Should I Read These Books?

Today, I’m linking up with The Broke and the Bookish once again, for their weekly prompt: Top Ten Tuesday. I know I’ve been doing a lot of these posts lately, but A) I really love making lists and B) the recent prompts have been really, really awesome.

And I just used the word “really” three times in that last sentence… sorry. Anyway.

This time, the prompt is “top ten books you’re not sure you want to read.”

I know that feeling. People recommend a lot of books to me, and I find a lot on my own, and sometimes the stories sound great… except for some little thing. So yeah, they’re on my to-read list, but towards the bottom of it. I’m not completely sure whether or not I’ll enjoy them so other, more exciting books take top priority.

Without further ado – my list!

1. Carrie by Stephen King

It’s his first book and a horror classic, so I should try it, right? But even though it’s been eight months since I last read one of King’s novels (Misery), I still don’t feel quite ready for more gore and creepiness.

wicked2. Wicked by Gregory Maguire

I’ve already tried to read this, actually… twice. And it was SO. DULL. I know the musical version is supposed to be excellent, but I just could not get into this book. So I set it aside for a while.

3. Insurgent and Allegiant by Veronica Roth

On one hand, I’d like to finish the Divergent series because I LOVED its depiction of dystopian Chicago – I’ve been to that city quite a few times, so I enjoyed Roth’s descriptions of what had changed.

On the other hand, a large chunk of the story seems to be devoted to a romantic subplot between Tris and Four… and their love story is just so mediocre. Ugh.

Also, I guess I’m just really tired of boy-meets-girl (and vice versa) stories. The last fourteen books I’ve read featured heterosexual love stories – even Geography Club, an LGBTQ+ book, included a pretty prominent boy/girl romance. I don’t know if I want to read Insurgent and Allegiant right away if they’re just more of the same. Where oh where are my fantastic dystopian series with queer lady characters?!

4. Paper Towns and Looking For Alaska by John Green

My friends keep telling me to read these books, telling me that I’ll enjoy them. Well, they said the same thing about The Fault in Our Stars and I HATED it with a passion. So I don’t know whether or not I want to bother with these two stories.

Also, I’ve heard that all of Green’s stories are pretty similar. How much more overwrought prose and how many more pretentious characters can I handle?

5. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

As mentioned above, I don’t like Green’s writing. I read a book that Levithan co-authored (Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn) and it wasn’t very good either. This probably isn’t the right co-author combination for me.

6. The Book Thief by Markus Zusakwill grayson will grayson

I’ve tried to read this and I really, really disliked the narration style – but everyone keeps insisting it’s the best book ever, so on the list it goes.

7. The Wolves of Mercy Falls series by Maggie Stiefvater

I love the (very few) books of hers that I’ve read thus far, so I’d like to read all of them. BUT I keep hearing that it’s not as good as some of her other books. I suppose I’ll read Lament and Ballad first, anyway.

8. The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

In every review of this book I’ve ever seen, the reader either loved it or loathed it. So I’m a little hesitant to pick up this story because I don’t know how I’ll react to it.

9. The Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld

Yet another book that I’ve already tried to read! I’m not sure whether I should continue with this series or move on in favor of better dystopians.

10. The Cuckoo’s Calling and The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (AKA J.K. Rowling)

The Casual Vacancy, Rowling’s first non-Potter book, was horribly disappointing. On the other hand, I’ve heard many wonderful things about her latest works! And yet, I do love mysteries. I’M SO CONFLICTED ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT TO READ THESE BOOKS.

-~-

What do you think, readers of mine? I want your input! What are your opinions on the books listed above? Which ones should I read, and which should I ignore?

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About nevillegirl

Elizabeth. University of Iowa class of 2019. Triple majoring in English & Creative Writing, Journalism, and Gender, Women's, & Sexuality Studies. Twenty-one-year-old daydreamer, introvert, voracious reader, aspiring writer, and lesbian. Passionate about feminism, mental health, comic books, and cats.
This entry was posted in Books and Reading!, Nevillegirl's Adventures!, Non-Neville Posts, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to Should I Read These Books?

