Sep 23 2011 8:13am

Banned Books Week? No; What About Canned Books Week?

Sponsored by the American Library Association, Banned Books Week begins tomorrow, and “is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment.”

Now, we’re all about the freedom to read what you want (because how many of us teenagers snuck into our mom’s stash of books and snagged Rosemary Rogers, Johanna Lindsey, or a dog-eared copy of Forever Amber?).

The list of the most challenged books of recent years include Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games and Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight. Not to mention perennially challenged books such as Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind, and J.R.R. Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings. The whole concept of banning books is asinine on its face.

But what about the freedom not to read what you don’t want to? Canned Books Week to celebrate books that belong in the toilet, at least in your opinion, because they are so ghastly? That we could get behind—and have a few off the top of our heads to throw into the can straightaway.

Which would you nominate?

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1. Em
Catcher in the Rye. I just...don't like it. People try to bite your head off, and it's like--for that? Really? The kid's just a whiner.
Christopher Morgan
2. cmorgan
From my deepest love of both The South and Literature, I nominate Faulkner. Yeah the man can write on a level that few can match, but come one, he was a depressed, abusive drunk, and not the "I've seen the dark underbelly of the world" interesting bar fly kind of drunk at that. And it comes out so clearly. Screw you Falukner and your decaying South.
Megan Frampton
3. MFrampton
My hands-down, no other candidates need apply, nominee is Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. I can not stand political theory disguised--THINLY!--as literature. Yuk. That book makes my vision cloud.
Pamela Webb-Elliott
4. Spaz
THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA. I moaned and groaned through that entire mess! I hate it! C.S. Lewis just really did nothing for me, wrote nothing I could identify with, and with the revamp of his stories in movies - I REALLY feel like I'm swallowing crazy pills because everyone loves these stories. I. Do. Not.
Regina Thorne
5. reginathorn
My nominees for canning are Marion Zimmer Bradley's Mists of Avalon and Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series. I slogged through the former and two of the latter out of sheer stubborness, mentally arguing with the authors all the way, and now I wonder why I wasted my time. Save the trees! Don't reprint any more those things! I can't think of a single character or thing that I liked about those books.
6. Isabel C.
I second both Catcher in the Rye and, well, anything by Ayn Rand. (Back in my OKC days, I'd instantly reject any guy with either in the "favorite books" section of his profile--saved a lot of time and bad dates that way.)
Christopher Morgan
7. cmorgan
If we are set on Ayn Rand may I then add The Sword of Truth series, because, well, it's Ayn Rand with wizards and bdsm...
8. Barb in Maryland
I've noticed that a lot of these books appear to be dreaded school reading assignments. And I can agree with all of them. But I feel that is kinda short-circuiting the question. We all have school reading books that we feel must die!
But on the popular, recreational reading front I have several books that scarred me for life. I read them because I worked in book retail and I wanted to understand what my customers were raving about.
Ding! and the books are Bridges of Madison County, Message in a Bottle and The Horse Whisperer. Acckkkkkkk. Barb runs screaming from the room.........These books are certainly toilet-worthy!
@reginathorn--I so agree about Mists of Avalon.
9. TracyS
As far as school reading goes, I am with those that mentioned Catcher in the Rye. Hated that book and agree with Em, he's a whiner. Oh, and anything by Shakespeare. Just didn't "get" him.

As far as modern books and echoing those above that dislike political preaching in literature: I used to inhale Suzanne Brockmann's books. But once she started preaching at me through her characters? toilet worthy. In recent books conservatives are always THE EVIL and liberals are always THE PERFECT. Really?! ugh. Life is not like that. There are evil and good on BOTH sides. No matter what your political views, that is annoying.
10. Rose In RoseBear
The last three books of the Dune series are ATROCIOUS! Dune is seminal, a must-read, an accelerant for the mind. Dune Messiah is the corollary, the damper, the foam retardant --- not as exhilirating as Dune, but as vital to the tale as one side of a coin is to the other. Together the two books make a whole, and are just fantastic.

Children of Dune is as much an abomidation as Alia. Awful, horrid, rancid book! I stopped reading it about two-thirds of the way through, and threw it against the wall in my bedroom before retrieving it and reading random pages of the last third.

Hoping against hope, I purchased God Emperor of Dune. This stinker made Children smell like a red, red, rose! I think I read twenty or so random pages, and then threw it the length of the hallway. Because of Children and God Emperor, I can no longer read Dune or Dune Messiah with the same pleasure I once experienced.

BTW ... the David Lynch movie is just campy-silly-pretty. "Dune ... Arrakis .... desert planet ...!"
11. Rose In RoseBear
@reginathorn --- I'm so glad there's someone else who doesn't feel the Outlander series. I read the CompuServe files back in the day (I'm old), and it kinda turned me off Scottish heroes for a while there ...!

