Ten Books I’d Throw into the Ocean

Ten Books I'd Throw into the Ocean

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Top Ten Tuesday

Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl invited us to share ten “Books I’d Throw into the Ocean.” I interpret this to mean books that are just so terrible (in my humble opinion) that I think they belong at the bottom of the ocean. A few weeks ago, I shared ten books I gave away and most of those could go on this list. I’ll avoid duplicates though. I didn’t finish reading many of these so most links will go to the Malaprop’s bookstore website.

Ten Books I' Throw into the Ocean

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn–The book that started my aversion to thrillers with the word girl in the title. I started listening to it on audio, loathed every character, and returned it to the library. I know there’s supposed to be a mind-blowing twist but I just don’t care enough to find out what it is.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins–The book that sealed the deal on girlish thrillers. An unreliable narrator who I would avoid at all costs if she were a real person? No thanks. I quickly gave up on this audiobook too.

McTeague by Frank Norris–I had to read this as an example of realism in my American literature class in college. I almost never liked required reading. The plot was stark, violent, and depressing. That may be one aspect of real life, but there are moments of beauty too. This book and its “realism” just don’t fit my worldview very well.

New Moon by Stephenie Meyer–I loved Twilight and then this book about whiny, heartbroken, depressed Bella came along. The endless blank pages that illustrate her empty days pushed me over the edge. It took me a long time to stir up any interest in continuing the series but I did eventually read Eclipse. I liked it better but still haven’t read Breaking Dawn and probably never will.

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders, read by 166 narrators–This book raked in awards when it was initially published and the audio version in particular received a lot of praise. I’m in the minority here but it just confused the heck out of me. One guy talks about poop in his “sick box” which I eventually figured out was his coffin. Then he’s talking about running around naked with his *ahem* manhood? at attention in the breeze. I was done. I even stopped the audio 20 minutes in, restarted it because I was so confused, made it 45 minutes the second time and decided that life was entirely too short to continue subjecting myself to this mess. So many readers I respect have given it 5 stars but this was emphatically not a book for me.

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick–I have to admit that I ripped through this book but Patch was physically and emotionally abusive to Nora and I felt the author presented that as love. Not acceptable, especially in a book marketed for teens.

Die, Snow White, Die! Damn You! by Yuri Rasovsky, read by a full cast–I’m not a big fan of movies with too many stars and I’m also not a fan of audiobooks with too many famous narrators. I think they’re each interested in doing their own thing rather than creating a cohesive whole. Aside from that, the author tried entirely too hard and the humor largely fell flat for me.

Message in a Bottle by Nicholas Sparks–My mom is (was?) a huge fan of Nicholas Sparks so when this movie hit theaters, I told her I’d take her to see it. She loaned me the book and I started reading it but I saw the movie before I finished it. I’m not a crier so if you want to make sure I don’t read a book, tell me that you sobbed the last fifty pages. I’ll avoid it at all costs. Needless to say, after seeing the movie, I handed Mama her book back and haven’t attempted another Sparks book since.

The Return of the King by J. R. R. Tolkien–I expect a lot of people to disagree with this choice! I was a band geek and even one of the drum majors/field conductors in high school. My junior year, our marching band show was based on Johan de Meij’s Symphony No. 1, The Lord of the Rings. (Gorgeous music, by the way. It starts 4 minutes into this video.) This was several years before Peter Jackson’s movies came out. The other drum major and I decided to read the books over our summer break so that we would understand the music better when our season started in the fall. Oh my. If you’ve been around my blog much at all, you probably know that I do love fantasy. But all the elvish songs and the mud–oh, the endless descriptions of mud!– finally broke me by the time I got to The Return of the King. I couldn’t bring myself to finish it.

Sophie’s Choice by William Styron–This should absolutely be my kind of book. But a former co-worker handed me his copy, told me I needed to read it, then told me exactly what Sophie had to choose! It’s unbearable so I didn’t even want to start reading. I reluctantly gave it a try but then I got to a scene describing a sexual assault and I just couldn’t force myself to read more. I left the book in my co-worker’s locker and hoped he never asked me about it again.

That’s my list! Have you read any of these? Do you agree or disagree with me? Which books did/would you choose? Link up every Tuesday at That Artsy Reader Girl!

I have an affiliate relationship with Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe in beautiful Asheville, NC. I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you if you purchase merchandise through links on my site.

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  1. I’m not suprised you flung out the Nicholas Sparkes book – the man can’t finish his stories sensibly. The Horse Whisperer has a RIDICULOUS ending, which Robert Redford sorted out when he made the film. And then I listened to Himself and read The Loop and once again, the ending was mind-bogglingly stupid and I knew that Sparkes and me were done forever! And your warning regarding Sophie’s Choice is apt. I watched the film when I was pregnant and was in bits for days. Great list:)).

    1. I believe you’re thinking of Nicholas Evans with The Horse Whisperer and The Loop, but the two Nicholases are almost interchangeable to me. Not my kinds of books at all.

      I can’t imagine reading Sophie’s Choice while pregnant. Well, I can’t imagine reading it at all since I got that big spoiler.

      1. You’re right – I WAS muddling the two – thank you for putting me right *sigh*. I am aware that my thinking processes aren’t as sharp as they were… Let’s hope that improves!!!

  2. I’m actually one who thoroughly enjoyed Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train (reviewed here: https://lesleysbooknook.blogspot.com/2012/05/gone-girl.html and here https://lesleysbooknook.blogspot.com/2015/02/the-girl-on-train.html ). But I do appreciate your remarks about Lincoln in the Bardo. It has such high acclaim after it was released, but the thought of all those characters made my head spin and I just couldn’t be tempted. I’m glad I’m not missing anything. Like you, I loved Twilight, but New Moon had far too much teen angst and I wasn’t impressed.

