Top 10 Roundup #11

Hello everyone! Welcome back to another edition of the Top 10 Roundup, and I’m going to be up front about this right now…there are going to be a lot of ruffled feathers here.  Why? Well, today’s blog is going to be about the 10 books/series that I flat out refuse to read.  Now, setting aside the whole romance genre (because I’m a cold-hearted jerk without an inch of love in my soul), there are just some books that I flat out refuse to read.  Some because they are just awful, some because of what I personally stand for, and some that I just don’t see the popularity in them.

And as always, everything, from the covers to the synopsis, get pulled from goodreads.com.

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About three things I was absolutely positive.

First, Edward was a vampire.

Second, there was a part of him—and I didn’t know how dominant that part might be—that thirsted for my blood.

And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him.

In the first book of the Twilight Saga, internationally bestselling author Stephenie Meyer introduces Bella Swan and Edward Cullen, a pair of star-crossed lovers whose forbidden relationship ripens against the backdrop of small-town suspicion and a mysterious coven of vampires. This is a love story with bite.

Ugh.  This book series.  I…I just don’t understand the appeal.  Now, I’m a traditionalist when it comes to certain things.  Sure, I do like different takes on certain tropes (like a zombie plague getting carried out by fungus that comes off the backs of ants, for example), but something that pretty much does a re-do of the entire genre, from start to finish, is just too much for me.  Just too much man.  Just leave vampires alone!

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When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms.
 
Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.

Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever.

Ugh! This.  This is probably THE most divisive book in the 2010s (10s? teens? How even do we describe this decade?).  There are some people who really like this series, but there seem to be a LOT more people that do not enjoy series at all.  Well, count me as one of those people.  Just…why? How did this book manage to become SO popular…not only that, but also get a movie franchise going!? I just…can’t.

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This up-to-date version of the universally accepted text from the King James Bible will make a handsome addition to any home. The revised translation is easily accessible for the modern reader, and is based on the original King James Version, published in 1611. In the course of time, the King James Version came to be regarded as “the Authorized Version.” It has been termed the “noblest monument of English prose,” and it has come to be of central importance to Western society as no other book. Thunder Bay’s Holy Bible is beautifully appointed and illustrated with reproductions of original fifteenth-century masterpieces, highlighting Renaissance masterpieces from the period of 1430 to 1510. Almost every page of the Holy Bible has illuminated accents, with evocative drawings throughout from the Vatican Library, and an overall design inspired by the peerless Urbino Bible of 1478. The Holy Bible is complete with beautiful pages on which to lovingly record marriages, births, baptisms, confirmations, deaths, and family trees.

Oh boy.  This is a bit of a sticky wicket.  I’m not a religious person by any means, but this book…this book.  I’m not a fan of this book by any stretch.  I just…I just can’t wrap my head around the blind faith that people put into this.  If you are a Christian, I apologize for my bluntness.  It’s just…I don’t know.  It’s hard to give a PC reaction to something that I just can’t understand.

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Two of America’s best-loved inspirational speakers share the very best of their collected stories and favorite tales that have touched the hearts of people everywhere. Canfield and Hansen bring you wit and wisdom, hope and empowerment to buoy you through life’s dark moments.

How is there so much love for this series? I get it.  It’s supposed to be a collection of inspirational and motivational true stories.  But, just…how? Why? This is another one of those books that make me so confused.  Not only that, but these two men have given us an entire published book FRANCHISE! Seriously! Maybe I’m just too cold-hearted, but I just don’t get it.

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A man with a faded, well-worn notebook open in his lap. A woman experiencing a morning ritual she doesn’t understand. Until he begins to read to her. The Notebook is an achingly tender story about the enduring power of love, a story of miracles that will stay with you forever. Set amid the austere beauty of coastal North Carolina in 1946, The Notebook begins with the story of Noah Calhoun, a rural Southerner returned home from World War II. Noah, thirty-one, is restoring a plantation home to its former glory, and he is haunted by images of the beautiful girl he met fourteen years earlier, a girl he loved like no other. Unable to find her, yet unwilling to forget the summer they spent together, Noah is content to live with only memories. . . until she unexpectedly returns to his town to see him once again. Allie Nelson, twenty-nine, is now engaged to another man, but realizes that the original passion she felt for Noah has not dimmed with the passage of time. Still, the obstacles that once ended their previous relationship remain, and the gulf between their worlds is too vast to ignore. With her impending marriage only weeks away, Allie is forced to confront her hopes and dreams for the future, a future that only she can shape. Like a puzzle within a puzzle, the story of Noah and Allie is just beginning. As it unfolds, their tale miraculously becomes something different, with much higher stakes. The result is a deeply moving portrait of love itself, the tender moments, and fundamental changes that affect us all. Shining with a beauty that is rarely found in current literature, The Notebook establishes Nicholas Sparks as a classic storyteller with a unique insight into the only emotion that really matters.

The Notebook.  Now, I have nothing against sappy, romantic novels.  But, I just…I don’t see the appeal.  Maybe it’s because I’ve got testosterone flowing through my veins, but I don’t find ANY of Nicholas Sparks’ novels appealing.  Sorry to those who come across this page and expecting some love for them.  ‘Cause there is none (bad grammar included).

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In 1993, following a failed attempt to ascend K2, Greg Mortenson was inspired by a chance encounter with impoverished mountain villagers in Pakistan and promised to build them a school. From that rash, earnest promise grew one of the most incredible humanitarian campaigns of our time—Mortenson’s one-man mission to counteract extremism by building schools, especially for girls, throughout the breeding ground of the Taliban .Award-winning journalist David Oliver Relin has collaborated on this spellbinding account of Mortenson’s incredible accomplishments in a region where Americans are often feared and hated. Over the following decade Mortenson built not just one but fifty-five schools. Three Cups of Tea is at once an unforgettable adventure and the inspiring story of how one man really is changing the world—one school at a time.

