Have you ever thrown a book across a room?
December 22, 2008 5:08 PM   Subscribe

Have any of you ever thrown a book across a room?

I read a lot, and for a long time—say, twenty years, from six to twenty-six—I read a lot of crap. Media tie-ins, trashy fantasy series, Mack Bolan books, my mom's romance novels, crappy westerns that came mixed with the romance novels when my mom bought in bulk, whatever was around. Even after I got religion in the form of John Gardner and Annie Dillard (and moreso after I read An Experiment in Criticism by C. S. Lewis), I never threw a book, or even set one down with violence. Once I learned to recognize different types of quality and to discriminate, choosing stuff I believe is better, I developed contempt and disdain for stuff I think is worse, but not so much that I'd toss a book.

Is it just a rhetorical device, akin to telling people they owe you a new keyboard/monitor/whatever?

Why, yes, I am reading the Twilight thread. Why do you ask?
posted by cgc373 to Grab Bag (159 answers total) 37 users marked this as a favorite
Many of Jodi Picoult's books, most notably My Sister's Keeper.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:10 PM on December 22, 2008 [3 favorites]

John Gray's "Men, Women & Relationships." Read it because my then-girlfriend said it would help our then-floundering romance. I think I threw it once, though it was after she broke up me anyway.

It is also the only book I have ever burned.
posted by RakDaddy at 5:14 PM on December 22, 2008 [8 favorites]

There was one book to which, after reading half of the first chapter, I developed such a violent dislike that I found a special place for it holding up the bottom of my bookshelf, where I could always look to see it being slowly crushed under the weight of other books. I couldn't think of any worse and more disrespectful fate for a book than to have it constantly on display, propping up other books, never to be available itself for reading.
It was Dianetics
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 5:14 PM on December 22, 2008 [31 favorites]

Plenty. Notably: Night Dogs, Atomised, On The Road, Word Virus and, most recently, Deluxe.
posted by turgid dahlia at 5:16 PM on December 22, 2008

Reminds me of a Dorothy Parker quote: "This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force."
posted by Ugh at 5:17 PM on December 22, 2008 [24 favorites]

The Namesake, by Jhumpa Lahiri.

Several newspapers/magazines.

Sometimes they just suck that bad.
posted by sondrialiac at 5:17 PM on December 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

Yes. Samuel R. Delany's dhalgren. I had a strangely visceral reaction to it, and flung it across the room against a wall. It exploded into its constituent leaves, and I tossed them in the garbage.
posted by sonic meat machine at 5:17 PM on December 22, 2008 [3 favorites]

I've regretted reading a number of books, but the only one I have physically thrown was Girl in Landscape by Jonathan Lethem.

I loved Fortress of Solitude, and when I heard he'd written a "literary science fiction" piece, I was curious. So I went to the bookstore, read the back cover - "Hm, people colonizing Mars and struggling to deal with the psychological issues that arise from a frontier lifestyle, interesting." - and bought it. Well, before I was even halfway through the book I was regretting buying it. This is one of those books I imagined the author taking breaks to masturbate over his own imagery while typing. The underlying theme of a young pubescent girl dealing with her emerging sexuality was so clumsily handled, rang so false and overwrought, that I simply couldn't believe it had made it past the edtior's desk. When it became apparent that Lethem was going to employ the old saw of "young girl falls for boy who's no good" with all the pinache and grace of a Tex Avery cartoon, yes, I literally threw the book across the room. And after reading Men and Cartoons by the same author, I'm fairly convinced Lethem really only had one book in him.

I normally make it a rule to finish every book I buy, in case there's a chance that a story redeems itself later on. After I threw Girl in Landscape across the room, I thought back, and realized that never, ever has a story started out weak and sloppy, only to tighten up and become brilliant later on. So I can thank Lethem for that, anyway.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:24 PM on December 22, 2008

I threw Jane Green's Jemima J across the room. It's a really terrible book, diet porn masquerading as fat acceptance lit, but I still must have been extra-grumpy to throw it because I read lots of other crap. I have noticed that my most violent vitriol is reserved for chick lit, so I stopped reading it.
posted by alicetiara at 5:25 PM on December 22, 2008

Henry James, several times. Damn university course requirement.
posted by meerkatty at 5:27 PM on December 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

Dan Brown's Digital Fortress. I actually did throw the book across the room when I reached the end -- a group of scientists took multiple pages to solve a riddle that was so blindingly easy that even I was able to figure it out (and I never figure out riddles!). It was a terrible book, and that bumbling ending was just the icing on the cake.
posted by phatkitten at 5:29 PM on December 22, 2008

"Little Children" by Tom Perrotta. (Pretentious, pedestrian, AND boring.)

...And while I didn't throw Theodore Dreiser’s "An American Tragedy" across the room, I did turn several dozen of those six-hundred-odd pages in a violently impatient manner.
posted by applemeat at 5:31 PM on December 22, 2008

I think I need to go throw Remainder by Tom McCarthy across the room a few times. Be right back.
posted by Lucinda at 5:33 PM on December 22, 2008

I dislike books that should have been short articles .

Too many books are filled with fluff.

Luckily most of the books I read come from library so I could not throw them no matter how disgusted I am with them.

These days before I read a book I try to read an article written by the same author to see if I should waste time reading his or her book.

Unfortunately this strategy does not work with fictions.
posted by cluelessguru at 5:33 PM on December 22, 2008 [2 favorites]

Portrait, by Joyce. I foolishly chose to pick a random book from the list passed around in class to do my final research project on.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 5:36 PM on December 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

Yes, I've thrown a book across a room. But not because I didn't like the book. I was just smarter than my mother, who threw dishes. Books don't break.
posted by desjardins at 5:36 PM on December 22, 2008 [5 favorites]

After I finished Bel Canto, by Ann Patchet. I absolutely adored the majority of the book, and then despised the ending enough that, well, I threw the book across the room. I think it was the sharp contrast of loving it then hating it that made me angry enough to throw the book. Normally books only bring about mild feelings of dislike, which do not warrant throwing.
posted by quirks at 5:37 PM on December 22, 2008 [5 favorites]

I threw some piece of garbage called Hammerjack. And then it sat on my filthy computer table for months, to be slowly covered over with shreds of tobacco and ash.

It's on my bookshelf now, only because I couldn't bring myself to actually throw it out (I've never thrown away a book), and because my wife is very thorough when she gets to organizing.
posted by Netzapper at 5:39 PM on December 22, 2008

Oh, funny, RakDaddy--I came in here to say Men are From Mars, Women are from Venus by Mr Gray. I got fed up at the point where he says basically that if the woman is in the mood for sex, and the man isn't, she should go ahead and help him out, but if the the reverse is true, the woman should be understanding and wait for a time he is in the mood. That book is an utter load of crap from page one. I did actually throw it in anger.
posted by thebrokedown at 5:42 PM on December 22, 2008

(p.s.: I would have thrown Dave Egger's "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Hubris" not only across the room, but out of the window, and into the alley Dumpster. But it was a library book.)
posted by applemeat at 5:42 PM on December 22, 2008 [4 favorites]

Yes, but not because I disliked the book, because instead I had become so vested in the characters and thought it would All End Okay that I was just furious with the author who made it not so at the very very very end.
posted by barnacles at 5:44 PM on December 22, 2008

I'm sure this doesn't count, but for a while I used a copy of Norman Mailer's The Executioner's Song to prop up my old CRT monitor.
posted by degoao at 5:44 PM on December 22, 2008

As far as I know, I have never thrown a book.

