By which I mean ALL OF DEM, because I have just been in such a reading slump lately
Sorry I haven’t updated Le Morte D’Arthur in a while or…you know, blogged. Do other people find it hard to get back into the swing of things after a hiatus? Because that’s where I’m at. But I’m sure I’ll get back into the rhythm (that is the HARDEST word to spell) eventually.
Anyway, I believe I have quite a few popular books I refuse to read, so why not a post about that? I have resigned myself to the fact that I will always hate whatever new book is hot around the blogosphere, like the grinch I am.
1. Red Queen, by Victoria Aveyard
Okay, so this book was actually the inspiration for this post. Once a year, I think, “hey, why haven’t I read this yet? It sounds really interesting! And sure, maybe it’s a bit cliche and there is some unfortunate girl hate in the beginning of the series, but that magic system. Ooh.”
And every year, I look up reviews, and then I come across a review of the fourth book that includes this quotation:
He lays the flower on the railing, petals up, and fusses with his fingernails. They’re short, worn by teeth and anxiety. I would expect a king to keep his nails finely manicured, suited to the arms of a throne. Or maybe roughed by Training or combat, as I’m sure his brother’s are. Not ruined by nervous habits better suited to a child.
I hope…that is not supposed to be sympathetic? Like, we’re not supposed to agree with the person speaking or anything? I think there are a couple of different narrators, so maybe the person speaking is supposed to be an ableist jackass?… And also, you should have worse things to criticize the villain for than his anxiety tells. “Yes, I know he killed people. But you know what’s worse? He has ANXIETY!! >:-( “
Do I still want to read it, though, even if we’re not supposed to take these words at face value? No. Not really. I couldn’t get into it when I read the first couple of chapters anyway, the hero sounds boring, and I don’t like it when villains are really sad and I want to hug them and then they die. Unless they’re Seonho from My Country. Seonho can always be really sad and I’ll want to hug him and then he gets stabbed but he doesn’t die because this K-drama is insane and stupid and these characters can survive anything, apparently. Is Maven Seonho? Probably not. I have doubts in his abilities to be Seonho.
I don’t know, maybe I’ll read Red Queen eventually just to review it, but if I do, I’m going in with low expectations. It’s not childish to be anxious. It’s not childish to bite your nails or to have irrational fears. It’s not childish to be like a child, as long as it’s in the good way and not the pitching-an-almighty-fit way. You know what is immature? To look down on childhood as beneath you and as something no adult should have any part of. That’s what I think is childish. God, I hope whoever said that wasn’t supposed to be seen as sympathetic.
2. Wicked King, by Holly Black
Yeah, I think we’ve already been here.
3. Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda, by Becky Abertalli; also, any book by John Green or basically most popular contemporaries out there
This is different from the other two–it’s not like I have a personal reason to not read it or anything–but I read the first two chapters and I just could not get into it. Like. Does it annoy anyone else when contemporaries just throw out random references? “Harry Potter!! Oreos! Kids like those things, right?” Could your characters maybe enjoy, idk, medieval French poetry or something obscure like that while still remaining unpretentious and down-to-earth? (‘Medieval French poetry’ is a completely random example, of course, and has nothing whatever to do with my own interests. Heh.) And maybe if they weren’t all upper middle-class white people? Can we get some poor characters so I can relate to them? Or super rich characters so I don’t feel like I’m supposed to relate to them? Can we just focus on anything?? other than the bourgeoisie of America?? Contemporaries, I implore you.
Is it possible things have changed since I last dipped my toes into the contemporary genre? Do inform me if they have.
4. Girls of Paper and Fire, by Natasha Ngan
I feel a little guilty for this one, but here it is. I love that it’s about South Asia. I love that it features a lesbian romance. But…
I’ll admit it, I’m not currently in the mood for a story where the monster is pure evil and the good humans have to kill them. I like stories about seeing past appearances, about learning to get along with someone fundamentally different from you. Call it perhaps childish, if you will, but I like the idea of humans being able to accept that which is different. Sure, Beauty and the Beast may be a ‘problematic’ fairy tale, but for me the themes are just so comforting. Learning to accept the humanity within the Beast was the right thing to do, instead of rejecting him because he was different.
*sobs* I just want a brilliantly told lesbian Beauty and the Beast is that too much to ask foooor
Oh, and a random thing: I have mistyped this title as ‘Girls made of Paper and Fire’ twice. I don’t know why this is so hard for me to remember.
5. Pretty much anything by Cassandra Clare, actually
I read the first book of Cassandra’s Shadowhunters series when I was eleven, and I don’t remember much except that everyone was mean to the human and it was totally okay for them to do that because Shadowhunters were cooler, and also I remember the Jewish character getting turned into a rat. I’m not Jewish, and representation doesn’t have to be perfect in order to make a HUGE difference in someone’s life, so I’m not trying to cancel Cassandra Clare or anything like that. (Not like I can, lol.) But that part of the story just…makes me uncomfortable in retrospect? I’m not misremembering this, am I? Simon did get turned into a rat? It says so on Wikipedia, so I assume this isn’t my brain making anything up.
