40 Books You Can Probably SKIP This Summer (Reader Generated)

Two weeks ago, I shared a list of my readers ALL-TIME favorite books. My readers love sharing their favorite books–but they also love blowing raspberries at some of the books they think are totally overrated, or are the worst they’ve ever read. Today, I’ve compiled a list of books that my readers recommend you skip, and shared them with you below. I also provided a link to the original posts so you can read my reader’s comments and find out why they think these particular books are overrated or are the worst they ever read.

much love,


40 Books You Can Probably SKIP This Summer



Recommendations taken from 5 Worst Books You Ever Read

Moby Dick by Herman Melville

The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald

The Eight by Katherine Neville

Anything by Willa Carther

Anything by Edna Ferber

The Ruins by Scott Smith

The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller

A book titled “[Letter of the alphabet] is for [a word that begins with the same letter]”

A second book titled “[Letter of the alphabet] is for [a word that begins with the same letter]”

A third book titled “[Letter of the alphabet] is for [a word that begins with the same letter]”

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen (Ollin says: “I would add The Corrections to this, unfortunately.”)

Inferno by Dante Alighieri

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

A Separate Peace by John Knowles

The Redemption of Althalus by Leigh Eddings

Sword of Truth by Terry Goodkind

Any of the Left Behind series by Tim Lahaye and Jerry B. Jenkins

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Wuthering Heights by Emile Bronte

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

The Foutainhead by Aynd Rand

The Mummy by Anne Rice

Dracula: The Undead by Dacre Stoker and Ian Holt


Recommendations taken from 5 Books You Think Are Overrated

The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown

The Historian by Elizabeth Costova

The Name of The Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Anything by John Steinbeck

Anything by William Faulkner

The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordana

Anything by Charles Dickens

Anything by Ernest Hemingway

Anything by James Joyce

The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

Tuesday’s With Morrie by Mitch Albom

 What books would you recommend skipping this summer? Please share with us in the comments below!

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29 comments on “40 Books You Can Probably SKIP This Summer (Reader Generated)

  1. I gave a relieved and gleeful sigh that someone agrees with me about Steinbeck. ❤
    I'd also slap "Catcher in the Rye" on the "Overrated Books" list. =P I cursed Salinger for weeks after having to read it.

  2. Ollin says:

    Okay, I’m going to be the first one to offer my dissent:

    I disagree with my readers on Eat, Pray, Love. I loved the book, I love the message, I love Elizabeth Gilbert’s writing. I know many of you disagree, but for those of you who haven’t read it and are on a spiritual journey you should NOT skip it.

    Personally, it has changed my life and made me view life differently, and its one of my very top non-fiction books of all time.

    I also find it interesting that both Lolita and Wuthering Heights are on this list AND on last weeks MUST read list. Which for me means that I’m still going to read both, but also that it seems you either love them or you hate them. Which for me is interesting.

    Finally, for me Tuesday’s with Morrie wasn’t under or overrated, I think it was exactly what I expected it to be. I’m not sure if I’d go as far as saying skip it.

    There’s my opinion. What’s yours?

    • Ollin says:

      Oh! Oh! And how can I forget!

      I disagree about Charles Dickens COMPLETELY. I loved Great Expectations. Possibly the best love story of all time. And I know many, many will disagree with me on that one, but those who have ever had to deal with unrequited love would absolutely agree with me. It’s one of the truer loves stories I have ever read, and I love the twist ending.

      • I absolutely agree about Dickens — I’ve loved everything I’ve ever read by him!! (and certainly Great Expectations IS one of the best love stories of all time! agreed!) There are others on the list that I’m pretty surprised by, but I think reading is a matter of personal taste, so c’est la vie!

        • Ollin says:

          Right? I think all people should start with A Christmas Carol, I think people are pushed into the bigger more complicated books first when they are too young to understand or appreciate them. I’m so glad I read Great Expectations as an adult, for instance, because I would have NEVER gotten it as a teenager. I probably would have hated it. So for those of you new to Dickens read A Christmas Carol first, and you’ll at least love him for that magical classic.

          • Agreed, A Christmas Carol is a good and familiar story to start with. What I find so interesting about Dickens being on this particular list is that he was in essence a blogger in his time! Not at all hard-to-read but written for us commoners! And he tells the most universal of stories. No one mentioned a Tale of Two Cities, but it is one of my favorite stories of all times!

  3. Martha Miller says:

    You gotta be out of your mind to list John Steinbeck’s work as overrated. Surely you jest.

    • Ollin says:

      I personally wouldn’t go far as calling Steinbeck overrated, but he definitely isn’t my personal taste. My readers disagree, however.

