Books you've thrown across the room in rage (open spoilers likely)

Inspired by this thread on walking out of movies.

Ever been so disgusted by a book you were reading that you threw it across the room, or out the window, or into the fireplace, or at the head of the author who just so happened to be sitting in a bookstore signing autographs and you drove two hours just so you could bean him with it?

Tell us about it!

I have three genuine instances and one also-ran:

  1. The Warrior Within by Sharon Green. I’m as big a fan of recreational spanking as the next guy, but this is a rape-victim-falls-in-love-with-her-big-dicked rapist story. And those bug the hell out of me.

  2. Hannibal by Thomas Harris. There are many reasons to hate this book. You can hate it because Harris tries to make you feel sympathy for the serial-killing cannibal who mutilated Will Graham and mind-fucked Clarice Starling the protagonist. You can hate it because he has Clarice, the best thing by far about The Silence of the Lambs, fall so in love with Dr. Evil that she lets him suck champagne off her bare nipple (thus making lusting after Jodie Foster much more complicated than it should be). But the best reason is because Harris lost the clean, competent, at times grimly funny writing style that marked his earlier works. At one point he describes a group of people at a gun show as “egg-bound…truly of the resinous heart.” As a reviewer at the time noted, "What the hell does ‘egg-bound’ mean? What does “of the resinous heart’ even think it means?”

  3. The Encyclopedia Americana. I bought a copy of the '99 edition a few years ago at a library book sale, because when it comes right down to it I don’t trust books I can’t hold in my hands. One day while leafing through T, to my horror, I found the entry on Tasmania dealt with the obliteration of the native population in two sentences. “There were two millions natives when Europeans first arrived. Fifty years later they were extinct.” Um, yeah, if by “extinct” you mean “massacred,” asshole.

As for the also-ran: The Last Battle. I originally had links to all the books I’ve mentioned here, but I’ve gone back and deleted all but this one. I’m retaining this link because I think the book is actually worth reading. As a child, though, I had a bad reaction to it. I mean, the freaking Calormenes actually conquer Narnia. I remember reading it at twelve and thinking, at the end of each chapter, "Okay, I’m sure that Aslan will arrive any page now and deliver the ass-whupping these Calormenes are ordering. Any page now. Instead each chapter gets more horrifying than the last. Narnia’s conquered. The Talking Trees get chopped down. The Talking Horses are murdered by traitorous Dwarfs. :frowning:
Okay, so as an adult I understand the book, and even like it. And admittedly the good guys go to Heaven. I wouldn’t toss it across the room now. But the eleven-year-old Rhymer had a different reaction.

Anybody else?

I try to keep my books in good condition, I do. Mostly. But the following all deserved their trips to the floor/wall.

Drowned Ammet and The Spellcoats by Diana Wynne Jones. She must have a knack for writing despicable characters, because I’d never been so infuriated before as I was at whatshisface’s father in the former and that King guy who tried to marry Robin from the latter. Ugh.

Prophecy by Elizabeth Haydon. How many fantasy cliches can you fit into 736 pages? the answer would surprise you. It also was the first and only time I ever had to force myself to finish a book.

Those are the ones which spring to mind. I’m sure there have been others.

“The Pact” by Jodi Picoult, which I threw approx. 22.5 feet and caused to land with a very staisfying thud, upon reading the verdict at the end. After ploughing through 451 pages of Picoult’s turgid, seat of her pants writing style I at least wanted the satisfaction of seeing the perpetrator get a long long prison sentence. Bur bewilderingly, he is acquitted. And he stone murdered that girl. Augh!


As I’ve mentioned before, and I’m sure I’ll mention again, the worst book (series, actually) in the history of Homo sapiens is the Mission Earth series by L. Ron Hubbard. I didn’t throw it against the wall, but only because I took it as a personal challenge. I plowed through all ten (yes, TEN!) books with the dogged determination normally found only in the trenches in the late stages of a prolonged war. I had to do it, just so I could warn people about it and honestly say that no, it does NOT get better as it goes along. Calling it a pile of dung is an egregious insult to all those fine, hard-working, upstanding dungheaps out there that are industriously producing fertilizer for us.

