Books I can’t bring myself to read

I’m all for variety in my reading – I read almost every genre, with a few exceptions: horror, erotica, self-help. (I will say, however, that a few of the paranormal novels I’ve read border on horror, i.e. The Passage.) I don’t read westerns very often, but I have in the past. I love well-written books that have a romantic element, but don’t read the romance genre much. I read everything from poetry to essays to history to memoirs to fiction of all shapes and sizes.

Okay, now that I’ve put that out there, I have to admit that there are a few books that I simply can’t bring myself to read, no matter how desperate I may become for reading material:

First up, Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. I know this is a classic, but as someone who was sexually abused as a child, I can’t handle the idea of an entire book about a pedophile.

(That’s the only book you’ll find on this list for a serious reason – the rest appear simply for my own frivolous reasons.)

Next, we have the entire host of mash-up books. You know the kind I mean – they take a classic, like, oh, I don’t know – Pride and Prejudice – and they add a paranormal element, like, for instance, zombies. It’s bad enough that these books take some of my beloved characters and storylines, but many of these authors take the actual text written by the original author and insert their own scenes! I know that this is legal because these books are in the public domain, but it still seems like cheating to me.

I don’t mind sequels or spin-offs that involve familiar characters – as long as the author uses their own words and plot. That might make me hypocritical, but I can’t help it.

The other kind of mash-up I can’t handle is when the author takes a historical figure, like Abraham Lincoln or Queen Victoria, and makes them into a hunter or warrior of the paranormal world. Why would anyone want to diminish the memory of the man who gave us the Gettysburg Address by turning him into a vampire hunter?

The last title on my list is Moby Dick. Again – this is a classic. But when my best friend, who reads a lot more classics than I do, tells me that Moby Dick bored her silly…. well, I don’t see how I could ever plow my way through it.

Okay, I confessed to you – now it’s your turn. Are there any books you can’t bring yourself to read?

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40 Responses to Books I can’t bring myself to read

  1. Marg
    Twitter: MargReads
    says:

    I have absolutely no interest in reading mashups! Mostly because I haven’t read a lot of the original classics, but also because a lot of them just sound silly.
    Marg´s last post ..Library Loot- February 23 to March 1

  2. Misha Mathew says:

    I am really sorry to hear about what happened to you as a kid. I could never make myself read Lolita either because the premise disturbs me a lot.
    I stay away from the mash-up books too. I am too afraid they will destroy the originals.
    I am also unable to read Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. I tried and failed.
    Misha Mathew´s last post ..Book Blogger Spotlight 18 – Alice from The Reader Room

  3. phillygal says:

    War and Peace but I am currently in a 12 step program! Nicepost.
    phillygal´s last post ..Cleopatra- A Life

  4. Sandy
    Twitter: youvegottaread
    says:

    I can’t seem to bring myself to read any Jane Austen spin-offs, even if they aren’t supernatural but just entertaining stuff about Mr. Darcy. Can’t (won’t) do it. I’m pretty intimidated by very lengthy classics, and while I could probably handle it, I just don’t have an interest. More good, easier stuff out there.
    Sandy´s last post ..Sunday Salon- Literary Mood Swings

  5. Rebecca Rasmussen
    Twitter: thebirdsistersgmail.com
    says:

    Good thinking on not reading Lolita then honey. It’s a great work of literature, but, man oh man is that book tough to get through subject-wise. I wouldn’t do it again.

    XOXOXOX to you!

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Rebecca – I want to give another Nabokov a try, because I’ve heard that he writes beautifully. It just can’t be that one.

  6. Bonnie says:

    For me, it’s The Portrait of a Lady. I just can’t get through it.
    Bonnie´s last post ..Book Review- The Tuesday Club Murders- by Agatha Christie

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Bonnie – The only Henry James I’ve read is The Turn of the Screw, which I enjoyed. I hated the film version of Portrait of a Lady, but have no idea if it was true to the book or not.

  7. Suzanne says:

    I’m with you on the mashups — why mess with a good thing?
    Suzanne´s last post ..Five Quarters of the Orange

  8. Elisabeth says:

    You couldn’t have said it better, I am in total agreement with you. In addition I don’t like books with a lot of violence.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Elisabeth – I don’t seek out books with a lot of violence, but if it is there and serves the plot, I can usually handle it. If it’s just gratuitous, though, then it’s not worth wading through.

  9. Beth Hoffman says:

    Carrie, you’re my kinda girl and I’m holding the seat next to me open for you! I totally agree with your list.

