Whats the worst book you have ever read?

Through Mary, Seat of Wisdom,

Note: this is all personal opinion so please don’t take everything I say as infallible and not subject to more analysis.

Everyone who knows me knows that I’m writing a book and in order to do that, I read a lot of books from A Song of Ice and Fire to Harry Potter, from The Pillars of the Earth to Stephen King. The thing is, these books are excellent and when you finish reading a good book, you must get something out of it. its like visiting a garden, where you’ll usually pick up a flower or some fruit to enjoy to remind you of that visit and sometimes, if you propose to your girlfriend or have a date with your wife there, you’ll pick up something even better and more lasting than a bunch of flowers.

Likewise, a book should have a point of existing; there must be a why to reading a book. Max Keele said: “In fact, that is my single personal demand from a story: That it add up to something. That it shock me, scare me, unnerve me, make me think, or cry, or vomit. Something.”

Now no single (good) book exists just to give one point as all have numerous points they may give. Pillars of the Earth for example had alot of sad moments which made us rethink our position to our fellow men and delved so deeply into medieval and Church life it can make even atheists rethink their position about the Church. Harry Potter is an excellent series all around and though it wasn’t made particularly to make people saints, ti had several strong characters and gave us a very well constructed world into which we could escape to. It made us sad and it entertained us and because of that, it is a masterpiece.

Then there are books which you get nothing good out of. Its like visiting an ugly garden and instead of grabbing some flowers, you accidently grab a rabbit by the ears who attacks you. Worse, the rabbit has rabies. These are books which are either so boring, so uninteresting, leave so little impact on the world or their readers that when you finish them, you ask yourself if watching TV or reading another book would have been a lesser waste of time than that. Its a very bad sign if while reading a book you don’t immerse yourself in the story and instead think of doing the dishes and taking out the trash. These are books you want to throw against a wall and if the book is extra bad, you’ll want to burn it and send the author to jail for his crimes against humanity!

The Da Vinci Code and really, all of Dan Browns book are this way. While they are supposed to be quick reads and not life changers, even such books should be well thought out. Instead of giving us an exciting and suspenseful thriller, Dan Brown relies on cheap scares, bad cliffhangers which instead of having you say ‘what happens next? What happens next?!’ because you care for whats happening, they leave you asking ‘What the hell is the cliffhanger? What is going on?’ because you don’t know whats going on, bad prose which should be used on commercials instead of a book and such idiotic historical inaccuracy that his books that instead of reading them because they’re good, you read them to make fun of Dan Brown himself.

Recently, I’ve read a fantasy Trilogy which was so bad it honestly left me feeling empty. Even though I prefer reading in English MUCH more than in Maltese which is my native tongue ironically, I don’t mind and feel lucky that none of you can read it as it truly is bad. Its called The Fiddien Trilogy. I’ll speak more about it later on but first, I want to hear if othe rpeople ever read a book which was so bad they wanted to throw it against a wall. Please be caustic!:wink:

Worst book I ever finished: The da Vinci Code. I was objecting to its inaccuracies fairly early on, but when the author introduced the albino monk assassin I nearly threw the book away. I didn’t… because the book was borrowed. And I finished it, because the book was such a huge sensation and everyone was excited and I figured it had to get better.

Nope. :o

Worst book I never finished: A Brief History of Time. Critics loved it and praised its simplicity. I found it impossibly dense and impenetrable. Perhaps that doesn’t make the book bad, just me a bad reader. :blush:

Worst book I didn’t even attempt to read: Finnegans Wake. I got through about three sentences and gave up.

I’ll let others judge its merits. :smiley:

Worst book I’ve ever read so far is Shift which is about this teen in an America where Christianity is forced upon all citizens. It basically makes it look like Christians would be Jesus-freak/angel-loving zombies who would report you to the police if you didn’t watch an hour of a special religious program [literally]. I haven’t even bothered reading the rest of it because it is so inaccurate. Then again, it’s probably because in the book that the government is in control - but I still find it annoying.

It’s really unusual for me not to finish a book. For example, I have read all of Trollope’s Palliser novels, even though it took me about half of each book (in some cases, “half of the book” was over 400 pages) to really feel involved.

One book I really hated so much I couldn’t finish it was “The English Patient.” I know it’s supposed to be great, but personally I felt like I was wandering around in a somewhat unpleasant and largely incomprehensible dream.

