Top Five Hopeful and Hopeless Novels



hello everybody here welcome back to another top 5 Friday we're doing things a little different this time we're doing a top 10 list but it is 5 of 1 and 5 of the other this list was requested by my friend and fellow author Chad lutzky so I'm just gonna go ahead and jump right into it I will say actually I won't just jump right into it the top 5 hopeful books was extremely difficult for me to pick out in fact if I was hard pressed to try and find a sixth one I don't think I could I went out this for two hours and there was only 5 books in my collection that I found eventually where I was like yeah that loved me what's a good feeling of hope at the end which got me kind of ruminating on why why am I so drawn to hopelessness um I really gravitate toward that side of things no matter what and I didn't want to put nonfiction on here because basically all the nonfiction I read is kind of hopeful I mean you read a biography or whatever like becoming by Michelle Obama the whole reason I read it was because I knew it was gonna be hopeful or unfuck yourself or subtle art of not giving a or several different things um but I didn't think putting nonfiction on this list was right I don't know why so but if if you think I should have then on this list throw on Michelle Obama's becoming and throw on unfuck yourself and even the subtle art of not giving a those are hopeful books I guess they trying to make you well Obama Michelle Obama's book isn't but you know they they try to promote hope because their self outlooks if there's no hope what even do it right all right so the I'm gonna start with the hopeful votes and then end with the hopeless books only because I like the hopeless books more does not say these are bad books these are all great books it's just a lot I don't tend to care too much for hopeful stories whatever so the first one is Robert McCammon is gone south one of the things that I remember the most about this book it is my favorite McCammon novel is the the theme of acceptance and hope that's that's one of the things that I remember the most about it in fact when I started to search for these things it's the first book that I grabbed so maybe it's number one none of these aren't really in order at all I even thought at one point in time to alternate back and forth but I think it'd be better if I just went through all the hopeful ones and then got to the hopeless ones so yeah gone south is a great one mainly because of the the not the idea it's just the the theme of acceptance I really really dug that next up and no he's not on this list because he requested it is literally one of the only other hopeful books I could find and that was Chad lutzky skull-faced boy I loved this book there's something about Levi and the shenanigans he gets up to but the ending is it's very hopeful and I I appreciated that because I was I thought for sure you know dude being a horror author that it was gonna go to some bad places or I mean he says he's a horror author there's one thing I remember him saying he hadn't seen a certain horror movie he's like what kind of horror author am I I don't think Chad let's he's a horror author I think he might the dark fiction maybe even literary fiction I honestly believe he floats more toward the literary fiction side of things but he definitely surrounds himself with with the horror community and he is part of the horror community but I don't consider him a horror author I haven't read anything from him that was horrifying in a horror sense wallflower was pretty horrifying but I don't think it was like the intention was to horrify he just tells slice-of-life stories really with some weird aspects here and there um I haven't read a whole lot of his short fiction so if there's more horror in that realm then definitely I also haven't read out behind the barn or same deep water as you either so I don't know but y'all can discuss if y'all read Chad let's keep down there y'all can just just talk about him cuz he watches these videos just talk about and say all the things about it I'm sure he'll appreciate that next up is the Fault in Our Stars by John Green it this book made me cry my my ass off but I think the overall message was a hopeful one it's sad and depressing but at the end of the day this book actually made me smile it it took a terrifying horrible thing and he didn't make light of it it just made it so it's personable and understandable and I think all of john green's work is hopeful there at the end he's one of those authors who looks for the bright side of life kind of deal and if you followed him in fact my you know down there in the doobly-doo when I say that I actually got that from the blog brothers which is John and Hank green Hank green has a book up to an absolutely remarkable thing but John Green is really the novelist of the family he's he's gotten you know he's got six books by now maybe more I'm not sure I haven't read Hanks but I'm looking forward to it but I consider Hank a youtuber and I consider John a an author how weird is that right but anyways yeah The Fault in Our Stars I found it hopeful maybe you will maybe he won't another one Palisades Park was a fantastic saga of one family and a boardwalk I mean this is one of my favorite books of all time it was on my top 20 list until something more hopeless yeah knocked it off I'm terrible I know but uh yeah so Palisades Park if you have not read this this is a terrific terrific book in if you are a fan of carnivals or boardwalks or amusement parks or anything like that some fascinating stuff in here but overall this is a hopeful book it's one of the first I don't want to call it one of the first non horror novels that I just fanboy over I went out and bought all of Burnett's Alain Bernard books after this one um but it was the first one well I guess it was the first one that i really