  3. I just recently read Gone Girl and despite hearing all the hype about it- I honestly don’t remember a lot about it? So it must not have made too big an impression on me. Girl on the Train I liked a bit but wasn’t wowed.

    Die Snow White Die- that title just cracks me up! :):)

    1. Die Snow White Die is an awesome title! Too bad the plot didn’t live up to it. I’m usually in the minority when I dislike something this much (see “The Girl” books above) but the average rating for Die Snow White on GoodReads is 2.9. Yikes.

  4. Oh those “girl” books. I did enjoy Gone Girl then somewhat the Girl on the Train but I just wish publishers wouldn’t be stuck on “girl” as a must word for any thriller. I enjoy thrillers but think I read one too many with an unreliable narrator and am somewhat on a break. Enjoyed reading your list!

  5. I love thrillers, but you’re right – so many of them are filled with completely unlikable characters. Even the heroes/heroines sometimes are awful, definitely not people you’d want to spend time with in real life. Not sure why this is such a trend, but it absolutely is.

    Happy TTT!


  6. Lincoln in the Bardo is on my TBR shelf and has been there for quite some time. I am not sure why I am avoiding it, but your description has convinced me to give it away. I have also not read Gone Girl or Girl on the Train despite all the praise. I did, however, think Sophie’s Choice was a really good book. Knowing the “choice” before you start would ruin it.

    1. So many people do love Lincoln in the Bardo, I really feel like I missed something. But I’m not trying to read it again.

      I really wish my co-worker hadn’t told me what Sophie’s choice entailed. I know I probably would have liked the book if I’d gone into it blindly.

  7. LOTR-the-books aren’t for everyone, and in general these days I will recommend the movies instead of the books because they’re so much easier to access. The books are just not worth the time investment for everyone.

    166 narrators for Lincoln in the Bardo? Yikes. That would have turned me away from the book right there, never mind the content.

    Regarding the Twilight books: I’ve never read them, but I have read the microsuede reviews of them. Here’s the New Moon movie review (with cats) for your enjoyment: http://microsuede.blogspot.com/2009/11/movie-review-twilight-saga-new-moon.html

      1. You’re welcome! I loved revisiting those meme reviews, too. 😀

        Oh ugh. I have a hard time when there’s a “full” cast of like 5 narrators. I think I would have lost my mind over 166 narrators.

  8. I could throw all the thrillers and the mysteries and the horrors into the ocean and not look back. But I think there would be lots of sad people.

    Nicholas Sparks never worked for me either. Sadly, I’m really not enjoying The Four Winds right now. Good thing there is no ocean handy.

    1. I do usually like thriller/mystery/horror but not when the characters are entirely too unlikeable. Sorry The Four Winds isn’t working for you. I haven’t read any of Kristin Hannah’s books but I do own The Nightingale. I’m not convinced that she’s an author I’ll like but so many people love that book, I decided to see what the fuss was about. I hope The Four Winds gets better!

  9. hahaha I enjoyed Gone Girl and Girl on the Train! Gone Girl was one of the first thrillers I ever read and Girl on the Train was the first audiobook thriller for me. I’ve since read all of my thrillers as audiobooks. I can’t comment on Return of the King because it’s the only one I haven’t read yet but I did enjoy the first two! Although, The Hobbit is my favorite 🙂

    Here’s my TTT: https://www.mollysbooknook.com/6-books-that-belong-on-the-ocean-floor/

    1. Gone Girl and Girl on the Train were huge hits! I was disappointed they didn’t work for me. I loved The Hobbit but obviously LOTR was an entirely different matter. I did love the movies though. Although not The Hobbit movies, strangely enough.

  10. I have read “Girl on a Train” and the “Hobbit”. Totally agree with your comments, I never even started “Lord of the Rings”.

    As to “Sophie’s Choice”, I watched this a long time ago, before I had children (my oldest turns 32 this year) and it haunts me till today. A friend of mine wanted to read it while she was pregnant with her fourth child and her husband was away on business for a while. I told her not to touch it at least until her husband was back and she’d had the child. Such an awful story. Of course, it’s probably a true one which makes it even worse.

    My TTT.

    1. I’m sure some unfortunate women were faced with Sophie’s choice. I can’t even imagine. You gave your friend good advice. I read books about the Holocaust fairly regularly. I feel they honor the survivors and those who weren’t so fortunate and remind us of a dark time in our history that we just can’t repeat. But knowing what was coming made it impossible for me to continue that book.

      1. So do I, Jen, I have read lots of books about the Holocaust but while the tales are all horrible, this one has haunted me most. And I agree with you. We have to keep history alive, otherwise it will repeat itself as many current events prove.

        Thanks for this talk and the visit to my blog. It was a great pleasure.

  11. Aaah, the “the Girl” aversion. I get that completely. I actually want to make a challenge with all these girls without names. I for one did finish and enjoy both of your selections… Twilight, I read the whole series, but will never again!

    Lincoln in the Bardo was a strange book yes. I did finish it on audible and I ended up caring for it more than I also initially thought I would. Won’t read it again though and don’t really know who I’d recommend it too either…

    Happy TTT!

    Ten Books I’d gladly throw into the ocean (for the mermaids to read)

    1. So many people loved the “Girl” books. I’m disappointed I wasn’t one of them. The same with Lincoln in the Bardo. I just didn’t have the patience to keep trying. I’m glad you liked these though!

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