  4. I’m just glad to see Jonathan Franzen and William Faulkner on these two lists. I loathe Franzen, and Faulkner made my college years a nightmare.

    • Ollin says:

      Haha. I don’t really get why people love Franzen. Faulkner I can understand somewhat. I wouldn’t say he’s overrated or the worst I read, but I would say he is definitely not my taste. I read the sound and the fury in high school. Bad. Idea.

  5. I personally LOVE Dickens but I was one of the ones who hated Wuthering Heights and could not even finish it. I honestly tried, tried very hard but I was so bloody BORED! *yawns*
    P.S Agree on the Ruins, it SUCKED 🙂

  6. kaleba says:

    I’ve read a lot of bad books… and immediately forgotten them, which is why I can’t list them as ones to skip. But do skip them for golly they were awful! 😉

    But I do want to make one observation/comment… many of the books listed are not light, beach books. I’ve always felt that summer reading was for fun, light reading, books that are cheesy and stupid (but still well written) but that don’t have any heavy topics or address any serious issues. Summer is supposed to be fun, not work! Many of the books and authors listed are great works of fiction but are best read in the classroom or a book club. Take for example The Great Gatsby. Read that book on your own and you might think, eh, it’s ok. Read it in the classroom, with guided discussion, and an exploration of the time period, and suddenly the book comes alive. That, at least, was my experience. So yeah, definitely skip these for light summer reading, but don’t automatically assume they should be skipped forever.

    • Ollin says:

      Great point! And still more fascinating point about Gatsby. Maybe there are just books designed for a classroom experience. Never thought of that, but I can certainly see that. Especially with a book like Paradise Lost which I would not have appreciated if it weren’t for a Yale professor who I saw lecture on it online. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  7. Christina says:

    Hi Ollin:)

    I’m very surprised at some of the classics on there – Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, Fitzgerald, Faulkner?? I wonder if this kind of reaction stems from the fact that most of us had to read and analyze and then write papers about these novels and authors instead of just focusing on the characters.

    I personally LOVE these books (and I have an English Lit degree).

    • Ollin says:

      Great point to make. Is High School English killing a student’s love for great literature? Should high school teacher’s focus on fostering a student’s love for stories and then introduce them to more complicated works in college, when they are more ready for it?

      • Christina says:

        You make a good point – I think the way great literature is approached in high school is wrong. I still think these books should be on the curriculum but maybe studied in a more multimedia-esque way and engage all the senses. And certainly not just the analysis of metaphors and similes etc.

        What do you think? Any ideas since you’re also an actor? 🙂

        • Ollin says:

          Definitely everyone should required to PERFORM Shakespeare and should have a teacher who has been trained in acting so that the students understand that Shakespeare was never meant to be read, but watched. I still think adults should do the same thing. Shakespeare should not be read, but watched. Otherwise you will so not get it. Shakes never wrote stage directions for god’s sake how the heck is any student gonna know what’s going on in the story???

  8. Maggie says:

    I disagree on a lot of these. What’s funny is it seems that the books people hate are the same books that other people really love. Either way, they’re feeling strongly about the book which is good.

    But I do agree that most of the classics are not typical summer reading. Too heavy…

  9. Marcia says:

    Having read most most of the books in the list,I’d have to disagree with your readers. But I do agree most are not for summer reading, which we think of as light, quick reads.

    • Ollin says:

      Interesting. Never thought to look at summer reading as only light, quick reads. I actually would like light, quick reads during the year, and long complicated reads during the summer when I have more free time.

  10. Manali Shah says:

    Eat Pray Love was wonderful. People might have been expecting a typical chick lit book, which it isn’t.

    • Ollin says:

      Good point. I knew someone who told me that they loved the food part but the rest was boring. I think if you’re not the type that is into any kind of spiritual journey and isn’t open it to it, then the book’s power and meaning will be lost to you. At least that’s what I think. It’s a mainstream book which is not very mainstream, which surprises me. I think that’s why it disappoints people. It’s really not for everyone.

  11. My book club TRIED to read Freedom… I think half of us abandoned it before finishing. Orangies Attic

    • Ollin says:

      Haha! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Franzen bores me to death. Really. His writing is so stuffy. I just could not get through The Corrections. I was saddened by that because he gets so much praise and attention. Maybe me and your book club are missing something?

  12. Erin says:

    I LOVE Faulkner – honestly, maybe you have to be a poet, but the language. Swoon.

    • Ollin says:

      He’s not my taste, but I wouldn’t go as far as to say he’s the worst or is overrated. I am willing to give him another go however, I read his sound and the fury in high school, which I think was a bad decision. I’m looking forward to reading him with a more mature mind. I think I’ll love him actually.

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