Ugh.  One of a couple of books on this list that I came across during my collegiate schooling.  Now, it’s not a book that I would have to have read during the course of my schooling, but, it was recommended to us in one of my education classes.  Now, I would have read it, but I was a broke college student, and shilling out for yet another book that wouldn’t even be required for a class at that point in time was not just unheard or, but just not in my plans.  Then, came the criticisms.  And it put me off of this book for good.

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A rousing call to arms whose influence is still felt today, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels’ “The Communist Manifesto” is edited with an introduction by Gareth Stedman-Jones in Penguin Classics.

Marx and Engels’s revolutionary summons to the working classes, “The Communist Manifesto” is one of the most important political theories ever formulated. After four years of collaboration, they produced an incisive account of their idea of Communism, in which they envisage a society without classes, private property or a state, arguing that the exploitation of industrial workers will eventually lead to a revolution in which Capitalism is overthrown. This vision provided the theoretical basis of political systems in Russia, China, Cuba and Eastern Europe, affecting the lives of millions. “The Communist Manifesto” still remains a landmark text: a work that continues to influence and provoke debate on capitalism and class.

The other book that I have come across during my collegiate schooling, and the only one that was a required read…though, I don’t think we ever actually got around to it, because we got crammed for time, and ended up doing communism in about a week’s worth of classes (which…was 2).  Now, I’m not sure that I really want to learn about Karl Marx’s ideology about how the world should be ran.  Granted, one can argue that Adam Smith’s An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations isn’t the way it should be ran either.  And to be fair, I haven’t read that one all the way through either.  Kinda sad.  I’m a political science teacher by training, and I haven’t…or don’t want to read through either one of the two major governing philosophies of our world.

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Nine years before the Senate campaign that made him one of the most influential and compelling voices in American politics, Barack Obama published this lyrical, unsentimental, and powerfully affecting memoir, which became a #1 New York Times bestseller when it was reissued in 2004. Dreams from My Father tells the story of Obama’s struggle to understand the forces that shaped him as the son of a black African father and white American mother—a struggle that takes him from the American heartland to the ancestral home of his great-aunt in the tiny African village of Alego.

Obama opens his story in New York, where he hears that his father—a figure he knows more as a myth than as a man—has died in a car accident. The news triggers a chain of memories as Barack retraces his family’s unusual history: the migration of his mother’s family from small-town Kansas to the Hawaiian islands; the love that develops between his mother and a promising young Kenyan student, a love nurtured by youthful innocence and the integrationist spirit of the early sixties; his father’s departure from Hawaii when Barack was two, as the realities of race and power reassert themselves; and Barack’s own awakening to the fears and doubts that exist not just between the larger black and white worlds but within himself.

Propelled by a desire to understand both the forces that shaped him and his father’s legacy, Barack moves to Chicago to work as a community organizer. There, against the backdrop of tumultuous political and racial conflict, he works to turn back the mounting despair of the inner city. His story becomes one with those of the people he works with as he learns about the value of community, the necessity of healing old wounds, and the possibility of faith in the midst of adversity.

Barack’s journey comes full circle in Kenya, where he finally meets the African side of his family and confronts the bitter truth of his father’s life. Traveling through a country racked by brutal poverty and tribal conflict, but whose people are sustained by a spirit of endurance and hope, Barack discovers that he is inescapably bound to brothers and sisters living an ocean away—and that by embracing their common struggles he can finally reconcile his divided inheritance.

A searching meditation on the meaning of identity in America, Dreams from My Father might be the most revealing portrait we have of a major American leader—a man who is playing, and will play, an increasingly prominent role in healing a fractious and fragmented nation.

Now, I’m going to shock a lot of you out there, but I am not of President Obama.  To be fair, I’m not a fan of president-elect Trump either.  I mean, it’s kinda hard to like someone who pushes for “affordable health care”, when people in rural areas have to pay an arm, leg, and their first born in order to get decent health care coverage.  And this book, I’ve heard, is misleading in some areas.  Now, granted, it’s more the dislike towards the man’s policies that is keeping me from reading this book, not the man himself.  He could be a pretty cool dude when not in the Oval Office for all I know, but I just…I don’t know.

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“An Inconvenient Truth”—Gore’s groundbreaking, battle cry of a follow-up to the bestselling Earth in the Balance—is being published to tie in with a documentary film of the same name. Both the book and film were inspired by a series of multimedia presentations on global warming that Gore created and delivers to groups around the world. With this book, Gore, who is one of our environmental heroes—and a leading expert—brings together leading-edge research from top scientists around the world; photographs, charts, and other illustrations; and personal anecdotes and observations to document the fast pace and wide scope of global warming. He presents, with alarming clarity and conclusiveness—and with humor, too—that the fact of global warming is not in question and that its consequences for the world we live in will be disastrous if left unchecked. This riveting new book—written in an accessible, entertaining style—will open the eyes of even the most skeptical.

And another political post for you.  This is going to be really short because I’m just not going to get into it.  But…UGH! Just ugh.

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“I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, then all at once.”

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.

Last book on this list.  Are you excited? Are you going to hate me for this one? I really, really don’t understand the love for this book.  Is it because we, as a society, can be somewhat fatalistic in nature…and enjoy the stories of people dying slow and painful deaths? Can anyone answer me that one? I’ll adore you forever if you could.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for you folks.  Do you hate me now for my list? Do you agree with some of my choices? What books will you never pick up to read? Until next time, I am the Baumeister, and I have been, obediently yours.

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