Five Ways to Survive Reading a Bad Book

2 November, 2012 Musing Musers 28 comments

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Five Ways to Survive Read a Bad Book

So you’ve picked up a book that you have to finish.  No chucking away for you, my friend!  Problem?  You hate it and reading it is causing your eyes to bleed.  What to do?  Where to go?  Who to turn to?  You are being forced to read it against your will, and you’re pretty sure it violates the Geneva convention at least once for the inhumane treatment of POW’s (i.e. you. since you are both Prisoner and reading the book is like surviving a war only you’re battling not to kill yourself).  Well, you can give up on your usual coping crutches which is to fantasize about me in wicked and illicit ways – because I have come up with a system of five methods for making it through any bad book.   I’ve read a lot of bad books.  A Lot.  Necessity and force of will has often seen me through the worst of times.  Thus I developed my patent system for surviving the ordeal, and now you can too!

1. Turn it into a drinking game

Almost anything becomes significantly more tolerable when alcohol is involved – reading painful books included.  But it’s not socially acceptable to just rip open that bottle of Pinot and get blind, devastatingly drunk when you need to finish a book.  Make a game out of it!  What’s the most annoying and consistently recurrent thing in the book?

Is it every time the protagonists almost get together but break it off at the last moment?  Drink.  Annoying catchprhase?  Drink.  A particular word the author likes to use? Drink.  Every time a vowel is used? Drink.

2. Imagine all the characters are in drag and especially unhappy about it

Most of us know that drag is a fantastic, wonderful thing.  It’s fun, you look amazing and it lets you unleash your creativity.  But not everyone is as awesome as us and it’s likely that in the crux of an important, supposedly dramatic moment of the truly horrible book you’re reading, it would be really funny if a main character needed to adjust their thong.  Or try and fix their head gear.  Or maybe they’re running from some disaster and: boom!  Drag.  Immediate fun.  Trying running in those heels, you magnificent bastards!  Maybe they’re the president giving an address to the nation about aliens and: Boom!  Drag.  Maybe they’re hardened soldiers firing their guns in a dystopian world and: Boom!  Drag.  Can the guns fire sparkles?  YOU BET YOUR ASS CHEEKS THEY CAN!  See a theme here?  Everything gets more awesome with drag.  You will be doing the book a favour.

3. No matter what the novel is, imagine it’s really a soap opera about humans written by aliens who’ve never met us and has somehow accidentally been published on earth.

Sometimes a book is so droll, lifeless and boring that even drag can’t improve it.  But why does the book have to be that way?  Why are the characters acting so strangely?  In ways that are generally not normal or considered socially acceptable in human society?  Why is their speech so stilted and funny?  Why does the novel progress in such strange ways?  Why is there an abundance of descriptions for common, every day things that a normal human being would not need to have described for them?  Well, maybe the book wasn’t written for humans?  Maybe the reason why five paragraphs are devoted to describing the protagonist’s hair is because the intended readership has never seen hair!

Ooooh!  Could the book have been written for ALIENS!?  Now your job is to investigate!  What does this book say about that alien culture?  What do they wrongly believe about humans?  Do they think women can wander the wilderness for months on end without encountering some feminine issues? What is their belief about human mating issues?  How have they characterized and portrayed human evilness?  What can you glean from their own prejudices and beliefs about our society and how it reflects on them?

4. Create a bingo game for its genre.

So you’re reading a really bad romance, but you just have to make it to the end.  You’ve probably read enough that you know what’s probably going to happen.  Protagonists forced together against their will by circumstances?  Can you say B22? Highlander? Can you say C3? Time travel? pregnancy? Happily ever after? Saved from rape? Heaving bossoms? Congratulations!  You have a game to play!  How many tropes can you spot?

What about a fantasy book?  Dragons? Knights? Girl dressing as a boy?  Rape?  More rape? (You’re probably reading Game of Thrones).  Magic? Enchanted sword? Wizards?  The fun goes on!  How true to the genre is the book?

5. Start plotting for which poor bastard friends of yours you’re going to force it on.

Sometimes a book is so bad that the only way to survive the pain of reading it, is to simply imagine sharing your pain with as many others as possible.  “God, he just kissed her foot – Samantha would hate that!  I’ll give this book to her next.” or “Ugh, so much political talk!  This would drive John crazy!  I must force him to read it and laugh at his misery!”

Plot for each poor, miserable asshole you’re going to afflict this pile of shit on.  Imagine their faces as the read the scenes.  Then try to stop your maniacal laughter from reverberating too loudly off the walls of your evil Fortress of Doom as you read!


Happy Booking, Dudes!

Kat Kennedy

Kat Kennedy

Co-blogger at Cuddlebuggery
Kat Kennedy is a book reviewer and aspiring author in the Young Adult genre. She reviews critically but humorously and get super excited about great books. Find her on GoodReads.
Kat Kennedy

28 Responses to “Five Ways to Survive Reading a Bad Book”

  1. Fangs4Fantasy

    My excuse for giving books DNFs is fairness! See, it would be grossly unfair of me to keep reading THIS drek when I’ve already DNFed THAT drek. See? I am such a paragon of fairness and equity, aren’t I?
    I write snark. LOTS OF CRUEL snark – I don’t use it all but it makes me feel better and helps me resist skimming opr my brain’s distractions. I can always tell a bad book because my brain keeps reminding me of Important Things. Like cleaning the tile grout in the bathroom. very important. Or alphbetising the booze. Vital, that. And there’s always the important task of refreshing my twitter feed for the 9th time that minute.
    “But it’s not socially acceptable to just rip open that bottle of Pinot and get blind, devastatingly drunk when you need to finish a book.”
    it isn’t? *shifty eyes* *cough* no, no, of course it isn’t.
    I find one of the best things to do is underline some of the worst, most excrutiating parts and then, when it all becomes too much, read them aloud to my husband. If I have to suffer, it’s his loving duty to suffer with me. His cries of pain and begging me to stop almost make it tolerable. I mean, planning to hand it over assumes that they will read it – this way they HAVE to endure!

