xquiq (xquiq) wrote in bookshelves,

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Worst Books

Despite their inherent subjectivity I enjoy looking at lists of the 'best' or 'most read' books, however today I'm intrigued by the truly bad.

Inspired by my current attempt to read 'The Celestine Prophecy', I'd be very interested to see your comments on the worst books you've ever read.

I'm not going to do a poll or anything like that, however some possibilities could be:

1. Truly awful fiction.
2. Worst non-fiction.
3. Most overrated book I've ever read.
4. So bad I didn't finish it.
5. I really wanted to like this, but...

For the record, my own answers and somewhat blunt opinions are under the cut:

1. 'Walking to Mercury' by Starkhawk - sanctimonious hippy nonsense. The main character manages to be silly, selfish and almost entirely unsympathetic. To top it off, the writing's rubbish.

2. I really didn't like 'Dude, Where's My Country' by Michael Moore. I might agree with some of the sentiments, but I still don't like to have unsubstantiated opinions yelled at me in print format. This is why I subscribe to very few mailing lists.

3. This has to be 'The Blind Assassin' by Margaret Atwood. I like Atwood and I know that it won the Booker but it's just so slow. It gets better by the end, but it was a struggle to get there.

4. I finish most books, so this is a difficult one. I seem to remember wanting to defenestrate my mother's copy of 'Diana: Her True Story' by Andrew Morton. Clearly picking it up in the first place was something of a schoolboygirl error and possibly indefensible.

5. Kerouac's 'On The Road' just didn't do it for me. I read it and promptly forgot it.

Thoughts? Comments?
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1. Truly awful fiction.

The Game by Neill Strauss. It's just terrible. the whole concept is slightly uncomfortable to read.

2. Worst non-fiction.
Ancient Traces by Micheal Baigent. The biggest load of cobblers I've ever read.

3. Most overrated book I've ever read.

The Pearl by John Steinback. The teacher Loved it but the text was uninspiring and having to do interpretive work on it bored me to pieces.

4. So bad I didn't finish it.

The secret art of stealing by Christopher Brookmyre. I really loved his other books but this one I just couldn't get into.

5. I really wanted to like this, but...

The children of men - the film is fantastic but the book isn't all that inspiring.
I must admit that I've never read any Steinbeck.

The concept behind The Game didn't grab me, but I did think about buying, largely because cheap copies were everywhere. I've never quite picked it up because it seemed oddly wrong...I think I shall probably avoid!
Maybe you could add another category: Book that was very well-written yet not remotely enjoyable to read.

American Psycho was like that for me. Very cleverly written, but I'd sum it up as long periods of dullness punctuated by extreme violence that after a while just got repetitive.
Is it just me, or are there a lot of books out there which are hailed as being masterpieces of literature, but that very few people actually enjoy reading? Seems to me that the first thing that should define a good book is that I actually want to continue reading it...
I agree to a certain extent.

I'm not sure everything that's hailed as a masterpiece or classic is exceptionally well-written, but I've enjoyed many books with very obvious flaws.

Equally, I'm not sure well-written necessarily means enjoyable or a particularly good story. The Atwood I mentioned in my post was well-written.

If I'm stressed or busy, one of the first things that will happen is that highbrow literature and / or non-fiction that requires concentration will fall to one side. There has to something in fiction to hold me over and above the beauty or cleverness of the prose.

In saying that, I did enjoy American Psycho, despite the unpleasantness of the subject matter. It was a while ago, but I seem to remember finding something almost cartoon-like about the main character and the random violence.