More power to Diane Gabaldon ... Outlander just isn't my dish of haggis ...
12. akajill
I could add many a nameless book that I started and then pitched in disgust including one book I bought for a trans-atlantic flight (now that really sucked) but a notable mention for me would be One Day by Nicholls. Everyone raved about that book and I couldn't manage more than 50 pages. I saw no romance, only unpleasant people I didn't want to spend time with. I flipped to the end before I put it down and what I read made me chuck it against the wall. To me it was manipulative and just plain awful.
13. DudettRin101
The 'House of Night' series by P.C. Cast is a series I think has Got to go. One of my best friends bought me the first book for Christmas '09 (and then the 2nd book for Christmas the next year) and I just haven't got the heart to tell her that I despise the books...I tried to read it, I really did. I got nearly 10 chapters in before I just couldn't stand anymore without throwing it out of the window of the car (I was reading it on a road trip)

In keeping with what appears to be a trend of School Assigned books, I've gotta say that 'The Giver' has got to go as well. I had to read it in 6th and 10th grade. Failed every assignment to do with it in 6th grade because I couldn't read more than about 2 pages without conking out. Managed to make it through it in 10th grade, but I absolutely hate the book. Hate It.

And 'Wild Flowers' by Virginia Andrews. Also a Horrible book. I've tried reading it multiple times since I bought it like 6 or 7 years ago and I simply can't do it. It's just not a good book.
14. kreads4fun
Bridges of Madison County, and Message in a Bottle were both gag inducing and worst of all, Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas or anything else by James Patterson. If a woman had written any of this garbage, it never would have been published. Because they were all written by men, people swooned. Gack!
15. joyofbean
While I enjoyed the first few Outlander series books I became frustrated with Gabaldon when I was at least 200 pages into one of her books and realized she was still telling us about the first day of the story ---- gah! I wish some authors would learn that pages and pages of detail and description does not make for a more interesting story!!!!!
Megan Frampton
16. MFrampton
It's nice to see people are as filled with venom towards certain books and authors as I am--not snarky, I'm serious!
Of course, I hope we'd all agree none of these should be banned (, kidding!), and are happy we can read the books we choose to.
17. Jessn1017
I am with all those who have mentioned The Catcher In The Rye. Maybe it was the perspective I was coming from in reading it, but did NOT get what people were talking about when they would go on about it. Holden Caulfield is a big whiny loser and I wanted to hit him upside the head with a rolled up newspaper.

And my next vote goes for the Twilight series. I will admit, I was taken in by the books at first. Then, as I read further into the series, and later went back and tried to revisit them... well, lets just say the bloom is off the rose. I found Bella to be incredibly whiny, weak, and dependent on the men around her to save her from herself. They really have not stood the test of time, and that's in just a few short years!
Linda Baker
18. omnireader
Ayn Rand tops my list too. But anything after book 5 of Laurel Hamilton's Anita Blake series has to go there. Tedious beyond belief (and it's all sex all the time), totally lacking in story advncement.
19. 4theloveofbooks
I have to agree about the "House of Night" series. It's YA so 5th graders are reading it -- oral sex, sex with your teacher and a three-way moan and groan. It wasn't worth reading as an adult and so inappropriate for kids.
S Tieh
20. infinitieh
Hey, I happened to like "Catcher in the Rye". It really spoke to me, mostly about what a shallow idiot Holden was and how I would never grow up to be a teen like him. Yep, it was a cautionary tale to me, but so was "Romeo and Juliet", the stupidest teens in literature. Why would anyone kill oneself for a guy/girl? No guy is worth my future.

