Anti-TBR Tag

Rachel did this on her BookTube channel Kalanadi yesterday, so I decided to give it a shot myself. This tag was created by Nicole & Her Books, so check her out if you want her take on the Anti-TBR tag.

This can be a salty tag, depending on who does it. I’m a salty person, so be warned…

Photo by Castorly Stock on

1. A popular book EVERYONE loves that you have no interest in reading?

What’s the current flavor of the month epic fantasy series written by a white guy? Probably that. Right now, a lot of people on my bookish Discord are reading John Gwynne’s The Faithful and the Fallen series. I glanced through the first book at the bookstore a while back, and it did not look either well-written or interesting to me. The Malazan Book of the Fallen series by Steven Erickson is also popular in certain book circles I’m part of. Same story. I gave the first book a shot, did not like what I read of it, and so I put it aside for good.

And don’t tell me “it gets so good by book 4/5/6/7/etc.”. A series should be interesting from the first book. If I have to wade through two thousand pages for things to get good, then those first two thousand pages should have been edited out.

A flock of gigantic books that I have zero interest in

2. A classic book (or author) you don’t have an interest in reading?

I mean, I’ve read one of Tolstoy’s novels (Anna Karenina), but it took me literally years to get through it, after two false starts. I might enjoy the music of Russian composers, but I’m not terribly interested in Russian literature.

3. An author whose books you have no interest in reading?

I assume this is meant for contemporary authors, and the first author I can think of whose work I have no interest in is Fredrik Backman. I’ve heard people raving about his books, but whenever they summarize them they just don’t catch my interest. At all.

So sorry, Fredrik. I’m sure you’re a good person, but I’m not going to read your books.

3.2 A problematic author whose books you have no interest in reading?

I have a curious habit of reading a book, disliking it, and then years later it comes to light that the author is a lousy (or criminal) human being. For example, there was recently a big to-do on Bookstagram and BookTube about Antisemitism and/or cultural appropriation in books by authors Emily Duncan and Jay Kristoff. In both cases, I read one each of their books, disliked them both, and never bothered with them again. A few years later, we find out they’re dodgy people. There’s a chance I might read their books in the future (assuming either of them learns how to actually tell a good story), because they’re not actual criminals and can learn from their mistakes and grow up.

In the case of someone like Marion Zimmer Bradley, whose actions for a long, long part of her adult life were utterly deplorable (and often downright disgusting), no. I will never read or recommend her books again. Google it if you want to know, I’m not going into it here. I read her most famous book when I was in college. I enjoyed it the first time through, then read it again and found it to be rather shallow and didactic, so never continued with the series. The repulsive details about her and her husband came out later.

Glad I didn’t continue the series.

4. An author you have read a couple of books from & have decided their books are not for you?

Once upon a time, before the internet allowed you to buy whatever your heart desired and download basically book in the world, I was stuck with whatever was available at my small town public library or else choose from a small selection from the closest bookstore (which was 35 miles away). The little public library did their best, but most people were asking for books Tom Clancy, James Patterson, and Stephen King. So I’ve read a bunch of Stephen King’s books. Eleven of them, if I’m counting right. Do I want to read more of them? No. I don’t think his horror stories are all that frightening and I’m not interested in his fantasy novels. I don’t think his writing is very good, and there are plenty of other books out there. So no more Stephen King for me.

5. A genre you have no interest in OR a genre you tried to get into & couldn’t?

I mean, I’ll read a romance once every couple of years? I’m not all that interested in true crime. Contemporaries don’t really interest me, so… those, I guess.

“This guy did it. He totally did it. Can’t you see his shifty eyes?”
Photo by RODNAE Productions on

6. A book you have bought but will never read?

I just looked back through my shelves to see if there is a book I’ve bought that I will surely never read, and I haven’t really seen one. You might think, “that gigantic set of Tolkien’s History of Middle-earth series will surely go unread”, but no. I finished the last book of the first volume today and started the first book of the second volume. So those books are slowly being read.