  1. Ah… well, if you liked Divergent, I’m sorry to say Allegiant will disappoint you. I Insurgent’s okay, it’s kind of just more of Tris and Four. (I didn’t like their love story either. *high-fives* I mean, they completely forgot about the destruction of their world???) Also, Allegiant just had a BUNCH of gaping plot holes, and… I don’t know. I respected Roth’s decisions, but the plot was sort of weird.

    I almost bought Wicked once, but I might have to think about it now… I’ve heard fantastic things about the musical as well. :\

    I don’t know about the Book Thief either, because I liked it, sure, and I loved Liesel’s strength, but the narration was a bit confusing. I liked it mostly because of the ending. And same for TFiOS, I liked The Fault in Our Stars because of what happened in the end, because it was sad and it actually hurt because the characters were sort of perfect. I liked Paper Towns better, because it’s not so much of a love story as a guy chasing this girl around. But, yeah, I’ve heard basically all of his books are the same.

    I’m also confused about J.K. Rowling’s I mean Robert Galbraith’s books. They’re on my TBR list, and I have The Cuckoo’s Calling on my shelf, but… *shrug*

    • nevillegirl says:

      *pouts* I wish Tris and Four were more interesting… and less focused on ~mushy romance feels.~ I HATE dystopians where the MC is less concerned with trying to survive and more concerned with making out.
      …which is, incidentally, why I liked The Maze Runner and THG so much. Both Thomas and Katniss are /mildly/ interested in romance, but ultimately they’re much more focused on trying to survive. Which is as it should be.
      If I were the spunky female MC of the latest awesome dystopian and there was this absolutely gorgeous supporting female character, I’d just be like, “Lady, you’re pretty and everything, but I have to save the world and overthrow the government before I can spend any more time with you.” Honestly. So many dystopian characters are weird and lovestruck. xD

      I’m worried that the musical wouldn’t make any sense unless I’ve read the book, but then the book is… zzzz.

      *sigh* I’ve read a few books because I heard their endings were good, but that’s not my ideal read. xD And The Book Thief is super-long, too, so I don’t know if I’ll give up once again before I reach the end.

      I certainly hope those books are more like HP (even though I’m not as into the story as I used to be) because The Casual Vacancy was terrible.

  2. Mo says:

    I’ve read… less than half of these books and tbh I wouldn’t recommend that many of them. I really only liked Divergent–I will happily read and reread up until the point Tris finishes training, but Insurgent and Allegiant just didn’t do it for me. They were far too ‘OMG war!!! and hot guy!!!’ for my liking. I think there was less character exploration, which was disappointing.

    I didn’t like Looking for Alaska, and I haven’t read Papertowns. I wouldn’t say I regret reading Will Grayson, Will Grayson, but I don’t think I’m going to read it ever again. (You should read some other David Levithan books, though. You might like Wide Awake, Every Day, or Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares.)

    I would, however, continue to recommend Wicked–I really love the grey morality and the darkness and that it’s yet another retelling of the Oz story. If you found the beginning tedious, then just ignore the first section of the book–start at Gillikin and go from there. From there I think it’s a little more fast paced and focused on Elphaba’s story. (Plus it has queer lady characters! You should assume that everyone is bi until proven otherwise.) If you can’t get through it, I’m not going to blame you–it’s certainly not light reading. I, for one, still can’t make it past chapter five of any Jane Austen book…

    • nevillegirl says:

      *bangs head against desk* I’ve read too many “OMG hot guy!!!” books lately. 😛 And some of them were just WEIRD, like there wasn’t any chemistry between the characters. I’m pretty sure some of them were put together just because they were a boy and a girl.

