Thursday, August 12, 2010

What Do You Do When A Book Is Sooooooo Bad? [You're The Expert]

Book burningImage via Wikipedia
This week I picked up a book I was sent for review. I read just over four pages before hurling it across the room in anger and frustration. (reason #1 I can't own an e-reading device) Then I took a deep breath, talked myself down, walked over, and picked it up. I took it back to the couch where I was sitting and cracked it back to the fifth page and tried to start from where I left off. Three paragraphs later I chucked it again.

This book. *insert grunt here* It was wrong in so many ways. The grammar was horrible. The sentence structure deplorable. The word choice was amazingly... well, let's just say scary. The content was inflammatory and attacked something important to me. I wanted to scream. No, wait, I did scream. Twice. It perpetuates lies. It rapes religion. It is an embarassment to American grammar and quite frankly, publishing. (It's not self-pubbed) There's no way I'm going to actually write a review of this book. I mean despite the emotional unprofessionalism that's bound to cross my fingers, I have only read almost five pages. And, I'm not going to intentionally spend any more time thinking about its content.

I know what I want to do with this book [she says with disgust] (and might finally understand book-burners on an emotional level), but I wouldn't dare do it. I want to toss it in the trash, because I believe that's where it truly belongs, but I don't necessarily feel that's the right way to go either.

So. I'm asking you. Have you ever been in a similar situation? Given my situation, what would a normal rational person do? I know my emotions are piqued. I know I can't trust myself to be rational. So, c'mon. Tell me how it is. Seriously. Sock it to me.

16 comments:

kathi430 said...

So funny! I was in this same situation recently - I just set my computer aside gently (it was an electronic copy) and used my delete button. Then wondered what to say to the author, who'd asked me to read the book. Still haven't decided. Not a good feeling though ...

kar_took said...

I would normally 'charity' a book I'm not enjoying or couldn't get into, but in this case the aim would be to not have other people reading it.

My advice is to put it in with your paper recycling, that way it can either get mushed up and transformed into something beautiful, or into toilet paper.

Faith said...

I recently read a book sent to me for review that garnered a similar reaction. I read the whole thing though... but the book is now full of yellow Post-It notes where I wrote down all the things that REALLY made me angry. I'm still not sure what to do about it, because there's no way I can post a review like that online... but at the same time, I don't want ANYONE to ever touch the thing.

GABY said...

I have been asking me the same!! I feel like I have to end it just to believe that there wasn't anything good. But you could give it to another innocent reader....

Brooke Reviews said...

I've put books like this in the recycling bin, only if they are just UNREADABLE. Also, if they aren't ARCs I will put them on PBS and then if someone actually wants them (you'd be surprised) I can get something I want with it. lol

Jess (The Cozy Reader) said...

Honestly? I think you should review it. Of course you don't have to be all "this was made of poop" but a honest review stating that you simply couldn't get into it and therefore DNF it would suffice. I'm really interested in knowing what book it was. I just stalked your Goodreads profile to see if I could figure it out but it looks like you read more than one book at a time. :( Although I did see one book you have available for Swap that you haven't reviewed, which is funny because I read and reviewed that book so I'm wondering if it was that book or not.....

Meredith said...

I haven't had this problem....yet. But I've seen plenty of giveaways on the LibraryThing member giveaways section where the member states "received for review...couldn't get into it...passing on to someone else who will review it" and they are looking to pass it on to someone else. I don't recycle books, but I'd list it on PBS if it was not an ARC, and become one of those disgruntled LT members if it were.

I Heart Monster said...

@kathi430 - yeah for me the delete key/process is not nearly as satisfying as hurling it across the room (something I do with books I hate or books I get mad at on a regular basis).

Thankfully, I wasn't asked to review it by the author, but by a publicist. *sigh of relief* It would be mighty awkward to try to explain this to the author.

@Kar_took - Ha! Toilet Paper! That made me smile :o) Thanks!

@Faith - So we're in the same boat. BUT, you are made of awesome and persevered through the whole thing. That's admirable. Seriously. I just couldn't do that to myself.

@GABY - I really don't want to pass it on, especially to someone who might not know that it's full of lies. I always feel like I'm under no obligation to finish a book if it's irking me in any way. I think it's great that you want to find a redeeming quality! Go GABY!

@Brooke - I'm really leaning toward the recycle bin at this point. You guys have made me feel like it's not so bad. *contented sigh*

@Jess - Nope, it wasn't ROWAN. Though I couldn't get into that one either. I tried, but couldn't. Since I won that copy and wasn't given it in a review capacity, I figured it wasn't a big deal to just swap it out. I'll DM/email you the title of the book I'm talking about here. I probably won't review it. Oh, and I can be quite slow to update my GoodReads with what I'm currently reading. Honestly, it is usually more of a "What I Should Be Reading" list :o)

@Meredith - How lucky of you to not have this problem! ;o) I don't really want to put it out there for anyone else to read because I think it perpetuates lies about something that's important to me. So, even though I don't generally recycle books either, I think this one may end up having its fate entwined with that of toilet paper.

Red Leaf said...

I would send it to me. I'll either be upset (doubtful), laughing out loud (very possible), or just practicing my eye rolling exercises (most likely).

Anonymous said...

Yes, a similiar thing has happened to me. I received a free e-book in exchange for a review. Had to force myself to read it. I wrote a review including all the things that I saw was wrong with it and gave it a 2 stars, the 2 stars that I have ever given. Then I got a mysteriously reply which I assume that was from the author. He wrote a scorching reply to me and also said that if the book was free I should not write a bad review! I took a lot of pleasure when I deleted the book from my computer. Would have really liked the time I spent reading that bcok back. Now I am turning down all free e-books from authors.

Emily said...

Depending on what cheesed me off about a book, I'll either write a quick blurb with a Don't Panic! picture (which is for books that weren't necessarily bad but didn't ring my bell and fell under my philosophy of life being too short to read books that don't interest me) or give it a Could Not Finish, which is for books that were literally painful and that I am not recommending to others. I give a D or F review to books I finished that were painful. Regardless, I just articulate the reasons the book didn't make the grade and move on from there.

Elizabeth said...

When a book is really really bad I just stop reading it and pick it up when I have nothing else to do.

Samantha said...

I try to finish it to see if the book will redeem itself. Sometimes it doesn't, sometimes it does. Usually, it doesn't. If I really can't get in to a book I'll read the ending and then Goodwill it. It's hard to figure out what is correct to do with an ARC though, you could, I guess, send it back to the publicist. Maybe? It's a bit harsh or direct, I suppose, but at least you're not throwing it away. It just seems wrong.

Bunny B said...

I've read lots of awful books. Some of them I just chuck away on a bookshelf somewhere hoping it will never resurface and some I make my friends read them but warn them beforehand how awful I thought it was!

Michaela said...

I have only had one book that I found hard to read through, and I still finished it despite hating all of the characters and finding huge plot holes everywhere I looked. I don't intend to review it because I can't find anything I like about it and don't really want to write a review that was just slander, but if somebody asks about it, I would definitely steer them away!

Cathie said...

I was given a book to review years ago and I couldn't stand it. It was the "it" book at the time so I was interested in reading it. It was even made into a movie. My stomach rolled and churned on almost every page of that book. I forced myself to finish it so I could write my review. I wrote a scathing review because I find nothing funny about child abuse/neglect and that was the basis for that book, in the form of a comedy! I almost burned the book, but couldn't bring myself to. I let it lay around and eventually my cat peed on it. A fitting end to its life I believe.