Popular problematic books I won’t be reading

There are a lot of books that are super popular and super hyped and really well-loved that I think are also problematic (or the author is problematic). And I think it can be okay to read somewhat problematic books as long as you acknowledge they’re problematic and take that into consideration. But there are some books that are problematic AND I don’t find interesting, and thus won’t be reading.

(also please remember that this isn’t meant for me to be attacking your faves!! These are just my own opinions!! You’re allowed to like whatever you want and I can’t tell you otherwise!!)


All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

This book has a crazy high rating on Goodreads, but it also has a ton of people calling it out for being gross. Which I definitely think it has the potential to be, and it’s not something I want to support. For those who are unaware, it’s about the relationship between a child named Wavy and a grown adult man. And it’s handled in such a bad way?

Like in Lolita, we know that Dolores’ attraction to HH is only a childish crush (because, you know, she’s a child) and his attraction to her is super creepy and inappropriate. But in All the Ugly and Wonderful Things, the two characters are in love and the people who try to come between them are seen as the bad guys. And there’s this quote, which is maybe the creepiest thing I’ve ever read:

[…] but Wavy was Wavy, not some young girl.

Like???? What???? So this book is basically at the top of my Do Not Read list. Or maybe my “Read So I Can Talk About Why It’s Bad” list.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Okay, I don’t think this one is problematic, per se, I think it just doesn’t do a good job doing what it wanted to do, if that makes sense? Like, Caleana is supposed to be this super badass assassin, but also be feminine and pretty. Which, honestly, I’m all here for. I am here to support badass girls who also value their femininity (see: Beka Cooper). But from the various reviews I’ve read and watched, Maas just doesn’t do it well. The assassin competition parts are brushed over and rarely actually shown, and the book is (apparently, remember I haven’t actually read it) mainly Caleana doing not badass assassin things and instead being dumb and annoying. I do think a lot of the Caleana hate comes from some deep-seated misogyny, but I think there are ways of making your character feminine and badass and not annoying or self-absorbed (see: Poison Study, Beka Cooper).

Anything by Cassandra Clare

From what I’ve read online, Cassandra Clare has been plagiarizing since she wrote a famous Harry Potter fanfiction, where she would put not just quotes, but entire passages from TV shows and other books, sometimes with credits, sometimes without. And I honestly just think her books at this point are the same six characters with slight variations in plot. And I just don’t see myself ever reading ALL those books, or supporting someone who has been so heavily accused of plagiarism.

The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

OKAY I tried to watch the Notebook on a plane a few years ago because I was like “fuck it, I’ve never seen it and everyone love it” and I couldn’t get past the first scene. Like, Ryan Gosling threatens to seriously harm himself to get Rachel McAdams to go on a date with him?? Buddy, she already said no several times? Please leave her alone? Please don’t manipulate women into dating you??? I shouldn’t even have to ask that??? And that was literally within the first five minutes and I had to stop watching it because I was so uncomfortable with how their relationship started. I just feel like in society, we as women have such a hard time convincing men that No means No, not No means try harder. And this book definitely promotes the second one (or at least the beginning of the movie did) and it’s not a message I want to promote.

So those are some popular yet problematic books I will never be reading. Have you read any of them? Should I give any of them a shot? Let me know!

Thanks for reading! xx

24 thoughts on “Popular problematic books I won’t be reading

  1. I haven’t read The Notebook but I HATE the movie, when I finally got around to watching it I could not believe it is so universally beloved. And you know how I feel about All The Ugly and Wonderful Things… is it bad that I selfishly hope you read it at some point just so you can hate it with me? Probably. But mostly I don’t want you to read it because it’s so horrific.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t get how it’s so popular??? I’ve seen like two other scenes from it and they also seemed manipulative and creepy, so idk why it’s so loved.
      Honestly I might see if I can find it at a used bookstore or library and read it just so I can be informed on why I hate it. On the one hand I don’t want to support it but on the other hand I want to see why it’s so bad?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I won’t be reading any Nicholas Sparks books, either. I essentially see them as sad for the express purpose of being sad. I don’t do books of that nature. Also, having read your review of the first five minutes of The Notebook, there is NO WAY I will ever be reading or watching it. That kind of manipulation is Not Okay and I don’t want to support it.

    And re: Cassandra Clare… I won’t be reading her work, either. I read (or started? I forget) one book, though I don’t remember which one. And it was not good. It was so not good that I have blocked the memory. I almost picked up another of her books because I’d blocked the memory of the first one so well, but thankfully another blog I follow posted about the books and I was reminded about it. So no Clare for me either.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Honestly, life is sad enough as it is, we don’t need to read sad books that don’t have to be sad too. And it’s just so creepy, idk why everyone loves it so much!

      That’s pretty bad if you’ve blocked the entire book lol. I saw the terrible movie when it came out and blocked a lot of it too. I just can’t see myself being emotionally invested in the series or the characters too


      1. I blocked the book to the point where when the movie came out I thought it sounded fascinating! and… vaguely familiar. LOL That’s when I realized that I’d read it already, though I can’t remember anything about it.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Ok so I am a huge Nicholas Sparks fan and will say most of the movies don’t do his books justice since they change most of the scenes. (The books ARE WAY BETTER). But obviously you have to be into that type of reading. There isn’t a book of his I have read that I didn’t need tissues. I don’t want to push him on you but if you eventually want to try him, I will be glad to tell you which Sparks book to start with, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. My all time favorite is The Choice. Two of his non-sad ones are True Believer and At First Sight which go together. I don’t recall balling my eyes out to those two, or not as bad as his others.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I totally get where you’re coming from but I would recommend you still at least try to try Throne of Glass! Celaena is actually really badass but also feminine but I think her badass comes first, especially throughout the series. This series is one ripping and roaring adventure and will suck you in until the very end (Empire of Storms – can’t say for the book after cos I haven’t read it) and I binge-read the whole series last summer (as well as with the Mortal Instruments which I loved at the time but looking back now I can’t see myself re-reading it) – it’s a really amazing series that might lack everything else (for you) but I’m sure it won’t fail to entertain you. The first book is a little bit slow but if you just go with it it will eventually speed up. These books do have their flaws but I can guarantee an entertaining read if you’re ever looking for one 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve heard the series and characters get better as it goes, so I might give it a shot! I feel like I missed the boat a little, but I could still probably be talked into it. Sometimes you just need entertaining books to read!

      Thanks for your thoughts!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I agree wtih Ruqs about Throne of Glass. In the first book, I can see how Calaena can come off as a little annoying, but I don’t think her badassyness (LOL) is dampened or overshadowed at all by her femininity.

      Actually, one of the best things about her in my opinion is that not only is she physically strong, but she’s also extremely intelligent. Particularly when her opponent is incredibly powerful, one of her strengths is finding ways to defeat these foes by outsmarting them.

      Opinions are opinions, though. There will always be those who don’t think there is enough action and others who think there is too much, but for the most part I think readers tend to agree that the series sucks you in.

      Great post, BTW!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. What I find unique about Celaena in the Throne of Glass series, is how she is a bad-ass assassin, but also values femininity. Her being self-absorbed and shallow is more of a show, and it’s acknowledged by other characters throughout. As the series progresses, she does shed this side of herself. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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