No, books *I* will never read…unless a gun is pressed against my head

This post is in response to Marie at The Boston Bibliophile who earlier this morning posted “Books I’ll never read” from an idea she got (yes, stole and I from her and them) from a post “Bookseller Confessions” from the folks at Village Books Blog, the blog of a bookstore in Bellingham, Washington.

These are the top five books I will never read…

…unless a gun is pressed against my head…

…and prolly not even then.

Announcement of the initial publication of Uly...

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  1. Any book by James Patterson and his minions: Two page chapters? Yep. I am a literary snob (see earlier use of the word “prolly”).
  2. Any book by James Frey and his minions: No, in YOUR face, Mr. Frey.
  3. Any book by Nora Roberts: I can’t even muster up the energy to begin to comment on this one.
  4. Any poetry or prose by Helen Steiner Rice: Basically greeting cards in general, except for the funny musical ones.
  5. Ulysses by James Joyce: I might be a literary snob, but I even draw the line at thousands of pages of stream of consciousness. I have a hard enough time wading through my own jingle jangle jimble jamble.

Peace out, y’all. Holla.

35 responses to “No, books *I* will never read…unless a gun is pressed against my head

  1. Heh. Interesting.
    * The ‘Left behind’ series
    * When I read, my mind drifts. In other words, “it don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing.” To hold my attention, a work must [pomo alert] seem to have: Movement; ‘real’ characters; writerly, engaging style; intellectual meat; something that rings true, True, or at least plausible; something that entertains and/or educates without being didactic.

    But… that doesn’t mean I will actually read it. Some of the following have elements in my required list, but won’t get read by me:
    * Burroughs, ‘Prufrock’, Faulkner, got your back on ‘Ulysses’, Kerouac, Plath, Pynchon, Rushdie, Salinger, Trumbo, Woolf… (the alert will have already noted that I’m cherry-picking the “Stream of consciousness (narrative mode)” list from the Web’s compendium of everything worth knowing).

    But… I confess to having read a bit of the genre, and not always for a grade: ‘The fall’, Chekov, ‘Gatsby’, ‘Steppenwolf’, Joyce, Kesey, ‘Suttree’. I will eventually read more by McCarthy.

    Thanks, B. This exercise was harder than it looked.

    • Oh, Left Behind series. Definitely on my list too.

      I would agree with your assessment of reading “must seem to haves,” with the rare exception of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. However, I must confess I hate Terry Pratchett. I’ve tried reading him and I just can’t “get into” him at all.

      I had a class on Faulker, so will disagree with you on Faulkner and I liked Johnny Get Your Gun by Trumbo. I liked To The Lighthouse also and Plath, her poetry, I always enjoyed. The rest, though, I’m pretty much with you. I’ve always wanted to read Chekov for some reason, but never have. The Great Gatsby: I actually enjoyed that.

      Thanks, M, for stopping by and weighing in.

  2. I can listen to James Patterson. Or at least I have. But ya…I’m totally a literary snob as well. Even if I did abandon Ulysses this year. Did you actually finish? If so, very big fat huge kudos.

  3. Pingback: Books that might not set my world afire, but at least are providing sparks (TSS) | an unfinished person (in this unfinished universe)

  4. If you read Nora Roberts, I’ll read James Joyce (haha not really).

  5. I won’t be reading anything by Stephen King, except for his memoir on writing. He’s way too scary for me. As a person, I do think it would be fun to meet him though!

  6. Somebody has to read the books/authors you listed…but it’s not going to be me, either!

    Others I’ll never read: books by anyone who works, ever has worked, or ever will work for Faux News; books by anyone who stars in, ever has starred in, or ever will star in an MTV reality show; or books shelved in the “Romance” section (unless they somehow landed there by mistake).

  7. I’ve never read any of them on your list. 🙂 The only one I’m still debating on reading is Ulysses.

    So does that mean your into Jacqueline Collins? She is on my never read list.

  8. I can’t wait to read Arnold’s story of his secret family.



  9. I commented on Marie’s post, but I do have to add a few more:

    1. I will never read any of the paperbacks that circulate at my workplace. Most of them are what my mom used to call ‘beach books’…thick paperbacks with yellowed page-edges that used to inhabit a corner of her beach bag next to the Coppertone . They are either romance novels or crime potboilers, or some unfortunate combination of the two. Most of them have at least one poorly written sex scene that employs the word ‘throbbing’.

    2. I will never read any autobiography of a person under forty. I’m sorry; if there is some tragic reason for the shortness of the life combined with an impetus for writing the book it falls under the Chicken Soup category and is rejected on that basis. Young people die. Life is short. I get it.

