What NOT to read

Well, last week I was all full of public service, giving you tips on what to read while eating bonbons in the hammock this summer, all while smiling contentedly at the distant peals of laughter while your children play merrily in the summer sunshine encourage ants to crawl on them “because it tickles me.”

Guess which part of that sentence is true at my house?

You can’t make this stuff up. Henry chases them saying, “tickle, tickle!”


Unless you LIKE weird, fantastical accounts of matricide by a middle-aged, nude life model and mother of two, including a description of the deceased’s genitals, and scenes of sex with young men in cars immediately afterwards (I cannot WAIT to see what my Google searches are going to bring me tomorrow.), I’d give The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold a pass.

Her writing, like in Lucky and The Lovely Bones, is as meticulous and spare as ever. It was the quality of her writing that got me as far as page 63.

But then I thought to myself, time for reading is a luxury, and there is NOTHING luxurious about witnessing the machinations of protagonist Helen’s mind as she…wait for it….decides to put her dead mom in the freezer.

What else should I NOT read this summer? Because I want those minutes back!

Posted in

Anna Sawin

Anna Sawin is a Connecticut-based portrait, wedding, and editorial photographer. She lives in the shoreline town of Stonington with her family and has discovered the perfect cupcake. Just ask, she is willing to share her secret.


  1. elizabethews on June 25, 2008 at 8:43 am

    Oh, don’t you just hate it?? I give my self the 50-page rule. If you make it to page 50 and you hate it, put it back on the shelf (or donate it). Other books you may want to avoid (in my opinion, of course): August (can’t remember who wrote it, but it was painfully boring); Et Tu, Babe by Mark Leyner (although Kissing in Manhatten is GREAT); and Silas Marner (but does that really scream “summer reading!!!” I think not).

  2. Sarah on June 25, 2008 at 8:58 am

    don’t get me started on the almost moon. Of course, I was reading it in the final, painful weeks of my husband’s great-aunt’s life when we were caring for her in our home, so I was especially disturbed by the thought that things could actually get worse for us. that stupid book gave me nightmares.

    lame books I’ve read in recent years that irritate me for having taken up my valuable reading time: secret life of bees, heartsick by chelsea cain, any of the wideacre series by phillipa gregory (seriously, wtf, phillipa), p.s. i love you, the corrections, 47 rules of highly effective bank robbers.

    run away!

  3. thelandofka on June 25, 2008 at 9:22 am

    Alrighty, thanks for the insight. 😉

    As for the “tickle, tickle”, it’s better than the screaming that ensues here when an ant deigns to walk on their bodies.

  4. Jess on June 25, 2008 at 9:37 am

    I’m so sad to hear this! I liked The Lovely Bones and Lucky a lot. But Alice Sebold’s subject matter is definitely grim.

  5. B. on June 25, 2008 at 9:39 am

    Enjoy, summer…don’t read the newspaper.

  6. JenBun on June 25, 2008 at 10:45 am

    I, too, enjoyed Lovely Bones (her writing style is impressive)… but I think I’ll give this one a pass… disappointing!

    I can’t think of anything off the top of my head that you should definitely stay away from, but I will weigh in later if something strikes me.

  7. Heather on June 25, 2008 at 11:42 am

    Don’t waste your time with James Patterson’s Sunday’s at Tiffanys. Just awful.

  8. sdh on June 25, 2008 at 11:43 am

    ugh, i hated Lovely Bones and this one doesn’t sound any better!

  9. amy Flood on June 25, 2008 at 12:05 pm

    Do not read Middlesex by Jeffery Eugenides. totally painful to read and very very boring!

  10. Molly on June 25, 2008 at 1:07 pm

    Do not read anything in the Shopoholic series. Not that I can see you reading any of them. I picked one up while stuck in an aiport and it would have been a better trip if I was stuck next to a smelly old man who wanted to talk about coins for six hours.

  11. Christina on June 26, 2008 at 4:20 pm

    Ummm, yeah I think I’ll be skipping that one. There are so many great books out there, if I’m not “into” it after a few chapters I just put it down.
    You will have to tell us what kind of weirdos are finding you now after this post. 😉

  12. Jess K. on June 26, 2008 at 6:35 pm

    Thank you – good save.
    Also avoid: Snow, by Orhan Pamuk. Music for Torching by A M Homes.
    Oh, but I loved Middlesex. Is that pitiful?
    I tend to read books I hate to the finish in a weird torture ritual. Hangover from being an English major in college. Even Silas Marner – agreed on that one!

  13. elizabethews on June 26, 2008 at 8:34 pm

    Agree with Amy Flood on Middlesex. Oddly…disagree with Molly (that is SO unlike me) about Shopaholic. Liked them in a mindless-beach-read sort of way. Certainly not anything that’s going to stimulate the brain much.

Leave a Comment


Anna Sawin is a Connecticut-based portrait, wedding, and editorial photographer. She lives in the shoreline town of Stonington with her family and has discovered the perfect cupcake. Just ask, she is willing to share her secret.