Every week or so on Bibliodaze, we’ll be throwing a question out to our contributors for them to answer. That question can be from you or it can be one the editors have pulled from their jumbled minds. If you’d like to ask us a question, just leave us a comment or ask us on Twitter. Ask us anything! Within reason, of course. Don’t be creepy.
Is there a book on your To Be Read pile that you know you will never read, and if so, why will you never read it?
I have more books to read, both on my shelves and on my Kindle, than I know what to do with. I hoard the things like an overeager pack rat and know that I probably won’t get around to most of them until I’m in my 30s or I’m on my 27th Kindle (I’m currently on my 3rd and named it Aeon Flux because the bastards keep dying on me, but I digress). The thing is I do intend to read pretty much all of them. I don’t like to give up on a book before I’ve even begun.
Except for one instance. In the Autumn of 2012, I went to Dumfries & Galloway to intern for a book festival, where one of our many odd duties included raiding a warehouse full of thousands of abandoned books to put together a display. We were allowed to keep any we came across that interested us and there was one I just couldn’t leave in that poor rotting box. It’s The State in Capitalist Society by Ralph Miliband, the famous Marxist theorist, bane of the Daily Mail and daddy to David and Ed.
I am a bit of a politics geek and a member of the Labour Party, so it made sense for me to at least have a copy of a book by the man who spawned the Party’s leader, even though their politics differ quite a bit. The issue for me with the book is that the language and content is pretty inaccessible for those not studying the topic at hand. Indeed, the copy I have is an Open University edition. I guess my owning it is kind of a smug intellectual status symbol, one that’s hollow given my intention to never read it. If nothing else, at least I can say I own something that annoys the Daily Mail, and isn’t that what life is all about?
“Know” is a strong word. What if my house burns down and this is the only book that makes it out? But, The Kingdom of Little Wounds. Which is a shame, because I actually was really excited for it, but the longer something sits on my shelf, the less interest I have in it. The book itself is no less interesting; I’m just distracted by shiny new books, and that one is no longer ‘new’ to my brain.
Jamie McGuire’s Red Hill. A few years ago, I read a few chapters of the author’s Beautiful Disaster before quitting – either because of boredom, or because it portrayed psychological abuse as romantic. Likely both.
Red Hill has a beautiful cover. The summary suggests zombies and motherhood, which sounds a heck of a lot better than college-aged stalker-love. So after receiving it in the mail, it went onto my shelf.
In short, authors and potential authors: if you can’t handle criticism, DON’T PUBLISH YOUR BOOK. Or if you do publish your book, MAKE SURE THE BOOK DOESN’T ROMANTICISE ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIPS. Or if you do publish your book that romanticises an abusive relationship, DON’T READ REVIEWS IF YOU’RE GOING TO LASH OUT AT ANYONE WHO DARES TO CALL OUT THE STORY/CHARACTERS/YOU FOR BEING LESS-THAN-AWESOME.
Thank you, Bibliodaze, for providing me with the right prompt to get rid of Red Hill. It’s going off my shelf now and into my Discarded Book Dump.
Only recently I got rid of some of Bernhard Hennen’s book from my TBR-pile because I realized I would never read them. Hennen is a very popular German fantasy-author and he landed a huge bestseller with The Elves. I also really enjoyed that book and when I learned that it was the first part of a trilogy I got the other two books as well. What I did not notice was that even though they both were set in the same world as The Elves they did not feature the same characters as they were set several centuries later. As the characters were what really drew me to the book I simply could never bring myself to read them and I am quite sure that I never will.
There’s not an actual book that I know that I’m not going to read, but there are some that I probably won’t get to. I can’t think of anything right now, but when I add a book to my TBR list, I really want to read it. Sometimes, I’ll come back to it a few days later, and I’ll find that I don’t feel like reading it right then. However, I’ll still keep said book on my list just in case I ever have an urge to pick it up.
Sometimes, when I go through my TBR list, I’ll see that I added a book that I’ve never seen before. When that happens, I look at the reviews to see if I’ll like it and then keep it if I ever want to read it, or add it to my never bookshelf, where I keep all my books that have really bad reviews, and I want to make sure I never accidentally read it for fear of my sanity.
I don’t think there’s only one book on my To Be Read pile I’ll never read. There are lots of them. There are almost 500 books on my Goodreads “to be read” shelf. I know I’m going to read the books on that list by authors I’ve read before first. Those are the books that I’m most comfortable with. Those are the books that I can trust (hopefully). So really, the book I will never read even though I intend to, is one that is way out of my comfort zone. Perhaps it’s in a genre I don’t normally read for example. That book may be a bestseller. That book may have been well received by reviewers I trust. But it is still an unknown, so it’s more likely to remain unknown, unpurchased and unread than a book that is less of a mystery to me.
So my library is rather massive so I had loooots of books to choose from. Reasons include: books I picked up at fairs because they looked good but are now hidden somewhere in the house, books I bought/were given and then the author did something terribly jerky on the internet and turned me right off it, and books given to me that turn out to be like #4 in a series I haven’t read (I mean, who does that?). And sadly there are the books that are in piles that I forget are there, and it takes an earthquake for me to remember that they are there. I am not kidding. After the earthquake that sent one of the giant eagles from The Hobbit movie to the ground I was fixing up piles and went, “Huh, forgot I had that” and went off to read the book.
Anyway, the “winner” of this question is Hades and Heaven by Alexandra Adornetto. These were sent to me (unrequested) for review and suffer from both “second and third book in series I haven’t started” and “author did something jerky”. Between writing articles on guarding your virginity and how Tony Abbott is correct on this and review after review talking about the massive sexism within the books themselves it’s clear that I and the book(/author) will not mesh and I’d rather spend my time reading something I’m more likely to enjoy.
This might be a reflection of my proclivity for buying things mindlessly while at the used book store, but a book I own that I will never read is The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Yes, that one. I bought it off the discount shelf before the movie came out, saw the movie, and squirmed in my seat except for my beautiful goddess Jessica Chastain. It’s just not my type of movie and seemingly not my type of book. Plus, it suffers from gigantism – it’s 464 pages. On another note, Stockett was accused of stealing the story from a real black maid employed as her brother’s nanny. The Help might be a great novel, and it definitely sold a LOT of copies, but is it a novel worth my time and attention? I truly doubt it.
Since we have confessed our own feelings & choices on the matter, we would love to hear yours. Is there a book out there you just keep on the shelves for bragging purposes or a Kindle addition that will never be opened? Comment below or tell us on Twitter, and don’t forget to ask us more questions.