      OK, will do. (Trying some other Levithan books, that is. But Will Grayson, Will Grayson is one I probably won’t get to any time soon.)

      OK, thanks for the suggestion! 🙂 I kept waiting and waiting for the story to get more interesting, but it didn’t. At least not in the beginning.
      (Yay for bi characters!)

  3. Fiona says:

    Okay. Let’s see… I’ve read quite a few of these, so I’ll give you my opinions on the ones I’ve read.

    I haven’t read Paper Towns or Looking for Alaska yet, but you might like An Abundance of Katherines. It’s kind of fun to read, pretty short, and the writing is a lot less pretentious than The Fault in Our Stars. I think it was his first novel, so maybe that’s why?

    I totally agree about the narrative style for The Book Thief, and it tends to go ON AND ON for, like, the first three quarters of the book. If you’re looking for historical fiction set during the Holocaust, then Code Name Verity is awesome and probably a much better bet. The Book Thief is good, but… If you don’t really want to read it, then it’s not worth it. I almost never say this, but it’s probably a safe bet to just watch the movie and skip the book.

    I wasn’t a huge fan of The Wolves of Mercy Falls. I tried it because I loved The Scorpio Races and The Raven Brothers, but wasn’t very impressed.

    The Uglies series is actually one of my favorite dystopian series. Pretties is, in my opinion, much better than Uglies. Specials is okay. I haven’t read Extras yet. There’s a love triangle in Pretties, though, so watch out for that -_-

    • nevillegirl says:

      I’ve read An Abundance of Katherines, actually, and I enjoyed it! 🙂 It’s quite different from TFioS, which might be why I liked it. xD I think I read it back when John Green had only written one book and wasn’t that famous yet. 😛

      Code Name Verity is also on my list. Maybe I’ll try that one first and then see if I’m up for another WWII book? I /would/ just watch the movie instead, but I have this weird thing about wanting to read the book first. Idk why.

      Well, I suppose it was one of Stiefvater’s earlier books. (Although that doesn’t explain why Lament and Ballad, her first two, are supposedly so good.)
      (I say supposedly because I haven’t actually read them.)

      *nodnod* I might try the first book, I guess, and then leave the rest alone unless I really adore the first?

  4. matttblack42 says:

    Hmm, I’m think you’d like Looking for Alaska more than Paper Towns, but you’d still like Paper Towns more than you liked The Fault in Our Stars. LfA has a similar writing style to An Abundance of Katherines, which I believe you liked, and I don’t recall any pretentious characters in that book.

    I think you’d like Carrie, though I don’t think it’s as well-written as Misery was. *cough cough The Shining’s better cough*

    And The Book Thief’s definitely worth reading, despite it’s strange narrative. I triple-dog dare you to read the first hundred pages and not want to keep going. Actually, you may want to read Markus Zusak’s other book, I Am the Messenger, first. It’s not as weirdly written and there’s a whole lot of moving moments. (And it’s funny!)

    • nevillegirl says:

      Thanks for the book rec!

      I *do* want to read The Shining (and The Stand) someday, but they’re so looong and I just don’t think I can handle SO MUCH goriness right now. But yeah, Misery was SPECTACULAR. I’m really glad I read it. For such a violent book, it had incredibly beautiful writing.
      (Is the movie version of The Shining any good? Should I read the book first?)

      So I should persevere through the first part and then the story improves? All right.
      (I did try to read I Am The Messenger about the same time as I tried TBT, but I thought its writing style was even stranger! But who knows, that was like five years ago and my tastes may have changed since then.)

      • matttblack42 says:

        I didn’t think The Shining movie was any good, though I might be in the minority for this. (Although Stephen King himself said he hated the adaptation.) The movie’s so different, several of the major events in the book never happened and some of the characters were completely different, so you could actually watch it first and still be somewhat unspoiled. I wouldn’t recommend it, though.

