity. Audiences accustomed to the pieties of late Victorian romantic fiction were taken aback by Chopin’s daring portrayal of a woman trapped in a stifling marriage, who seeks and finds passionate physical love outside the confines of her domestic situation.’
I did not understand this book at all. The other stories were not too bad but this one was just bizarre. Almost as if it was written just to incite scandal and sell books. Some claim that it was beautifully written but I disagree. Her other stories in the collection surpassed The Awakening. Her points were lost in-between all her meaningless fluff.
The Art of War
‘Conflict is an inevitable part of life, according to this ancient Chinese classic of strategy, but everything necessary to deal with conflict wisely, honorably, victoriously, is already present within us. Compiled more than two thousand years ago by a mysterious warrior-philosopher, The Art of War is still perhaps the most prestigious and influential book of strategy in the world, as eagerly studied in Asia by modern politicians and executives as it has been by military leaders since ancient times. As a study of the anatomy of organizations in conflict, The Art of War applies to competition and conflict in general, on every level from the interpersonal to the international. Its aim is invincibility, victory without battle, and unassailable strength through understanding the physics, politics, and psychology of conflict.
(Original publication date was circa 500 BCE.)’
So I understand the significance of this book, I really do. However I found it incredibly boring and difficult to get through. I appreciate that this book is a famous guide but my goodness I will never pick it up again. I found that majority of it was something else that someone had said. It wasn’t really Sun Tzu.
What books would you never read again?