fanboy over and i started looking for other stuff in this in this genre which i this contemporary fiction I'm not exactly sure what Allan burner is considered but I went out looking for more books like it you know Goodreads is terrible hey if you like this book go look at this one I haven't liked any of those other books so maybe it's just Allan Bernhard's writing that I like but I found that one extremely hopeful this next one is one that I had forgotten about not because it is forgettable but because especially the cover makes you think hopelessness it makes you think something hope hopeless but it's Eleanor by Jason Gurley even though the book is tremendously sad there was a feeling of hope I love how depression is handled in this in this book there's that there's a death in this family and it's the way all the family members react but none of it is like on the on our realities plane that's all like fantastic it's all basically really dark fantasy almost like a Dark Crystal kind of thing and the visuals are amazing that's one thing that I remember about this but I came out of this book feeling hopeful and I hope it's actually both since I put it on the list but I do I do have very hopeful I I have hope thinking about this book you know it gives me a positive a positive outlook on life and depression and all that stuff on anxiety and if you have not read Eleonora I highly highly recommend that one I'm gonna take a second and restock these things because if not all the hard covers are gonna be on top and then we're done with it with the hopeful stuff so now we are going to talk about the hopeless stuff I'm gonna try and put these in some kind of semblance of order just because okay first one is this is the hopeless category so buckle your seatbelts Beatrice we're going that we're going on in we're all light tends to go by david joy i thought this one was going to a completely different place than it did when it ended I was left speechless and I felt terrible for like a week the main character I really came to know and enjoy reading about and his books are extremely short I think they're all of us books are about 250 pages long in fact going into I had to take a lot of time in between this one and his second novel the weight of this world because I wasn't prepared for the soul-crushing feeling that he is it's hilarious that his name's David joy his books just crush you and the way to this world crushes you also but it has a more hopeful no I don't know that so full it has a happier ending than this one does this one just completely just floored me and beat me into the ground and there's one of the first books that I picked up when I was thinking about doing this list next up is one of those books that I just made me feel dirty and made me feel like everybody in the world was a monster I don't know why it left me like that but it's in the miso soup by Ryu medic ami there's certain aspects of this book that I remember reading and I still to this day I feel disgusted for having read it and enjoyed it it but that there's a there's something to be said about Joe enjoying hopelessness because you know that once you closed the book you can go back to your life it's over and done with it's kind of getting on and off a roller coaster you know you know it's gonna be terrifying you know it's gonna be but also you pretty much guaranteed you're gonna get off of that ride in intact at least that's the promise when you get on it I know there's been terrible accidents but that's not what I'm talking about you know this um this book left me utterly destroy uh I I still do this day every time I picture every time I see this book I actually keep it out of sight behind some other books um every time I see this book I think of one certain scene that really really bothered me and I got to thinking about certain things after I finished it I'm gonna looked up certain things that I probably shouldn't have ended up on the wrong side the internet it was all up so this book gives me a sense of hopelessness next I'm sure up until now you might agree or disagree with all these things but I'm pretty sure that everyone will agree on this book because everyone I talked to bring up the the I do the feeling of hopelessness while you're reading it that's blood meridian by Cormac McCarthy or what's it call it or the evening redness in the West I like blood meridian I'm glad to be pretty much call at blood meridian I like that title better this book just that there's characters in here that made my flesh crawl but it's just the the overall nature of the book while you're reading you know nothing is going to end well you know when you read Cormac McCarthy you know you were in for a gut punch and this is one of his best as far as that's concerned I've heard silly stuff about how he's overrated he's terrible because he doesn't use quotation marks all that silly stuff but there is a there is a definite sense of hopelessness when you read Cormac McCarthy and it's but it's just a sense of nihilism it's like he knows nothing matters he knows that none of this matters and that most of us have terrible aspects of our personality things that we keep hidden dark dirty secrets in that regard another often that does that really really well or that normalizes terrible is Herman Koch I just want to throw this out there real quick if you like Cormac McCarthy you might like Herman Koch but only because they look at the reality of humanity there is hope there is kindness there is all that stuff but we are we are the nasty details that's what we focus on you know just like with the news if it bleeds it leads that kind of deal news organizations know what's gonna bring people in and that's the terrible in the world and that's what you know what Cormac McCarthy really focuses in on next up we have a song of Kali but Kali I'm not sure how you pronounce it by Dan Simmons this is