  5. I hated Allegiant, and Insurgent wasn’t much better either, in my opinion. Sometimes I wish I’d just left it at Divergent, but then I wouldn’t have the opportunity to argue how poorly the latter two were written and put together with my friends. 😛

    I would also definitely recommend reading The Book Thief. I wasn’t so sure in the beginning about it, the narrative is really strange, but when it comes together a bit more, it is really really good.

    I did not like the Uglies series at all, and I had had high expectations for the books. The concept was awesome, but that was all. Uglies would have been the best book out of the four, and then the rest go down in descending order. I pretty much skimmed Extras, and the only reason I finished the series was because I was waiting for an amazing plot twist or just anything that would make the series closer to ‘amazing’.

    The only John Green book I actually liked was The Fault in Our Stars, and you didn’t like that… I have really strong mixed feelings on Paper Towns and Looking for Alaska, but I despised Will Grayson, Will Grayson.

    Er, so The Book Thief. Read that. 🙂

    • nevillegirl says:

      Pfft, nice.

      OK. I guess I just need to stick with the book longer. 😛

      Blergh, I /hate/ when a series goes down in quality, or when the only reason I keep reading is because I think “certainly the plot will get better!” 😦

      Darn! *bangs head against desk* I’m always looking for a good LGBTQ+ book, even if it is written by John Green. xD So I don’t know what to think about it now that you’ve said you DESPISE it, because that’s a pretty strong feeling…

      OK, will do. 😛 Eventually…

    • nevillegirl says:

      *nods* That happens sometimes. Evidently nearly everyone else connected to TFioS and… I didn’t. xD It happens.

      • *whispers* I didn’t really actually necessarily connect with TFioS but I guess I just enjoyed it more than other John Green books? I really don’t understand completely how they are amazing though, to be entirely honest. The books I love don’t seem to have too much publicity.

    • nevillegirl says:

      Ahaha, I know the feeling! I’m obsessed with the Lunar Chronicles currently, for example, and while its fandom is slowly growing, there are still very few people who’ve even heard of them, let alone read them.

  6. F says:

    I would recommend The Book Thief and The Cuckoo’s Calling, they’re hard to get into but they’re worth sticking with. However, I didn’t get the hype about Uglies and Looking For Alaska… A

    Also, if you want queer lady protagonists, read The Child Garden by Geoff Ryman. I’ve kind of forgotten what happens it, but I remember thinking it was very weird (which I guess is to be expected with a dystopian).

    – F (a new follower :D)

    • nevillegirl says:

      All right, thank you! 🙂

      Ooh, thanks! Thank you SO SO SO MUCH, I’ve been trying and trying to find LGBTQ+ dystopians but I haven’t been very lucky so far.

      (Thanks for following my blog! I looked at yours just now and WOW IT’S COOL. Also, I love that we seem to be interested in some of the same things – feminism, LGBTQ+ rights, etc – but you live in Ireland and I live in America. It’s very interesting to see how different countries view the same topics.)

  7. wondrousadventurer says:

    ohhh, the only one that struck me like a knife to a heart there was The Book Thief, otherwise I agreed wholeheartedly with a lot of your thoughts. (I can get not liking a certain style though. I do, however, adore that book — but I’m fairly certain from your post that you don’t need ANOTHER person gushing about it so I’ll relax.)

    as for the others… I haven’t read most myself. got Divergent as a birthday present and… ehhh. Not going to finish the trilogy, gave the copy I owned to my sister. (of course… anything with that much romance doesn’t usually last long for me)

    the only other book on your list I’ve read I think is Paper Towns. It’s also the only John Green book I’ve ever read so I can’t compare it well, but I’m another person who’s just never been interested in TFioS to begin with so perhaps it says something that I picked up Paper Towns at all?
    I’d say I liked it. Not my usual fare at ALL but the main character was quite likable (to me), it never felt massively pretentious, and I thought the overall message (essentially deconstructing the idea of the “maniac pixie dream girl”) was a good one. I don’t regret having read it, but don’t have a particularly strong opinion either. it’s one of those ones that affects different people different ways, I think, and you might just have to read it at a certain time in your life to mean anything (I’d say Catcher in the Rye, for example, is the same way) — I thought it was pretty good, but my sister cites it as one of her favorite books of all time and I think it’s been very important to her.
    (…I gave her my copy of it, bought at a yard sale for a dollar, as a gift as well. Funny that that would be true of two books on your list! But I think this one was a lot more meaningful for her, I’m not sure she really cared for Divergent either…)

