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Random Book Banter > The Worst Books Ever Read

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message 1: by Michael, Mod Prometheus (new)

Michael (knowledgelost) | 1255 comments Mod
Recently there was a conversation were we talked about picking the worst books in fiction to read. We decided not to do this but instead compile a list of them.

So let us know what would make the list of 'Worst books in Fiction'.


message 2: by Michael, Mod Prometheus (new)

Michael (knowledgelost) | 1255 comments Mod
Topping the list would be Lady Chatterley's Lover


message 3: by D.D. (new)

D.D. Syrdal (digitaldame) | 16 comments Anything from the pen of Stephenie Meyer leaps immediately to mind.


message 4: by Michael, Mod Prometheus (new)

Michael (knowledgelost) | 1255 comments Mod
I've never read any of her books, nor do I intend to ever read one of her books.


message 5: by D.D. (new)

D.D. Syrdal (digitaldame) | 16 comments I've read enough excerpts to know her language skills are minimal, her thought processes disjointed.


message 6: by Eaycrigg (new)

Eaycrigg | 2 comments Please do not mistake me for a Twilight fan but I certainly did not have to force myself to finish it. I was, however, unable to finish the Naked Lunch. I'm sorry I joined this group so late. I would have voted for the plan to read infamously bad books. I think that would have been fun.


message 7: by Kim (new)

Kim Christine wrote: "I recently forced my way through The Crying of Lot 49."

Can't say I've ever heard of this book before. It's only a short book so I might take a look to see just how bad it is

Eaycrigg wrote: "I'm sorry I joined this group so late. I would have voted for the plan to read infamously bad books."

There's still an option for us to do that as a theme for a monthly read.

My latest worst read is a book I am reading/contemplating destroying for another book club.
Doctor Who: Coming of the Terraphiles It is just so badly written. It feels like a book the author was partly working on when asked to do a Dr Who book so he changed some names and gave it to them as is without editing it properly. Highly unrecommended.


message 8: by Michael, Mod Prometheus (new)

Michael (knowledgelost) | 1255 comments Mod
If you want to read bad fiction on month, suggest it as a theme here :P


message 9: by Jeni (new)

Jeni Jones Hard Times by Dickens. It really was. It put me off reading anything else by him for a long time, and was an awful book for a class of fifteen-year-olds to read.


message 10: by Veljko (new)

Veljko (_vxf_) | 52 comments American Psycho. Pure garbage.
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28...


message 11: by ♥Xeni♥ (new)

♥Xeni♥ (xeni) | 220 comments American Psycho takes a certain mindset to read. It's not written like all these other books, something which endears me to it. Yet, I havn't been able to finish it myself, but maybe once I figure out the proper mindset. XD

Recently, The Magicians by Lev Grossman made it onto my "loathe that book" list. So much was promised (especially in popular reviews) and not only did it fail to deliver, it's like the author thought he'd write something horrible, disjointed, a slew of ideas jumbled roughly together and find an awesome agent who would sell his trash for him. I really can't see how I even got published, it turned me off that bad.


message 12: by Jackie (new)

Jackie | 6 comments Most anything by Anita Shreve - ESPECIALLY "A Wedding in December". I hate to not finish a book, but I skimmed close to half of this just to make the pain end more quickly.


message 13: by Veljko (last edited Jul 13, 2011 12:36PM) (new)

Veljko (_vxf_) | 52 comments ♥Xeni♥ wrote: "American Psycho takes a certain mindset to read. It's not written like all these other books, something which endears me to it. Yet, I havn't been able to finish it myself, but maybe once I figure ..."

I heard so many people speak appreciatively of American Psycho, to the point that I wondered - am I missing something here?

After trying to re-read it, I concluded that I am not. There is nothing there. Despite reading reviews and talking to people whose book-appreciation I respect, I have yet to hear a convincing argument as to what is valuable there. The often-cited criticism of our society has all the subtleness of a super-hero comic book (before I get flamed - I do love comic books... but not for their literary value).

I suspect many people who defend this book do so out of some misplaced desire to sound nonconformist by playing the rebel. A 'oh look how cool I am I appreciate the artistic beauty of a poorly written, gory depiction of dismemberment'.

