Monday, November 12, 2012

Loathsome Novels

We've all read them. Books that make us gnash our teeth. Books we want to shred and burn--but we don't because, as book lovers, we know it's a sin. Books we wish we could unread, words we curse ourselves for wasting hours plowing through, authors we want to eviscerate (or maybe that's just me...). Not one person out there has a book they didn't find disagreeable. And these are mine.

Call of the Wild by Jack London 

Half St. Bernard, half sheepdog, Buck is stolen away from his comfortable life as a pet in California and sold to dog traders. He soon finds himself aboard a ship, on its way to Northern Canada. Surrounded by cruelty, Buck's natural instincts and behavior begin to emerge as he works as a mail carrying sled dog, scavenging for food, protecting himself against other dogs and sleeping out in the cold snow.

Sold to a group of American gold hunters who are inexperienced living in the wilderness, the dogs are treated badly and as misfortune besets them, Buck is saved by John Thornton. Indebted to his new master, Buck remains by Thornton's side, saving him from drowning and protecting him with fierce loyalty throughout their time together. However, Buck can not deny the strong lure of the wilderness around him.

Exciting and action-packed, THE CALL OF THE WILD explores the timeless relationship between man and dog, and the inevitable draw of primitive instincts that pull Buck away from civilization and humanity towards the lawless and harsh wilderness. 

I don't remember much about this story. I had to read it for class in like sixth grade. But I remember how cruelly the dogs were treated and, at the time, it pissed me off. However, if I read it again now, I probably wouldn't be so bothered by it. Yay desensitization!

The Silent Cry by Kenzaburo Oe 

The Silent Cry traces the uneasy relationship between two brothers who return to their ancestral home, a village in densely forested western Japan. While one brother tries to sort out the after-effects of a friend's suicide and the birth of a retarded son, the other embarks on a quixotic mission to incite an uprising among the local youth. Oe's description of this brother's messianic struggle to save a disintegrating local culture and economy from the depredations of a Korean wheeler-dealer called "The Emperor of the Supermarkets" is as chillingly pertinent today as it was when first published in 1967. Powerful and daring, The Silent Cry is a thoroughly compelling classic of world literature.

It was soo boring and confusing. Half the time, I didn't even know what was going on. Oe's style is complex and he's kind of, oh, abstract? I don't even know what to call it. His style just doesn't work for me. I like books that are straightforward and clear. His doesn't really fall under that category. There were some weird things going on in the book too that made me uncomfortable. Hippies, drugs, and sex and all that other crap. Bleh.

Watership Down - Richard Adams 

One of the most beloved novels of our time (LIES!), Richard Adams's "Watership Down" takes us to a world we have never truly seen: to the remarkable life that teems in the fields, forests and riverbanks far beyond our cities and towns. It is a powerful saga of courage, leadership and survival; an epic tale of a hardy band of adventurers forced to flee the destruction of their fragile community...and their trials and triumphs in the face of extraordinary adversity as they pursue a glorious dream called "home." "Watership Down" is a remarkable tale of exile and survival, of heroism and leadership...the epic novel of a group of adventurers who desert their doomed city, and venture forth against all odds on a quest for a new home, and a sturdier future. 

I hate bunnies because of this goddamn book! Didn't help that I had to do a presentation on the stupid thing either. I don't even think I finished the novel, and when I was done with the class, I gave it to my cousin. And I am pretty protective of my books. I don't even let people touch them.

Things Change by Patrick Jones

They say opposits attract, and that could be the only explanation for Johanna's attraction to Paul. Wherever Paul goes, laughter follows, and perfect, straight-A Johanna longs to be a part of his inner circle.

Getting Paul into her life turns out to be the easy part. But keeping Paul happy is tough, even for Johanna. And keeping Paul happy is a must, because when Paul is unhappy, Johanna becomes his target. Soon Paul's happiness becomes more important to Johanna than her family, her friends, her grades, and even her safety.

Jones was a friend of the librarian at my high school and she arranged for him to come and give a presentation. He was funny and kind of weird and not at all what I expected an author would look and act like. Shaggy gray hair and beard, ripped jeans, a faded band t-shirt, and, of course, black Converse. Anyway, he told us how he came up with the idea for the novel and he went on to explain his writing process. When the presentation was over, I was super stoked to read his book, even though it wasn't something I'd normally pick up.