(I just remember Nazis comparing Jews to rats in their propaganda, in case you’re wondering why it makes me so uncomfortable.)
(Also, I read this in reviews, does Clary really verbally attack the gay guy for being gay? That’s annoying. I think I remember something like that in City of Bones? I’ve heard Magnus was really good, though, but…Meh. Meh, Clary and everything you stand for.)
And also, nonhuman characters looking down on humans isn’t a good look! It just makes the characters look like arrogant little bastards!
6. The Mists of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley
Shockingly, a book written by an incestuous pedophile has incestuous and pedophilic elements! 😮
I was going to leave it just with that statement, but you know what? I won’t. No, I won’t leave it here. Not only does she villainize Guinevere, guess how she villainizes her? That’s right. By giving her anxiety. We all know that anxiety makes you evil, folks, and worse *shudders* it makes you weak.
Gosh, I wonder what reason an abuser could have to spread that message?
And including this book may be cheating a little, because it was popular during the seventies and eighties, so it is not current at all, but I believe it’s still popular within the Arthurian subgenre, so I’ll still count it here.
And that was all! Here I am, grinch-like in my corner, waiting for a hyped book will finally live up to its promises. I’m losing hope, guys.
10 thoughts on “Popular Books I (probably) Will Not Read”
Dude, childishness is not a crime–you’re so right. Like, I love that whole paragraph.
don’t get me started on contemporaries. I’m so. tired. of all of the contemporaries that present it like “normal” kids are your typical tennis-playing-private-schooled-white-kids.
Hi, I’m a white kid, and I do not play tennis or go to private school. Nothing wrong with the ones who do, of course, but…. the rest of us exist and want to talk about other stuff (Canadian rock music? abstract folk art? Kittens, even?)
Or the ones that go to an extreme and try to include so many minorities and kids that are into niches that they just… overdo it and it feels forced.
And YES PLEASE STOP REFERENCING POP CULTURE SO MUCH.
i can’t with contemporaries.
Dude, book rec, though– Last Things by Jacqueline West. I just read it, and it’s pretty good. It’s kinda dark, a little spooky, and the MC is a guitarist who’s into non-mainstream metal. He’s also kind of anxious. And he’s not a rich kid, either. The small-town, lower-middle-class portrayal was good. Overall, best YA I’ve read in a while.
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I know! I am also a white kid, and I have never been anywhere near a private school. And I can’t play tennis, either. I do believe that the only character who’s ever had similar interests to me that I can think of is Gansey from the Raven Boys (mythology and history), and that’s a fantasy novel. I JUST WANT CHARACTERS WITH NICHE INTERESTS BUT FOR IT TO FEEL NATURAAAL AND NOT FORCED AND STUFF.
And you definitely CAN include a lot of minority characters and niche interests into your story and not have it feel forced. There are some friend groups like that. Only sometimes in stories it just feels like they’re checking a box, you know?
I’m so glad I’m not the only one annoyed by these things! I really thought I was.
Ooh, I’ll have to check that book out! That sounds AWESOME. Sounds like the kind of book I’d like!
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Try spelling psychic & psychology – I literally had to say them into the speaker because I cannot spell them to save my life 😂
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Heh, those are actually words I CAN (usually) spell. But I can’t spell anything else. XD
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ooh, i totally feel you with spelling. somehow i can spell super complicated words like diaphanous but i can’t spell nessecary?? every. time. (i probably spelled it wrong.. oops) i’ve actually wanted to get into the “red queen” series, but it seemed like too much of a cliche? *hides face* yes, i have extremely unpopular opinions, but maybe one day i can read it. maybe it’ll be amazing or maybe i can joke about how bad it is. but in the meantime… that quote from the fourth book isn’t helping. it’s just frustrating to see someone make light of an actual mental illness! *humph* i actually haven’t read “the wicked king”– yes, i deserve an award for not finishing series XD. i actually really love “simon” though i DO wish there was a little more diversity in characters and interests. the movie may have included blacks and jewish people, but it was never mentioned in the book which was sad :(( i also STRONGLY dislike villains who are just pure evil, which was one of the few reasons i couldn’t really get into “girls of paper and fire” i feel like i’m supposed to love it since it includes diversity, magic, and a lesbian romance! but… it never connected. (i am SO there for that lesbian beauty and the beast ohmygosh YES. *proceeds to search the web for fanfiction* or WAIT NO MAYBE WE CAN WRITE IT. aaa, it just sounds… amazing and complex and wonderful.
p.s. my country sounds super interesting– maybe i’ll check it out cuz i just love k-dramas ❤
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I am the exact same way. I can’t spell necessary either, and it took me the longest time to learn to spell beautiful. (Last night, while writing, I actually had a brief session where I held my head in my hands and whimpered about why English was so weird. XD) And I feel the same way about Red Queen–sometimes series which sound cliche can still be really cute and fun, but sometimes…eheheh. The quote really is annoying! Mental illness is not a weakness! And again, I can’t be sure the author means it that way or if it’s just that particular character, but some authors WOULD mean that, so that quote just makes me scared to pick it up.
