Home Book ListsTop Five Wednesday Top 5 Wednesday – Books I’ve Removed From My TBR | Mini Update

Top 5 Wednesday – Books I’ve Removed From My TBR | Mini Update

I’m back from my unannounced mini-hiatus! I’ve been mentally-exhausted for the past week and a half due to health issues and a fiasco involving a missing passport, so I just stepped away and did everything but read and blog, including tennis-watching, nature-trailing, art-drawing…er, dark-short-story-writing. All of which helped quite a bit! So take breaks when you need to, folks.

The site is also going through a mid-life crisis right now, so I apologize for any erratic changes that may or may not hurt your eyes.


“Top 5 Wednesday” is a weekly meme currently hosted on Goodreads by Sam of Thoughts on Tomes, where you list your top 5 for the week’s chosen topic. This week’s theme is: Books You’ve Removed From Your TBR

I don’t remove books–especially SFF books–from my TBR often; I hoard them like a greedy little dragon-in-training. But when I do, it’s usually for one (or more) of three reasons:

1) I read reviews that pointed out how some of the themes in the book were handled very, very problematically.

2) The author turned out to be a Milkshake Duck–someone whose work is attractive but has the moral compass of an evil honey badger. I’m currently writing a post on the idea of separating a writer’s work from the writer and I’ll discuss it in further detail then.

3) The book is a part of a series that I’ve fallen out of love with.

Let’s get cracking.

1. Lady of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
Lady of Avalon

Imagine being fifteen and discovering a female-centric retelling of the King Arthur legend–one that reimagines Morgan le Fay as a complex, sympathetic character. Imagine falling headlong in love.

Then imagine finding out five years later that your teenage idol had had sexually abused her daughter for nearly a decade. I’m not the only one who threw away their copy of The Mists of Avalon at the news, and my journey through the Avalon series came to a stop right before Lady of Avalon. I just can’t, in all good conscience, read a series of novels that champions feminine strength while knowing the author’s actions were a complete antithesis of those themes.


2. Inheritance (Inheritance Cycle 4) by Christopher Paolini

I was obsessed with Paolini’s Inheritance series back in middle school. I named MMO characters after his characters. I had debates over it with a classmate throughout the entirety of lunch. Then years later, Brisingr dropped and I thought it was…okay. Several more years later, I picked up Eragon again to prepare myself for Inheritance, and I found myself unable to finish it. I think it was a combination of me being exposed to er, better-written fantasy books and a shifting of tastes, but whatever the reason, I was suddenly seeing flaws everywhere in the story. So Inheritance currently resides alongside Breaking Dawn and the Mortal Instruments books in the graveyard of series I never got to finish. Sorry, Chris.


3. The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
Hazel Wood

The Hazel Wood was a case of me expecting something completely from what the book actually turned out to be. The blurb sold it as a portal fantasy of sorts, but then I found out that most of the story was set in the contemporary world. Which is fine–just not what I had in mind. I’ve also heard complaints about the terrible treatment of a PoC character, so this one’s a pass for me.


4. Ship It by Britta Lundin
Ship It

This is a case of Number 1, where I’d been eagerly waiting to get my hands on a story that explores fandoms and all they entail–fanfics, comic cons, shipping–and queerness to boot. But apparently Ship It explores all the wrong, toxic avenues of fandom culture, including shipping of real-life people and ambushing creators to try to get what you want. I don’t need to see that in fiction; I have Tumblr for that.


5. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Thirteen Reasons Why
When I’d first heard of Thirteen Reasons Why, it was getting showered with critical acclaims, and I got rather curious. But my personal experiences since then combined with all that I’ve heard of the book and TV show from people have considerably soured my interest.

The idea of a story about someone who lists out all the reasons that led to them committing suicide feels exploitative. Cold. Gilded in angst and profundity to attract awards while doing nothing to address suicide and depression in a respectful or meaningful way. I’m pretty sure I’ll find the book triggering and angering, neither of which I’m keen on experiencing anytime soon.


And on that cheery note, let’s here from you!

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acquadimore July 18, 2018 - 2:30 pm

I like to pretend that 13RW does not exist.
I had the same experience with Eragon, but Inheritance was published when I was in middle school and at the time I didn’t mind how… bad and needlessly long those books were, but I wasn’t able to reread them in high school.
It was disappointing to hear that about Ship It – I removed it for the same reason – but that part about “I have Tumblr for that” made me laugh, because it’s true. It’s not that fans behaving badly exist only on that site, but it’s so easy to find them there.

Priyasha July 18, 2018 - 4:11 pm

Hazel wood is a book that I didn’t read myself 😢

Kathy @Pages Below the Vaulted Sky July 21, 2018 - 8:44 am

Well, apparently I’m not missing out on much! 🙂

Justine July 18, 2018 - 5:06 pm

Yay welcome back! The funny thing is your introduction sounds a lot like mine today minus the passport and tennis and writing part haha. Hope you’re feeling better!

Ahh I keep wanting to pick up Mists of Avalon because I always see it on clearance, but I haven’t because of the same reason you stated ><!

Kathy @Pages Below the Vaulted Sky July 21, 2018 - 8:34 am

I wish our brains would leave us alone so we can just read books in peace. 😛 Hope you’re doing better as well!