I can't get over how much I dislike this book. I read it in about a day. It was short and the author's style was simple, which is, of course, fine. The content is what irritated me. I don't like girls who let guys walk all over them, or girls who feel the need to change themselves to get a guy to like them. It's pathetic and I feel no sympathy for them not having a spine. Most of the time, I just wanted to kick her in the face. And the main guy character's favorite singer is Bruce Springsteen, which reinforced my dislike for the singer.

Seeker (Book One of the Noble Warriors) - William Nicholson

The rocky island of Anacrea is home to the Noble Warriors--the Nomana--an elite band of fighter monks. They have the respect of the community, peace of mind, and seemingly limitless power. Who wouldn't want to be one of them?

Three young people are determined to join their hallowed ranks: Seeker, whose father wishes he would become a schoolteacher instead; Morning Star, whose mother abandoned her to join the Noble Warriors; and a violent, beautiful river bandit known as the Wildman.

But becoming a Noble Warrior is easier said than done, and these unlikely friends must take great risks to prove they are worthy. On a quest toward their goal, Seeker, Morning Star, and the Wildman get caught up in a bloody and harrowing race to save the Nomana--and themselves--from destruction.

This book was just meh. I don't even remember a lot of it because it didn't leave a huge impression on me. There's nothing I really hate about it, but I can't recall anything I liked either. I certainly won't read the next in the series.

A Wizard of Earthsea - Ursula K. Le Guin

Ged, the greatest sorcerer in all Earthsea, was called Sparrowhawk in his reckless youth. Hungry for power and knowledge, Sparrowhawk tampered with long-held secrets and loosed a terrible shadow upon the world. This is the tale of his testing, how he mastered the mighty words of power, tamed an ancient dragon, and crossed death's threshold to restore the balance.

The movie adaptation sucked (then again, it was made for TV and those usually are crap). Even Ghibli's anime version Dragons of Earthsea sucked. Though I got close, I don't think I finished the novel. Try as I might, I couldn't get into it. You know when you read a paragraph, but you're not really absorbing any of it? That's how it was. For the entire book. It's such a shame too because this is such a beloved fantasy classic.

Coin Locker Babies - Ryū Murakami

Abandoned at birth in adjacent train station lockers, two troubled boys spend their youth in an orphanage and with foster parents on a semi-deserted island before finally setting off for the city to find and destroy the women who first rejected them. Both are drawn to an area of freaks and hustlers called Toxitown. One becomes a bisexual rock singer, star of this exotic demimonde, while the other, a pole vaulter, seeks his revenge in the company of his girlfriend, Anemone, a model who has converted her condominium into a tropical swamp for her pet crocodile.

Together and apart, their journey from a hot metal box to a stunning, savage climax is a brutal funhouse ride through the eerie landscape of late-twentieth-century Japan.

Okay, I'm going to give you the first sentence of the novel. I think it'll be quite self-explanatory as to why I have so much hate for this novel. Here it is. Are you ready? I don't think you are. I know I wasn't. I'm warning you. It's disturbing.
"The woman pushed on the baby's stomach and sucked its penis into her mouth; it was thinner than the American menthols she smoked and a bit slimy, like raw fish."
And it didn't get any better than that, folks. It's one of those effed up books that, when you finish, you're like...dafuq did I just read?

What novels do you absolutely hate? 


  1. Good to know. I was thinking about trying out Ursula Le Guin. Guess I'll skip 'em.

    There are probably a lot of novels I hated, but I blocked them out of my memory. I've tried out a number of cheap ebooks lately and got what I paid for :(.

  2. I know a few people who really liked Ursula Le Guin, my 11 year old cousin included. I personally just didn't care much for her style, so I don't want to deter you from reading it.

    Cheap ebooks. They keep you entertained for the most part, but they're not necessarily the best written. From what I've read, anyway. I want to try reviewing more self-published books, but I'd much rather read the bestsellers. :/

  3. Read a sample and I don't think it's my style either. Very telly/info dumpy. Good call. Oh and BTW, I didn't read the last review on your list until yesterday. Yikes!! Still trying to wring the image from my poor spongy brain :(.

  4. Ah Loathsome Novels. I got a few on my list, these two take the cake.

    Leviathan is a steampunk novel written by Scott Westerfield. Now I actually quite enjoyed the book. It wasn't all that bad, and I plan to read the 2nd in the series. So why is it in my list of loathsome novels you may ask?

