Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books That Were a Chore to Get Through


Top Ten Tuesday is a wonderful weekly event hosted by the wonderful blog The Broke and the Bookish where each week a different top ten list is featured! If you haven’t checked out their blog, I encourage you to head over there since it really is a fantastic site!

This week the theme is all about books that were a chore to get through, whether they were a struggle but then you ended up loving them or in the case of my TT post, you just struggled to read the book from start to finish and probably should have DNF’d the book! I’ve read several books like that, but I can only list ten, so I’ve listed a mix of ten that I have read this year and a few oldies-all that drove me crazy while reading them, and I probably should have DNF some of them but I struggled to the end! Oh, and click on the book title for its Goodreads synopsis!

Here are my Top Ten Books that Were a Chore to Read:

Number One:

Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler Published May 24, 2016

sweetbitterI loved the sound of the premise and plot, but I could not get into the book at all. It dragged and dragged until I wanted to cry. There was very little plot once you actually started reading, and the characters lacked substance. I’m still not sure what all the hype was about this book last summer. A 2 star read for me.

Number Two:

The One & Only by Emily Giffin Published May 20, 2014


I love Emily Giffin; she is one of my favorite authors, so I was shocked when I could barely get through this book! In all honesty, this is one of the worst books that I have read, ever. Seriously, ever. And I have read well over 2000 books, so that says something. I remember thinking that it had to get better because it was an Emily Giffin book, so I keep chugging away when I should have DNF’d it! A 1 star read for me.

Number Three:

Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau Published 1849


Since I’m an English major, I have had to read a lot of the classics, either in college or while teaching, which I haven’t minded since my love of classic literature is one reason why I wanted to major in English and then become an English Literature professor! However, there are just some works that you really struggle with and this has been my biggest one. In college, I was assigned Civil Disobedience but no matter what, I couldn’t get into it. To say it was as struggle to read in college would be an understatement.  Boring! So, so boring! And my entire teaching career I have had to force myself to put this on my syllabus if I was teaching a semester of American Literature just I would not bore my students. Funny, because I love Walden by Thoreau, so I’m not sure what the problem is! This was definitely a 2 Star read for me although I know it deserves more 😦

Number Four:

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (The Wicked Years #1)
by Gregory Maguire Published September 29,1995


I was so excited to read Wicked after seeing the musical on Broadway! It was riveting and stunning, and I still listen to the soundtrack and sing the songs! Elphaba is one green person I would love to be! So I was not happy when the book was just, well, not that good, and it took me over a month to read it! I had been tricked by the wonders of Broadway and my love of Oz from the original books and movie into thinking this would be perfection. And I listened to all the hype. Utterly boring from start to finish…but still there was something there, some quality that made me finish to the end and give it 3 Stars.

Number Five:

Best Day Ever by Kaira Rouda Expected publication: September 19, 2017


I just read this one the beginning of August, and it is getting really mixed reviews. People are loving it or not. For me, it was a chore to read. I really wanted to read it because the cover is so gorgeous; isn’t it stunning?? But it was painful to finish since I knew 25% in what the entire book was about. For me, it was flat and emotionless, and I found nothing suspenseful about it. I kept hoping it would get better or even exciting, but I was disappointed. A 2-2.5 Star read for me.

Number Six:

Three Sisters, Three Queens (The Plantagenet and Tudor Novels #8) by Philippa Gregory Published August 9, 2016 by Touchstone


I’ve been a fan of Philippa Gregory’s books for years but sometimes her books do not live up to expectations. This was one of those, and I had to force myself to read it. It took 7 months for me to muddle through the book when it would normally take 3 days or less if I was engrossed in it. I only gave it 3 Stars because of its historical content and the brilliance of Gregory’s writing at times. And it’s about the Tudors, so I couldn’t really give it less…

Number Seven:

The Goddesses by Swan Huntley Published July 25, 2017


I thought this would be a fantastic, suspenseful book based on the synopsis but wow! What a strange experience. A couple of months after reading it, and I’m still baffled and wondering why I struggled through this book. I should have DNF’d it since I skipped parts that were just too awful to read anyway. Boring and an unbelievable plot made for hard reading. A 2.5 Star read at best.