  2. Josin

    1. * disclaimer* #1 is not meant to be utilized by high school students slogging through their required reading. Read bad books responsibly, so as not to break underage drinking laws.
    2. Made of AWESOME.
    3. Would be an awesome novel.
    4. Try not to yell BINGO if “rape” is your winning square. Many awkward questions would follow.
    5.That’s just mean. (of course, if they happen to be friends that blog about books…)

  3. aprilmom00

    so true and I have done it. I also figure that I am taking one for the team LOL . Then I tell my friends not to read the book ever …cough anybook that I dislike cough

  4. Georgette

    I don’t think I can pick a favorite here- but #2 is pretty freaking great(therefore winning by a slight margin). Seriously, Kat, you’ve outdone yourself. Take some advice from #1 and have a drink in celebration for another fantastically inspiring and witty blog post. Cheers!

  5. The Unicorner

    I would not recommend #5. I tried that once and it backfired on me. The person I forced to suffer with me became a huge unironic fan of the book and I had to put up with it until they eventually forgot about it. The others are pure gold, though.

  6. IolaGoulton

    You are evil. And I mean that in the nicest possible way. These ideas just never occured to me.
    Personally, I write a review. Sometimes I even post it.
    The Bingo Game idea is also used in the corporate world, as a way of making even the most boring meeting amusing. Strategy, synergies, resources, blue sky thinking, emotional intelligence, balanced scorecard, for sure…

  7. Gellie

    HAHAHAHAHA. I’d be up for number 1 if only I were legal so I’ll play it safe with number 4! Unfortunately for me, the only friend I have who likes reading is a bit violent so I  can’t do number 5. And I feel stupid but I don’t know what drag is =)) 
    Love this post!

    • Senator

      @Gellie The only stupi question is the unasked one. You’re just fine darlin! Drag is when one dresses in the opposite sex’s clothes. Such as a lady in a suit, or a man in a dress, or whatever the socially accepted norm is for both parties. Now and days it’s far more dramatic when men dress in womens’ attire.

  8. elizabethfais

    Hilarious! It makes me want to read bad books just for the fun of playing your suggested games.

  9. readingwishes

    Oh, Kat. There aren’t enough words to desrcibe you and this post made of AWESOME. You are the definion of epic – true story.
    I’m in a terrible reading/blogging rut and to top it off I’m reading a very crappy book which I have no motivation to read at all. I haven’t picked it up in days and just want it to be over so thank, thank you, thank you you for writing this because it’s given me a push and smile to get moving! *hugs*

  10. erinf1

    Wonderful tips. I’m definitely going to be utilizing them! I naively agreed to read my coworker’s fav books… which turned out to be the Shades of Grey trilogy. I barely got through the first one and now I’m trying to read the 2nd. It’s like having a big ol’ plate of your most hated food and eating it one piece at a time. Am I the only one who thinks these books are the furthest thing from romance? This girl needs a restraining order and a tazer…

  11. Anna

    LOL! Omg. You’re ridiculous. “Every time there’s a vowel” LOWL!!!!
    <a href=””>Literary Exploration</a>

  12. cynicalsapphire

    Oh hell yes! Good timing. I have to read a blog tour book that has thus been boring AND I’m slowly chugging through Red Rain. Bring it on, Kat Kennedy, I am READY.
    1. I knew drinking would be part of this. I haven’t made it into a game yet. For Red Rain, I think it would be: drink every time R.L. Stine thinks of a metaphor and proceeds to repeat it six times in a paragraph because he’s impressed with how clever he is.
    2. BAHAHAHA, how are you so hilarious Kat Kennedy?
    3. That explains SO. MUCH. That must be what happened with Of Poseidon and Alice in Zombieland, right? No actual human would think those were realistic. I’m going with that.
    That’s why I need so much about hair and eyes. Everything is clear now.
    4. Another wonderful idea. Please tell me you’ve actually done this. PLEASE.
    5. Yup, I totally have done this. I have literally told my friend, “Hey, I just read this book and it was abysmal. You should read it so we can commiserate.” I love her because she went “Ooh I will!”

  13. katiemstout

    #3 made me seriously LOL. “Maybe the reason why five paragraphs are devoted to describing the protagonist’s hair is because the intended readership has never seen hair!” HAH! #love

  14. Required Reading: 11/4/2012 - Sliced Open Reviews

    […] →→→ Now that I’ve started my fan-girl moment with Cuddlebuggery might as well continue on right? Cause I totally have some other excellent posts I’ve bookmarked over the past two weeks. Now go forth and enjoy…Five Reasons Your Young Adult Novel Might Suck ◊ Five Tips for Seducing Book Bloggers ◊ Five Ways to Survive Reading a Bad Book ◊ Cuddlebuggery […]

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