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Featured Book Displays

Staff Anti-Picks:

These are books that staff didn’t care for. We will not be recommending these books to you based on our reading preferences, but you should try reading them for yourself! Let us know what you think.

The Old Man and the Sea by Earnest Hemingway – I have read this book 3-4 times and each time I hated it more and more. It does well with its theme and allegory; however, it just is not my favorite. I don’t know if I was disappointed by the end or if I just read it too many times for it to be likeable. Also, I hate baseball (boring) and there’s a lot of baseball talk in this book.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens – I suppose this story is supposed to be a feel-good, reformation story. However, I just dislike it. Dickens is overblown and windy with his words, and despite being a short story, my impression of the book was that it dragged.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens – I found this book to be a decent read, but something about it just rubs me the wrong way. There’s a point in the book where the author had a choice and made the incorrect one.

Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam – I actually really liked this book. The idea of being on vacation when the world abruptly starts falling apart seems feasible. I don’t like the wife, but there is enough drama and intrigue to keep me interested… until the novel just ends – no wrapping up loose ends, no closure of any sort, it just stops!

Bright Burning Things by Lisa Harding – A single mom struggling with addiction, but always relying on someone else to help her out or be the grown-up. Her parents, her son, her therapist, even her dog needs to step up to help cover her slack. I just kept waiting for something to change. Maybe the inevitability was the point, but I just didn’t care for it.

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo – I felt like this one was just too much for me. I was looking for home organization tips, and what I found was if this item doesn’t spark joy for you, then you shouldn’t be keeping it. I don’t even know what that means! Some things you just need to have in your house whether it makes you happy or not! And I absolutely don’t understand what energy everything has (is a stapler’s energy good or bad?).

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle – I read this when the movie came out and it did not live up to the hype. I did not find Meg to be a “strong” character, and despite loving sci-fi books, I found this one boring and confusing.

Ethan Frome by Edith Wilson – This was a summer assignment for 9th grade Honors English. Not only is it a boring love story, the whole suicide pact where the “lovers” survive, but are permanently injured makes it even worse. There’s no happy ending here. A movie version starring Liam Neeson could not save this book.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding – Though a pretty accurate description of a potential direction our society is leading, I really did not like this “classic.” I find it hard to believe that left to their own devices, a group of boys will fully devolve into animalistic tendencies. And the descriptions of a severed pig’s head, the easily confusable characters, and the unneeded death pushed this one over the edge for me.

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton – Why does everyone love this book? I absolutely could not connect with the story. Reading this in middle school, when I was closer in age to the characters, didn’t help either. The tension between the greasers and the socs seemed too fabricated and the fighting was overrated. And I despised the names! I mean, Pony Boy?? Really?? BORING! Couldn’t move on to the next unit fast enough!

Love You Forever by Robert N. Munsch – Although this book has a sweet sentiment throughout, the ending pulls a bit of creepy that ruins the whole appeal. I love my mom as much as anyone else, but if she were to climb through my window in the middle of the night to rock me, I would move so far away, IMMEDIATELY! Why, Mom? Why? That is not an appropriate adult relationship…

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad – Apparently, this book is considered a significant work in English literature. However, when I read it for a college class, something happened that I have never experienced before: I could not connect with the story. At all. I could not, for the life of me, figure out what was supposed to be going on. Even when I did figure out the general plot, it did nothing for me. Maybe other people could get something out of it, but I have no desire whatsoever to consider this book’s supposed debate of whether “civilized” England and “uncivilized” Africa are so different.

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg – This… is not a bad story. The main gist is that Evelyn, a middle-aged woman who is unsatisfied with her life, befriends Ninnie, an elderly lady, at a nursing home, and Ninnie tells the story of Idgie and Ruth (a lesbian couple in all but name) who owned the popular cafe in Ninnie’s small hometown. Since Ninnie’s stories take place during the 1930s-1940s, they contain compelling details about the town’s race relations, general life in a small town, and the nature of Idgie and Ruth’s relationship, which was cemented when Idgie helped Ruth escape her abusive husband. In turn, Ninnie’s stories empower Evelyn to try and be something beyond a perfect wife and mother. It’s all good. So why does it take nearly 150 pages of world-building to get to anything resembling an actual plot?!

I Am Not Starfire by Mariko Tamaki – Hey, kids! Want to read a story with a main character (an obvious self-insert of the author) who is unlikeable, self-centered, and hypocritical, but still gets everything she ever wanted in the end? Want to read a story that takes a beloved DC Comics character known for her optimistic, all-loving attitude and turns her into a clueless, weak-willed celebrity mom? Want to read a story where nothing happens, until suddenly the author remembers that there needs to be an actual plot and hastily tacks one on in the final third of the book? Have I got a story for you!