Bookish Rants or Raves: Why do I read horrible books?

Filed in Bookish Rant or Raves , The Winged Lover Posted on November 21, 2012 @ 11:00 am 20 comments


“Why did you bother finishing that if you hated it?”

I get asked this question quite a lot, and it is a fair one. So why do I read horrible books?

I have many reasons:
 I don’t like feeling my time was wasted
This seems contradictory but if I’ve spent a couple of days chipping away at a horrible book, I can’t just leave it. I have put in the time and effort to get this far and now I want to just finish and be done. I hate leaving books unfinished because I feel I still owe them an obligation. (I never claimed to be sane)

I want the right to have my say
I’m a book reviewer! I want to tell people about the books I read and I don’t make a habit of reviewing DNF’s. If I’m halfway through a book and I’ve been rolling my eyes and audibly sighing then I want to tell people about that pain, I want to have a nice whine about boring characters and tedious plot lines, it’s cleansing for me. I also don’t like trashing things unless I have two legs and concrete slab to stand on (which is the main reason why I read Fifty Shades of Grey).

I like writing a bad review every once in a while
When I’m picking new books to read I go straight for the bad reviews, because I feel a bad review will tell you way more than a good one. Good reviews are fantastic because they can talk up the merits of the book, but bad reviews explore people’s frustrations and annoyances. There have been many times when I have bought a book based on a bad review, because I wanted to experience it for myself and I didn’t have a problem with the issue the reviewer had brought up. But when I’ve been frustrated with a book I want to let it out and the adjectives I use in bad reviews are sometimes a lot more fun to throw around and hard hitting than the ones I use in good reviews.

There have been times when I feel I can’t do a fantastic book justice with my review, no matter what I do. But a bad book…well, I’ve never come away from one of those reviews feeling that I didn’t say enough about it.

I actually enjoy reading bad books
Depending on the level of badness sometimes it’s quite enjoyable to read horrible books because it can be quite comical to see some of the devices some authors use to try and give their characters depth or further the story. When that enjoyment morphs into frustration it becomes a drag but there have been times when I’ve been reading and said to myself “this is excruciatingly bad, but I have to see what the author is going to do at the end, how is he possibly going to rectify this situation without using something completely absurd.”

I am mildly OCD
I have a tbr pile of 70 books, this is not including all of the ebooks that I have collected over the last few years. Am I ever going to read them all? Probably not because I keep buying new ones. Will they ever leave that list? Not unless they get read. So when it comes to finishing horrible books and crossing them off that list I feel a small accomplishment.

So there are my reasons for reading bad books. In summary I find it somewhat enjoyable to read train-wreck books and I enjoy writing a bad review on occasion, it gets my brain working.

Do you finish bad books or walk away?

About Amanda

Amanda-Lee is a proudly addicted reader and writer from Sydney. She lives with her wonderful husband and their more like a baby than a kitten Hamish. Amanda-Lee has been blogging for 4 years now and is a lover of all genres, though she does have a tendancy to stray towards the weird and wonderful concotions in the paranormal and fantasy genres. In addition to being the Winged Lover on BLI she also runs the book blog StoryWings.

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  • aurian November 21, 2012 at 11:27 am

    Lol, great post Amanda. If I don’t like the book I am reading, I usually stop reading it and pick up something else. But very rarely I just hope it gets better, everyone else loves it, why not me? And when I finished it, I still hate it. Like the last Christina Skye book. I kept reading, I hated the characters, I hted the heroes actions, but the story itself, the writing style, kept me reading.

    • Amanda November 23, 2012 at 5:20 am

      hehe i wrote this with you in mind aurian, because you always ask 🙂

      sometimes its the writing alone that keeps me going…attests to the fact that the author is a damn good writer, just can’t come up with ideas that I like

  • Stella November 21, 2012 at 11:40 am

    Terrific post Amanda, I really enjoyed seeing how your mind works and why you keep persevering 😀 Until I started blogging I never left a book unfinished, I forced myself to read it until the end even if I didn’t care for it. But since I started blogging and my TBR piles and wishlists have exploded I tend to walk away from bad books. And due to the amount of books waiting for me to read them I see my tolerance of presevering decrease (though it sure depends on how bad a book is): now I don’t usually read until 70-80% of a book to quit, but in extreme cases it happened after 25-30% that I hated the story/the characters/the writing style so much that I couldn’t see it imnproving/myself warming to it so I gave up. BB (before blogging) I felt it as a failure if I didn’t finish a book, but now I think that there are so many potentially great books that I won’t waste any more time trying to read a book that I don’t enjoy, to each their own, and I def want to find “my own” 😉

