Monday, April 9, 2018

Ten Books I Loved But Will Never Reread

I'm linking up with That Artsy Reader Girl for another Top Ten Tuesday.

Given how difficult it is for me to make myself reread books, you would think there would be a lot in this category, but I was surprised, looking through my top-rated books, how many I've reread already. There are many others that I would be happy to reread if they came up as book club picks even if I wouldn't pick them up on my own. I did, however, manage to find ten books that I enjoyed but have no plans to reread ever.

1. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown
This is a painstakingly detailed account of how the United States made and broke promises to Native Americans throughout the 1800s, not to mention killing them en masse at several points in time. I'm very glad to have read it and think every American should, but the level of research and detail was almost mind-numbing, and I don't need to reread the whole thing for the overall history lesson to still be firmly implanted in my brain.

2. The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee
This is another case where the level of research and detail was astounding, and I learned a lot from it, but wow did it take me a long time to get through. I don't think I need to devote that much time again to revisiting this particular book.

3. The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey
This book is brilliant, but well beyond my tolerance for gore. I don't usually read horror, and I made an exception because of the rave reviews for this one (which I'm glad I did), but I will not be rereading it. When one of my book clubs picked it one month I chose not to read it again, but I was glad it was chosen and we had a good discussion!

4. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Like most people, I flew through this book and was blown away by the clever plotting and the reveal in the second half. But both main characters are truly terrible people, I already know the twists, and there's one very violent scene that horrified me, so I will not be picking up this one again.

5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
I couldn't put down any of the books in this trilogy, but I knew I'd never pick them back up again once I was done. They're so horrific both conceptually and in the violent imagery on the page even while being incredibly compelling, and I had trouble sleeping afterwards because I was still thinking about them. I have no desire to revisit that world.

6. Room by Emma Donoghue
This is one of my favorite books, but it was incredibly stressful to read. The climax that comes halfway through the book was so nerve-wracking that I turned my audiobook on double-speed just to get through it faster because I needed to know if they were going to be OK. I'm glad this book exists and I'm glad to have read it, but even knowing what happens I don't think I'd want to be back in Room again.

7. The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
The Cormoran Strike mysteries are definitely grittier in general than the cozy mysteries I usually read, but this one was particularly brutal. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series, but I won't be going back through the ones I've already read, especially this one.

8. Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill
Books involving chattel slavery are necessarily hard to read, and I've read quite a lot at this point, both fiction and nonfiction. It's not something I ever want to shy away from reading as it's a real part of American history, but I'm not eager to revisit the accounts I've already read. If I did, I think I'd choose one of the nonfiction books rather than a fictionalized version like this to reread.

9. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Hosseini is a very talented writer and did a wonderful job with this book, but man, it's depressing. I remember reading this during a cold, rainy spell while living in Chicago, and between the book and the weather I felt like there was this physical weight on me. It's worth reading once, but I would have to be in a really good mood with bright, warm weather to attempt to tackle this one again.

10. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
Talk about brutal! This was such a compelling read, but the things Zamperini went through were horrifying, particularly the sadism of the Bird in his POW camp. And I can still remember wanting to vomit at the thought of what some of the prisoners did to the Bird's food. Her writing is masterful, but the things she wrote about are not things I want to vicariously experience a second time.

Which great books will you never reread?

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Looking back:
One year ago I was reading: You and Dumb Witness
Five years ago I was reading: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Adoption and Moby-Dick
Ten years ago I was reading: Going Postal

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