Number Eight:

Dune by Frank Herbert Published June 1, 1965


I have no idea why I read this book in the first place since I am not a science fiction fan at all, and I have never read sci-fi since. I’m sure that it is a fantastic book, and I know that it is without a doubt the cornerstone of the sci-fi genre. Plus, it’s one of my husband’ favorite books! But it was torture for me to read it. I could not connect with the book since I thought the plot dragged on and on and get the idea. And the characters were unlikeable but in a way that made me want to throw something. I thought my eyeballs were going to fall out by the time I was done. I did give it 3 Stars because Herbert is a genius writer.

Number Nine:

Girl in Snow by Danya Kukafka Published August 1, 2017


I expected so much more from Girl in Snow, but I was disappointed. It wasn’t mysterious at all even though it involved a murdered girl, and that was what I expected…hoped it would be about solving. And the pacing was so very slow for me that I had to force myself to keep reading, especially since there was something missing in the plot in my opinion. The writing was gorgeous at times, but others it was so young that I felt I was reading my student’s creative writing essays. That was frustrating and made the book a hard book to finish. Kukafka is talented, but this was a 2.5 star read for me.

Number Ten:

Le Divorce by Diane Johnson Published January 1, 1997


Paris is one of my favorite cities in the world, and I have always been fascinated by French culture. So I was hoping that this would be a wonderful read about French culture through the eyes of an American. While it was to a point, it was so hard to read since it wavered between literary pretentiousness, chick lit, satire, and commentary. If the prose had been written one way, it would have been a lovely read instead of a chore. This ranks up there as one of the worst books I’ve ever read. A 1.5 Star read for me, and I should have DNF’d, but I will never learn!

What books have you struggled to read from start to finish? Have any of them turned into books you loved? Were there some that were such a chore to read that you tossed them in the DNF pile? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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56 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books That Were a Chore to Get Through

    1. Lots of people enjoyed it like Jay and Noriko…I believe they rated it as 3 stars! I know Noriko agreed it was not what she expected either, and that seems to be the general consensus. It has mixed reviews. I just expected more. It was marketed wrong in my opinion. It is an adult book that reads like YA. And the writing is very amateurish and juvenile at times and others it is breathtakingly gorgeous. Very contradictory. I just couldn’t take it lol. I wanted to edit the book, but that was my teacher mode kicking in hahaha!! I’d read the reviews and then see if you want to read 😊😉 Don’t take my word for this one lol.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL, it might be! I was 32, and I struggled. I think if I had read it before seeing the play on Broadway then it wouldn’t have been so hard. Or at least that is what a lot of people have told me. But I can’t do that over again, lol.

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  1. Ugh, Dune. UGH! That’s all I can say, lol. The only book that I struggled to get through that comes to mind is the first Bourbon Kings book by J.R. Ward. Lana and I struggled so hard to get into it and finish it then when we got to book 2 it was a wrap like 30 pages in. It was just chock full of rich people whining. I don’t know how people love those books for real, lol.

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    1. HAHA, I read both. One I was alright with but two sucked. I was floored though since I LOVE JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood Series and have been reading it since the 1st book was published. It’s like 2 totally different people wrote the books. SO different in tone and style! I’m not bothering with Bourbon Kings 3, but I will definitely be reading BDB until she finishes the series!

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      1. YES! EXACTLY!!! I read a good chunk of BDB and loved them then I read Bourbon Kings and I was like who the hell wrote this cause it sure wasn’t JR Ward!! Ugh yes, don’t bother. She should stick to fantasy for sure. Leave contemporary for someone else.

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      2. Yes please. I think a lot of people rate her stuff high simply because they love her. I met her at a Reader Author Get Together and she has bodyguards cause fans get so cult crazy and try to kill her over her book content; or at least that’s what word on the street is. And her bodyguard definitely had a gun, just saying!