    • Amanda November 23, 2012 at 5:21 am

      yea my tbr pile is getting bigger and bigger, someday i may break this habit and dnf a few more books….in the last three years though I have only DNFed two so odds aren’t too high just yet

  • erinf1 November 21, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    I’m exactly like you. If I started it, then by jove, I’m finishing! But I’ll be angry and frustrated and PO’d the entire time 🙂 It has to really, really push all of my “oh no you didn’t!” buttons for me to DNF. Which is funny cuz my TBR mountain range has potential gold in it… I don’t know why I don’t just throw them over my shoulder and go mining for a new book 🙂

    • Amanda November 23, 2012 at 5:23 am

      I know!! I have jeaniene frost AND holly harper on my TBR list…and yet for some reason i keep overlooking them for mediocre books…maybe im scared

  • Mel S November 21, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    I’m stubborn as well – I have to finish books if I started if only so when I say the book is terrible I know it’s terrible all the way through. After all how many books are really enjoyable until the final twist or big resolve…? I’m sure there must be some books which are terrible up until the final chapter as well…I can’t think of any off the top of my head though!

    • Amanda November 23, 2012 at 5:28 am

      yeah i think there might have been one for me…cant think of it though. lol

  • Jess1 November 21, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    I really enjoyed reading your post about bad books. I do both: sometimes I will not finish a book due to boredom or frustration; or I will finish it due to wanting to see if it gets any better, wanting to know how it would end, or just because it was considered to be a good read and maybe I’m missing something.

    • Amanda April 23, 2013 at 2:14 am

      same, once i finished an aboslutely horrible book…because i was hoping the main character would die haha

  • blodeuedd November 21, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    If it really sucks then no way, but if I can pull through then yes, because I want to tell others. I would never just have happy positive reviews

    • Amanda April 23, 2013 at 2:15 am

      i actually prefer reading and writing negative reviews 🙂 i find i have a lot more to say about a bad book whereas good books theres too much potential for squeedom

  • cmcgee November 21, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    We only have so much of the valuable time to live and I can’t see reading something that is totally a loss. I walk away from the bad ones without a bad feeling at all.

    • Amanda April 23, 2013 at 2:16 am

      fair enough 😀 i really wish I could do that sometimes

  • Susan November 21, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    Excellent, Amanda!

    I’m in the OCD camp. Until fairly recently, I’ve had a compulsion to finish every book started no matter how much I disliked it. I’ve finally gotten to the point where I’ve given myself permission to occasionally dump a book, or a series, that is more work than pleasure. But I confess that it still makes me feel bad.

    I will say, too, that sometimes it’s me and not the book. I go thru periods where I’m just not in the mood for a certain kind of book, no matter how good it might be. So, if I have set a book aside, I try to make a point to give it another shot (or two). I’ve ended up really liking books on second (or third) tries–sometimes years after the first attempt. If I still can’t abide it after several good faith efforts, I’ll dump it without (much) remorse.

    • Amanda April 23, 2013 at 2:20 am

      i am the same! I started the anita blake series and fell asleep through the first 3 chapters, so i left it alone went back to it six months later and read it in a day!

  • JenM November 21, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    I rarely DNF but now my TBRpile is so out of control that I’m trying to give myself permission to do so, especially books I’ve picked up for free or that have really bad grammar. Life is just too short to waste on a bad book. However, even if I’m putting it down, I still usually skim to the end to see what happens LOL.

    • Amanda April 23, 2013 at 2:21 am

      i find its easier to walk away from an ebook than it is a physical book.

  • Cris November 22, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    I don’t purposely pick bad books to read, but I’ve definitely read & reviewed my share of them. I’m a compulsive non-DNFer, so even if reading a particular book is like pulling teeth (coughFifty Shadestrilogycough), I will persevere and finish the damn thing. I even take it a step further: if the book is part of a series, I’ll read the whole series! [At least what’s published so far; I may forego reading any future books]. I can’t help it; I have this compulsion to know what’s going to happen, even if my TBR queue is super epic! (Which it is; it’s 360+ books strong right now)

    Only DNF book/series in recent memory: TWILIGHT. I was essentially at the end of book #1 when I decided my brain just couldn’t take any more of that drivel and incredibly poor writing! (Which is saying a lot, considering I’ve slogged through a crazy amount of really bad videogame fanfiction)

    • Amanda April 23, 2013 at 2:23 am

      yes! I own the entire 50shades trilogy. I hated the first book…but i will be reading the other two! what is wrong with me lol if i own more than one in the series, i will keep reading until i finish everything i own. thank fully it’s not quite so bad that i’ve now stopped buying more than one series book at a time, but i have been known to go back for more *cough*Evernight series*cough* lol

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