Monday, July 6, 2015

Top Ten Hyped Books I've Never Read

I'm linking up with The Broke and the Bookish for another Top Ten Tuesday.

What's this? I actually found time to do a Top Ten Tuesday again? Yes, believe it or not, I'm finally done KMing our belongings, I've finished all the major projects leftover from that process, I'm no longer working two jobs, and we're back from vacation. It's like I have a life again! My reading has picked back up and now my blogging can too.

This week's topic — top ten hyped books I've never read — is similar to a recent conversation at Modern Mrs. Darcy about books everyone but you has read. (Obviously, the "everyone" is an exaggeration, as indicated by the number of repeat titles in comments.) That conversation was focused more on so-called classic books, many of which I want to get around to reading eventually. For this I want to mention some books that have been popular in recent years but which I haven't read and am not particularly anxious to read. Feel free to try to convince me otherwise :)

1. 11/22/63 by Stephen King
I've never read anything by King because as an HSP I stay far, far away from anything classified as horror, but I've heard this book is something different, more like fantastical historical fiction, and a lot of people I know have really liked it. However, I have a weird aversion to most time-traveling plots, and especially time-traveling plots that involve interfering with past events, so I don't see myself ever picking this one up.

2. 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
I considered picking this up after it got rave reviews, but I was so scarred from reading The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle that I couldn't bring myself to try it. I also read an interview with Murakami where he admitted that he included symbols and clues in his novels and didn't have any idea what they actually meant, which I can't stand — I hated Wicked and Son of a Witch because they were full of all sorts of mysterious threads that the author didn't even attempt to tie up.

3. Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James
Nothing about this book appealed to me anyway, and then I read Jenny Trout's hilarious and depressing teardown of the whole series and it made me sad that these books not only exist but are so popular. From what I could gather from the copious excerpts, the writing is atrocious and the plot celebrates a frighteningly abusive relationship while stigmatizing and misrepresenting BDSM. So... no thank you.

4. A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
I do hope to read this whole series eventually, but I'm not going to start until Martin is done writing it. Before I invest that much time in a book series I want to know that the entire series is worthwhile and it's not going to end on a stupid note like The Dreamers, and the author's not going to die before finishing it, like with The Wheel of Time. Once it's all done, someone tell me if it's still worth starting it.

5. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
It's unusual for a book or series to be as popular as this one was without my picking it up, but I actually didn't know many people who read it, and those who did read (and knew me) said it would probably be too graphic for me. OK with me — I skipped it.

6. Inferno by Dan Brown
I loved Angels & Demons. The Da Vinci Code was OK. The Lost Symbol was formulaic and the reveal made no sense. By the time Inferno came around, I was no longer on the Robert Langdon fan train. Somehow this book was still a bestseller, but I never heard any reviews that made me want to pick it up.

7. Insurgent/Allegiant by Veronica Roth
I read Divergent, and years ago I would not have started a series without the intention to read the whole thing, but I did not love the first book enough to continue with the series. The reviews I heard of the sequels didn't change my mind about reading them.

8. Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg
I do want to read this book eventually, if only to have more cultural fluency about the contents of a book that so many people have read and like to talk about. From what I know about it, I don't think my own approach to work or level of ambition matches Sandberg's, but I'm still interested to read what she has to say, particularly as I'm now a "working mother."

9. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
I have considered reading this just because it is so mind-blowingly popular, but there's really nothing about it that sounds appealing to me. I'm not a big fan of fantasy, I can't stay poor writing or editing, and the take-home message, from what I hear, is questionable at best and dangerous at worst. So I've continued to take a pass on this series.

10. Wild by Cheryl Strayed
I may or may not eventually read this one. I know it's super super popular, but the handful of people I trust who have read it have said that they were way too annoyed with the author to get much out of the book. It sounds like a painful reading experience, honestly, so I'm not too keen to dive in.

What super-popular books have you never read? Do you plan to?

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  1. We share quite a few titles this week - I could have easily added Wild and Lean In to my list too.

  2. As far as I'm concerned skip is so over done.
    I have no intention of read FIFTY SHADES OF GRAY...I don't need those messages in my head.
    WILD is very good and worthy of your time. Read it with a friend so you will have someone to discuss it with afterwards.

  3. I don't blame you for 50 Shades, Inferno, Twilight, and Wild...

    Check out my TTT and my current giveaway.

  4. At some point I would love to read the whole Game of Thrones series!!

    My TTT

  5. I don't think you're missing much with 50 Shades or Twilight... :-)

  6. Bookworm InkorporatedJuly 7, 2015 at 4:34 AM

    Agreed, no reason to read 50 shades or Twilight! Wild was good, in the sense that I liked the descriptions about hiking, the author made me crazy.

  7. Some of these made my list this week too. I wasn’t a fan of 50 Shades or Twilight. I also loved the first few Robert Langdon books, but the last few have been terrible.

  8. I have no desire to read Twilight or 50 Shades. Snark Squad does some awesome 50 Shades recaps, though. The Divergent books sounded like a lesser Hunger Games, so I skipped those, too.

    I'd heard that The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was pretty graphic, so I was prepared for that...what I wasn't prepared for was how boring it was. The mystery is just not that interesting and it's way longer than it needs to be, so I didn't read the rest of the series.

    Also, I haven't read Inferno or The Lost Symbol, but I liked The Da Vinci Code and thought Angels and Demons was okay. Dan Brown gets a lot of hate, but I don't think his books are that bad. They're not favorites, but they're enjoyable thrillers, and it annoys me how snobby people are about them. No, they're not great literature, but they were never supposed to be.

    I haven't read Wild, but I did see the movie, which was pretty good.

  9. The Divergent books sounded like a lesser Hunger Games
    Yeah, that's part of why I didn't like the first one. I might have liked it better if I hadn't read The Hunger Games previously.

    Good to know that The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo isn't a good enough read to justify pushing through the graphic parts for.

    I haven't heard that much hate for the Robert Langdon books myself, but even as thrillers I thought they took a nosedive in quality as they went along. I enjoy books that are straight-up action or mystery if they're good.

  10. Good to hear I'm not missing much!

  11. That's what I've heard about Wild — I suppose whether you like it depends on which aspects you focus on.

  12. As a reader I don't feel like I've missed anything by not reading them, but as a matter of cultural fluency I do feel like there are references I miss from not having read Twilight. Still, I've picked up enough of the basic plot points by now that there probably isn't much I really miss.

  13. Are you also hoping to wait until it's finished, or just until you have time to commit to reading a series of books that size?

  14. Is that because you've read them, or because you don't plan to read them either?

  15. What were some of the things you liked about Wild?

  16. Good to know I'm not the only one who hasn't read some of these popular books!

  17. I have read Wild and basically you have to go into it acknowledging that you are going to dislike the protagonist (she does stupid illogical things). I have only read one Murakami and I really enjoyed it, but it was one of his shorter (and more straight forward) works South of the Border, West of the Sun. I have thought about reading Colourless or Norwegian Wood but haven't gotten around to it yet.

  18. Thanks for sharing your perspective!

  19. I've read Inferno and Twlight, but not the others.

  20. I haven't read or even seriously considered reading any of these.

    George R.R. Martin was the guest of honor at Capclave 2013, which I attended with a friend who has read all his books, so we went to hear him read aloud for 90 minutes from the one that was about to be published. It did keep my attention and was well written, but it didn't quite grab me enough to motivate me to start reading his books. If I were locked in a room with only these 10 books, though, his is the one I'd pick up first.

  21. Good to know! I figured his books are popular for a reason, even though it's not my preferred genre.