Respect for books is big in my culture and my family. I remember getting yelled at for creasing the spines of paperback books. I can't imagine what would have happened if I had willfully thrown one in anger.
posted by charmcityblues at 5:45 PM on December 22, 2008

Well, I got that all messed up, but you know what I mean. Years later, and I still can't think about Men are from Mars without pissed off so much that I can't be articulate.
posted by thebrokedown at 5:46 PM on December 22, 2008

Atlas Shrugged.
posted by hellojed at 5:48 PM on December 22, 2008 [10 favorites]

But then again, I am from Venus.
posted by thebrokedown at 5:49 PM on December 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

Kathy Acker's Pussy, King of the Pirates. Twice.
posted by nasreddin at 5:51 PM on December 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

I've never thrown a book, but I've had one of my books thrown on my behalf.

In 7th grade, I was your pretty average depressed social outcast. I had literally two friends: this guy, and books.

I read voraciously. It was the only thing I could pass the day with. Reading took me out of the miserable hellhole of my life, taught me, nurtured me, instructed me. Only at the time, my choice of literate was, admittedly, not exactly the most enlightening material: 1996-era Star Wars novels.

I devoured those books like nothing else. I'd read one every week. My parents kept buying them for me even after my collection had far surpassed 20 books, and I kept reading them. After a while, most of my teachers just let me read in class; initially they protested, but I think most of them figured out that I was prone to doing something crazy if they took away the one outlet that kept me going, so I was allowed to read in class.

Except one teacher: Mrs. Myers, whom we at the time referred to simply as Satan. You've had that teacher: the old-school disciplinarian who knew only one way to teach, and made sure that you learned that way. She was an honest-to-God "no laughter in the classroom" type-- when you were in her class there was only one business, and that business was math.

I hated math, and I despised Mrs. Myers, because she wouldn't let me read during class. I probably got harangued for attempting to scurrilously do so pretty much every period.

So one day I was in class with the above-linked MeFite, trying to clandestinely absorb a few pages, and Mrs. Meyers absolutely snapped. She shouted something at me-- I can't quite recall what-- and I sat in shocked amazement as she marched over to my desk, grabbed the book out of my hands, and hurled it across the room as hard as I could.

I was completely floored, to say the least. After the thump of the book hitting the wall, and the less-satisfying thwack it made when it hit the ground, the entire room was completely silent. Mrs. Myers stared at me with pure, unbridled fury. I've never seen eyes like those again in my life, and I hope I never do. She stood there for easily a minute, just staring me down. She then drew herself up, loomed over me, placed her hands on my desk, and said, with silent, seething rage: "DON'T. READ. IN MY CLASS. AGAIN." I just stared back at her.

I didn't read in that class again, because I was afraid she was going to murder me. Years later that proved to be a somewhat reasonable concern, as I learned that she was fired from the district for hurling a stapler at a student's skull. The class she was teaching at the time? 7th grade math.

I never did get that book back.
posted by baphomet at 5:55 PM on December 22, 2008 [15 favorites]

"as hard as she could"-- editing window, you can't come fast enough
posted by baphomet at 5:57 PM on December 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

Tess of the d'Urbevilles. I hate Hardy so much, so very very much. Just can someone, you know, lift a fucking finger to help themselves instead of mooning about like idiots? Once? Please? Even Macbeth fucks up in the doing, not the whining.
posted by dame at 6:05 PM on December 22, 2008 [9 favorites]

I've actually done this twice in my lifetime and both times kind of surprised me, it was really pretty instinctual (no one was around either time!). The first time, it was Whitley Streiber's "Communion." Before I got to page 3, even. The second time was an Anne Rice book - not sure which one (definitely later, because I did kind of like her earlier books), something I picked up from a grocery store rack circa Jan 2000. Maybe Violin?
posted by jenh at 6:05 PM on December 22, 2008

I know this is going to be an unpopular answer but here goes anyway: Jane Austen's Emma. To this day, I still don't understand the fascination so many people have with her pedestrian, overly-romantic, busybody, trash novels. Blech!
posted by mrbarrett.com at 6:06 PM on December 22, 2008 [6 favorites]

I threw a book once as a boy, in anger, and received an immediate and sound spanking. Never threw a book after that.

I have, however, thrown an audio-book right out the god damned car window, off the Chicago Skyway.

It was one of Terry Goodkind's despicable little objectivist rape-fantasies. Chainfire, or something like that. It was so transparent, so evil, so poorly written - like something a childhood bully would scrawl in the back of their secret little journal of petty evils. Only, with Goodkind, he was relishing every opportunity to brutalize women and spit upon "commoners." I remember trying to get through the damned thing, if only because I spent $10 on it, and finally I said, "If another woman is beaten or raped for the duration of this book I am going to do violence to it." Welp, it only took Goodkind about another 10 minutes of wretched, torturous narrative to find a good cause to bloody some poor "helpless" female. I wrenched the despicable thing out of my car cd player and flung it off the skyway. I hope it vaporized on impact.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 6:06 PM on December 22, 2008 [5 favorites]

The instant I finished Bram Stoker's Dracula I threw it into the Venetian blinds with a groan.

I think that my expectations were frustrated. I'd seen and enjoyed the Coppola movie (which totally screwed with the story) and of course been exposed to some of the other romantic vampire crap that pervades our culture. After many stories where the vampire is a romantic protagonist torn between the lure of power and the sting of the pariah, I found Stoker's novel to be little more than a fatuous Christian homily about a bad man with evil powers couched in the Victorian novel's usual verbose fluff I so despise. Like rock bands who dabbled in Satanism in the 70s, Stoker seemed to feel it was necessary to Pound the Nail of the Lord home with great force by the end of the book, so as to avert any suspicion that he'd reveled in the satanic imagineering of the premise. The last 1/4 of the novel is poorly paced, too, dragging on and on to the final, abrupt ending. I realized as the last pages dwindled that I was not going to get any complexity from the story and that the relentless Christian soldiers pursuing the Hideous Beast through vale and burg were just going to get him in the end and that would be that. It was.
posted by scarabic at 6:08 PM on December 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

I second the 'respect for books' comment. I have difficulty throwing books out, even terrible ones.

However, I threw 'The DaVinci Code', in paperback, across the room. It was the line about 'Wiccan artifacts.' I think I said something about 1950 and threw it a good 15 ft.
posted by Weighted Companion Cube at 6:08 PM on December 22, 2008 [2 favorites]

Not since I got my Kindle.

Am I the only one that finds the name ironically close to the idea of book burning?

In college I'm sure I threw more than I can name. Guarantee that Joyce and Dickens got thrown, more to make the point that the physcial weight of the words was far greater the psychological.