I also agree about the "House of Night" series. Ech. Too much stupid teen angst (not just regular teen angst) for me.
Di Hetrick
21. dnlizbeth
I love Jamie Fraser (from Outlander) but have to admit I skipped some pages in Gabaldon's books. What I never understood is the buzz, and prize, over "The Shipping News", neither the book, nor the movie, has a thing to recommend it. Who wants to read an entire book, waiting for something to happen? I read Ayn Rand so long ago, I can't remember the stories, which means they weren't that good. I also have to say I hated reading anything that any school told me I had to, especially Charles Dickens and James Steinbeck.
romance reader
22. bookstorecat
Loving Canned Book Day! Message in a Bottle is at the top of my list, too! Most bad books are just forgetable, but you always remember the ones you threw across the room.
elif onal
23. kiminista
I like some of the books listed above but equally dislike most of them, here is my list: outlander series, except the first book, I ordered the following 3 books after fast reading the outlander, never felt that much wronged by an author before. anything from Ayn Rand, every book of nicholas sparks, danielle steel (I love romance but cannot stand hers), all of anita blake books, and last but not least nabokov.
24. cate
Any one of the ruddy Bronte's books....Really just how much Yorkshire angst can you take ? Also the flaming Mill on the Floss ( I wish someone had burnt it !) And as for Thomas Hardy .... well... at least one ( ok two) of his heroines had an HEA
25. DudettRin101
For those of you that keep mentioning the Anita Blake books- I agree that everything after about...Obsidian Butterfly (Maybe one or 2 before that) has gotta go. They were really good books in the beginning, but then LKH became obsessed with Sex and the books just went downhill from there. Narcissus in Chains has got to be the worst of them. I swear, in 600+ pages, only about 50 didn't contain a sex scene. As for Twilight...I'm on the fence. I like the series, but I also hate it. But I wouldn't be particularly sad to see it go lol.
26. Marva
Long ago I read the incarnations of immortality series by Piers Anthony. I got them hard back for Christmas from my Dad for 5 years and liked the first four a lot. I got to the end of number five and threw the book at the wall. It was my first thrown book. The ending was sooooo sucky. Turns out is was a set up for the next book, but there were no clues that there would be a next book. Needless to say, I did not purchase or read numbers six and seven.
27. cocobutt22
Diana Palmer. Enough Said. Her age differences in her characters creeps me out,The women being so damn "innocent" yet they go out of their collective ways to appeal to the boorish"older" male love interests. Plus the biggie for me,They are always yelling and extremely needy!!!! No one calms downs except with sex, and even then they seem to instantly regret it or feel weird about it later. No.More.
Michelle Madden
I have to agree with anyone who mentioned The House of Night novels by P.C. Cast. Those are so not marketed to the right age group! I also found myself wondering why I was still reading them after the 3rd book.

I also really didn't like the Luxe series by Anne Godberson. A four-book series with so much angst and longing... and then NO ONE gets a happy ending. What's the point of going through a whole 4 books worth of crap to end in crap too? I was so frustrated.

I also found myself sobbing at the end of Dear John by Nicolas Sparks. It was horrible! I had been wanting to try a Sparks for a long time, and when I finally did, I was so emotionally wrecked at the end, I had to immediately jump into a different book that I knew would be happy. The same happened with One Day. I only picked it up, like akajill above, because critics raved about it. That's the last time I do that without being assured of some satisfaction.

And I also must say I have never understood all the hype of Romeo & Juliet. The greatest love story of all time? They both commit suicide! How is that at all great!

I must admit that I've never thrown a book, even though I may have wanted to. I figure, as much as I may hate what I've just read, some poor sucker probably loves it. And what's better than having someone buy a hated book and earning back a little of my wasted money? :)
29. Jill K Patterson
My adult book group agreed to read Catcher in the Rye. I hated it! We all hated it! What keeps it on my library shelf is the woman I ran into at a quilting retreat who saw me reading it and who told me how much she loved that book as a teen. She told me that it opened her eyes to other options in life because Holden (whiny, yes, but also depressed and needing psychological help!) strayed from the straight and narrow, which she had never thought of doing.

Bridges of Madison County makes me scream. Just about any romance title is better than this. But because it's (badly) written by a man and has this totally ridiculous and sappy "tragic" ending, it became a bestseller. I actually had a man tell me everyone should read this! I had a woman call me asking what National Geographic had the article on the covered bridges written by our idiot hero. She thought it was non-fiction! I gritted my teeth and said a good author can make a story seem real. Waller is not this good author.
Christina Neuding
30. Poison_girl_2106
When i was in school the books they make you read seemed like a punishment but now that im 26 i go back and read them and find that i can appriciate them now. But i can totally agree with everyone on The House Of Night Novels....Those books were BAD which is sad cause it could have been cool but they completely tanked.....Oh and while i LOVE laurell k hamilton's Merry Gentry series the Anita Blake series turned to crap when it became nothing but sex! And i got so tired of hearing about anything Anita felt or thought about sex i mean come on and grow up get over the sex issue....obviously im still a bit miffed about those books
Hayley Hunter
31. Bookworm-at-Starbucks
Twilight by Stephanie Meyers, the Fallen Series by Lauren something and Hush Hush by Becca something. Those are just bad. They are like the same stories, reworded and evyerthing. The heroines are annoying and he heroes are really... heroes. They are commanding and abusive and sometimes out right lying cheating bastards. I would love the world to bring these books down because after all, what girl would like it if a guy loved you because you had the soul of the person he loved life times ago? Because, if a guy doesn't love me for me but for his lover's soul, there is going to be an accident involving a pair of rusting scissors.
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