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      3. Holy crap!! I knew she had a crazy following, but I didn’t know they were insane! Wth is wrong with her book content that you would want to kill her over?? Especially if you are a fan? Unless it’s because she has killed characters off or written in gay and bisexual characters, well good for her!! Jeez, people need to get a life!

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      4. Wow! That is so very odd! People do rant in their reviews when she doesn’t do what “they” want her to do with the characters and are VERY attached, so I can see them getting all weird about them. I always thought that was ridiculous. Yeah, I love the characters, but I’m not going to flip out on the author. It’s her story to tell not mine.

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    1. Lol, I think I rated it that way because the Broadway show was still stuck in my mind haha!! I read Dr. Strange and Mr. Norrell too! Bit of a struggle the 1st few chapters for me, but I loved it! Did you ever watch the BBC adaptation? It was so good!!

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  2. I know what you mean about Wicked. I still totaly love the musical and it was interesting to read the book but naaah not the best I´ve read. So exited about the movie adoptation coming out. But they need to hurry up and say who the cast will be for that one! 😀

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    1. It is a chore. I read the next 2 in the series (What was I thinking, lol) and they are tough too, so I gave up on the series. I love the soundtrack! My 7 yr old is addicted to it too lol. I promised her the next time the musical came to Raleigh we’d go see it, and she’s excited. Thanks for sharing your TTT!!


      1. Oh sounds awful! Definitely won’t be trying those. The soundtrack is amazing, don’t know how such a great show can come from what sounds like a very boring book. Aww that’s sweet, I hope you both enjoy it. No problem 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. They weren’t awful; I remember rating them 3 star. They were just tedious. His rating is overbearing if that makes sense, and I wasn’t looking for that with an Oz tale. Really, the musical ruined it, lol. Thanks! She sings the songs and drives my hubby batshit hahaha!! He hates musicals. I love them!! She and I can go to them together now that she is getting older; she is already my partner to the ballet LOL. 🙂

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  3. I can completely relate to Dune. I once went out with a guy who tried to make me read it. When I didn’t read it he tried to make me watch it…and I fell asleep! No wonder I’m single! I’m sure it’s fantastic as far as many people are concerned, but we can’t all like the same things now can we! I don’t think I’ve every successful read much Thoreau either, I do respect that he went and lived in the woods for ages though. 😀 Great Blog!

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    1. Thank you so much! I appreciate you stopping by my blog 😀 I can sorta relate to that! My hubby loves the book and movie and tried to make me watch the movie, but it was so horrible that I wanted to sleep through it..brilliant you did lol!! Instead, I talked on the phone the entire time 😂 He was so mad, but I didn’t care since I didn’t want to see it to begin with and he’d seen it a million times. You are right though that people like different things! I can’t stand sci-fi. Probably my husband’s fault lol. But it would be a boring world if we all had the same opinions.

      So many people have trouble with Thoreau, and I know he is vital when teaching about Transcendentalism in the 1800s, but I would rather read Ralph Waldo Emerson who was more important in my opinion. And even he can be tough at times. I’m an English lit professor and leave Thoreau off if I can lol 😂 This semester I’m teaching Contemporary literature and Early British literature, so I don’t have to worry about him, woohoo!!


    1. LOL! I don’t know Best Day Ever is getting some 5 star reviews but for me, I had it figured out almost immediately, so I was bored to death, and the suspense was just flat. Same with Girl in’s got mixed reviews, but I thought it was more YA than adult fiction and the writing juvenile in places, which was odd because in other places it was gorgeous! The others, I would definitely stay away from, hahaha!!