More recently I've read a few "I'm going to teach you something that will amaze you" books (think Freakanomics but with 1/10th the scholarship.) that exasperated me. But I just dumped them in the recycle bin in hopes they'd be reincarnated into something better. I certainly don't recall the titles.

Makes me think of this new sculpture in San Fracnscio's North Beach which isn't supposed to look like books thrown in anger, but always looks like that to me with all of the broken words scattered on the ground.
posted by Ookseer at 6:09 PM on December 22, 2008

I am generally big with the book respect as well. I only remember throwing a book once. Summer between junior and senior year of high school, J.M. Coetzee, "Waiting for the Barbarians," assigned as summer reading. I hated it vehemently and did actually throw it.

I went back and read it again in my mid-twenties because I couldn't imagine what I could have hated that much, and decided that while it is still quite creepy, it is excellently written and I was just being a know-it-all teenager and not giving it a proper chance. I feel sorry for the poor beleaguered copy that I threw.
posted by Stacey at 6:14 PM on December 22, 2008

Salem Falls by Jodi Picoult. Annoying, overdramatic, completely implausible story with a ridiculous superfluous 'twist' on the last page.
posted by 8dot3 at 6:28 PM on December 22, 2008

When I was assigned Saul Bellow's Herzog in high school, I hated it so intensely that I tore the paperback in half. And it wasn't easy.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:33 PM on December 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

Oh: it makes my heart grow just a little bit larger to know that there are others who hated Eggers and the DaVinci Code as much as I did.
posted by 8dot3 at 6:34 PM on December 22, 2008

I've thrown at least two books that I can recall. Both back in high school, when my room was in the dark, creepy basement and I nonetheless persisted in reading a string of horror novels late at night. Stephen King's The Stand definitely got thrown across the room (out of fear) when I wasn't very fear far into it—I left it lying there for at least a year before picking it up again. I believe I also threw The Amityville Horror across the room, for much the same reason. I also turned an issue of Discover magazine with a human skull on the cover upside down and put it under my bed so I couldn't see it.

More recently, I threw a few books at my closet door to try to scare a mouse away.
posted by limeonaire at 6:35 PM on December 22, 2008

Yes. The Crystal Star by Vonda McIntyre, an abomination of a Star Wars novel.
posted by Xany at 6:37 PM on December 22, 2008

Another Tess thrower here (see dame above), but then proceeded to read as much Hardy as I could find.
posted by angiep at 6:43 PM on December 22, 2008

Only once. The Difference Engine. Ugh, it was so excruciatingly bad. Like Dick Van Dyke's Bert in Mary Poppins starring in The Fountainhead.* Stiff and lurching and pointless with a smarmy fake accent and ludicrous heavy undertones of monumental dystopia lurking in the shadows. I threw it because I was so disappointed in myself for bothering with the first 85% before coming to my senses.

I know they are nothing alike plot-wise, but reading either book is as vivifying as sucking on a dirty penny.
posted by oneirodynia at 6:47 PM on December 22, 2008 [4 favorites]

Candide. Damned sophomore AP English class.
posted by CwgrlUp at 6:47 PM on December 22, 2008

American Psycho
Only read about half of it, I wish I could un-read it though.

Algebra teacher threw a book + a stack of papers at the kid in front of me, who was being a nuisance enough that.. I guess she was pretty mad. Catholic school, what can you do.
posted by citron at 6:50 PM on December 22, 2008

I'm pretty sure I chucked Hannibal Rising across the room, and I know I gave Mary Shelley's Frankenstein the ol' heave-ho when I was in high school. Classic or not, that is one poorly-written story.
posted by katillathehun at 6:51 PM on December 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

A few times, often enough that I don't remember which ones.

It's cool when they're not just bad content but also poorly manufactured and the spinal glue lets go mid-flight. :)
posted by Jacqueline at 6:52 PM on December 22, 2008

William Gibson and Bruce Sterling so entirely let me down with _The Difference Engine_ that I threw it across the room multiple times. I think that was the key - I was so set up to enjoy it thoroughly and then it just totally and utterly read like watching Master and Commander on repeat. I punched myself afterward, too.

I answered your question about why (expectations) with a chatty answer (The Difference Engine) so we can keep this entertaining thread alive!
posted by kcm at 6:52 PM on December 22, 2008

Dianetics by L Ron Hubbard. Couldn't believe I paid for such utter BS.
posted by panini at 6:52 PM on December 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

Oh my God, yes. My mother raved about "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood" and I promised her I would read it. I did not promise to read past the first few chapters of Mama-Drama. I didn't toss it across the room, I hurled it into the street with great, violent glee.

Then, feeling guilty about abusing any book, no matter how craptacular, I retrieved it and leaned it up against a tree for someone to find. I hope a dog didn't find it first though that would have been an apt criticism.
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:53 PM on December 22, 2008 [3 favorites]

I tore The Davinci Code in half, which took real effort, let me tell you (I was helped by my superhuman rage). I then threw it against the wall.

And I know someone who drowned it in a bucket of water.

That book is a frickin' abomination.
posted by hot soup girl at 6:58 PM on December 22, 2008 [6 favorites]

Never a book, although medical charts, often.

I came very close with Thomas Friedman's The World is Flat.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 7:04 PM on December 22, 2008

The Rules: Time-Tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right. Some well-meaning relative passed it on to me- until it found a nice home, slam-dunked into the GET IT THE FUCK OUT OF MY HOUSE pile.
posted by rachaelfaith at 7:11 PM on December 22, 2008 [9 favorites]

Oh god yes. Lord of the Rings.

As a teen I never could get into it, lord how I tried. I think it was the third attempt, on getting as far as Tom bloody Bombadil, that made me snap and toss it across the room and onto my bed -- I've got that whole book respect thing too :/.
I did eventually end up managing to finish the damned thing, and I still don't really like it. For me it suffers from the same sort of overblown, overdescriptive prose as Dan Frakkin' Brown.

Dan Brown is much much worse for other reasons, though
posted by coriolisdave at 7:16 PM on December 22, 2008 [3 favorites]

Flicker by Theodore Roszak. The brick made a satisfying clunk against the wall. The first half of the novel was SO riveting, I couldn't focus on anything else. I read 200 pages nonstop. But the rest of it was boring and masturbatory and pointless. The plot just kind of trailed o....
posted by Night_owl at 7:18 PM on December 22, 2008

I'm so damned civilized that I didn't even throw Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance after it had robbed me of a week's worth of my reading time. I think I just sighed and unceremoniously dropped it on the floor. I'd have thrown it at the stupid author if he'd appeared at any point while I was reading it, though.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:18 PM on December 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

In 12th-grade English, my teacher (who unfortunately had been given free reign, as it was his last year at the school) assigned us a rather ghastly book called Cwmardy by Lewis Jones. You probably haven't heard of it, because it's terrible. It's about the struggle of Welsh miners in the early 20th century. My teacher bragged how great it was that he was making us read it, because it wasn't even taught in Wales. He couldn't understand why.

