It’s Wednesday, and it’s late enough as I begin this that I know with certainty I will be back-dating (back-timing) this post to get it filed under the correct day. I have had many awesome things to do this week, though, so I do not regret being late. I also do note regret this because I get to pick my own topic: it’s a freebie week for TTT.
Top Ten Books I’ll Never Read (In No Particular Order)
- The Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy: This ought to go without saying, but it needs saying! I fleshed out my reasons in my media discernment column at ACNM, but the consensus was that not enough Catholics (or humans, really) were speaking out against it. It’s erotica, which is like pornography except that it uses words instead of pictures. It is mainstream and readily acquired in the age of e-books. It is seen as harmless and acceptable. None of these are good things! I’m staying away. As a SomeECard once said regarding Bud Light Lime, if you ever see me holding a copy of any of the Fifty Shades books, I have been kidnapped and am trying to signal you.
- The Da Vinci Code or any other book by Dan Brown: Much with Fifty Shades, my problem is not primarily with the content. People have written less-than-flattering fiction about every affinity group in existence. People tell falsehoods about Catholicism all the time. It happens; I get it. My problem is that Dan Brown apparently (I’ve never even held a copy) claims in the book that the story is based on fact. It’s not! Those are weird legends at best. Don’t waste your time. If you want to know what real Catholics are like, read Brideshead Revisited.
- City of Bones or anything else by Cassandra Clare: I fell madly in love with Harry Potter fanfiction when I was in high school. The anniversary of the day I started reading Draco Dormiens was last week; it was Independence Day. Bored, I wandered through the Internet to the first of a novel-length trilogy by an author who went by Cassandra Claire. (Notice the spelling?) I devoured it that day and quickly moved on to the second and third “books.” Imagine my horror when, having received a real book contract, Cassie changed her pen name and yanked her previous (and mildly more plagiaristic than all fanfiction already is) works from the web. I eventually came across copies, but I felt betrayed. It’s one thing to disown your previous work; it’s another to deprive your fans of it entirely. I will never read any of her books. (I may finish the trilogy one of these days, though.)
- The His Dark Materials Trilogy: This is related to my distaste for Dan Brown books. His Dark Materials is basically The Chronicles of Narnia for little atheist kids. I’m not an atheist; I’m a quite happy Catholic. Why would I want to read an atheist allegory where the characters set out to kill God (who turns out not to be the God, but still)? I’ll stay away.
- The Twilight Saga: You knew it was coming. I have exactly two actual experiences with the actual text of Twilight. The first was when a roommate read a random sentence aloud from Eclipse (I think it was Eclipse). I almost fell out of my chair laughing because it was so cheesy. Later, I read a liveblogged review on a random LiveJournal. Each chapter had a snarky-sounding title. I thought they were all jokes. They were the actual chapter titles! When your book sounds like a joke on itself, that’s called satire. I won’t even get into the inappropriately intense romance or the weak and badly-paced movie version (which I admit to seeing—I tried!).
- Harlequin or similar romance novels: I try not to look down on people who read or write romance novels, but I look down on them for themselves. If your book is not literary enough to just be called “fiction,” I doubt it’s very good. I would rather read classic novels that have romance than read books that are trying to sell the romance (or just sex) without real plots. They’re like action movies: all explosion, no story. I need story.
- Any other erotica: Another sad aspect of the Fifty Shades phenomenon is that many of its readers are unaware of the history of similar books. I won’t name any for fear of accidentally recommending them, but these books have been around for decades. I won’t read any of them, because pornography is one of the few things in the world I genuinely hate. It’s pretty much that, sin, and spiders.
This is another short list with multiple books in each entry, but it will do for now. It covers the extent of my “Will Not Read” shelf on Goodreads. I am making a public declaration against these books. You are my witnesses.