Every once in a while, I’d binge buy a bunch of books at my local Barnes & Noble, especially when I used to work there years ago. We used to get a pretty sweet employee discount that made it nearly impossible for me to save money.
The majority of books I bought were great (rather, still have the potential to be great — I have plenty on my to-be read list), but there are a couple that I remember that I do regret buying.
One book in particular I was certain I found in the fantasy section of the bookstore. I tend to gravitate towards fantasy, sci-fi, graphic novels, and the occasional YA. I stay away from the romance section. Romance as a sub-genre is fine and dandy, as long as it’s fluffy and not shoved down my throat, but the genre is not this asexual’s cup of tea. I prefer earl gray or chamomile with honey. The book in question was probably in the fantasy section due to involving a — or the? — devil.
I figured that romance would be part of the story, but I think my reasoning for picking up the book was that it may have some adventure in Hell or something. Give me mischief and trouble and magic and hellfire! Unfortunately, the book itself was more about a human woman trying to navigate her romantic entanglement with a — you guessed it — devil.
I tried to read it. Really. Yet, there were a few too many scenes glossing over how the characters were tumbling into bed (among some other, um, unsanitary places and the use of the devil’s tail) when the woman should probably have been figuring out how she got to this point in her life. She would begin to try to put down boundaries and explain how human life should work to her Boyfriend From Hell — like, you know, not killing her roommate’s cat — then he’d smirk and the nearest bed would be used.
It was not interesting.
I don’t even remember the title or the author of the book. I recall the cover a bit — some reds and whites, with a woman gazing up at a rugged-looking man, which honestly should have been my first clue about the story — and that it wasn’t a thick book. It’s been quite a while since I gave the book away to a thrift shop, hoping that maybe it would find a nice home with someone else who could give it proper attention.
The book was already donated before I realized that I gave a near-erotica story with the devil to the thrift shop attached to my church. Whoops.
…Maybe one of the older ladies who ran the place got a kick out of it.
Any books you’ve regretted buying?
How often do you stay up a little too long past your bedtime to finish reading a book?
While there was a possibility I may fall asleep at my desk at my day job the next day, this particular book was worth it. The book in question was Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston.
Basically, the son of the female President of the United States and a prince of England get together, much to the chagrin of their respective countries. Chaos ensues and, throughout it all, both young men are trying to figure out their place in the world and with each other.
I obviously enjoyed the story, sacrificing a couple of extra hours of sleep for it, but the acknowledgements in the back of the book also caught my eye. This book was published in May 2019, but it has existed with the author since 2016 which, she admits, did not turn out as she — and much of the U.S. — expected. As she states in the acknowledgements, “Suddenly what was supposed to be a tongue-in-cheek parallel universe needed to be escapist, trauma-soothing, alternate-but-realistic reality.”
American and English politics, sexuality, race, immigration, they’re all touched upon in this book. They’re mostly in the background of the story, true, but these aspects of the real world drive the main characters as they try to figure out how to be true to themselves despite their public lives. The drama kept me reading, but the real world issues hit home.
Keep fighting, keep making history, keep looking after one another. It’s crucial now more than ever.