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I DONT recommend these 3 books pt. 1

I mean, read them if you want, but these are books I disliked in 2023…respectfully

By Jay,when I writePublished 5 months ago 4 min read
I DONT recommend these 3 books pt. 1
Photo by Barefoot Communications on Unsplash

It is honestly hard for me to not enjoy a book and give it at least a 2.5-3. I always respect the effort and say, “well, I’m glad they put something out into the world that they loved,” when I’ve completed a book (even if I wish I wasn’t the person that picked it up). I don’t even rate some books if I can’t think of where to place them due to length, genre or topic. It just depends. But here are ones that weren’t for me, and I acknowledged it.

You may enjoy these reads, and that’s ok. We‘re all different.

1. Which Side Are You On by Ryan Lee Wong

Genre: fiction

Warnings: Police brutality, and racial division

Plus: Made me want to do more research on Black and Asian alliances and also challenges with coming together

Minus: well…

Description: An Asian American young activist (Reed) learns about Asian and Black Americans and how they’ve coexisted and issues amongst them. Before, he does more research he wants to drop out of college and devote his life to activism (BLM movement) He is challenged by his mother to face the ideas he has and he questions his opinions a bit more as he looks at things from different angles. Goes into generational changes, historical moments and a mother’s secret

Going into this one I thought I’d be getting an insightful, and complex books with interesting points and topics that will not only be brought up, but made sense of.

However that wasn’t the case. Ideas were brought up, but they were either not dealt with well, or not talked about at all. The story is centered around a young man who thinks he has it all figured out, but is challenged by older people. And I did appreciate that. It is easy for us to believe that we know everything and that our knowledge of a topic is all there is to that topic. That’s not true. This story also allows you to go, “huh, I didn’t know that,” and “maybe I should do more research,” and I appreciate those things too, but the main character is so unlikeable and is just…

he sounds annoying and this book could’ve just been a twitter thread.

There’s no humor or break, and it was as if they followed the wrong character. Him being so unsure even towards the end made me have a hard time understanding him. It felt like he was throwing out buzz words and unable to just be a person. And, that could have been intentional. It was pointed out once that he couldn’t let a moment pass without saying something negative about the world or anything.

Don’t get me wrong, it is important to think of these things, and I find it difficult to enjoy things even more as I get older and look around. We should all be reflecting. But, somehow he felt unbearable and this comes from someone who frequently read books about horrible historic moments and who has so many thoughts in my head that makes it hard to sip a cup of coffee because yes, I do care where this coffee is coming from and how…

The points were connecting well enough for me and the conclusion felt like a, “finally it’s over,” and left me with nothing. It’s a bit exaggerated and too angsty without solving or getting to the root of anything. We need both if anything.

Anyway, it was wordy yet didn’t say enough at the same time. It didn’t answer the title’s question for the characters in the book, and again, maybe that was intentional to show nothing’s ever that black and white.

2. Darius the Great is Not okay by Adib Khorrram

genre: ya fiction-lgbt+

Plot: This book follows a boy named Darius Kellner (Iranian-American) who lives in Portland and visits Iran. Back home he is bullied, finds it hard to find his place, enjoys watching Star Trek with his dad aka the only thing they do together as he feels he’s not loved by his dad due to his awkwardnesss and depression, and he’s a lover of tea…like he talks about it a lot. In Iran, he meets a friend named Sohrab, and plays football with neighborhood kids. Him and Sohrab develop a friendship and learns more about himself, his family, and culture as he opens up a bit more.

Plus side: the main character is Iranian-American and I’m all for seeing more POC in books, the character has depression and I’m all for talking about mental illnesses more/more effectively and I think those parts were handled with care, the ”romance” if you’d call it that is gentle and a “blink and you’ll miss it,” kind…which is different, but it was handled gently and I appreciated that…they were good people you know. Also, I love tea and it made me want to get back into trying things.

minuses: well…

It was very repetitive and I found no one interesting enough to read about for so long. I disliked the way the author would say something like a food, then go on to explain what it was. It took me out of the book. Some writers write as if the reader knows their culture, or is apart of the story…other writers explain everything, and I prefer the former. I only care for more explanations/descriptions when they‘re building a world and the foods and languages are made up. Here, it felt unnecessary. If I want to know what that meal or word means, I’ll look it up, but in the meantime let me infer or just not know. They didn’t add anything.

3. Mouthpieces by Eimer McBride

warning: assault and blood-very violent

genre: fiction

A very short read, yet it was hard to get through. It didn’t say anything in my opinion and there was no story. Felt “try hard” and tense and hard to follow just for the heck of it. I’m actually alright with violence in books. But, this felt too sporadic and unnatural in a way.

Someone pointed out how it would probably be better if it was performed. I think I agree...yeah actually.

That’s it for now! Thanks! Peace.


About the Creator

Jay,when I write



23, Black, queer, yup

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Comments (1)

  • Scott Christenson5 months ago

    Interesting to read opinions like yours here that aren't at either of the two extremes. The first one sounded a bit preachy, maybe needs more "show not tell" I'm happy that the Iran one found some good in the country, there's too much "they are bad" outrage about other countries everywhere in the news and online..

Jay,when I writeWritten by Jay,when I write

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