Panning my favorite books

For years, this blog’s had a page for what I call my Desert Island Books. It’s a take-off on BBC radio’s “Desert Island Discs,” where guests pick the eight recordings they’d want with them if stranded on a desert island.

I’m well aware of how opinions of books can vary. You know, one person’s treasure is another person’s trash. Out of curiosity, I decided to take a look at the one-star Amazon reviews for my Desert Island Books. I decided to post a few that are mind-boggling, irrational, inane, or intentionally or unintentionally humorous. I’m not linking the reviews or others, merely identifying them by country and date. All punctuation and spellings are verbatim.

Other similar posts may follow, including reviews of other notable books.

1984, George Orwell

  • I don’t like this book! We should put God’s first and honor Him. I felt so empty it caused me to Dry spiritual! I don’t recommend it! It is so sad that college recommended to read it. That’s not good for our blessing spiritual who are truly faithful in the Lord (truly Christ/Messiah) [US, April 28, 2021] (BTW, two people found this review “helpful.”)
  • I can not describe in words how much of a waste of time it was reading this book. I waited and waited for it to get better but there is simply nothing redeemable about this book. Orwell rambles on in a depressing way for hundreds of pages. Often he repeats paragraphs in a slightly different and more depressing way. If someone recommends this book to you, they are not your friend or they need clinical help. I’m basically just really sad now. The sooner I forget about this thing the better I’ll feel. [US, Sept. 21, 1918]
  • It wasn’t what I expected the book was great but the film was rubbish. Personally I think they should reshoot the film and bring it up to date then it will be brilliant. [U.K., Feb. 2, 2021] (Excuse me, your review is supposed to be about the book, not a movie.)
  • Really not sure what all the fuss is about? Maybe heavy drugs are required to make sense of it? [Australia, April 4, 2020]

The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien

  • After reading the first few chapters I closed the book and will not read any more of it. In just the first few chapters they killed a puppy with a claymore and tortured a baby water buffalo. I wa[s] in the war but the senseless killing of animals is where I draw the line. [US, April 9, 2019] (As the next review indicates, this isn’t the only person more offended by the deaths of animals than the deaths of humans.)
  • The puppy died quickly, so did fellow squad member [name omitted to avoid spoiler], but not that tortured baby buffalo. I could not read past that. [US, June 19, 2020]
  • Horrible book. It’s just a bunch of swearing and mushy stuff that nobody cares about. It is trying to be cool the entire time, it adds in all of this symbolism and junk for the sole purpose of making English teachers like it. [US, June 20, 2020] (Let me guess, the book was assigned for a class.)
  • To be honest, after seeing that this book was such a big deal in the literary community, I was not surprised to find out that it sucked. I could write better than this. There is no plot at all…it is just some pretentious sobbing guy rambling on and on about nothing in particular. [US, Jan. 5, 2011]

The Sparrow, Mary Doria Russell (4.4/5 stars)

  • Uhhhh…. another shockingly bad book. I got 20% in before spitting on my Kindle and throwing it at my dog. [Sept. 5, 2012]
  • I thought The Sparrow was without any question the vilest piece of trash I have encountered between two covers in more than 50 years of reading novels. …. Complaining that the author uses inept science fiction as a vehicle expound a rabidly Catholic belief system strikes me as the understatement of the decade. [US, Dec. 24, 2013]
  • This book was a hot mess. It was like a pathetic version of characters from Gilligan’s Island. [US, July 21, 2019]
  • I do not like unhappy endings, and this book had one of the worsts ending in a book that I have read in a long time. [US, Sept. 21, 2014]

Asking a working writer what he thinks about critics is like asking a lamppost what it feels about dogs.

Christopher Hampton, Sunday Times Magazine (Oct. 16, 1977)

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