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  4. Interestingly, I got Best Day Ever yesterday because of a 5 stars review lol. I should have read other reviews first. I have The Girl on the Snow on my TBR. It has taken me long to get to it because of all the mixed reviews.
    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol!! Was it Deanna’s 5 star review? If so, it was a brilliant review! I almost wanted to reread the book and see if I was crazy. It’s getting good reviews with some, 2 star ratings mixed in, but I think you will like it. I don’t mind slow paced novel, and suspense is my favorite genre, so I think in this case it was a matter of me not the book. It didn’t help that I had the plot figured out almost immediately, which I do in a lot if not most suspense just because I read so much of them, but the characters were dull to me. And I’m huge on characterization. Definitely read it! I think you may enjoy it. And I think I shouldn’t have read it right after reading Karin Slaughter’s The Good Daughter! She is hands down my favorite suspense author and that is as of now my favorite book of the year. So The Best Day really did seem flat after KS!! Girl in Snow was odd to me. I think it should have been marketed as YA fiction, honestly. I teach college English lit and there were timed I thought my students wrote better, and others the writing was gorgeously descriptive! It was very..odd lol!! And thank you!! Glad you stopped by 😊


  5. Ahh gosh yes a million times over to Wicked!! I also felt like I was tricked by how good the musical is!! But the book was so boring (and weird!). Very disappointing. And I gave up on Gregory’s historical accuracy years ago- it’s just never very good to be honest. And I really really tried with Dune too- but I hated trudging through that book- hahaha I definitely thought that my eyeballs would fall out too. Love this post!!

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    1. LOL! Wicked trickery..or sorcery, lol! I felt so cheated! It really was a damned boring book! Ah, yes! Gregory’s “historical” accuracy has pissed me off for some time hahaha! Yet I still read her Tudor books since I have Tudor mania but gripe at how she pulls things out thin air to suit her story! Three Sisters was the worst, well, The Other Boleyn Girl was the worst since I’ve never forgiven her for having Anne B sleep with George since there is no historical proof and more historians say it did not happen! Her last book though was not too bad although she did make Queen Bess look like a homicidal maniac towards all her family, hahaha. Not quite that bad but still. It was interesting. Good though for a change! Dune. OMG! I hate that book. And the movie. God! My eyeballs did fall out then hahaha! I’m glad you enjoyed my post 🙂

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      1. hahaha so true!! I *definitely* agree with you!! hahaha I’m glad I’m not alone in that. hahaha I have more Tudor indifference though, cos in the English school system it’s something that gets taught wayyy too much 😉 OH GOSH YES- I couldn’t believe she did that!!! Even just from a narrative point of view, it actually ruins the story to have Anne and George together- let alone it’s so historically inaccurate. hahahaha to be fair, it’s possible for Queen Bess to look like that 😉 Yes!!! hahahaa I never watched the movie- the book was enough- and it sounds like I’m not missing out!! 😉

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      2. Lol, I can see being totally indifferent about the Tudors if it were taught in school! That’s how I am about the Revolutionary and Civil War and Abe Lincoln..urg! I don’t care unless I need it for a test haha. Gregory writes to get attention and sell books whether she’s write or not lol. She pisses me off being all “I’m a historian, listen to me” when she makes crap up. Yes, I get so tired of people throwing Anne B in bed with her brother…King Henry was a fat, misogynistic ass with sexual issues, he needed someone to blame! Ok, I admit that Queen Bess had a jealousy issue haha! And was a bit selfish. Hmm…maybe didn’t want her female cousins being married, having babies, etc while she was all flirty with Dudley but not popping out heirs lol. Too threatening to the throne. Those Tudors did have some control issues 😂 No, only watch Dune if someone pays you with a million dollars! Or lots of cake!! ❤🍰❤

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  6. I’m with you on Thoreau and Wicked. Dune is just a real slow start. And you have to be the kind of person who likes puzzling their way through complex world-building to read the rest. Note: I don’t recommend Asimov for you, either. 🙂

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    1. It’s funny though that I enjoyed Walden although it’s not on my list of top reads. At least I didn’t have to struggle through it. I’ve just found that I’m not a science fiction reader unless it’s paranormal or fantasy. If it takes place on another planet or has aliens, I can’t get interested for some reason, and that applies to movies and tv, which is unfortunate since that’s almost all my husband watches. I did have to read Asimov for a required Literature class when getting my Master’s degree, and he is an excellent writer, but it definitely wasn’t my genre. War and Peace is more my style, lol. ☺

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