Sometimes I wish books stayed in the domain of uncool geeks.


message 14: by ♥Xeni♥ (new)

♥Xeni♥ (xeni) | 220 comments I understand your viewpoint. I haven't read enough if the book to agree or disagree with you, though. I'm only interested in the book thanks to the movie. Have you seen it?


message 15: by Veljko (new)

Veljko (_vxf_) | 52 comments No, at least not entirely. I stumbled upon it one day switching channels and watched a part of it - somehow, the movie made much more sense than the book. The book itself attempts to be very visual, but gets bogged down on gritty detail. The movie, from the little I have seen, makes a better job at keeping up the pace, without losing grittiness. While I am no fan of either format of this book, I can see why the movie would be a much more interesting medium. And going on through 90 minutes of sick thoughts seems somehow less distasteful than dwelling on them for the much longer time-frame that the book would require - yet, I am not sure that is much of a compliment.

Anyhow, I did not mean to come through as too judgmental - or pretending I know something about literary critiques. Smarter, more educated people than I have praised this book, so - despite what I have said so far -I recognize there might be something there. By some definitions, a work of art is successful if it 'strikes a chord' - and this book certainly elicits emotions. Negative, in my case... but emotions nonetheless.


message 16: by Michael, Mod Prometheus (new)

Michael (knowledgelost) | 1255 comments Mod
I wouldn't rate this book highly either, but I thought that was because it was so close to the movie. My main problem was the fact that Bret Easton Ellis went to great detail with what brand of clothing people wore, almost to an extreme where I thought I was going to go psycho, it is possible that he was doing this on purpose.


message 17: by ♥Xeni♥ (new)

♥Xeni♥ (xeni) | 220 comments I think that was his point wasn't it? To make it all seem over-the-top but in actuality it really is that way most of the time. I'm not an expert, but that was the impression that I got.

Also, I thought that the whole business card deal was much scarier than what clothes they wore! ;)


message 18: by Michael, Mod Prometheus (new)

Michael (knowledgelost) | 1255 comments Mod
He really took shallowness to a whole new, creepy level


message 19: by Jeni (new)

Jeni Jones American Psycho is one of those novels that is written more to prove a point or to express an idea than to be a 'good read'. It's not meant to be enjoyable or interesting; the chapters on hair products, music and the like are dull and awful to read, but the reason for their inclusion is Bret Easton Ellis's commentary on the vanity of the modern man, the way people conform to these ideals and obsess over the slightest thing. I loved the novel, I hated those chapters, but I understood what Ellis was attempting with them.

I think it's interesting the way a reader will react to the 'gore' chapters, in the wake of films such as Saw. The sad thing is, we're accustomed to violence of that level now, 'torture-porn' as it's becoming known. In a way, Bret Easton Ellis predicted the way society would go, as a re-reading of the more gruesome chapters in American Psycho now would not seem as shocking as they may have had a few years ago. But that's just my opinion. (Personally, I did prefer The Rules of Attraction by Ellis).

In a way, I'm a little bit of a hypocrite, as I'm aware that the book I mentioned up there was my own 'worst book', Hard Times, was written for similar reasons. The book is hard to read because Dickens wanted the form to reflect the content, making the characters unlikeable, the plot slow, and the description heavy. Nevertheless, I hated reading it. I think he could have made the point in a novel half the size - but when you're paid by the word, I suppose doubling the size of your novel can't hurt.


message 20: by Julia (new)

Julia Albuquerque (jalbuquerque) | 3 comments When I was younger I used to never put down a book and, once started, I'd finish a series no matter what. That explains why I skimmed through all four Twilight novels, I suppose.

Nowadays, with so much to read, I don't usually have the patience. Recently, one that really annoyed me was Gods Behaving Badly. I'd heard so many great things and, loving Greek mythology, what could go wrong? Well, maybe I do take Greek mythology to seriously, because I couldn't get past fifty pages of that.

I was looking forward to American Psycho, let's hope I'm somehow in the right mindset for that.


message 21: by Silmarwen (new)

Silmarwen (silmarwenreading) | 3 comments I really really hated Heart of Darkness but I think I'd have to reread it to be able to pinpoint exactly why I hated it so much.

I actually enjoyed reading The Crying of Lot 49. After Gravity's Rainbow that book was a breeze ;-) And Pynchon's grown on me I think. I look forward to (re)reading some of his other work one day.


message 22: by Lauren (new)

Lauren Vandever (laurenalyssav) The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka is my most detested book. I haven't had the chance to read any of his other works, but that first impression really makes me skeptical.


message 23: by Melki (new)

Melki | 205 comments Now I have the luxury of being able to just stop reading a book I truly despise, but I remember HATING Democracy in America when I had to read it in college.


message 24: by ♥Xeni♥ (new)

♥Xeni♥ (xeni) | 220 comments Lauren wrote: "The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka is my most detested book. I haven't had the chance to read any of his other works, but that first impression really makes me skeptical."