You might then ask if I’ll ever read those books about quantum mechanics or the Theory of Relativity, but I do intend to read those at some point. They just keep being put off for other books that sound so, so appealing.

So I think the only book I have that I do not intend to read is Langenscheidt’s New Concise German Dictionary compiled by Heinz Messinger, which I bought about two years ago when I was able to take German lessons from my wonderful tutor (who is a retired German language professor). A German/English dictionary was something she required me to buy, and I found one at the used bookstore for $5. It was useful when I was taking lessons, but then travel plans (hers and mine) and Covid put an end to my German lessons, and I haven’t used it since.

7. A series you have no interest in reading OR a series you started & have DNFed?

Don’t @ me, but I’ve completely lost interest in and won’t be finishing the A Song of Ice and Fire series or The Kingkiller Chronicles.

For what it’s worth, the authors don’t seem to have much interest in finishing them, either.

Poor Jon Snow will never know what happens next

8. A new release you have no interest in reading?

I’m sure you’ll be shocked, but I have zero interest in reading A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas or From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout (which yes, is not a new release, but the third one of the series is out soon, or just came out, and it’s been showing up in things that I follow, and its premise sounds dreadful, and people whose opinions I trust who have read it utterly loathe the series). Fantasy romance with a plethora of sex scenes? No. Not interested. You couldn’t pay me to read them. I would rather throw them off a tall building or into a river.

My face when I see those books at the bookstore.
Photo by Polina Zimmerman on

So that’s the Anti-TBR book tag. Feel free to do it if you’re feeling salty about any of these questions.

20 thoughts on “Anti-TBR Tag

  1. I know the Backman stories don’t seem interesting from the blurb. I resisted reading Ove for awhile. I also admit that they can be hard to get into. But with like Anxious People…hard to get into, a bit bizarre, but there’s a real writer in there…oddly nothing in his books is superfluous, though it seems it as you’re reading it. But that being said, I understand the reluctance

  2. Oh, I totally get that Backman is a good writer. But I’m still not Intrigued by the summaries. It’s kind of like, you could go on and on about an incredible pistachio dessert, and I would still not be interested in it because I just don’t care for pistachios.

  3. I completely understand. Some things don’t hit you…I was like that with the crawdads book….didn’t understand the appeal. Read it, still dont

  4. I love this Anti-TBR theme! I really enjoyed reading your analysis on some of the authors above, learning some horrifying things about some authors (good to know to stay away). I may follow this idea!
    It seems your very interested in fantasy novels, I have never read one but anytime I try to watch a fantasy show/movie I fall asleep (much to my husband’s disappointment). That is definitely one genre I have never had the interest in reading, however, I see more and more book bloggers blogging about that specific genre so I have become increasingly intrigued. Do you have a recommendation for a non-fantasy reader that may gain my interest?

  5. Our opinions differ on some of the books/authors you’ve mentioned, but they sync up on others. And that’s perhaps one reason we have so very many different books and authors out there, because we have just as many different readers. When I try to think of an author or series I just have no interest in ever reading or revisiting what immediately comes to mind is Terry Goodkind and his Sword of Truth series. I watched the tv series and though I enjoyed some elements of it I also disliked many others. Then I tried reading Wizard’s First Rule and just couldn’t get in to it. I didn’t think it was written well, it seemed extremely stereotypical and full of overused tropes all bundled together, along with what I felt was poor character introduction and development. I didn’t finish it and don’t plan to revisit it. It was only later I learned more about the author and didn’t care much for what I learned. And yet the series appears to be very popular with many folks who absolutely love it, and I’m happy to see them getting some enjoyment out of it even if I couldn’t.

  6. Ugh. Terry Goodkind. I read Wizard’s First Rule way back, in part because a friend loved the series. But I barely made it through book one, I hated it so much. I never continued and never wanted to read anything by Goodkind again. It is, indeed, very popular, and I have no idea why.

