The 7 Stages of Hate-Reading

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Alex Acks

Contributing Editor

Alex Acks is a writer, geologist, and sharp-dressed sir. They've written for Six to Start and been published in Strange Horizons, Lightspeed, Shimmer, Daily Science Fiction, and more. Alex lives in Denver with their two furry little bastards, where they twirl their mustache, watch movies, and bike. Twitter: @katsudonburi Website:

This is a guest post from Rachael Acks. Rachael is a writer, geologist, and dapper AF. Ze’s written for Six to Start and been published in Strange Horizons, Lightspeed, Daily Science Fiction, and more. Rachael lives in Denver with zir two furry little bastards, where ze twirls zir mustache, watches movies, and bikes. For more information, see Follow zir on Twitter @katsudonburi.

Is hate reading even a thing? I know hate-watching is a thing. I’ve hate-watched shows before. But books seem so much more personal—and more of a time and emotion sink—that going out of my way to find books to hate-read has never really occurred to me. I know that people do it some times, I’m just puzzled as to why.

There’s only one book in the history of my life thus far that I’ve actually hate-read: The Maze Runner. The process went something like this.

Open-mindedness: Hey, great! My friends, whom I like and assume they like me and don’t want to hurt me, recommended this book as something fun, so let’s do this thing! Come on, little book, I’m ready for an adventure.

Annoyance: What is with all this cutesy dystopian future slang? Gah this is getting on my nerves. But fine, it’s a thing, it’s not my thing, just try to ignore it even if it’s like nails on chalkboard. And why do all the other characters keep refusing to tell Thomas what the words mean? I mean yes, I get that he has some kind of processing issue because he apparently can’t figure things out from context, but there’s no logical reason for any of this information to be kept secret. Well, the central mystery is kind of interesting, so I’ll keep going.

Disbelief: This world build makes absolutely zero sense, how is this even possible? And did the entire group of characters seriously just make a joke about raping an unconscious girl? How are all of these characters simultaneously annoying, boring, and absolutely horrific people? How is it the most likable character is the Annoying Sidekick(tm)? Why does nothing make sense?

Despair: It’s never going to get better, is it? Oh god, I’ve invested how many hours of my time, struggling through this book, and it’s still nothing but a nonsensical world with stupid, made-up slang. There’s no reason for any of this, is there. What have I done with my life? Who am I, really? What is this book turning me in to? Why does the Token Strong Female Character(tm) keep rolling her eyes? She’s rolling them at me, isn’t she. She’s judging me because I’m still reading this book.

Anger: Screw you, Maze Runner, you’re not going to beat me. Yes, I know I gave up on that economics book after the introduction was so brain numbingly boring that I fell asleep—I know it’s possible to just give up, and there’s no shame in it. But this isn’t about pride. This is about not letting you win, you smug little tree corpse. I am going to find out what is up with your stupid dystopian amnesia maze, and then we are through.

Bestial Rage: Are you serious? That’s the reason behind the maze? That’s how you’re going to kill off one of the characters? And have you ever even read the Wikipedia page about solar flares? DO YOU EVEN SCIENCE? Oh, wink wink, there’s a sequel about how super special Thomas and the Token Strong Female Character are? NOT TODAY, SATAN.

Vengeful Ranting: Hello, my name is Rachael, let me tell you how much I hate The Maze Runner. I hope you brought at least two beers (they’re both for me) and a spit shield. Let’s get started.

I’ve been stuck on the vengeful ranting stage for two years. I think it’s permanent.