Hmm... I didn't mind Metamorphosis at all! In fact, I find myself often still considering the fate of the beetle-man. I even told this story as a bedtime story to my little brother and sister one night (although, it was my own version :P)

Oh that apple-scene... that one will never part with me!


message 25: by MountainAshleah (new)

MountainAshleah (mountainshelby) While not "the worst," some of Joyce Carol Oates's works disappoint me so completely. I wish she would produce less and invest more. Most recent disappointments were Little Bird of Heaven and My Sister, My Love. Yuck.


message 26: by Annis (New Dimensions Reviews) (last edited Aug 13, 2011 03:29PM) (new)

Annis (New Dimensions Reviews) | 5 comments Lauren wrote: "The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka is my most detested book. I haven't had the chance to read any of his other works, but that first impression really makes me skeptical."

Don't let The Metamorphosis shape your view of Kafka's work! I have to admit I'm a bit of a fangirl but you should definitely check out either The Castle or The Trial to really feel what he's all about. He influenced the progression of the world of literature on so many levels, and he didn't even want to get the stories we have now published (they were published posthumously, against his wishes, I believe he only had one short story out when he was alive). All I can say is try to soak up the atmosphere, larger-than-life concepts that still feel claustrophobic, the ingenuine details and hopefully you'll get swept off of your feet! His prose is tidy and very descriptive at the same time in these two novels - and he never fails to grab you by the throat and make you feel like you're going to be swallowed alive by the crazy-yet-so-freaking-familiar-feeling settings.

I have to warn you though, if you're looking for definitive answers you're going to be dissapointed. That's part of the beauty of his work to me but I get that it can get very frustrating to others. Some of it also has to do with the fact that he didn't exactly finish his manuscripts and it's especially visible in The Castle - (spoiler)

The book ends in the middle of a sentence. Seriously. But don't blame him for it, he never thought the story would see the light of day!

Edit: Speaking of Bret Easton Ellis, I read The Rules of Attraction a few years ago and was left feeling lukewarm about the whole thing but now I've discovered what a truly vile personality he has or pretends to have (and I would never say that about anyone lightly) in his tweets - misogyny and homophobia run completely rampant, even to the point where he mentioned that he "felt like he was getting HIV" just from watching Chris Colfer perform Le Jazz Hot on Glee and followed Chris Colfer on twitter right after - I can't even stand looking at a cover of one of his books. He addressed the gay teen suicide prevention campaign "It Gets Better" with "No, it doesn't." Another example: when J.D. Salinger died, he tweeted something along the lines of "Finally! I've been waiting for him to go away forever! PARTY TIME!"

While I know bringing up the personality of a writer doesn't really have any merit in a discussion about their works, this is the only author whose novels I've come to absolutely detest because of their personality. It sort of struck me that his over-the-top smug and vain white guy characters weren't a clever comment on society but merely a carbon copy of himself as a person.


message 27: by Carycleo (new)

Carycleo | 28 comments There are far too many books I haven't liked to attempt to pick one. But I do remember a book report I gave long ago, in the 7th grade, in which I told the entire class that My Antonia by Willa Cather was the most boring book I had ever read. I never went near that author again.

Nabokov's Lolita is pretty high on my most despised list as an adult. I try not to remember it, and mostly succeed.

Not to argue with anyone's pet dislikes, but I liked The Metamorphosis. The surrealism, frustration and horror of Gregor Samsa's predicament remains vivid 40 years after I read it. I even remember the main character's name. That's powerful writing. And it's short. :)


message 28: by Victoria (last edited Aug 14, 2011 06:38PM) (new)

Victoria | 107 comments Carycleo wrote: "Nabokov's Lolita is pretty high on my most despised list as an adult. I try not to remember it, and mostly succeed..."

Carycleo, I thought it was pretty great, if not an enjoyable read, per se. Did you dislike it because of the subject matter, or because of some aspect of the writing?

I found myself cringing pretty much the whole way through because it's all just so awful (that is, the events in the plot), but I think Humbert Humbert's character is a work of literary genius. A truly great villain!


message 29: by Candice (last edited Aug 14, 2011 07:11PM) (new)

Candice | 11 comments Funny, I am tickled by the fact that many other people struggled with the same books I've struggled with --specifically The Crying of Lot 49, and Kafka's Metamorphisis which was disappointing for me.