  7. Fantasy is the genre I read the most, and it has been my favorite since I was little!

    Recommending a particular fantasy novel to a newcomer is difficult, as there are all sorts of fantasy subgenres that appeal to different tastes. What kinds of books do you enjoy reading? What sorts of moods do you like in your books? Do you prefer flowery writing, or a style that’s more straightforward? I have a lot of recommendations, but knowing a little more about your tastes would really help out.

  8. 😲 very shocked over here that you have no interest in reading Maas’s A Court of Silver Flames or Armentrout’s From Blood and Ash, lol! Lol! Not shocked at all, and that’s my expression too when I see those books. I just can’t get into them. I tried two of Maas’s books and never went back.

  9. I was cleaning my bookshelves this weekend–the usual dusting, sighing over books I want to reread, getting rid of anything I’m unlikely to bother with again–and had to pause for a bit at ASOIAF. I don’t realistically think I’m going to continue reading the series whenever GRRM decides he’s got the time to write the next book, both because my loathing for him grows each time he speaks and the series is just–not great anymore. Perhaps that’s the HBO adaptation influencing me and making me not at all want to watch any of the characters go the routes that are planned for them, but I also think I’m just not in the mood for reading about the intricate details of a fantasy world that no one else includes in their books for good reason. And so, alas, I think I might be all set? I didn’t end up unhauling them yet, but I think I might be close to doing so.

  10. I unhauled them a long time ago. The fourth and fifth books were just meh, and it’s been so long since I read any of them that I’ve just lost interest in them. Plus, whenever the next one finally comes out, I’ll have forgotten half the story and need to review, and wow. Reading 1600 or so pages about mostly characters I don’t care about sounds awful.

  11. Thank you for responding! Well I usually read historical fiction novels but when I am looking for a comforting easy read I turn to rom-coms. The historical fiction novels I love include Birds Without Wings and The Nightingale.
    I don’t really have a preference in mood or style. Sorry I haven’t really narrowed it down much but maybe that helps!

  12. It really does! I think you’ve convinced me. It’s going to be probably a decade before he ever gets his act together anyway, and, by then, his self-grandeur will have made me hate him even more anyway.

  13. Hm. Well, I think I can come up with some suggestions from this:

    – Finishing School by Gail Carriger (a 4-book YA series set in Carriger’s paranormal steampunk universe set in an alternate England)
    – The Parasol Protectorate by Gail Carriger (a 4-book adult series in Carriger’s paranormal steampunk universe)
    – The Custard Protocol by Gail Carriger (another 4-book adult series in Carriger’s paranormal steampunk universe)
    – Stardust by Neil Gaiman (faerie stories gone wonky in the English countryside, when a young man travels to the other side of the Wall to find a fallen star for the girl he’s in love with)

    (I don’t read a lot of romantic fantasy, so I don’t have a lot of suggestions here)

    Historical Fantasy:
    – The Winternight Trilogy by Katherine Arden (fantasy based on medieval Russian fairy tales)
    – The Merlin Trilogy by Mary Stewart (Arthurian fantasy set in post-Roman Britain)
    – The Lost Queen by Signe Pike (Arthurian-esque fantasy-ish set in post-Roman Britain. This is book one of a trilogy, but I’ve only read the first one. I quite enjoyed it, though)
    – The Court of Miracles by Kester Grant (an alternate take on Les Miserables, set in an alternate France where the Revolution failed and the French royal family took power back)
    – Circe by Madeline Miller
    – The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal (this is science fiction, but is an alternate history of the space program, after a meteor-strike ensures the future end of life on earth)
    – Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal (Regency-era fantasy and comedy of manners, in the style of Jane Austen. This is the first of a series, but works as a standalone)

    Some Other Fantasy Novels I enjoy:
    – The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold (part of a series, but can be read as a standalone)
    – Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo (YA duology set in Bardugo’s Grisha universe, about a group of criminals committing heists)
    – The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison (I recommend the audiobook, as the names and titles are difficult to pronounce)

    I hope a few of these appeal to you! Fantasy is a big genre that encompasses all sorts of stories, so if you don’t like one thing, there are plenty of other things to choose from.

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