Let's pick out a fun passage: "Neither father or son opened their mouth as Jim made his terrible indictment. The room became cold as a vault of resurrected corpses. Shane, almost overcome by the ruthless, devastating words of her mate, trembled from head to foot. She was thankful when his great arm encircled her waist and led her to the door, saying aloud, 'Come, Shane bach. Let us leave this painted muckhole and the rubbish that do live in it. Our Jane still do belong to us and her babby is ours.'"

Anyway, I threw it across several rooms, but it was more satisfying when I threw it against a tree.

I barely read it, but it didn't matter. My teacher got fired a month before retirement for sexually harassing two students. Naturally, his replacement couldn't test us on it, because she hadn't read it either.
posted by learn to read at 7:20 PM on December 22, 2008 [3 favorites]

roomthreeseventeen took the words right out of my mouth. My grandma has made me read several Jodi Picoult books, all of which I hurled across the room at least once during reading, but especially My Sister's Keeper. Hand to God, that book is so bad that it physically hurt me to read it. Not only did I throw it really hard, but when it landed I went across the room and jumped up and down on it.
posted by palomar at 7:23 PM on December 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

Brat East Ellis' Less Than Zero.
Wotta piece o' shit.

Like Dick Van Dyke's Bert in "Mary Poppins"
Where did I read this? Somebody's remark upon hearing his cockney accent:
"I could have vomited for a thousand years."

posted by Rash at 7:28 PM on December 22, 2008 [4 favorites]

I believe I threw Stephen King's "It" out of sheer terror.
posted by Evangeline at 7:31 PM on December 22, 2008 [2 favorites]

I had that reaction to The Bridges of Madison County but I didn't throw it. Am pretty sure that I did throw my paperback copy of The Da Vinci Code, and I wanted to set Toni Morrison's Pulitzer Prize-winning piece of crap Beloved on fire.
posted by fuse theorem at 7:33 PM on December 22, 2008

It's a little different, but one night my freshman year of college, my roommate and I were sick of doing homework in our spanish textbooks. For a good 15 minutes, we threw them about the room- at the doors, walls, whatever. Good stress relief.
posted by JuiceBoxHero at 7:40 PM on December 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

The Corrections. And then I picked it up and hurled it again, into the trash bin. Very satisfying.
posted by OolooKitty at 7:42 PM on December 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

I've occasionally thrown books across the room, when I was younger & more dramatic. I remember doing it because I'd suddenly discovered in the text some prejudice I was disgusted by- a prejudice I saw as belonging to the author, not one of the characters. And I recall being mad that we were being asked to read this content in school, with the teacher's ongoing inability to properly unravel & sensitively discuss issues that came up in the texts we read. So I guess I was book-flinging partially because of the writer, and partly because of my half-assed public school education. Sorry I don't remember which book, but the memory of "Ugh, really!?" *fling!* is pretty clear.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 7:45 PM on December 22, 2008

When I was 14, I got so freaked by The Amityville Horror that I threw it out of my bedroom into the hallway, where it stayed for a couple of weeks. I didn't want to touch it, and nobody in that house was very tidy.
posted by HotToddy at 7:46 PM on December 22, 2008

The Mill on the Floss. Required reading for freshman year in high school. Deadly boring, I skipped to the end to discover (SPOILERS) everyone dies in a flood. Threw the book across the room, went and got the Cliff Notes. Never regretted it.
posted by jscalzi at 7:53 PM on December 22, 2008

Stranger in a Strange Land, after being thrilled with Starship Troopers.

More recently, "The Best American Short Stories 2007" edited by Stephen King. I didn't throw it but just got worried that King was clinically depressed. All of the stories were really, really depressing.
posted by txvtchick at 8:02 PM on December 22, 2008 [4 favorites]

I've tossed books off the bed while getting ready to go to sleep. Making room. My bed is full of books in various stages of being read. That's about it, though. I've never thrown a book in anger (or fear). I'll read almost anything, so simply not finishing it and never going back is bad enough.
posted by sandraregina at 8:10 PM on December 22, 2008 [2 favorites]

My grandfather was a Principal, the kind who would scare others into silent submission when he entered the auditorium.

My father was a Teacher, and a Quoter, no Tennyson or Byron ever left his gaze...

But by Gawd and a halfstick, Silas Marner and Far From the Madding Crowd: FUCK YOU AND YOUR WHOLE FAM DAMILY.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 8:11 PM on December 22, 2008 [2 favorites]

Yes. When I was a freshman in high school I had to read Animal Farm. I was so mad and upset when I finished it I literally did throw it across the room.
posted by Windigo at 8:13 PM on December 22, 2008

throwing books--into a dumpster--is my job. i love it!
posted by subatomiczoo at 8:14 PM on December 22, 2008

I threw a copy of the bible across a room once. Now I just wouldn't bother to pick it up. Funny how you change with age.
posted by ob at 8:22 PM on December 22, 2008

Lots of my friends loved it and therefore this is blasphemy but...House of Leaves.
posted by desuetude at 8:27 PM on December 22, 2008 [7 favorites]

I threw a copy of "The Baby Whisperer" at my husband's head when my son was about 7 weeks old and refusing to sleep the way the book said he should.

Yeah. It's funny now.
posted by netsirk at 8:38 PM on December 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

Cradle of Saturn became a frisbee. It was the only unpacked book in a room full of boxes awaiting movers. Left there by my then-fiance as a joke. I married him anyway. That book is still in a bathroom in our house, ostensibly serving as emergency reading material, but more likely emergency toilet paper.
posted by biscotti at 8:46 PM on December 22, 2008

Once. Exactly once.

I was fifteen. I was reading The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Sixth Annual Collection, which I buy every year. This one was on loan from the library, which makes me even more inclined to treat it with adoring respect. My mother knocked and came in, and sat down on the stool next to me, and told me that the doctors had found a mass on her liver, and that this "could be really bad, and she needed me to be strong." Surgery was going to be involved, and we didn't know what all else yet, but she needed me to help around the house and make sure everything kept running, because I was the oldest at home and she was going to be very sick for a very long time. And then she left. And I thought, well, shit, I will keep reading because I am not going to panic. That is definitely not what I am going to do.

The next story was "On Edge" by Christopher Fowler. Don't look it up. Trust me. It's dental horror on a par with Palahniuk's "Guts." And I finished it and flung the book as hard as I could across the room and stuffed a pillow in my mouth and screamed as hard and silently as I could.

And after about ten minutes of this I thought surely the next story will be a unicorn chaser, right? Fantasy and horror, that is what this anthology is. Unicorn chaser.

"Martyrdom." Joyce Carol Oates. Includes a graphic description of a rat being shoved up a woman's vagina. I pretty much gave up after that and gibbered.

Years later I ran across it and two other editions in a used bookstore in Boston, and then the completionist in me had a full-out row with the gibbering teenager. The completionist won, but it was a near thing. Also tumor was benign and she's been fine for the last ten years.
posted by fuzzbean at 8:49 PM on December 22, 2008 [24 favorites]

You know, desuetude, I didn't throw House of Leaves. But I did forcefully put. it. down.

