Happy holidays! ☃️ 2020 is finally on its way out, and I cannot wait for it to be gone. In celebration of the holidays (because God’s thumbs do we need something to celebrate) and in honor of the inaugural year of my independent book blog, I thought I’d try my own version of vlogmas, where I post once a day every day of Christmas week. This is partly a celebration and partly a means of cleaning out old draft posts that’ve been piling up over the last several months. I’m also starting a project where I pull old reviews from goodreads and defunct blogs onto this blog for the purposes of consolidation, so expect to see at least a couple of those padding out the new content.
In the meantime, I’ve decided that Blogmas Day 1 will be a tag I’ve had sitting around for a while, because I didn’t plan this very well. We’ll see how this whole Blogmas thing goes.
Original tag by Nicole & Her Books.
1. A popular book EVERYONE loves that you have no interest in reading?
American Dirt (Jeanine Cummins). It’s a bit of a stretch to say that everyone loves this, considering the number of essays that have enumerated its many, many problems, but it is pretty popular, so my choice stands. I refuse to support this book in any way, shape, or form, and will not be reading it.
I’m also going to skip Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (Susanna Clarke) for the very simple reason that it’s way too fucking long. I generally lack the patience for books in excess of 600 pages. The Priory of the Orange Tree was pushing it at 831, and, at 1,006, Jonathan Strange is one of those books that make me wonder where the hell the editors were. I did make it through The Count of Monte Cristo, which was a whopping 1,312 pages, but that was a classic I remembered fondly from my childhood, which gave me just enough motivation to push through the whole thing.
2. A classic book (or author) you have no interest in reading?
Rebecca (Daphne du Maurier). idk, this just sounds like Jane Eyre to me. Of course, I haven’t read Jane Eyre yet so I suppose I should reserve judgment until I actually do, but in the meantime I have zero interest in this book.
I am similarly uninterested in The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger), which I missed out on in high school, though “missed” might be too generous a word. There is no part of this book that appeals to me. I’m not a teenage boy and I’m way past the teenage angst stage anyway, and all in all this is one ship that I am happy to let sail without me. I’m not even interested in reading it for the sake of saying I’ve read it, which for me is really saying something. I’m mildly interested in going back and reading Moby Dick, which my classmates bitched about for a year when they were reading it in twelfth grade, but, as far as Catcher goes, I’ve realized that I don’t have an infinite amount of time and some things just aren’t worth it.
3. An author whose books you have no interest in reading?
Leigh Bardugo. I have nothing against her personally and I haven’t heard anything problematic about her (although admittedly I haven’t gone looking), but I’m not really into YA and her books probably wouldn’t appeal to me even if I were. I’m not sure why, but I’ve read a couple of the plot summaries and they just sound like the most basic YA.
And, though her books are gorgeous and I really, really love fairy tale retellings, I have no intention of picking up anything by Sarah J. Maas for literally the same reasons. I peeked into Throne of Glass and was unimpressed with the writing; she also seems to focus mostly on romance, which is a big NOPE, and I’m so far behind on her 50 million series that I see no point in going for broke here. Plus Crescent City is like 800 pages long, so her work is an unequivocal pass for me.
4. A problematic author whose books you have no interest in reading?
Cassandra Clare. This one I have no problem branding problematic because it sounds like she made her name with Harry Potter fanfiction that somehow got published, not unlike E.L. James. She’s also been accused of plagiarizing. I haven’t done any in-depth research so I can’t say if this is true or not, but her books don’t appeal to me any more than Leigh Bardugo’s (I mean, talk about your basic YA) and there are currently about a million other things I would actually willingly read, so I will not be sampling Mortal Instruments.
And, though I almost feel like this one is too easy, I won’t be reading anything by E.L. James, even if she does publish something that isn’t abusive Twilight fanfiction; and I am done with J.K. Rowling, which kinda breaks my Potterhead heart. I love Harry Potter. I may have a lot of problems with it as an adult, but there is something magical and indestructible about the series as a whole. That being said, Rowling isn’t my favorite writer, none of her non-Harry Potter books sound that great, and I unconditionally disagree with her stance on transgender rights, so I haven’t bothered looking at any of her other works.
5. An author you have read a couple of books from and have decided their books are not for you?
Christina Henry and Gregory Maguire. Christina Henry seems to specialize in spectacularly awful endings that make me angry instead of making me want to read more (see also The Chronicles of Alice and The Girl In Red) and her writing is nothing special, which is really a pity because I loved the premises of the three books of hers that I read.
Gregory Maguire has a lot of interesting ideas, but he has a real problem with rambling and he also doesn’t explain as much as he should. There’s a world of difference between patronizing your audience and illuminating the world that you’re asking them to believe in, and it’s not enough to tell me that XYZ character is riding a skark without any sort of description. What the hell is a skark? Is it related to a horse, or is it something else entirely? You could argue that you don’t actually need to know what a skark is to understand the plot, which is certainly true, but all the same this was a major irritant, especially as it kept happening.
6. A genre you have no interest in OR a genre you tried to get into and couldn’t?
Say it with me: R O M A N C E
I actually have read a couple of trashy romances just to see if they really are that bad. They are.
7. A book you have bought but will never read? (This can be a book you have unhauled/returned to the library unread.)
An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England (Brock Clarke). I picked this up on a whim and let it sit for at least a year, because that’s how books get ripe, and then I ran off and bought a bunch of other books and naturally ran out of space and started thinking about unhauling this one. Then I realized it had a 2.97 average on goodreads and started actually reading the reviews, and, long story short, Arsonist’s Guide went to the secondhand bookstore during my mid-autumn unhaul.
8. A series you have no interest in reading OR a series you started and have DNF’d?
The Maze Runner series (James Dashner) was a hard DNF. I couldn’t even finish the first book. The premise sounded interesting, but Thomas was one of those characters who will show up in a new place and after literally five seconds all he can say is “I don’t want friends!” “What are you hiding?” “Can I see?” “Why won’t you let me into the secret room or tell me all the secrets omg why does nobody like me” give me a fucking break dude you literally just said you didn’t want to make friends. Throw in a handful of made-up profanity and slang and you have a really annoying book on your hands.
I also had to DNF the Dune Chronicles (Frank Herbert) after reading the first four books. The first book was great. The next three, not so much. I’d been told that God Emperor of Dune was one of the best in the series, but I never really got into it, and the writing and the style as a whole just weren’t for me.
9. A new release you have no interest in reading?
White Ivy (Susie Yang). This one bums me out because I really want to support Asian authors but creepy stalker books don’t do it for me, sorry. On the subject of creepy stalkers, I won’t be reading Midnight Sun (Stephenie Meyer) either, because I have given way too many brain cells to that woman. In case you’ve been living under a rock, Midnight Sun is Twilight from Edward’s point of view. It is at once irrefutable proof that Meyer reads her negative reviews and an attempted rebuttal of our extremely valid objections. I read the unfinished draft she posted on her website years ago out of sheer morbid curiosity and have heavily regretted it ever since, and actually was not aware that it had since been finalized for publication until it showed up on BN.com. From what I remember, it did nothing but demonstrate that Edward was even creepier than he seemed in Twilight, and also Meyer’s Spanish sucks. She seems to have corrected it in the finished version, but it still looks odd to me, which – given that I am not a native Spanish speaker and have never been fluent in my life – is not good.