Rather than waste the energy throwing them, I merely set them down on a corner table never to pick them up again. And I wasn’t even through reading them at the time:

Thomas Tryon’s Lady was a massive disappointment after his better-than-average The Other and Harvest Home.

Stephen King’s The Shining. I did see the movie and it wasn’t as disgusting as the book, but I couldn’t tolerate the abruptness with which King shifted gears in the book. Unforgiveable.

I’ve repressed even the title of one of Trevanian’s efforts, after having been thrilled with his Shibumi which was one of the most enjoyable reads ever. Whatever this other thing was made me so annoyed that I quit reading altogether for quite a time.

The Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson. It must be the worst edited book in history. Sure, there are lots of worse books, but this book has good writing buried under prose that any decent editor would have cut.

WOW, I love that book as is, and would not want any of it cut. After reading the Baroque cycle, even the side comments are imbued with meaning, and in some cases flatly hysterical.
Mutiny on the Enterprise (Robert E. Vardeman) got the across the room treatment when I read the bit about some intelligent species that was evolved from broccoli and thus were so different they did not even have DNA. That was too much, I can suspend disbelief with the best of them, but that was too sloppy.

I can recall 3 books I’ve flung away in disgust, although I don’t remember the titles of any of them:

  • An old scifi space-opera in which a woman pulls a laser/blaster/whatever on a man; he takes the gun from her, then kisses her. I’ve always found this kind of cliche nauseating, so ------ > across the room it went! (I think this was an earlier Heinlein novel, but I may be misremembering.)

  • Some lurid antebellum romance novel in which a young lady is raped, and then comes back to the guy the next day because she liked it so much. ------- > Flung hard!

  • A Star Trek novel (it may have been one of the Shatner/Reeves-Stevens ones), in which the characterization of Dr. McCoy made me hate him intensely, and even moreso because the author(s) obviously expected the reader to be in sympathy with his jerkish behavior.

I did it with The Shipping News - it won a Pulitzer and got all this praise, but I kept finding myself trying way too hard to give a shit about the characters. Finally, it got flung - some sort of spontaneous event, I swear - and I felt much better.

A buddy did it with The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz by Mordechai Richler when we were in college. Another friend’s dorm room was across the central garden from this friend, and we’d be in that room, listening to the first friend yell “godDAMmit!!” and hurl the book across the room - catching a glimpse as it passed in front of the window and it the wall. He was working on an essay on it for his class, so had to finish and take it seriously.

When he was done with the essay it was Halloween. That night after getting plowed at the dorm’s costume party, we took the book out to a bridge on campus, tied/taped it to couple of big rocks, doused it with Black Heart Rum (worst hangover ever - guaranteed™), set it on fire, let it burn for a bit then threw it off the bridge. No joke - but very funny. Was surreal trying explain what we were doing to the pretty girls who stopped on the bridge as we hurled it over the side.

Ender’s Shadow by Orson Scott Card - truly a shadow of the original book. Card started out as such a strong writer. As he becomes more popular, he can afford more obsequious ass-kissing editors, and his published writing as a whole suffers. (I call this the Stephen King Effect. With twinges of acute Clancyitis. Anyhow.)

If he had written this ten years earlier, I might have enjoyed it, but as it was published, it was far too angsty and dialogue-driven. It never ended as a story, either. I couldn’t look at that book and say it had a beginning, a middle, and an end. It was like he squeezed a sphincter shut, wrapped the product up, and handed it still-steaming to the printers. Bah. Still makes me mad.

“Big Bad Wolf” by James Patterson. It doesn’t end! I literally thought I was missing pages at the end of the book, it just abruptly cuts off at the climax, and……then nothing!

It’s the only book I’ve ever thrown in the garbage and I won’t read him ever again.

Having read thousands of romance novels ( all genres and from different decades there is a huge difference in writing over the years. )

I can tell you that there has only been one or two books that I’ve flung across the room in utter disgust (and that says something, because there is some very good writing out there but most of it is pedestrian escapist fodder. It doesn’t harm and it doesn’t educate and it doesn’t stupify.