one of those books again that I feel bad every time I think about it the ending here has the ending of this book is a bigger punch in the gut than the middle of Pet Sematary if you have read pets em I mean Pet Sematary you are at least warned what is coming King does foreshadowing all throughout the beginning of the book warning you what's gonna happen Dan Simmons gave no whatsoever he's just like okay I'm just going to take this sledgehammer and I'm gonna crush your internal organs with it all at one time I could not believe that that he did what he did in this book it's it's one of those times where I was left speechless and I was left feeling terrible and hopeless if that's the theme here of course but yeah a song a colleague I don't hear too much about this one it has a really terrifying scene with in the dark kind of deal and I love scenes in the dark there's like flashes of light and the character sees something in those flashes of light and that whole scene is terrifying if anybody ever made a movie out of this I hope that scene if no other scene is intact see ya son Kali now with a number one most hopeless book of all time even the author considers it a hopeless book just an ugly nasty book that's for a Bible by Stephen King I am shocked when I hear a Stephen King fan say they didn't like this book I get there was I actually lost a lot of followers back when I reviewed this book and I call this his best book in forever at that time you know yeah and written the The Outsider the you know we were still I think we had just gotten mr. Mercedes or mr. Mercedes was coming I can't remember but before that I mean we had dr. sleep which was M they had 11/22/63 which his aunt yeah I think it's an under the dome which was great until the end it had a pretty nasty run from for me anyways my opinion and this one came out of nowhere and people because of those other books I was talking about you know like dr. sleep people were standoffish and when I gave it such high rating a lot of people went out and bought it and then they didn't like it I don't I don't know why these were Stephen King fans I don't know why because it was quintessential King is a terrific story of one man's life and the theme that life is so fleeting was amazingly well done I think the hardcover it's like 400 pages I'm not sure it's hang on I always talk about this how short it is but someone said it's not really all that short so let me look at the hardcover edition hardcover is only 402 pages you know how many books in Stephen King's library that are 400 pages leave it down to Duke it's it's not many man it's not many and all in fact I'm looking over here and I'm thinking well from a Buick a you know Pet Sematary Cujo most of these books man most of his books are over 400 pages it's falling two pages in hardback this paperback if the long slender ones Sara if you're watching this this is one of those long ones like the Vince Flynn stuff I sent you but this one is almost 500 pages because the the because it's so thin I guess but uh talking about hopelessness revival left me and it's supposed to leave you with a feeling of hopelessness that is the entire theme is that nothing matters it's a very nihilistic book even though that there is sense there is a supernatural aspects and all that stuff it is a very very nasty book when it comes to the when it comes to the truth I mean if you're I don't I guess I consider myself an atheist I don't believe in it I believe that when we die we just die but to think that there might be something like at the end of this book that's that that's terrifying to me anyways to think that there is anything even if Evan in hell were real eunuch heaven were real and I was a die-hard Christian and I thought I was going to heaven that is a scary-ass concept that we're gonna be alive forever think about that I barely want to be in my head like one hour of a 24 hour day most days because the you know I usually keep myself preoccupied with other things reading writing arithmetic no reading writing video games talking with my wife playing with my kids those kind of things I have to keep myself busy if I were just like up and up in heaven stuck with myself that would be terrifying I know there's probably you know Christians out there gone oh but it'd be just a perfect paradise you know anything that you could imagine I don't have you read me Oh gazaam you read my books there's nothing Pleasant going on up here I can't imagine Pleasant stuff you know I I have to create the happiness in my life because there's nothing automatically happy up here but I also so when people tell me you know heaven hell all this stuff at least hell I guess you'd be around cool to be people anyways so those are my top five hopeful and hopeless novels sorry cat I know you're a Christian dude I'm sorry but I mean we are differing point of views why don't we're not on a tirade in this video in particular I apologize but I'm not trying to hate on you it's just just my own point of view when it comes to like hopelessness and the the speech that Charlie what's his name Charlie Jacobs yeah Charles Jacobs the speech that he gives after after the the death that changes his viewpoint on on God and religion and all that stuff after that point you know I mean that's that speech right there is another reason why I love that speech it's like that's that's basically the thoughts that went through my mind when I realized that I might be going down the wrong path and believing in some you know like Santa Claus for adults kind of kind of thing so but yeah let me know your top 5 hopeful and hopeless books down there in in doobly-doo if you want to make a video that'd be awesome too you don't you have to mention me I have to just link me so I can go watch it but until next time I have Benny you been you this has been another top 5 Friday I'll talk to you guys later bye bye