    • nevillegirl says:

      Ehehe, it’s all right. 😛

      Sounds like a wise move on your part. xD

      OK, I’ll keep that in mind. *also high-fives you for not succumbing to the TFioS craze* 😛

  8. Cait says:

    I have to admit, I think if you didn’t like TFIOS then don’t try anymore of his books. WHICH MAKES ME SAD. Because he’s one of my favourite authors of all time…buuut, each to their own. I recommend not reading Shiver as well, because it’s not her best book and (I loved it but whatever) it’s very romantically focused. Also loved Insurgent/Allegiant…mmm. I’d say “READ THEM” but I guess it depends on how much you want to know what happens? You and me both for Wicked, eh?! 😉

    • nevillegirl says:

      All right then. 🙂

      I /do/ want to know what happens next in the Divergent series, but not if what happens is all kissy-kissy stuff. xD Which is what it seems to be…

  9. Erin says:

    I saw above that you were worried that Wicked the musical wouldn’t make any sense if you didn’t read the book, and I can assure you that that isn’t the case. I haven’t read the book and I saw the musical without even reading a summary first. It was really easy to follow along with (nothing like a Shakespeare play, I can tell you that!). Also, if you get the chance to see the musical, GO SEE IT. Even if it means spending a lot of money on tickets. IT IS WORTH IT.

    Also, I haven’t read either of the sequels to Divergent, but I agree that Four and Tris are pretty boring. I don’t know…there just isn’t anything about their romance that stands out to me (but this may be because I’m just not extremely fond of either of their characters in the first place).

    • nevillegirl says:

      *is relieved* Thanks for letting me know!

      I LOVE the dystopian world that Veronica Roth created. But… her characters should have been fascinating too, and they weren’t. -_-

  10. elrock1 says:

    Ellie from NaNo here!
    The only books on your list I’ve read are Insurgent and the first half of Allegiant. I was fine with Insurgent, probably liked it more than most people, but Allegiant killed this series for me. I couldn’t finish it. It was so painfully boring, added pointless perspective shifts, Four turned out to the jealous whiny jerk I had long suspected him to be and the technobabble was laughably unbelievable by the standards of a four-year-old.

    I’m also cautiously considering reading some John Green books. I read the first few chapters of TFiOS at the library and it was okay. Everything was good, but not great. Except for Augustus…who kind of freaks me out…? Something about him rubs me the wrong way.

    • nevillegirl says:

      Ehehe, Four IS kind of a jerk. He’s just so unpredictable. Sometimes he’s nice and sometimes he’s nasty – definitely NOT the kind of person I’d want to be in a relationship with.

      *nodnod* I think Augustus is unbearably pretentious. Everyone falls all over themselves going, “But he’s just intelligent, that’s all! It’s so nice to see intelligent teenagers in YA!”
      …but pretentiousness is an attitude. Intelligence isn’t an attitude. It’s completely possible to be a smart nerd without acting like a jerk about it!

  11. Alexandrina Brant says:

    I am with you on SO MANY of these books. Especially #10. I mean, I never read – or even wanted to read – The Casual Vacancy (it sounds too literary/contemporary for my liking), but I’ve started reading proper crime (as opposed to the whodunnits that I write) and I’m tempted.

