Tuesday, September 12, 2017 / 4 Comments

Book List: The Most Overrated Books EVER (In My Opinion)

Little, Brown and Company/Speak/Broadway Books/That Weird Girl Life
I've got to be honest: I'm pretty scared to write this post (note the disclaimer below!). But if I can't state my own opinions about popular books on my own blog, than where can I? Nowhere, that's where! So it's perfectly okay to say that I find some very popular or classic books overrated, right? (I'm waiting for people to start throwing virtual rotten fruit at me for being honest)

Let me explain:

I'm not saying that these popular or classic books are bad. Not at all! For any author, it's a huge accomplishment to write a freaking BOOK (or series) and then get it published. Writing takes hard work and dedication, and despite all of these celebrities writing books nowadays (with a ghostwriter, let's be honest), it's still a big deal for an author to put down thousands and thousands of words, form them into a story and write a novel. So good for them for their work being popular and having literally millions of people read their books. That's great and wonderful. I'm just saying that these popular, often critically acclaimed books, don't do much for me. They didn't sweep me away in the story, they didn't hit me right in the feels, they didn't change my way of thinking. Sure, they may be the talk of the town or considered a literary classic that pretty much every student has to read in school, but does that make them a great read to me? Nope. I just find them overrated.*

*By this I don't mean any disrespect to the authors or even the people out there who love these books. These are just my own opinions about these books and aren't gospel. If you like these books, read 'em with pride! They just weren't my literary cup of tea ☕ (Please don't hurt me!)


The Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer
Little, Brown and Company
What to say about the Twilight series.... I did like the first one when I first read it. I was about 13 aka the prime age to read books like this. But once the series hit book 2, the story got a bit problematic for me (Bella and Edward's controlling relationship, the whole waiting-till-marriage-because-love-is-eternal-and-forever-religious-propaganda-vampire message thrown in, Bella and Jacob's off and on again thing, the whole love triangle of Bella, Edward, and Jacob, Bella being about as animated as a wet rag, etc). And just a tad ludicrous too (Renesmee? Seriously? I'm all for unique names but NO. No no no). Good for Stephenie Meyer for being an unknown author catapulted into fame and is honestly probably set for life, but I'm going to pass on adding the Twilight series to my home library. (And don't get me started on the movies, jeezus...)

The Fifty Shades of Grey series by EL James
Vintage Books
Yes, I read all three books and yes, I pretty much read them for the dirty parts. I was curious! And yes, I've seen the movies (minus the third since it hasn't come out yet) and yes, I pretty much saw them for the dirty parts. Don't judge me, I'm only human! You know you were curious too, don't lie. Also, did you know these started out as Twilight fan fiction? Explains a lot, right?

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
MTV Books and Pocket Books
I remember when this book came out. Everyone was reading it. Kids were talking about how it changed their lives, parents were concerned about the racy (aka real life) content and wanted it to be banned (and some succeeded, which is why The Perks of Being a Wallflower is now officially part of the ALA's Frequently Challenged/Banned books), and I read it to keep up with the trend and see what all of the fuss was about. After all of the hubbub surrounding the book, I really was expecting it to change my life. And it didn't. Maybe I missed some grand life lesson or a new perspective or revelation, but the book did nothing for me. Even though a lot of the things the main character dealt with (mental illness, etc.), that I myself deal with, didn't resonate with me at all. It was a big disappointment after all of the good things I had heard about it. Oh well. It may not have changed my life, but I'm happy it helped others with their lives and struggles. I just wish I had gotten at least something out of reading it.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Broadway Books
This book. Remember when literally everyone was talking about it? How this was the thriller of the decade! (You know, until The Girl on the Train came out a few years later) So original and page turning! The unexpected reveals! The twists and turns! Who was telling the truth? Did Nick really kill Amy? All of this should have added up into one hell of a thriller and it started out great- but once the big twist is revealed about a certain character (I'm trying to make this spoiler free, even though I'm sure with the movie being out, everyone knows the story), it just all fell apart and lacked that tension that carried the first third of the book. With all of the hype around Gone Girl, I expected much, much more and was very disappointed with how the rest of the story went. It was well written, there were certainly some shocking and brilliant pieces in it, but overall, I think it was all hype. Thankfully author Gillian Flynn has much better, more twisted books, i.e. Sharp Objects, literally one of the most disturbing books I've ever read (and I highly recommend reading it! Seriously it's so dark).

The Shining by Stephen King
Anchor
Everyone knows who Stephen King is and everyone knows The Shining, even if it's just the movie version. It's a classic and the imagery is instantly recognizable. Back in the day, my mom didn't allow me to watch horror movies (well, no rated R movies and just a small handful of PG-13 ones that she approved of). This was at a time when I wanted to see some classic 70's and 80's horror movies like The Exorcist, Rosemary's Baby, The Omen, but would get a big fat NO from my mom when I asked. While my mom may have restricted what I watched, she didn't restrict what I read. So what did I do when I wanted to see a scary movie but couldn't because my mom wouldn't let me? Read the original book version of it, of course! So that's what I did with The Shining. And it was weird and not at all what I had expected.

I knew that Stephen King wrote horror novels, so I, in my naive ghost loving way, wanted something a bit more cut and dry supernatural. Instead, what I got was a conglomerate of bizarre images and situations I still don't understand of a man going crazy, thanks to a hotel. To me, it wasn't scary, it was just strange. There's no doubt that Stephen King is a great writer, but his style of horror is just not my style of horror (this has been confirmed after I gave King another chance and read Pet Semetary, which I was also not the biggest fan of) so I probably won't read another one of his books that in that certain genre. But I'd be willing to read something of his like "The Body," which was the short story that the movie Stand By Me was based on or something else in that realm of fiction. Just nothing to do with topiary animals that come to life. Like, what?

