22 June 2011

The Calamity Challenge

Calamity can mean "disaster or distress". Sometimes when I pick up a book to read or begin listening to a book on tape I realize that it isn't my thing. Or after I read the whole thing I just don't understand why the book had to end that way, like why someone had to die or marry their cousin when they were really in love with someone else.
This photo is
year's contest.

Most of our challenges, so far, have been about books we like; this week I (the Big Sister) want to offer a little switch. I want to know about books you don't really like --that may have even been a disaster or even caused you a bit of distress.

Click on the comments and tell us a story about a book that wasn't for you. I can't wait to read your comments!

The Mom adds "remember that we are sharing our opinions and that here at the Books for Walls Project we are a community and share thoughts and ideas, please take what is good for you and leave the rest! Our intention is not to offend, but to discuss, this week we're discussing books that are not our cup of tea. Great idea Big Sister!!"


  1. Big Sister I love this one!!

    I am not going to list a certain book, instead a subject I don't like: violence. When a book gets really graphically violent, I have to close it. Oh, I have to add scary too, I do not like super scary books.

    Let me add, if there is violence or a scary subject, but not graphically described (so I can use my own imagination) I can handle that. But when there is a lot of scary or violent details poured our in detail over the pages --I CLOSE the BOOK.

    When I was a teenager, I read a book that graphically described a violent death, I could not sleep for weeks --sometimes my subconscious still pulls up the story in my dreams.

    I need to think if there is a specific book, if I think of one, I will add it!

  2. I don't like when I get a feeling at the beginning of a book that I know where it's going and then it goes there --there are no twists and turns, there are no surprises. I like books with twists and turns and surprises...

  3. There are three books that I absolutely do not like that and had to put down. (So, I will name, names :)

    The Confederacy of Dunces - I know. It's supposed to be this terribly humorous and witty and acerbic book. Got all of these prizes posthumously for the author, John Kennedy Toole. I HATED it. I thought it was mean and terrible humor, vicious and just plain not nice. The whole book made me uncomfortable and feel icky.

    Don Quixote - I do need to try this one again. Similar to Dunces, Don Quixote made me want to cry on every page. I think I read this not to far after I read the Dunces book, so it may have colored the world for me. Maybe during that period of time I was just being too sensitive about everything. I will attempt to read it again I think. But for now, it still gives me not such good memories.

    The Once and Future King - Insipid. Dragged on. Poorly written. I wanted it to be great like The Last Unicorn. It wasn't. I rarely put down a book in the middle. This was one of them.

    OH! One more for good measure (this will cause a lot of controversy):

    The Boy in Striped Pajamas - I found it manipulative. Unbelievable. Annoying. I have read quite a lot of "holocaust" literature and I found this book offensive. Sorry - is that too harsh?

    Thanks Big Sister! This was a GREAT book challenge for the week!

  4. Anonymous1:59 PM

    I had a hard time with The Giver. It really is a good book but some of the events are pretty hard to read about.

  5. oh - this is a great challenge!

    i, too, had problems with the giver. same for the handmaiden's tale (margaret atwood).

    i don't want to read books that stress me out, have lots of violence, or make me have bad dreams. that said, when i read, i can often skim over it. for instance, i was completely surprised by the violence in the harry potter movies - i didn't remember it from the books.

  6. Great idea, Big Sister!

    I don't like reading books geared toward children that have siblings and friends insulting each other. My son wanted to read a "Goosebumps" book recently and I stopped after the first chapter because it was all about twin girls calling each other "dumb" and "ugly" numerous times. It's so unnecessary!

  7. Anonymous Mommy (regular reader!)8:18 AM

    Have to get in on this discussion! I am going anonymous so my kids won't get mad at me (they read this too!)

    While I liked the Giver, it was HARD and SAD. And shhhhhhhhh, I did not like Harry Potter and all those books that are supposed to get kids into reading, they certainly do, but I just wonder, does that lead them to a life of reading or a life of easy entertainment. Some of the issues in the books are just glossed over and then made so violent in the movie @wandering educators I hated my kids watching those movies. And @Sheri we have a big family and books that have characters that name call or treat siblings badly are always an issue.

    @books for walls project can you have a challenge about books that are good for siblings, that reinforce good relationships? Wow, I digress. Great topic BIG SISTER.

  8. I just cannot understand the draw of Eat, Pray, Love. Why is it that everyone in the world seems to think Elizabeth Gilbert is some sort of prophetic teacher? The book is poorly written, her epiphanies about life are insipid and overdone. I made it through the first chapter about Italy and thought she should have stuck to writing about the food. When she went on to India I put the book down and never picked it up again. Overrated doesn't even come close.

    Then there is The Shipping News. I will say that it was beautifully written. But it has to be the most depressing story I've ever attempted to read. Made me want to throw myself into the icy waters.

  9. The Friend1:33 PM

    The Percy Jackson series- I know it is a very popular series but I found it cliche. I don't know it just wasn't for me...

  10. I agree with Sue Pea - Eat Love Pray is not a good book and the movie was just as bad. The Shipping News was as depressing as Joyce Carol Oates' "Them"
    As far as a genre I avoid - science fiction.

  11. Marley & me, please read wally's world, it's the real deal!

  12. Twilight series-I don't think I have to explain this tripe train wreck.

    Digital Fortress (or anything else by Dan Brown)-if you've read one of Brown's books, you actually have read them all. They are all the same formula-good looking and MENSA smart guy meets great looking, MENSA smart woman, planetary doom ensues, day is saved, history is re-written. Meh.

    The House of Seven Gables-I'm not a fan of the gothic Victorian tomes anyways, but this one was introduced in high school (mistake #1) and dragged on for weeks in dust-encrusted sentenses. Just couldn't get into the characters, no matter how neurotic they were (and they were).