    3. I don’t want to read any book about religion explained by a person in politics, or any book on politics explained by a person in religion.

  10. Uh, not only did I read Ulysses, but I studied it for an entire semester. Oh, we read some of his other works, but that book took up most of our time. In 2000, I was the only person who spent several hours in the James Joyce cultural center in Dublin. *sigh* I am so alone in the world.

  11. I’m utterly shocked that I didn’t see my tomes listed here! You know which one! 😀

    When I first saw your post, I was confident that I’d see Karl Marx’s Capital on your list. I haven’t ever read anything by James Patterson, nor do I think I ever will.

    Ulyesses is an interesting case. I might be inclined to tackle, but I’ll probably need to be in a certain state of mind to do so!

    I’m definitely with you on Nora Roberts. My wife reads her books, and I believe she’s looking at reading a bit more.

    All the comments about Moby Dickbring me back to when I read it, reminding me of how dry and slow I thought it was!

    • Well, of course, it goes without saying that I wouldn’t read Capital. After all, I am an American. 😉 As for the state of mind, I’d need to be in to read Ulysses, that would be drugged. 🙂

  12. I agree with all of your choices but I have to include Jonathon Franzen. Something about him just turns me off a reader.

  13. I forgot all about “Chicken Soup for the…” books…and I work at a library. I definitely should have remembered them. Chicken Soup for the Preteens. Blah blah blah…blech.

  14. I will never read a Harlequin romance.

    I will never read anything by Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, or Pat Robertson.

    I will never read a book purporting to contain “conversations with God” or with the words “Chicken Soup for the…” in the title.


  15. Although, I will say that I've read Patterson and his Alex Cross books are kind of fun if you like crime fiction. But I understand- and I won't read the co-authored, branded ones. Just, no. 🙂

  16. I agree with Patterson though I have read him in the past before he started the Patterson machine. Ditto Frey, never read him, never will. I’m confident I’ll never get to Ulysses.
    I like to think I will get to War and Peace and all of Dickens but that may have to wait until I retire.
    Also, i doubt I’ll ever read Moby Dick or Portrait of a Lady

    • I think I might have tried a Patterson once — yes, before the machine took over. Dickens is one of those authors I always think I’ll get to his complete oeuvre, but I sincerely doubt it. I’ve only read Great Expectations.

  17. I absolutely will not read James Frey – on principle. I also will not read another John Grisham legal thrilled. Finnegan’s Wake – can’t see that happening. And Danielle Steele – nope, not her either.

    Honestly, almost anything that would be on the U.S fiction bestsellers list is probably something I wouldn’t read. . . but I might listen to it in the car . . . that’s a different story altogether. 🙂

    • James Frey in completely the principle. John Grisham, eh. Finnegan’s Wake, that Joyce either, no, not happening. Definitely no to Danielle Steele, could have included her in same breath as Nora Roberts.

      I do read a few on the U.S. fiction bestseller list. For example, right now I’m reading The Reversal by Michael Connelly. He’s one of the rare exceptions that is a pretty decent writer.

    • Michael Connelly – I’ve listened to his books in the car. They’re perfect for keeping me awake while I drive . . . but I don’t know if I’d enjoy them on paper. Thoughts?

      • Yes, I have thoughts.

        Oh, on Michael Connelly on paper. I think if you liked his books on audio, you’d like them on paper too. I’m not saying, though, that you might not fall asleep while reading him…hopefully, you won’t be driving, though.

  18. I will never read any book by Sarah Palin or Paris Hilton or Donald Trump. James Patterson I have read and he’s terrible. I won’t make that mistake again. I read Moby Dick. Eh!

    • Oh, so with you on the first three and would add Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly to that list. I actually liked Moby Dick, but can understand others not liking it. It doesn’t bother me.

  19. I like this topic. I’m going to use it as a 5 Best Books post later this summer.

    For now, all I can think of are Moby Dick and Ulysses.

    • Feel free to use it. I didn’t originate it…it’s probably one of those things that goes around the blogging world ever so often. It’s just fun to see what other people think. I think Ulysses will be on most lists…as well as Moby Dick (which I actually have read, la de freaking da 😉 ).

  20. I can certainly include James Patterson on my list. I could PROBABLY (prolly?:) ) include just about any book Oprah ever raved about for her book club. If someone feels they should tell me what I should read, I likely don’t want it.

    • I was being weird when I threw in the “prolly”. I’d agree about Oprah except I have read a few, including Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections, which actually was pretty good. I haven’t read Freedom and like Marie, I doubt I ever will.