That book wrecked my sleep patterns for a good two weeks. I was terrified of it and it lived in my apartment like a hungry, rabid bobcat until I finished it and shoveled it off on someone else.

I didn't throw it - I was afraid it would remember me.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 8:57 PM on December 22, 2008 [4 favorites]

I threw Bag of Bones by Stephen King across the room. I was 17 or so and couldn't believe he'd gone and killed ANOTHER character everyone liked.
posted by M Edward at 9:06 PM on December 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

So many. Usually accompanied by "Give me a fuckin' BREAK".

The list includes the Book of Mormon, and Mike Huckabee's KIDS WHO KILL, which I think is probably the worst book I have ever read. In retrospect I wish I had thrown Derrida's OF GRAMMATOLOGY across the room at some point but I never did.

I might did it out and throw it across the room tomorrow, though, for old times' sake.
posted by unSane at 9:06 PM on December 22, 2008

I threw Ulysses, by James Joyce, across the room. When I finished it. It wasn't out of disgust at all, more out of respect, and exhaustion, because I read the whole last section out loud to myself, and it was so ongoing and out of breath that it was more in the spirit of collapsing on the ground after finishing a race. Now I throw books across the room all the time once I finish them. For the drama.
posted by apostrophe at 9:20 PM on December 22, 2008 [5 favorites]

I've thrown three.

The Bridges of Madison County
The Time-Traveller's Wife
Julie and Julia

Hated each so much I cannot explain why in a reasonably articulate manner.
posted by pinky at 9:32 PM on December 22, 2008

I've never thrown a book, but I did burn a required reading text with great ceremony at the end of first semester freshman year.

Burning makes more sense than throwing to me. If you leave the book intact, there's always the possibility that some poor soul will mistakenly read it.
posted by tkolar at 9:40 PM on December 22, 2008

I closed "What to Expect When You're Expecting" and threw it in the trash once. I got it out later, but still. Wish I had put "American Psycho" in the freezer, Joey Tribbiani style.
posted by artychoke at 9:59 PM on December 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

Sexual Personae by Camilla Paglia. Several times, and the last time I just didn't pick it back up.
posted by ottereroticist at 10:11 PM on December 22, 2008

I was sorely tempted to throw Of Human Bondage across the room. Not because it's bad, but because that g.d. Mildred (?) was so awful. What did she keep saying? "I'd rather not" or something like that? ARGH. My blood pressure goes up just thinking about it.
posted by apricot at 10:29 PM on December 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

Two in the last year: Rebecca Ore's Time's Child and M. John Harrison's Viriconium. Time's Child is a self-indulgent, ill-thought-out Mary Sue disaster. Viriconium is an expression of the author's deep-seated and highly nuanced distaste for the genre in which he was writing.

They'd probably make a pretty interesting mash-up.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 10:33 PM on December 22, 2008

One time only, ever. In late '89, I was reading a book from one of Piers Anthony's many series. At a central point of the story, all of the intrigue he'd built up to that point suddenly degenerated into what was now clearly a formula to his plots and characters...and a formula I was a bit tired of, at that.

So, betrayed 18 year old that I was, I pitched the book across the room and left it there, sadly splayed, pages bent, for a couple of weeks. When I finally moved it, it was into a bag of all of my books by him, which I then proceeded to sell at a local bookstore.

I regret it sometimes, actually.
posted by batmonkey at 10:43 PM on December 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

Art History 322, that book saw the wall on more than a few occasions.......
posted by peewinkle at 11:17 PM on December 22, 2008

I threw "IT" by Stephen King out a window. It was the first and last book of his I've ever read. Got it in high school, spent a month reading it, and at the end, THAT was the explanation for Pennywise? 1000+ pages for that frakking plot device? Gah! Anyone else would have written that story and been done in 50 pages or less as a short story. There was a month of my life that wasn't coming back.
posted by barc0001 at 11:34 PM on December 22, 2008

I tore apart and then burnt in a pizza box Gendry Lee's three awful sequels to Clarke's wonderful Rendezvous With Rama.
posted by nicolas léonard sadi carnot at 11:53 PM on December 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

Just recently, Peter F. Hamilton's "Pandora's Star". I likes me some space opera, and at just under 1,000 pages I thought it would be nice to get into another world. But I barely made it past 200 pages; his overall story arch is ambitious and large, but there are so many dull, overwritten, and completely unnecessary passages. His begins each chapter the same way, it's terribly repetitive and largely unimaginative. Ugh, I could go on and on.

And to think I had the same reaction to his "The Reality Disfunction" years ago and threw that against the wall. I thought perhaps the passage of time and a different book would improve Hamilton for me; I was wrong.
posted by zardoz at 11:56 PM on December 22, 2008

I can't swear I've thrown it, but I've certainly inveigled against "Prisoners of Shangri-La: Tibetan Buddhism and the West." What a terrible, terrible book. I definitely threw it in the recycling rather than taking it to the used bookstore, where I surely would have sold it because the demand for juvenile diatribes against Tibethan Buddhism far outstrips the market's ability to produce them. If I met the author I would happily throw him across the room, just for being a terrible writer.
posted by smartyboots at 12:02 AM on December 23, 2008

Stephen King's Insomnia. Little bald men doctors. Abortion rights/pro-life hysteria. A villain appearing as a giant, menacing catfish. And once I read the bit about the giant catfish, I did throw the book down.

I quit reading Stephen King on principle after that, because I was so disgusted by the book.

At times I've thought, "Surely the books that came after couldn't have been that bad? Surely that was his low point?"

And then I think, "Giant catfish."

And that's all I need to say to myself.
posted by Issithe at 12:05 AM on December 23, 2008 [2 favorites]

At times I've thought, "Surely the books that came after couldn't have been that bad? Surely that was his low point?"

Issithe, I might've thought the same, and then I read "Cell". To call that book half-baked is an insult to all half-baked books out there. It's like a 15-year-old trying to do a new version of "The Stand" and failing miserably. Add that one to this list. And I'm a S.K. fan.
posted by zardoz at 12:20 AM on December 23, 2008 [2 favorites]

Anne Rice's Interview With A Vampire, when I was 16. What a load of ropey old tosh... didn't mind the movie though.
posted by evil_esto at 12:31 AM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


I tried to once, but it seemed so ridiculous I couldn't.

Row Bought.
posted by OrangeDrink at 12:41 AM on December 23, 2008

I'm another with the big Respect for books, yet there have been two occasions when I found myself at the end of a ridiculously long story with an incredibly unsatisfying non-ending: David Foster Wallace's "Infinite Jest" and the final book in Stephen King's "Dark Tower" series. I still love both of those works, but after the months or years of reading with such little payoff, there was nothing I could do in the moment but fling the books across the room in pure frustration.
posted by KatlaDragon at 12:44 AM on December 23, 2008 [2 favorites]

On the Road, onto a road. I wish I'd got a picture of the tire tracks.
posted by melissa may at 1:11 AM on December 23, 2008

I've thrown "For Whom the Bell Tolls". Twice. Forced to read it in 9th grade then again as a senior, both times i wanted to burn it but they were school copies >.<
posted by Sgt.Grumbless at 1:14 AM on December 23, 2008

Robinson Crusoe.