29 thoughts on “Top Five Hopeful and Hopeless Novels

  1. I'm really surprised you didn't put The Road in there instead of Blood Meridian. I've never understood why people say Blood Meridian is so disturbing and how the violence was overpowering. Yeah, it's violent, but McCarthy never really describes anything in explicit detail; it's all rather vague, really. The Road, however, was the single most emotionally draining book I've ever attempted to read. And I do mean attempted, because I only made it like 30 or 40 pages in before I started feeling like I no longer wanted to live. It's the only book I've ever quit that I didn't quit because it wasn't good. It's amazing, and it earned its Pulitzer, I just couldn't handle it. Also, if you've never heard of it, you should really check out the novel A Feast of Snakes, by Harry Crewes. I know you said you live in the south, E., (so do I), and since you do, that book might very well hit pretty close to home. I know it did for me. The things that book describes…it's just so…well…hopeless! And it's disturbing as all hell, too. I'm telling ya, bruh, give A Feast of Snakes a try; it'll haunt you. It certainly haunts me… πŸ™

  2. Great video as always and I'm right with ya on loving the hopelessness stuff. Also, Lutzke is a new favorite author of mine. I love his writing style.

  3. I counted 23 unique comments and the video had 22 views. How is that possible? Doctor Sleep is a hopeful novel. Danny Torence and Abra Stone really kick the ass of the True Knot! That novel had me continually wanting to scream "Woo-hoo!" I really enjoyed Joyland so I'd probably love Palisades Park. The wrong side of the Internet? I had flash-backs to the early web in 1994. It was REAL easy to wander into the wrong side back then. It's like clicking on Up Next videos and wandering into the weird side of YouTube. I'm avoiding Revival because I get triggered by religious fanatics. As for novels that are 400 pages, I have the first printing of The Long Walk paper-back and it's 244 pages but it starts on page 3, so technically it's 242 pages. Page 1 reads "Part 1: Starting Out" and Page 2 is blank. The pages before Part 2 and 3 is blank, so 240 pages. I'm an atheist too, but I was saved at Bible Camp at age 14, and that's eternal salvation, so I'm going to heaven. God doesn't give take-backs. I've confirmed this with various pastors. I don't know why I lost my religion. It happened very slowly and I didn't realize it was happening until one day at age 16, I suddenly realized that I didn't believe in God any more. I didn't rebel. I didn't decide. It just happened. If you were born in Iran, you'd be Muslim. If you were born in Thailand, you'd probably be Buddhist. If you were born in India, you'd be one of those Hindi religions. If you were born in China, you'd be into Taoism. If you were born in Japan, you'd be into Shinto. In other words, most people don't pick their religion, it picks them, and everyone thinks that lucked into the right one. Christianity is just a modification of Judaism, just like Mormonism is a modification of Christianity. Someone says "I like some parts of your religion but not others, so I'm going to make a hybrid" All religions today are hybrids of older religions. It's like a big family tree. It's obvious people are a just making this stuff up, but childhood indoctrination imprints the ideas so deeply, most people can never break free of their cognitive biases.

  4. This is brilliant! What a great video idea. I, too, am drawn to hopelessness….in my music, movies and books. I don’t often admit this to my friends or I may just lose every single one. You always make me feel less alone in the world, E.

  5. In the Miso Soup fucked me up and I loved it idk what that says about me but I love when it authors just go full out.

  6. Sounds like you balance your hopelessness fiction with hopeful nonfiction.
    I don't think it says anything bad about us that we enjoy the hopeless more. The hopeful books tend to be predictable. Good conquers evil blah blah happy ending blah.
    Give me something thats gonna that makes me feel something.
    Revival was AMAZING!
    The ending left me speechless and feeling hopeless cuz i didn't see it coming. I completely forgot about that person.

  7. Lutzke is the shit – Barn is way more horror for sure. And, a lot of the shorts are as well.

  8. Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami had a hopeful message to it even with it's ending. I think I'm gonna take a stab at these lists lol.

  9. come on E. pet sematary should be there in the hopeless list

  10. Thanks for including me, E! I'm honored! And thanks for making the video. I don't have a top 5, but one hopeless book I can think of right off the bat is THE PAINTED BIRD by Jerzy Kosinski. Would love to hear your thoughts on that one. It's very brutal coming-of-age. I think you'd like it.

  11. I was unable to finish Gone South and I love McCammon. That fuckin' third arm was so odd to me. I just couldn't take it seriously. I'll try again eventually. I think I read 40 pages at most.