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Vintage Books
I missed something. Right? I must have. Again, I heard great things about this book, but once I sat down and read it, it seemed like nothing happened. The story was molasses slow and I just couldn't connect to the story or the characters. The premise? Intriguing, which is why I wanted to read it. The actual story? Snore. I'm not saying I want action and adventure, just a little more coherency and connection, from book to reader. I know some people adore this book and it has earned rave reviews, but to me, it's akin to an art-house feature that no one but the reviewers (aka experts in the arts and subtleties of the world) understand and everyone just nods and agrees when the topic of the book or movie comes up so they seem more cultured about art than they actually are. So maybe I'm incredibly uncultured or I just missed something incredibly important that was between the lines of the book. (Seriously, did I miss something? Please let me know!)

Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
Amulet Books
This is another book that I must have missed the point of. Two teenage boys kind of befriend a girl dying of cancer- but not really? And her death affects them, even though they actually didn't know her that well? And the movie they made for her really sucked, so what was the point of even making it for her? Was the point of the book that there was no point and no matter how close you are with someone, their death will still affect you in some way? Or was the point that they felt guilty for just hanging out with a dying girl because his mom told them to, so they didn't really make an effort to get to know her that well? Was it basically just about a teenage boy realizing that death will come to all of us, no matter how young and old? Did anyone get anything from this book? Did this book move anyone in any sort of way? My hopes were incredibly high for this book, which people were touting as the next The Fault in Our Stars, but it didn't even come close to the emotional pull that The Fault in Our Stars put us through. Speaking of TFIOS...

Anything by John Green that's not The Fault in Our Stars
Dutton Books/Speak/That Weird Girl Life
Oh, John Green. John, John, John. The Fault in Our Stars, as pretentious as it was (teenagers don't talk like that. At some point all of us as teens think we speak like that and can articulate philosophically, but really, we couldn't and still can't as adults), was actually incredibly moving and powerful. It was everything Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl should have been, but without the making of crappy and campy home movies. But I didn't get around to reading The Fault in Our Stars for a while, because years before I had read Looking for Alaska and wasn't impressed by it. (This was another book that was lauded as being life changing, just like The Perks of Being a Wallflower was when it was first published)

But maybe I was missing something. John Green had two other books besides The Fault in Our Stars and Looking for Alaska. One of those two books must be as good as The Fault in Our Stars, or at least better than Looking for Alaska. Nope! All of John Green's books hae the same formula, just with a different story, different (yet incredibly familiar characters), and pseudo-revelations that try to sound mature and life-changing, but are actually pretty basic and sophomoric. Throw in a manic pixie girl that the main character is in love with, and presto!: You get a best selling book that will hit the top of the charts and be made into a movie!

But in all honesty, I love The Fault in Our Stars, so thank you for that one, John.

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Bantam Classics
Okay, I get that this book is a classic. I understand why. The themes, the morality, the writing, the time it was written and the time the story was set, Olde English, blah blah blah. But I think it goes without saying that no one likes The Scarlet Letter. I mean, maybe your retired English teacher likes it, but she's in the minority. The book is just boring and despite it being pretty much a normal novel length, it is seemingly endless. You'd think a book about adultery and the punishments the local laws would place on the woman and her illegitimate child would be more interesting (plus a long lost husband disguised as someone else trying to ruin his cheating wife's life), but all you get is a woman with a scarlet A sewn onto her clothes and such lackluster and restrained Puritan tension and guilt that you just yawn thinking about. I would have gladly accepted a witch accusation thrown Hester's way. But then The Crucible was also overrated so not even witches can save something so excruciatingly dull. (Please, Nathaniel Hawthorne, please don't rise from the dead and haunt me for saying these things about your book! I'm seriously over-exaggerating for comedic effect. Your book was...good. Really! Now crawl back in your coffin and cover yourself with dirt....phew, great! Good seeing you, Nathaniel! You look good! You know- considering...")

📚

Phew! This post turned into a long one, didn't it? I guess I have some opinions about some popular books! *winkwink* So what about you guys? What books do you think are incredibly overrated? (You can say Harry Potter, I won't be mad. I don't agree, but I won't be mad!) Do you love any of these books on my list? Am I missing something about these books? Let me know in the comments!

Stay Weird,
Emily

Need more books lists? I have a lot of them over on this page filled with all things bookish and list-ish! (I know that's not a thing, but it sounded good!)


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4 comments:

  1. Great post! I agree with your thoughts on John Green for sure! This was really interesting reading 👌

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    1. Aww thank you!! I'm glad someone else agrees with me about John Green's books! Not that he's not a good writer, he's just set on his formula ;) Thanks again for reading and commenting! It means a lot :)

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  2. Oh my god I agree with you on all the ones I've read. 50 shades omg. And Perks is Being A Wallflower?! Total rip off Catcher in the Rye with some female on male child molestation?! Terrible. Plus? I went to high school in then90s, and it was nothing like THAT. :) and gone girl?! I figured it out from the start. It's a fake diary, i thought. Good work!

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    1. I thought the same thing! It was just The Catcher in the Rye 2.0, but it doesn't even compare to the original. In fact, I had totally forgotten the plot to Perks of Being a Wallflower and actually was confused when my friend mentioned molestation plot line from the movie. I didn't remember it from the book and didn't even get that from the movie! (But honestly, I might have been bored watching it, haha) I felt like Gone Girl had real potential but it just fizzled out. Thank you so much! And thanks for reading and your awesome comment :) :) :)

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