    John Green… Yeah, I’ve never tried his writing, but, from the sounds of it, I won’t like it. I’m happier nodding my head at people who rave about his books than living in a reality where I can say “yup, read them, didn’t like.” Because, you know, he’s such a NICE person. And I briefly met Hank Green when he was at LeakyCon London.
    …Though, reading comments, I think I’ll have a crack at An Abundance of Katherines, not least because I love the premise. If I buy it on a whim, I mean. I can’t afford new books AND steampunk adventures right now.

    The Bone Season. I loved the writing. I loved the atmosphere and the setting (but I’m biased on that, since it’s set in futuristic Oxford and I live, like, half an hour away from Oxford), but the main character annoyed me a little. I like the concept, but I’m not reading on in the series.
    I think TBS is one of those books you’ve got to sample first. Fair warning, though, it’s so high fantasy it has a glossary of words… Uh…

    Wicked [the musical] is great. Have you seen it? I think the plot is worth that effort, but, having never read the book, I couldn’t tell you if the prose is worth it.

    • nevillegirl says:

      Yay! *high-fives*
      …see, I thought I should read it because I like mysteries, but it wasn’t a very gripping mystery! And imo, that is one of the most important qualities for a mystery to have. They need to be compelling, and TCV just… wasn’t.

      *sits with you in the “doesn’t really understand the John Green / Vlogbrothers mania” corner* *sips tea*

      OK, I’ll keep that mind. And wow, a glossary? *sigh* And here I was thinking that MAYBE it would be a good change from ASOIAF with its huuuuuge appendices.

      Nope, I’ve never seen it. But I want to! Because Idina Menzel is kind of hot I’ve heard so many good things about it, and it seems to have a huge fanbase.

  12. Boquinha says:

    Gregory Maguire – I read “Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister” a while back and didn’t care for it. Haven’t ever read anything else by him since.

    Book Thief – Did. Not. Like. I mean, it’s a WWII book and there are so many WWII books, so to be worth a read, it should be . . . good. Different. Something! I found it gimick-y. Death narrates it (you’d think that would be unique, but it doesn’t really work, IMO). And he starts every chapter with a random assortment of words – it was weird, unnecessary, and again, didn’t work. So those things made it seem gimmicky to me. And it was way too long. Once I finished it (I stuck with it), I thought the overall story was good and sweet. But I think his editor was asleep or something, because it should’ve been much shorter.

    John Green – Hmmm. I’ve read both of those books. They were okay. Nothing grand. But in the name of full disclosure, I should say that I really like “TFiOS” and I really, strongly dislike “An Abundance of Katherines.” First book I’ve not finished in a LONG time. It was so tedious and over the top (really? 19 Katherines?).

    There are my .02 . . . or maybe more like .15, I guess. 😛

    • nevillegirl says:

      Yeah, I guess the adaptations of his works are better than his actual writing…

      I /hate/ that in books. Just tell the story already! Don’t give me random pieces of info!

      See, I really enjoyed AAoK. I thought it was sweet, and an ode to geeks, and honestly much less contrived than TFioS. (Gus’s mom knows he has cancer but lets him go to Amsterdam with people they barely know, who don’t know he’s relapsed? Hazel’s mom lets two half-dead teenagers walk around a city they don’t know? And the part that really weirded me out was the sex scene. xD Like, they’re really sick… but the illness seemingly didn’t affect them exactly when John Green needed it to not affect them so he could continue his plot. Just my two cents.)

  13. SOMEBODY ELSE WHO DISLIKES THE FAULT IN OUR STARS. HUZZAR! I AM NOT ALONE!

    I seriously did not understand they hype around that book at all, it was so mediocre, plus I didn’t like any of the characters and the writing was SO pretentious! Grr…

    • nevillegirl says:

      Saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaame. I don’t understand why any of John Green’s books are popular, tbqh. They just don’t appeal to me at all.

      (Sorry about the late reply – I’m SO behind on blog comments!)

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