Haha I will be right up there receiving that award with you. I am the WORST at finishing a series. I’d almost say the only series I’ve finished where we haven’t had the books lying around the house was Raven Boys? But in that case I was saved by the library. I bought the first two and checked the second two out. Other than that…
Yeah, I’m the same way. Monster villains who are played straight and not like…Idk, Frankenstein’s monster or something (haven’t read the book yet, but he seems interesting), they just don’t really interest me. I feel bad for not reading the book! But I’m not convinced I’ll be crazy over it. AND YES WE SHOULD TOTALLY WRITE THIS. I should add it to the list of the 29816 stories I want to write. XD (And I would be TOTALLY interested in seeing your take on this, if you want to do it 😉 )
It is a very interesting show! It has a bad habit of either ignoring or fridging the female characters, but aside from that I really like it so far! The two male leads are very complex and wonderful, and some of the dialogue is just great. (And I have a ridiculous and stupid soft spot for Seonho.) I’d recommend it from what I’ve seen of it so far! I’m glad you love K-dramas too!
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Haha, I definitely have my own grinchness in the book department. I haven’t read any of these and I do not plan to read any of these. But I do read. A lot. I just don’t read most of the stuff that everyone else is reading…yeah. I have unreasonable standards and most of the time the stuff that people go crazy about is disappointing to me. (Except Harry Potter, but shhh, we don’t talk about that.)
I have read some really good contemporaries that aren’t about the bourgeoisie of America. A Thousand Perfect Notes and The Boy Who Steals Houses are by C.G. Drews and set in Australia, and the characters are not poverty stricken but money is a thing that they don’t have much of. House Arrest by K.A. Holt IS set in America, but they don’t have money either, and they are struggling to pay the medical bills for a very real and very sad situation that the author experienced firsthand, which makes it very good. The Echo Park Castaways by M.G. Hennessey is also set in America, but it’s about a struggling foster family. So they exist! But I know what you mean. I don’t typically like contemporaries unless something real is happening to characters that I can relate to. Otherwise it starts to feel like High School Musical or something.
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I think we all have a little bit of the Book Grinch in us, secretly–except for me it’s maybe not so secret. 😉 I’ve kind of taken a hiatus from YA; lately it seems I’ve just been going for classics and stuff. I’m currently reading Art of War and Romance of the Three Kingdoms (whether I will actually FINISH any of these classics is entirely another matter). And of course I’m reading Le Morte D’Arthur, and I might seek out some more medieval literature, because I introduced myself to it this year and I’m really enjoying it so far. AHA YES I have such unreasonable standards too. (Harry Potter? Doesn’t exist. Shh.)
Ooh, I have been wanting to read A Boy Who Steals Houses! I just don’t know when I’ll get the money/opportunity to buy it, though. And I’ll keep an eye out for the other books you mentioned! They sound interesting. I am the EXACT same way about those kinds of books, and oh my gosh, High School Musical. XD I barely remember that, except some vague memory of my nine-year-old self hearing about it and being disgusted.
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“this K-drama is insane and stupid and these characters can survive anything” LOL sounds about right!
I really wanted to watch My Country on Netflix but then I didn’t get around to it and heard that the show got a little ridiculous – and now I’m seeing why what with characters getting fatally stabbed and coming out fine. This seems to be common place in historical K-dramas though right? I remember in the K-drama Jackpot a guy getting stabbed and then thrown over a cliff. Yeah, he was fine. *rolls eyes and laughs*
Also I have the Red Queen on my bookshelf but I’ve yet to even attempt to read it. I just never feel in the mood. I can’t say I keep up with a lot of the “new” books. I just read what I want to read.
Lol I kind of forgot I wrote that, but it’s so true
I will say I finished My Country and thought it was really, really good! I love the ending, especially. It’s a little silly sometimes, but it has all the tropes I love, and I love Seonho SO much. I actually wrote up a review for it, but I haven’t put it out yet. But yeah, I’d recommend it! It made me feel lots of things, and I really like the show. The ending was SO beautiful.
Oh, yeah. I don’t really try to keep up with new books, either. I pretty much just try to search for things that sound interesting, and I get most of my stuff at libraries or bookstores. So I may find a new book, or I may find an old one. It really depends on chance.