When I was 13 or 14, my mother was trying to get me to read classics and literary fiction instead of Terry Pratchett, Agatha Christie, and other mass market paperbacks. I read and liked The Count of Monte Cristo, Three Musketeers, and some other stuff that she got me. But Robinson Crusoe was too much. I don't remember what I found so offensive about it but I do remember throwing it across the room and then hiding it so that I could say that I lost it when questioned.
posted by mustcatchmooseandsquirrel at 1:39 AM on December 23, 2008

Vernon God Little, and the God Delusion.

The first: Was I supposed to feel sympathy for that character? It was overblown, whingy, cliched rubbish.

The second: It was a book I never should have read... there were so many logical fallacies that it make my blood pressure rise through the roof.
posted by indienial at 1:45 AM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

I threw City of Bones by Cassandra Clare across the room. Much like Twilight, it was a bad YA novel. Then I tried to read Twilight and realized that City of Bones could have been much worse.

I didn't, however, throw Twilight across the room for two reasons. First, I knew what I was getting going in; I was reading it to see just how bad it was. Second, it's just really boring. Too boring to elicit rage from me.
posted by Nattie at 2:20 AM on December 23, 2008

I read the first line of the Da Vinci Code, then drop-kicked it at the wall.

For those who haven't had the pleasure, it's possibly the only fiction book ever to start with the word 'Renowned':
Renowned curator Jacques Saunière staggered through the vaulted archway of the museum's Grand Gallery.
posted by Happy Dave at 2:27 AM on December 23, 2008 [3 favorites]

Nietzsche. Beyond Good and Evil

It was the only reading I didn't finish in college. Because it was across the damn room and I didn't want to dignify the damn thing by walking over and picking it up.
posted by hydropsyche at 4:22 AM on December 23, 2008

I recently chucked two slim volumes of poetry by Rebecca Loudon into the recycling bin. I didn't want to be responsible for anyone else reading them.
posted by Restless Day at 5:39 AM on December 23, 2008

Sorry I missed this one earlier. I've never thrown a book across the room because it was bad or the writing sucked.

I did work in a little room at a library answering the phone for about 5 years. You know, if you throw a city directory back onto the atlas stand and miss, it can put a hole in the wall.
posted by marxchivist at 5:44 AM on December 23, 2008 [2 favorites]

Not thrown across the room, but thrown decisively into the trash- Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates, by Tom Robbins. Ugh. I've read a lot of crap with glee (and loved Twilight...), but that was unbearable.
posted by banjo_and_the_pork at 5:46 AM on December 23, 2008

I shot Leaves of Grass with a crossbow.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:49 AM on December 23, 2008 [8 favorites]

haha, im with you dame. im sure i threw "jude the obscure", because i was dying of boredom. what a terrible drag he was! how i hated his guts. a shame because i had enjoyed "the mayor of casterbridge".

i nearly always throw books when i get frustrated by them a realise how much time ive spent trying to like it.
posted by beccyjoe at 6:05 AM on December 23, 2008

yeah, but then again, I unload boxes at a bookstore.
posted by jonmc at 6:21 AM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

Does burning Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead count? It was the next best thing to punching the characters in the face.
posted by jmd82 at 6:27 AM on December 23, 2008

I might've thought the same, and then I read "Cell".

Zardoz, I kinda liked that book, up until the last few pages. It finished like he had to wrap it up in time for dinner or something.
posted by txvtchick at 6:35 AM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

Closest I ever came was while reading James Clavell's Whirlwind. I'd been working my way through his books and for some reason was just sick and tired of reading about this damn family & company. I didn't throw it, I just put it down and read something else. After I gave it a break for a year or so, I went back to it and actually enjoyed reading it. I think it's more like the reaction you get after listening to one band for too long - you don't care how much you liked the first few albums, you just don't want to hear the same old song again for a long damn time. But after a while, you take enough time off that it's nice to hear it again, and you have time to remember why you liked it in the first place.

Sgt.Grumbless writes "I've thrown 'For Whom the Bell Tolls'. Twice."

Well, there's no accounting for taste I guess. I'd much rather read one of Hemingway's grocery lists than most of the crap written today. Then again I was the only one in my high school English class that enjoyed the pure simplicity and anguish in The Old Man and the Sea.
posted by caution live frogs at 6:39 AM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

I've never thrown a book, but I did rip To Kill a Mockingbird clean in half when I was in ninth grade.
posted by joshrholloway at 6:42 AM on December 23, 2008

I usually throw poorly written writing manuals. I also remember throwing "Box Office Poison" for being overrated. I would have thrown "The Road" for the same reason, but it was an audiobook and I didn't want to break my ipod.
posted by coizero at 6:45 AM on December 23, 2008

Upon completion, I hurled John Updike's S with such reckless force that I nearly took out the TV with it. By far the worst book by a great author I've ever read.

I've gently set down several books because I felt sorry for the trees that gave up their pulp for them (most notably The Historian, which is laughably bad), but S is the only book I've actually, literally thrown out of disgust.
posted by arco at 6:58 AM on December 23, 2008

On the Road, onto a road. I wish I'd got a picture of the tire tracks.

You know, I've brought up to people what a misogynistic ass I thought Kerouac made himself out to be in that book, and so many people who I wouldn't have expected to rose to his defense -- "He was a product of his times," etc. I don't get it. He goes through the entire book laying waste to an entire landscape of women, burning the ground behind him, like a retreating army. Sure, he amassed some florid prose, but just the same, it galled me.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:59 AM on December 23, 2008 [2 favorites]

One of Laurell K. Hamilton's repulsive S/M fang banging rape fantasies. I wish I'd thrown it with more force and I wish I'd tossed the first one I read rather than about the third; ugh, what nasty books.

On reading this thread, I'm delighted to see I'm not the only one who thought the Da Vinci Code should be thrown or burnt or drowned or in other ways exterminated with extreme prejudice. Too bad the publisher didn't throw it first.
posted by mygothlaundry at 7:06 AM on December 23, 2008

I'm sure I've thrown some book or other, but can't recall the title(s). However, I do distinctly remember ripping in half, for a high-school video project that gonadostat and I were making, a copy of The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, so intensely was I bored by that slender little piece of kitchen-sink drudgery.
posted by Dr. Wu at 7:07 AM on December 23, 2008

This is a fascinating list. It seems like the only books that get thrown around are the very very good ones and the very very bad. Nobody ever moved something like Ian McEwan more than a couple of inches off the desk to place it back on the shelf. I want to write a Frisbee book someday. Or better yet, a boomerang.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:32 AM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

I read a ton (my guess is around 60-100 books a year since high school, at least) and I've never thrown any. I've written criticisms of books in the margins. I've bitched to friends vocally about books I've hated. I've written negative goodreads reviews. And, for the really bad ones, I've just stopped reading.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:09 AM on December 23, 2008

I have definitely mellowed with age...now, I will just stop reading before the point of book-throwing. The only book I ever actually threw was Prince of Chaos by Roger Zelazny, the last Amber book. I loved the first five and was stubborn about reading the second five even as they got worse and worse. I was so disgusted with the downward spiral of the story that the moment I finished, across the room it went.