Lolita, is on my worst list as well, but this is because of the subject matter. The fact that the book contains many moments of brilliance somehow makes it even worse.

Other novels I have to add, sorry to offend, are Lord of the Flies as well as The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.


message 30: by Wendy (new)

Wendy Barlow | 97 comments Knowledge Lost wrote: "I wouldn't rate this book highly either, but I thought that was because it was so close to the movie. My main problem was the fact that Bret Easton Ellis went to great detail with wha..."
I think that the idea in American Psycho is that Bateman and others like him are obsessed with the whole clothing, music and status and other peoples lives are inconsequential. I love the book more than the film but still find myself driven mad thinking about what was really going on in Easton Ellis' mind at the time.


message 31: by Michael, Mod Prometheus (new)

Michael (knowledgelost) | 1255 comments Mod
I'm currently reading Imperial Bedrooms now, I think it's his best books (I've read)


message 32: by Heather (new)

Heather Doherty | 49 comments The worst books are the ones I have not finished. I try to forget them as quickly as I can. Generally, I throw them on the floor, referred to as "flinging" at my house, when I give up on them. I always give a book 50 pages before flinging and I have read hundreds of pages before giving up. The one from this category that sticks in my mind is A Confederacy of Dunces because one of my best friends cited it as one of her favorite books. My friend is really smart and funny, but I just don't see the appeal.


message 33: by Christie (new)

Christie I can't say I've read too many books that I hate and despite hating a book, I will always force myself to finish it. One of the few times I really struggled to finish was when I was reading Eat, Pray, Love. I know it's the type of book people either love or hate, and I fall into the latter category. I also didn't like The Sound and the Fury, but I think I was too young to understand it when I read it.


message 34: by Mark (new)

Mark Burns (TheFailedPhilosopher) | 3 comments DD wrote: "Anything from the pen of Stephenie Meyer leaps immediately to mind."

Agreed!


message 35: by Kim (new)

Kim I wouldn't say these are the worst books ever but books I've been unable to finish are The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Tipping the Velvet and The Autobiography of Malcolm X: As Told to Alex Haley.

Dragon Tattoo I just couldn't get into, Tipping The Velvet just got really boring and Malcolm X was getting too preachy and I just lost interest.


message 36: by Melki (new)

Melki | 205 comments I couldn't make it past page 8 of Eat, Pray, Love, yet the author Elizabeth Gilbert had a previous novel, Stern Men that I really enjoyed. Maybe she should just stick to fiction.


message 37: by ♥Xeni♥ (new)

♥Xeni♥ (xeni) | 220 comments Heather wrote: "The worst books are the ones I have not finished. I try to forget them as quickly as I can. Generally, I throw them on the floor..."

Heather, I tend to stick them all on this shelf: < ahref="http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/.... It's one of my mandatory options (including the default read, currently-reading, and to-read shelves). Gotta say, the only way something gets on my Unfinished shelf is if it really really REALLY sucks and I can't get into it. I really give a book a fair shot, but honestly, some books are just not meant to be read by anyone!



Kim wrote: "I wouldn't say these are the worst books ever but books I've been unable to finish are The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo..."

Kim, I know what you mean with the Dragon Tattoo book. I've heard so many awesome things about it and yet when I picked it up I thought it was boring, annoying, nothing was really happening, and just a not-fun setting. Recently my sister asked to borrow my copy, and I warned her, but maybe she'll be able to appreciate it. Wonder what it takes to enjoy this book?


message 38: by Franky (new)

Franky I read The Girl with Dragon Tattoo and hated it immensely, and I'm a "glass half full" kind of reader and usually find some redeeming value or look for the positives with novels. (I don't think I've given any book 1 star. I gave this book 2 stars). It just struck me as way way over the top with violence and overblown with computer hacker lingo. I didn't particularly care for any of the characters, either, and it came across as a bit trashy. I don't know if anyone else noticed, but it mentions the word "coffee" about 5 millions times (okay, exaggeration...well, maybe not). I never quite understood the "craze" that swept this book or its sequels.