  12. Margaret Millar is super depressing. "Banshee" is about a child's death that turns everyone in town against each other, and the ending is SO bleak. Then there is one about an alcoholic dying detective who you think met his soulmate, but then they both choose death at the end.

  13. Hey, E. I kinda thought The Girl Next Door would be on the list. It was the first title that came to mind as I thought about it. Also The Grapes of Wrath. Hopeful books? I'd have to go with Northline by Willy Vlautin, despite the stuff that happens and despite the downtrodden people in his books by the end there's a feeling to me at least that there can be poverty, suffering, sadness, loneliness but being alive? It's worth it. It beats being dead.

  14. I agree with you, E. But if we're wrong we can hang around in Hell! That would be cool.
    Ever read The Divine Comedy? I read the beginning of it and was offended, but that was back when I tried to believe in something and claimed to be a Christian. My brother told me what that meant. Just read the Bible and see. Well I see now. Only good thing my brother ever did to me, but a huge one.

    You know, if I were to follow a religion nowadays, it would be an oriental one, like Shinto. I feel tempted to follow Buddhism, though it's more like a philosophy that could be combined to other religions (just you tell them that…) but I don't agree with it in a lot of points.
    And to be honest, I don't need any. You probably understand it. The world is Hell, or rather humans make it like that (for other reasons too, yes, but religion is a major player).

    One thing I don't agree with Biddhism, for instance, is that it says everything exists to make you suffer, you gotta learn to deal with it. WRONG! The world is beautiful! It's perfect! Big Bang is my god and is a really good one! Mother nature too! She doesn't judge anybody for being what she makes them being, that kind of thing.
    We make this world ugly.

    I gotta believe there's intelligent life somewhere out there… Because the universe would be pointless without any, if it is possible. And we ARE NOT intelligent. At all.

    BUT I can deal with this Hell fine. Well, not FINE but… You know, I deal with it.
    One thing I disagree is to live forever. I would kill for it, be surge of that! But not there, here. Like I said, I can deal with this Hell.
    AND if Hell itself is anything like some movies, books and games depict it, I'm in! I'm talking about things like Chuck Palahniuk's Damned, the game Saints Row 4 – Gat Out of Hell and such. It's not very pleasant at times, but it's funnym

    There's a manga (here I go…) called Shaman King where a messiah is chosen (by a fighting tournament, no less) to merge with "god", The Great Spirit. Yeah, like in the indigenous religions. They even go to Mesa Verde(de, the author doubles some syllabes to remember it is fiction).
    Death is cheap in this manga. People die and come back a lot. But that's cool because we see how it is inside TGS. A chapter is aptly named "Hell is a matter of getting used to". Actually, when you die there, you go where you BELIEVE you deserve to be. It's like a dream, shaped by your culture, beliefs, and balance of guilt. YOUR balancing, not Maat's or anybody else's. Judge yourself. People with the same beliefs end up in what's called Communities (afterlife is Orkut, man!). That's incredible, I dare say it's just and right. I'd go to one if the animals' Communities, that's for sure. Or Atlantis.

    As for the lists… Well I can't even begin to choose. XD
    But I'm definitely more into hopelessness.

  15. You done well with this. I've only read four from the complete list.

  16. Very enjoyable vid E!
    You're right about trying to find top 5 Hopefuls. One that comes to mind however is Lamb's "I Know This Much is True". Very emotional, beautiful, slightly haunting & it definitely leaves you with a smile, a tear in your eye but yet a great feeling of hope. This one's in my top 12 all time favorites. Cheers E! πŸ™‚

  17. Great top five! I have seen Chad's books on good reads I bet I would enjoy his books. He seems like a really nice guy. ( from the streams) I am glad you enjoyed all them books. It's weird I love more hopeless books more than hopeful books really I read more them.πŸ˜‚. Idk why. I guess it seems more exciting. I really enjoyed revival a whole lot. It was fantastic it's one of my favorites of king. I have been wanting to reread it again one day. Have a great day! E your the best! πŸ˜‚

  18. Pet sematary hit me hard. As a father and having a wife. I sat there for awhile after finishing it lol

  19. Number one hopeless book for me. Requiem for a Dream by Hubert Selby Junior. It's as bleak as it gets.

  20. 100% agree with Revival! Probably my all time favorite king book besides Pet Cemetery. Keep up the good work man!

  21. I agree i prefer hopeless over hopeful its more interesting and enjoyable πŸ‘Œ love the vids btw!

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