To Green Angel Tower: Part 2, by Tad Williams, certainly deserved to be thrown for taking a decent-to-good fantasy series and completely wrecking it in the last 50 pages.

On the other hand, when I made the mistake of starting Williams' Otherworld series (as a favor to someone), I just stopped reading. Same with Robert Jordan, and with Bonfire of the Vanities.

Although I've been an avid reader all my life, I never had the reverence for books that many posters have expressed. I wonder why.
posted by Sand at 8:17 AM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

Yes, but only moldy ones donated to the library at which I does work.
posted by zzazazz at 8:45 AM on December 23, 2008

Regarding the reverence for books that many here express, I will say that although I have physically thrown a few books aside in disgust, I definitely find it much more difficult to give up on a lousy book than a lousy movie. Turning off (or even walking out of the cinema on) a boring/bad movie is far easier for me than is abandoning a book that I'm not enjoying. If I'm not enjoying a movie by the 30 minute mark I feel no shame in concluding that the movie is uninteresting, or just plain bad. But if I'm not enjoying a book, my first conclusion is that the problem lies with me (e.g. perhaps I'm not paying enough attention, or not empathizing enough with the protagonist, etc.) and not with the book. This does not seem entirely rational. Why should this be? Perhaps because we were conditioned as students to associate books with "smart/important" and movies with "trivial/fun?"
posted by applemeat at 8:55 AM on December 23, 2008

I've never thrown a book, but I thoroughly enjoyed deleting an electronic copy of "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!" That's probably an unpopular opinion.

Also, my SO destroyed a sudoku book page-by-page after establishing that one of the puzzles had multiple solutions.
posted by rlk at 9:25 AM on December 23, 2008

I threw The Celestine Prophecy across the room after the second chapter. Pure unadulterated pap.
posted by elmono at 9:57 AM on December 23, 2008 [2 favorites]

Two in my whole life.

1) Da Vinci Code. Utter shit works as (1) a description of the book itself, and (2) a description of what I did while reading the book in reaction to the clunkiness on every page.

I threw it when Langdon's trying to make a car start, and it won't, and the narrator tries to describe it in a humorous fashion, fails utterly and then tells us that it's funny, and to hell with it. (Something like "while Langdon was trying to start his car in such a humorous fashion...")

(And if I misremembered this bit, I don't care!)

Da Vinci code fiendish riddle spoiler alert!

"Can you think of a 5-letter word that has something to do with Newton?"
"Uh, apple?"
"Well done! You have solved the Da Vinci Code!"

2) The Dark Tower, twice. It just didn't take. I bought it once because I'd never read any Steven King, and hurled it at the wall (and threw it out) because it so was badly written. Later, I bought and enjoyed The Stand, then rebought Dark Tower to give it another shot. Alas, it remained as excremental as the previous time, so I put it to the wall!
posted by laumry at 10:14 AM on December 23, 2008 [2 favorites]

I pitched Spock's Your Baby and Child when he claimed that a baby is unable to stay awake if tired. Tell that to my colick-y baby, who still still, at 21, barely sleeps.

Scott Peck's The Road Less Traveled was judgmental narrow-minded crap.
posted by theora55 at 12:29 PM on December 23, 2008

And I've taken a lot of books to Goodwill after 1 chapter because they sucked.
posted by theora55 at 12:30 PM on December 23, 2008

I'm fairly certain that I have thrown a book only once, but it was out of non-book-related anger/curiosity about the palliative effect of throwing books out of non-book-related anger.
posted by quatsch at 12:41 PM on December 23, 2008

To re-cap:

Sci-fi and fantasy are the most-thrown genres of books, and The Da Vinci Code is a steaming pile of ostrich droppings.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:43 PM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

Usually I just throw books in a lazy way, i.e. lightly chucking them at the nearest chair or something when I can't be arsed to get up and go to a bookcase. But I wish I had thrown The Continuity Girl across the room, rather than handing it off to a friend (who I presume probably hated it too, but I was definitely afraid to ask afterwards).

I have a book review site, and got this one sent to me for free. I normally don't review books I can't finish. This book hit wall-banger status around page 12, but since it had been sent to me, I forced myself to continue. This was the one book in history that actually improved around the middle...and then turned to rotten shit again at the end. Just thinking of that book makes me angry.
posted by jenfullmoon at 12:55 PM on December 23, 2008

Tortilla Curtain. I'm sure it's a good book but the main character is so execrable that I couldn't read long enough to see him get his comeuppance.

Also the Alchemist by some Brazilian guy.
posted by Barry B. Palindromer at 1:12 PM on December 23, 2008

The John Irving book with the thing about the girl and the pony... was that Cider House Rules? Not only did I throw it across the room, but I actually threw it out in the trash, a level of blasphemy that I have never before or since considered for any book.
posted by Flannery Culp at 2:17 PM on December 23, 2008

Read almost 90% of an anthropology book about modern day Mayan women during my senior year of college. (This was for a class, obviously.) I put up with a lot of boredom and repetition, and when it became clear that it was all for nothing, the paperback took flight. But I'm pretty sure I still have it on my shelf somewhere.
posted by Doctor Suarez at 3:10 PM on December 23, 2008

Mark Helprin.

In my teens I was attracted to Winter's Tale as SF/F (magic realism?) but bogged down in it and its mind-boggling sentimentality (his main characters are all Marty Sues or Mary Sues) and was thrown off by his attacks on liberals long before I knew about his other identity as a right-wing commentator.

I couldn't get through Refiner's Fire, either, and I've never even attempted to read Memoir from Antproof Case.
posted by bad grammar at 4:33 PM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

Potomac Avenue: I want to write a Frisbee book someday.

They really don't frisbee well, especially trade paperbacks. The pages flap open after just a spin or two, destroying all momentum and lift, then they just flop to the floor. I advise against it.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:47 PM on December 23, 2008

No need to throw a book. Just put it down.

Throwing it speaks volumes more about the thrower than the book.
posted by LGCNo6 at 7:10 PM on December 23, 2008

I am so filled with glee at all of the Da Vinci Code haters in this thread. I never thought I could hate a book so very much - (laumry - the apple thing still bugs me to this day!) - UNTIL:

Angels and Demons.

That book I forcibly dropped or slammed onto the table every time I picked it up to soldier through another few pages. When I finished it, I did throw it - it was just the most abominable piece of Mary-Sue trash I'd never had the unfortunate luck to dream of beforehand. ARRGH.
posted by AthenaPolias at 7:48 PM on December 23, 2008

Also the Alchemist by some Brazilian guy.
posted by Barry B. Palindromer at 1:12 PM on December 23 [+] [!]