I can see how others might like them, but I guess I'm not that much into the modern "bestseller" types (Da Vinci Code, The Pillars of the Earth, etc).


message 39: by ♥Xeni♥ (new)

♥Xeni♥ (xeni) | 220 comments I do find that most modern bestsellers really suck. Occasionally one makes it 'honestly' to the top, but in general all those books touted to us as The New Best Thing In Town! set my teeth on edge. (Pillars of the Earth is no exception to me.)


message 40: by Minna (new)

Minna (vesiru) | 40 comments Heather: I also give a book 50 pages before I give up. It helped me to get past the prologue in The Fellowship of the Ring.

I have read Dan Browns The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons, both translated to Swedish. They are poorly written (translated?) and unengaging. In A&D they use the exact same word-for-word formulation three times to explain how the protagonist knows things. This might sound picky, but it is a description which takes about seven to ten words every time.

In the Da Vinci Code on the other hand it felt as if the story never ever took off. Plus I felt as if the protagonist in both books is a thinly veiled version of the author himself.

Then there is Eragon. It was filled with every fantasy cliché known to man and woman. Needless to say, it got one star from me.


message 41: by ♥Xeni♥ (new)

♥Xeni♥ (xeni) | 220 comments Oh my gosh, you reminded me of Eragon. *prepares for a week of nightmares*

this is another example of really really horrible authorship (is that even a word?); a person who should not have been published under any circumstances Due to their inability to write properly or to have a cohesive story.

Another really good example is Stephanie Meyer. Ugh!


message 42: by Kim (new)

Kim ♥Xeni♥ wrote: "Oh my gosh, you reminded me of Eragon. *prepares for a week of nightmares*"

You know the next book is out soon :P


message 43: by Minna (new)

Minna (vesiru) | 40 comments ♥Xeni♥ wrote: "Oh my gosh, you reminded me of Eragon. *prepares for a week of nightmares*"

I'm sorry, but it had to be mentioned for the greater good. :)


message 44: by Graham (new)

Graham (giraham) | 19 comments My vote would be A Farewell to Arms, I detested the main characters, by the end I was glad to see the back of them.


message 45: by Victoria (last edited Aug 18, 2011 06:34AM) (new)

Victoria | 107 comments Giraham wrote: "My vote would be A Farewell to Arms, I detested the main characters, by the end I was glad to see the back of them."

Hemmingway was definitely not as awesome as I had hoped he would be. I've read For Whom the Bell Tolls, and it was alright, but I wasn't knocked off my feet by the prose. With all the hype he gets I was expecting beautifully crafted words to match the quite engaging plot, but for the most part it was pretty middle of the road stuff. And I hated that bit where the protagonist tells his girlfriend not to eat potatoes (so as not to get fat)!

Edit: I should make it clear, that though For Whom the Bell Tolls didn't live up to my expectations, I definitely don't consider it to be a candidate for 'Worst Ever Read'.


message 46: by Viktor (new)

Viktor What can I say? Hemingway is one of my favourite authors and I like his writing not because of beautifully crafted words that match the engaging plot, but because of its truthfulness. He has an ability to pinpoint the most important things and reveal them in a way that makes me feel more than good. I guess different people read for different reasons and, therefore, are attracted to different writing styles and genres. I, for instance, can’t stand fantasy, and utopia and dystopia just annoy me.


message 47: by Victoria (new)

Victoria | 107 comments @Michael: And, not only does everybody read for different reasons, everyone has a different idea of what the 'truth' of the human condition is.


message 48: by Eaycrigg (new)

Eaycrigg | 2 comments Kim wrote: "I wouldn't say these are the worst books ever but books I've been unable to finish are The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Tipping the Velvet and [book:The Autobiography of..."

Didn't it bother you how the main character in GwDT was so clearly a stand in for the author and how every female character in the book wanted to sleep with him? I had a hard time not throwing up after Lizbeth decided she was in love with him.


message 49: by Graham (new)

Graham (giraham) | 19 comments I've only read 3 of Hemingway's - For Whom The Bell Tolls and The Old Man and the Sea, I actually liked both of them so maybe A Farewell to Arms is just an anomaly


message 50: by Minna (last edited Aug 21, 2011 01:35AM) (new)

Minna (vesiru) | 40 comments Eaycrigg wrote: "Didn't it bother you how the main character in GwDT was so clearly a stand in for the author and how every female character in the book wanted to sleep with him? I had a hard time not throwing up after Lizbeth decided she was in love with him."

That really bothered me too. And I got angry when Lisbeth thought she was in love with Blomkvist. I felt like tossing the book at that moment, but I think she confuses feelings of fondness and friendship with love because of her past.


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