  10. Sherry Early says:

    Non James Joyce for me. I sort of, kind of looked at either Ulysses or another one, but it’s way too “modern” for me.
    Sherry Early´s last post ..WF Matthews- Lost Battalion Survivor by Travis Monday

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Sherry – I have Dubliners here and hope to try it someday, but we’ll see. I have heard so much about Ulysses that I already know I wouldn’t like it, without even opening a page!

  11. Vasilly
    Twitter: Vasilly
    says:

    I love this! I can’t read Lolita for the same reasons. I read Moby Dick for school a few years ago. Some parts were really boring but other parts were hilarious and that surprised me. I wouldn’t recommend it as a book to read for pleasure. I refuse to read mash-ups too. They just don’t interest me. I can read self-help (which I love), but I won’t read horror or gore. This post was a great idea, Carrie.
    Vasilly´s last post ..Review- Someone Else’s Garden by Dipika Rai

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Vasilly – thanks – it would be fun to see other bloggers’ lists of what they won’t read!

  12. sherry says:

    I am often met with shocked reactions but I just can’t do the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I tried several times and can’t get into it at all even though I enjoyed The Hobbit. I did like the trilogy in film format but the books are never going to happen.

    I also really wanted to read the book Reading Lolita in Tehran because I have a huge love of stories that involve women in the Middle East, but it was so strangely written that I never got past page 50.
    sherry´s last post ..Weekend of good times

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Sherry – I have read really mixed reactions to Reading Lolita in Teharn, so haven’t felt compelled to read it. I haven’t read LOTR either – sshhh, don’t tell anyone! :)

  13. Jesilea says:

    I can’t get interested in mash-ups either. Nobody messes with Mr. Darcy!!! To me, these books feel like cheating. It’s like the author couldn’t come up with something original, so they have to cash in on a classic. I also have not been able to get into Moby Dick, although I’ve tried twice.

    Other books that I just can’t read…Ulysses (stream of consciousness in the extreme), House of Leaves (un-readable), The Tommyknockers (200 pages on the inner workings of a battery???), Underworld by Don DeLillo (the opening scene is a baseball game that goes on FOREVER!!!).

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  15. Kev says:

    Sad to say, anything that’s considered “literature” I tend not to read – anything that’s pretty much about normal life. I like larger than life specfic. I tend to stay away from out and out horror, but I don’t mind some suspense. I’m not a fan of Zombies anything for the most part either as there tends to be gore associated with them.
    Kev´s last post ..Book Review- The Fallen Moon Trilogy

  16. Gone with the Wind…the truth is, I haven’t read a lot of the classics and not sure when I will get around to reading them.
    Kerrie Flanagan´s last post ..Countdown to the Conference- Week 3

  17. ibeeeg says:

    I have tried one mash-up book, and will not go back. I just cannot abide that kind of book, but I will read a spin-off in the way you mention. Otherwise, I will not read one Stephen King book (I was horrified by The Shining when I was a teen and just cannot venture back into the realm). Also, it seems that any Virgina Woolf is not passing muster for me.
    ibeeeg´s last post ..Sunday Post- Oh wow!

  18. irene says:

    I’m with you on the Lolita issue, I cannot bring myself to read that. I haven’t read too many classics, why? There is so much new stuff why would we want to. Happy reading.
    irene´s last post ..The Ship of Brides

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Irene – I like to read the classics -or some of them, anyway, but my reading does tend more to more recent titles.

  19. Sheila (Bookjourney)
    Twitter: bookjourney
    says:

    My reading is a lot like yours – I like more genres with the exception or erotica, science fiction, westerns, heavy romance (love stories are usually fine) and oh my word I dislike self help.

    I did like The Passage and I too have not read any of the classic mash ups as in many cases I have not even read the classic yet, and I just don’t like the idea of messing with these books.
    Sheila (Bookjourney)´s last post ..The Fifth Servant by Kenneth Wishnia

  20. Lynne
    Twitter: Perednia
    says:

    Not mash-ups as much as having a famous historical figure become an amateur sleuth are on my “don’t want to read” list. LIke Elizabeth I had time to solve mysteries. And I haven’t worked up the fortitude to try Room; am afraid I will find it either harrowing or too precocious.

    Must say I did adore Underworld and I love Virginia Woolf though. Which only proves that reading is the ultimate “your mileage may vary” activity.
    Lynne´s last post ..Teaser Tuesday- When Tito Loved Clara

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