I cannot remember the title or author but the premise of this harlequin was a single woman desperate to have a child decides to go to a sperm bank to get pregnant. Somehow she gets some millionaire guy’s sperm and thus commences to wacky hijinks for the rest of the book. The fact that she was the stupidest character ever created and his side of the story is never told and she somehow is able to afford this sperm stuff while running a Knitting Shop ( in the early 90’s, fercryingoutloud, before the knitting resurgence. Even now these stores are not exactly money makers.) made me toss it across the room. ( I then picked it up, finished the book - I needed closure and wanted to see if the heroine would die in a fire - and then threw it even harder across the room.)

This book was not indicative of the genre. Really.
Oh, and I dropped The Davinci Code on the floor, off my bed where I was reading, in utter disgust. What a pile of crap.

I left Timeline halfway around the world in a hotel room. It’s still not far enough away.

I almost dropped Should the Baby Live (by Peter Singer and someone I can’t remember) out of the window of a car, and then recalled that it was a library book. I think it was during the bit where they were saying that Down’s Syndrome children weren’t really people and should be used for their organs.

My mother dropped The Fountainhead over the rail during an Atlantic crossing.

Writing Down The Bones by Natalie Somebody. What a piece of shit. She has some good advice on writing well, mostly about becoming more aware of your surroundings and what not so that you have stuff to write about, but I hated, hated, hated her writing style and lots of what she said was just stupid, along the lines of: “I am sitting in a diner in Ottumwa, Iowa. My goddess friend Chai sits across from me. Her great grandfather was a Hopi medicine man. It is raining. We have been here for three hours, silent, each absorbed in our writing. We will read our writing to each other. It is good.”

Shut up, shut up, shut up, you stupid bitch!

Only one: Memoirs of an Invisible Man by H. F. Saint.

I have little patience with stupid characters (especially when they are supposed to be a hero), and the hero of this was was dumber than a pile of manure. Consider:

  1. He’s turned invisible. The army is outside. The entire building is turned invisible and they want to know if it happened to anyone inside, clearly in order to capture and experiment on the guy. But they have no idea if anyone’s alive. So the hero goes up an starts talking to the army officer.

  2. He needs help. The army now wants to capture him. His girlfriend (who he had sex with a few hours earlier) is a reporter for the New York Times. It would be the perfect story for her – and once news gets out, the army would be forced to leave him alone. But he doesn’t want to bother her about it.

OK. Bad. But then came the final straw:

  1. He’s in his apartment. The army sets up outside; they’ve gotten his name from the visitor’s list. They begin to set up a trap for him, surrounding the building so that an invisible man can’t get past them. It takes time to do this; maybe 20 minutes. And he just watches them do it!. Then, when the finally spring the trap, he tries to get out. Now I don’t care how “clever” he was to escape them: I didn’t care. If anyone just sits there watching people setting a trap for him until it’s too late to escape (nothing forces him to remain in his apartment during this time) he’s too stupid to care about.

Now there have been other books I’ve quit reading after losing interest, but that’s the only one I got too pissed at to go on.

I just finished The French Lieutenant’s Woman, and really wish I hadn’t. I wanted to strangle the author throughout for egregiously inserting himself into the text – at one point I shook the book and said, “Shut up shut up SHUT UP!” at another 9 paragraphs of his blathering on about how this is a novel and how he needed to decide what to do with his characters.

Seriously. How anyone can stand that book is beyond me. And it got great reviews! Gah!

On finishing 1984 I threw it across the room.

Not because I hated it but because I was soo fucking angry that they broke the poor bastard. Was the first book to anger me so much.

Whichever one of Douglas Adams’ books ends with the world exploding and everyone dead (the 4th? The 5th?). Arthur Dent dented my wall, he did.

The Faded Sun - by around page 10, you were supposed to know- entirely by context- some score or more words in an alien language- and there was no fucking damn glossary.