Vera July 18, 2018 - 6:17 pm

I can relate! I’m currently on a short hiatus as well. Hope things are better your end.

I totally get your reasons for removing those books. 😊

Kathy @Pages Below the Vaulted Sky July 21, 2018 - 8:13 am

Whoo! Hiatus buddies! 😀 Things are definitely getting better for me. I hope you’re faring well too, Vera!

Vera July 21, 2018 - 8:18 am

On the mend now too, sometimes it’s nice to unplug and disconnect though. Must be that introvert in me that insists I listen to its voice now and again. Glad things are better your end Kathy! 💕

auroralibrialis July 18, 2018 - 7:18 pm

Welcome back! I hope you’re feeling better 💕 I tried reading Eragon last year and I just couldn’t. The Hazel Wood is portal fantasy, it just takes so long to get to the other word. Which is a shame, cause once we finally got there it was creepy and delightful – but a little too late for me to fall in love with the book.

Kathy @Pages Below the Vaulted Sky July 21, 2018 - 8:12 am

Aw, the other world *does* sound really great, and I’m disappointed the whole book isn’t about that! And I’ve come to think of Eragon as a “book you might enjoy if you’re 13 and never read an epic fantasy book in your life” 😛

sjhigbee July 18, 2018 - 9:55 pm

I loved reading your reasons for culling these books from your TBR – I picked up Eragon as an adult and couldn’t get past the first couple of chapters. I think that perhaps I should do the same thing…

Kathy @Pages Below the Vaulted Sky July 21, 2018 - 8:43 am

I think Eragon might be better suited for the preteen, early-teen readers who aren’t super well-acquainted with lengthy fantasy stories. Because I did really enjoy it as a kid, and it helped jumpstart my foray into epic fantasy!

sjhigbee July 21, 2018 - 12:45 pm

I think it certainly has its place – and while a number of those books are ones that I have been able to read, this wasn’t one of them.

MetalPhantasmReads July 19, 2018 - 12:29 am

Hope you’re doing much better 🙂 I have no interest in 13RW either and didn’t like the Hazel Wood. Awesome post!

Kathy @Pages Below the Vaulted Sky July 21, 2018 - 8:07 am

It’s been better, thank you! And I’m feeling really validated in my decision to discard Hazel Wood right now. 😀

MetalPhantasmReads July 21, 2018 - 7:39 pm

Yay! I’m glad things are better 🙂

jennifertarheelreader July 19, 2018 - 1:33 am

It’s good to see you, Kathy! The site looks beautiful to me! Such good reasons for pulling books off your TBR. I need to take a lesson or two! I hope you are feeling better. 💕

Kathy @Pages Below the Vaulted Sky July 21, 2018 - 8:05 am

Thank you, Jennifer! It has been an up and down week but MILES better than the last one. 😀

Destiny @ Howling Libraries July 19, 2018 - 8:26 am

Great post! You aren’t missing ANYTHING with The Hazel Wood or 13RW, if you ask me. Blech!

Kathy @Pages Below the Vaulted Sky July 21, 2018 - 8:03 am

Haha that’s great to hear!

Gerry@TheBookNookUK July 19, 2018 - 9:11 pm

First of all I hope you’re feeling better, taking time out is never a bad thing!

Second of all – please write that Milkshake Duck post, oh pretty please with a cherry?!!

Third of all – you are not missing out on The Hazel Wood, pat yourself on the back for the hours you have won by not reading it!! 🙂

Kathy @Pages Below the Vaulted Sky July 21, 2018 - 7:59 am

Hahaha I guess I dodged a bullet with The Hazel Woods? So yay! 😀

And I have a mountain of draft posts in the works that are all screaming at me to finish, but I’m hoping to get the Milkshake Duck post up by the end of the month. 😛

Gerry@TheBookNookUK July 21, 2018 - 12:31 pm

I would say you definitely dodged a bullet!

Ah I am very much looking forward to it! I do love your posts!

Dani @ Perspective of a Writer July 19, 2018 - 9:58 pm

Great list and love your reasons! ♥️ I wanted Hazelwood to portal me in the beginning not the end! And agree with you on Thirteen Reasons Why. Had someone close to me struggle and can’t bear to read something so exploitative.

Kathy @Pages Below the Vaulted Sky July 21, 2018 - 7:55 am

Thanks, Dani! I think midteen-me would have found 13RW okay because I hadn’t had such experiences with mental health back then. But it’s a definite pass for me now.

Rachana July 23, 2018 - 2:46 am

Hmm I love books with dragons in them so I always meant to check out Paolini’s books but I just never got around to it! The Hazel Wood is a book that remains on my tbr because it seems like the kind of fantasy I’d enjoy (but I am saddened to hear about the bad treatment of a PoC character..).

Caro @ bookcheshirecat July 24, 2018 - 12:50 pm

Great post! I took Ship It off my TBR as well ever since hearing that it pretty much represents the toxic sides of fandom – definitely very disappointing as I held out hope that this would be another cool book about fandom culture 🙁

vivianparkinderosa July 28, 2018 - 12:59 pm

13RW makes me so angry. The cover for Hazel Wood is so gorgeous, but I’m not that interested in the plotline. Great post!


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