Paulo Coelho - I threw that one, too. But I finished it almost completely before that, in a fit of terrible-accident-can't-avert-my-eyes-ness.
posted by The Toad at 10:48 PM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

I didn't throw House of Leaves, but I wouldn't keep in in my room with me. I put it outside, in the dorm hallway, while I slept. Very creepy object, that book.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:04 AM on December 24, 2008 [2 favorites]

Re House of Leaves: I found it more annoying than creepy.
posted by desuetude at 10:45 AM on December 24, 2008

The Diamond Age, Neil Stephenson. Loved the technology angle. Hated the story. Thought it was utter tripe. Couldn't give a crap what happened to the characters. Got frustrated. Threw it across the room. Never finished it.

Life of Pi, Jan Martel. I was promised a survivalist tale about a boy and a tiger. What I got was a bunch of religious/philosophical nonsense. I tried skipping the religious parts, but then I realized I was skipping, like, 20 pages at a time. Finally, I got so fed up, I threw it across the room. "I don't care if it's on the Staff Picks table at The Strand. Fuck this!" This one I actually recycled, hoping it would become part of someone's toilet paper roll.

I never threw it across the room, but Winter's Tale was such an awful book it should be shot from a catapult. Helprin's prose isn't merely purple; it's ultraviolet.

Really, in the last 8 years or so, I can only think of 6 or so that I didn't finish.

The Diamond Age - annoying story
Life of Pi - too much religion
Brothers Karamazov - too much religion. (although, oddly, I loved Crime and Punishment)
Goedel Escher Bach - didn't have time to do all the little puzzles. put it down and never picked it back up
Against The Day - which is weird, because I love Pynchon. this one just had way too many sublots that had nothing to do with each other. The transitions were way too jarring. Also, ATD was all about linear algebra (which I got a D in), whereas Gravity's Rainbow was all about calculus (which I got As in)
Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius - gross, sad, and completely unnecessary. Actually, this one I may have thrown across the room. And even if I didn't, I should have.

But I loved House of Leaves. One of the best books I've read all year. Literally, I had a hard time putting it down. For example, I would be sad when I got to the end of my subway commute because it meant I had to stop reading.
posted by Afroblanco at 5:45 PM on December 24, 2008 [1 favorite]

Having just finished it this morning, I can say that "The End of Mr. Y" ought to be shot. I couldn't even be arsed to throw it, just stare at that last, stupid paragraph and sigh.
posted by kalimac at 8:49 PM on December 24, 2008 [1 favorite]

Some Dean Koontz in the 6th grade.
posted by Beardman at 11:16 PM on December 24, 2008 [1 favorite]

The DaVinci Code. "400 pages of silly potboiler and turgid prose and that's the ending everybody's talking about?" *fling*
posted by lordrunningclam at 11:15 AM on December 25, 2008

I've thrown a few here and there. The one I burned, however, was House on Mango Street (except, wait, the book doesnt belive in punctuation. Typos left in for humor)

Assigned by a young, naive high school teacher at a rich-ish white kids high school who thought we all should love that book like she did and write many papers about how deep, meaningful, and significant it was, it bored the ever loving crap out of me.
posted by Jacen at 8:56 PM on December 25, 2008 [1 favorite]

I once decided to read Atlas Shrugged with the intention of adapting it into a AIRPLANE or NAKED GUN style parody screenplay ... but I got mugged about halfway through while trying to buy drugs near an airport in Hawaii, and managed to lose both the book and all my notes.
posted by philip-random at 10:08 AM on January 2, 2009 [2 favorites]

Books I have thrown: A Tale of Two Cities, A Confederacy of Dunces, and The Kingdom by the Sea (Paul Theroux).
posted by jagosaurus at 8:58 AM on January 3, 2009

I read a book called "The Day John met Paul" about, well, the day John Lennon met Paul McCartney. It was awful, making the day seem almost mystical when it was probably just another day in Liverpool. I not only threw it across the room, but ripped it to shreds and threw it away. I've never done that to a book, nor have I since...
posted by adverb at 7:17 PM on January 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

I was raised to respect books more than my family. Yet it happened very quickly on a road trip to South Dakota in 1977, me and my brother wedged the back of an old station wagon/tank with the "grips" and briefcases, facing the cars behind us I started to read "Two Minute Warning." The first few words describing the meeting between a sociopath and a bag of puppies made me almost throw up and I chucked the book onto the South Dakotan dirt at 70 mph plus my sidearm delivery.

We also grew up for a while in a town upstate New York that had a creek running behind the 19th century row of Main Street stores with several bridges and walkways across it. Midway through Stephen King's, "It", I nearly peed my pants - just a little - crossing a creek bridge and looking down to see a balloon stuck on the bank. But after we (my mother and I took turns reading it to each other and Grandfather who was ill) got to the end and met the Turtle of the Universe and the Space Spider, we flipped that piece of shit across the room into the fireplace.
posted by Kensational at 8:41 PM on January 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

After reading Franz Kafka's The Metamorphasis, I did literally throw the book across the room. What a godawful story.
To be clear: I would never censor it nor ban it from a library. It just evoked such a strong emotion of disgust that I spontaneously expressed my desire to be rid of it.
posted by Mozai at 12:43 PM on January 27, 2009

Stranger in a Strange Land, after being thrilled with Starship Troopers.

I can do you one better, Number of the Beast after being addicted to Heinlein's"juvenile" novels in early adolescence. I hated that book so bad I didn't read any science fiction fro 10 years.

More recenelty I picked up Tom Wolfe's I Am Charlotte Simmons as an audio book for a long trip. It was horrible on all levels, the characters made no sense, his portrayal of modern college life was idiotic and the whole thing stank of bad reactionary politics. But I listened to the whole thing cause I had nothing else to do on te highway. Once it was done it got immediately thrown into the nearest dumpster.
posted by afu at 4:16 AM on April 5, 2009

I have to agree with you about I Am Charlotte Simmons. I read it on the recommendation of someone I trust (and because I'm a grad student at its purported setting) and it was simply horrid. It's the only bad book I can recall to give me unpleasantness flashbacks from time to time still years after I read it.

But I checked it out from the library, so I didn't throw it across the floor.
posted by hydropsyche at 4:53 AM on April 5, 2009

After news came out that Time had named George W. Bush the Person of the Year in 2004, I ripped up my copy of Time's Great People of the Twentieth Century. Ripped it up into little pieces and ripped the pieces up into tinier pieces.

I miss my copy of Time's Great People of the Twentieth Century.
posted by jock@law at 7:14 AM on April 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

The trade-paperback of the comic that the movie "The Crow" was based on. Utter, utter, garbage. (And I quite liked the movie.)

I still have my copy, though. I keep it on the bookshelf, and if I do something stupid I force myself to read it, as penance.

It's been a long time since I did anything that stupid.
posted by rifflesby at 12:42 PM on April 5, 2009

I can't remember ever throwing a book.

While out interrailing a few years ago, I stopped by an english-language bookstore in what I think was Budapest. Reading the back of Dan Browns "Digital Fortress", I literally laughed my ass off, and it kept me smirking for days on end.

I can't remember exactly how it went, but I think the first sentence began with "...X, a brilliant and beautiful cryptologist" or something to that effect.
posted by flippant at 5:34 PM on April 6, 2009

You literally laughed your ass off? That would have prevented me smirking for days on end.
posted by unSane at 9:30 PM on April 7, 2009 [2 favorites]

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