Coffee Time Tuesdays: The Anti-TBR — Popular Books I Will Never Read

Is our weekly column becoming a home for fun bookish tags? Not entirely. But every now and again, I like to spice things up and set myself the challenge of not writing based on my set Coffee Time Tuesdays format, but trying something new.

Let me give you a little glimpse into how I write this column on Monday afternoons: 

  • I reflect on my reading during the past week and decide on an angle
  • I start looking for a hot new release I’m happy to recommend (this is surprisingly hard — I always aim for something as universally appealing and currently relevant as possible)
  • I write my title, which is usually my catalyst for what I will say in the column itself
  • I design the featured image, which is a fun creative experience that always inspires me 
  • then I open previous Coffee Time Tuesdays and have a look at the structure, adapt it to the one I’m writing, then fill in the blanks

A weekly column is all about consistency: people need to know what they get. But sometimes I have absolutely nothing new to share in terms of what I’ve been reading, so I like to get creative.

The next best thing after sharing new releases and discussing reading habits? Starting a whole conversation around different questions regarding reading tastes, plans, pet peeves and preferences.

The anti-TBR tag, originally created by Nicole & Her Books on YouTube, raises the controversy of popular books we aren’t hyped about. No matter how much I like to go with the crowds when it comes to good books, there will always be some I’m simply not interested in reading. And this is what I’m about to share with you today.

Disclaimer: Please note the following answers are based solely on my personal opinions and tastes. If you enjoy these books and authors, please remember this is not a critique of your preferences, just my own opinion.

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

I’m going to start with a bang: Book Lovers by Emily Henry. I’ve read You and Me on Vacation and Beach Read and none of them impressed me very much. 

I don’t dislike Emily Henry’s writing, but neither do I think it’s particularly unique or remarkable and I have other romance authors I prefer to pick up instead. The title Book Lovers sounds charming but that’s not enough to convince me to pick it up. Never say never, though.

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

I could list a good few dozens here, because I’m just generally not into classics at all. I’ve tried over and over again to like classic literature and I just don’t. I find it frustrating how obsolete some of the themes and attitudes are and I always get this distinct feeling that what I’m reading is…dusty, somehow.

I have read some classics I enjoyed, but for the most part, I prefer to not waste my time with them. Ulysses by James Joyce is probably the one classic book I know for sure I’ll never read. Why would I do that to myself?

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

I’m really not fussed about Colleen Hoover. I’ve heard mixed opinions about her but solely based on the plots of some of her books, I just don’t see myself ever picking any of them up. Call me a hipster.

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

This was supposed to be my answer to question 1, but I’ve just found out that this author might be a little questionable, so I will include her here. Delia Owens, author of the beloved and widely acclaimed Where the Crawdads Sing

I’m essentially not bothered about the book itself, but because Owens, her husband and stepson are to this day wanted in Zambia for questioning about a murder case from 1996, the book seems a little too close to the author’s story for me to be comfortable reading it. 

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

Julian Barnes used to be very popular a couple of years ago and after reading The Only Story, I can’t say I ever got the urge to read anything else from him. He’s perceived as a modern classic among readers around the world and while I can appreciate his skill, I can’t say his writing resonated with me as much as I’d hoped.

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

The answer to both of these questions is fantasy. I can’t, for the life of me, enjoy fantasy as a genre. I’ve tried and it just doesn’t do it for me. I prefer books set in the world and reality I know and can relate to. 

Although I admire the creativity and skill that go into making up completely fictional worlds, creatures, abilities and, in some cases, languages, I still find it a lot more compelling to read about a world I’m familiar with.

7. A book you have bought but will never read? (this can be a book you have unhauled/returned to the library unread) 

Ian McEwan’s Nutshell is still collecting dust on my bookshelf in my parents’ house, untouched for years. I love the concept of this book: it’s written from the perspective of an unborn child. 

But I’ve read a few chapters and something about it just irks me. I think McEwan tried too hard to make the baby’s voice very obviously the voice of a foetus and I don’t think that was necessary at all.

8. A series you have no interest in reading OR a series you started & have dnf’d? 

I will get so much hate for this. The Lord of the Rings trilogy is my shamefully dnf’d series I don’t think I’ll ever pick up again. I adored The Hobbit and the first LOTR book was wonderful. 

But I got as far as the second before I got bored. I’m not a fan of lengthy descriptions and, as mentioned before, fantasy is not my cup of tea (coffee?), so as much as I’d have liked to finish and love this trilogy, I don’t think I ever will. Hats off to Tolkien for the incredible world-building, though.

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

To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara has been on my mind since I decided to do this tag in today’s column. I want to read A Little Life this year just because, as an old Romanian saying would go, I don’t want to die dumb — so I want to know what the violent sobs are all about. Plus, I like a good cry (when it’s not driven by personal emotional distress, of course). 

But unless A Little Life absolutely knocks my socks off, I don’t think I’ll pick up Yanagihara’s latest book. The length itself is reason enough for me. I’m not usually a long book kind of reader because I have ADHD and therefore a minuscule attention span and patience. But even more so, the plot doesn’t seem to be something I’d ever be interested in reading anyway.

And that’s it for this week’s Coffee Time Tuesday. If you’ve never done the Anti-TBR tag, why not give it a go? Let me know some of your answers in the comments and if you’re a writer or blogger, I challenge you to write a full article about this tag. If you do, tag me or leave the link in the comments, as I would love to read it! See you next week.

Published by Eliza Lita

Founder and editor-in-chief: Coffee Time Reviews. Freelance writer and Higher Ed comms person.

One thought on “Coffee Time Tuesdays: The Anti-TBR — Popular Books I Will Never Read

  1. I’ve only read two Colleen Hoover books, but only because I was genuinely interested in the plots. I haven’t had any interest in the others though, which seem to be more popular. I’m also not a reader of Sarah J. Maas books – no interest.


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