    Stupidity, That's why. Alek ( I think that was his name. Give me a break it's been a while) is such bumbling idiot that I spent most of the story focused on how stupid he was than the story. Seriously. How many times are you going to give your identity away you idiot? I kid you not, he gives himself away around 7 times. I almost yelled at the book in frustration.

    Alek was the stupidest character that I have ever read about until ANNE happened. Who is Anne you ask. Keep reading.

    Z for Zacariah- Ahhh Anne. Where do I even begin with this girl? Let me start off by saying that I LOVE post- apocalyptic novels. So when I saw Z for Zacariah in one of my B&N visits, I just had to have it. Anne is the protagonist of the story. She lives alone in a valley, radiation has killed everyone else in the world. Or so she thought. A man called Mr,Loomis shows up out of nowhere on fateful day, and then all hell breaks lose. He get;s injured and Anne saves his life.

    I cant even begin to describe just how stupid Anne is. You have to read the novel to believe it. Mr.Loomis tries to rape her, shoots her, then tries to kill her, takes her food, takes her house, hunts her down WITH HER OWN DOG, traps her dog, burns her little farm, burns her cave and materials, the list goes on and on. Mr Loomis is obviously a psychopath that has some very serious issues. And what does Anne do? She say's , "We'll maybe its my fault." REALLY!!! YOUR FAULT!!! Through the whole book she spends making excuses for this psychotic man who is making her life miserable. (I hate girls who let men walk all over them.) At the end of the story she get's a gun and decides to shoot ... wait for it(drumroll please) THE DOG! That's right. She didn't want to shoot the man who tried to rape, and kill her. No, no, no. Why would she do that. That would have made sense to any sane person. She wants to shoot her own dog that is her only companion left in the world. There;s sooooo much more but I'm getting angry just thinking of this book.

    In the end of the book Mr.Loomis takes over Anne's home and runs her out of safe valley. Anne ends up by herself (without her dog) travelling in a radiated filled world. Nice! But hey, it's all good, because as Anne say's "She's hopeful."
    (*Takes slow deep breaths*)

    Now back to NANO : ( Which is kicking my butt.

  5. Sorry, I wanted everyone to suffer like I did. lol

  6. Wow, I definitely won't be reading those books anytime soon. At least, not the second one. Thanks for the heads up. Stupid characters make me grind my teeth. But I absolutely cannot stand female characters who let people walk all over them because they're either too happy-go-lucky or have low self-esteem, which was the reason I didn't like Things Change. I just want to throttle them. I know what it's like to have little confidence in myself, but goddamn, get a freaking backbone.

    Good luck with your NANO! I actually gave up. :( I got stuck on a certain part and can't figure out how I want to proceed, so I've gone back to my first novel, which I was really beginning to miss. It feels great working on it again. I don't think I'm going to work on anything else until I get the first book completely polished and ready to query.

  7. Yeah, I'm considering just giving up. Writing is not fun anymore. It's actually beginning to feel like a hassle.
    But the other side of me wants to do it just to scratch it off my bucket list.

  8. Doo it! Keep it up. You'll feel proud of yourself come December. I just feel like a miserable failure. haha

  9. So yeah, Coin Locker babies looks like a wonderfully horrible read. Makes me want to keep steering away from any Japanese writer who doesn't do horror or scifi.

  10. The teacher who assigned Coin Locker Babies has a sick taste in books and movies (I also had a Japanese film class with her). But I agree. I hesitate to read other books by Japanese authors. Since my teachers only assign literary novels, I'd like to actually read Japanese horror, sci-fi and fantasy. Are there any you could recommend perhaps? :D

  11. Why yes, sirrah. I have posted a list of great books I think everybody ought to read on my blog, here:

    On the subject of Japanese scifi and horror writers, here's my two cents son some of the best stuff I've had the pleasure to read:

    All You Need Is Kill: Groundhog Day, FullMetal Jacket and Mechs smashed together in trans-light velocities for the fun of it. More than one way of reading the story, creating two separate timelines.

    Usurper of the Sun: Hard SciFi Humanity Fuck Yeah Vs Alien Type-2 Civilization

    The Lord of the Sands of time: Immortal robots waging war on space demons across history.

    Parasite Eve: The book that spawned the game. The game was toned down as shit because the book is hardcore awesome.

    Naoko: psychological horror with an uncomfortable aftertaste

    Hope these help.

  12. I haven't read a lot of sci-fi or horror, so this list and the one on your blog will definitely help me branch out. Thanks a bunch!