I know you were probably looking for something more deep and significant, but whenever I think of “worst book,” I think of The English Patient. :slight_smile:


P.S. Never even tried to read any of the Dan Brown books. Read a couple of extracts, talked to some people, and decided there were better uses of my time and patience.

As with all fictional books, you have to incorporate a degree of the main character’s personality (one of the reasons I’ve stopped reading fiction).

I’ve tried over and over, and I can not make myself read C.S. Lewis’ “Screwtape Letters”.

No, its OK, you can list any book, even cheap ones which you found in the garbage so long as they are fiction (sorry Dale_M but Stephen Hawking’s book doesn’t count.)

I can’t think of a “worst book I’ve ever read” because when I get to about page 50 - 75 if I don’t particularly like the book I put it aside and get another one. I have 2 - 3 library branches very close to me and I do know how to check the library site to see if a particular book is available. I LOVE to read!!!

I recently finished a book that was horrible. Amongst Women by John McGahern. I only finished it because it was for my book club. Thankfully it was a short book. I still don’t know the point.

The main character was an old, bitter man that no one could possibly stand to be around. If there was a point to that book, I completely missed it.

Me too!! I’ve tried at least four times, and I just can’t get into it the way some folks can. I just don’t know why. :o I will not call it the worst book I’ve ever read (that prize goes to The Exorcist :eek:), but it certainly is one of the least enjoyed.


:rotfl: That’s understandable. I think that Joyce’s intended audience consisted entirely of himself.

Worst Book I only managed to get to page 3 - The Clockwork Orange. Pure brillance or gooblygook with an interesting cover and wierd stuff? You decide.

Worst book I’ve ever read - pretty hard one to decide. I would maybe say The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. I watched the film for Johnny Depp, loved it (first horror film I ever saw, and I’m now a big fan of the genre) so asked my dad to request it from the library, and became even more excited when the copy I got was from the mid 1800s… (bookworm here :D). Anyway, basic plot summary - a teacher goes to investigate this ghost. Ghost turns out not to be real. Teacher tries to seduce teenage girl. The ending is pretty much pointless and it appears as if its going to be a ghost story but really all it ends up being is about a teenager who has the hots for a very young girl. Not what I wanted to read really…

The worst book I’ve read is Lord of the Flies. Every single classic book I had to read for my english class in high school was awesome, except this one. I can’t remember what about it I didn’t care for, but I read the description on Wikipedia, and it seems to have some very “dark” moments…

A book that I’ve tried to read, but got bored really fast with, was Lord of the Rings. I love the movies, but trying to read a book where the phrases/paragraphs go on forever… No thanks. I have better things to do than read about the beauty of some imagined landscape for the next five minutes.

This thread is really making me want to start reading a book, although it’s probably been close to 10 years that I’ve actually finished one. Oddly enough, we started a family around that time. Wonder what happened?::smiley:

It's hard to say because I tend to quickly forget the bad ones.

Since others have mentioned "The DaVinci Code", I will mention "Angels and Demons" also by Dan Brown. What drivel. I found myself curious enough how it would turn out to read through it, but it went from annoyingly bad, to plain ridiculous in the final act.

Jude the Obscure

This was years ago and I remember it was so annoying reading about this character who did all kinds of terrible things to mess up his life.

I bought the ColesNotes and somewhat skimmed through the second half.:o

I read the Da Vinci code, before I studied Catholicism and then became Catholic. I knew it was a load of rubbish but I enjoyed the story - he might right a load of …ahem, but he knows how to tell a story. The only thing that truly annoyed me throughout was the writing style. It was so juvenile. “This is what happened, so then we went and did this instead. I did not like that, so I did something else. That was because it was not fun.” Pretty much like that.

Belva Plain’s Daybreak. Not that the whole book was bad, but basically, it started with a very interesting premise (two babies switched at birth) and ended with a deus ex-machina cop-out of a “happy ending” – it made me think that the author had taken on much more than she could handle.

I dislike many of Jodi Picoult’s books for similar reasons; not that they’re poorly written, but in having similar setups; starting with an interesting premise but not really carrying it through to the end. (I thought the end of My Sister’s Keeper was a cop-out as well.) I also find some of her premises so unrealistic that I can’t “buy in” to them, such as a judge presiding over a school shooting case in which her daughter is a star witness, when I can’t see any judge NOT recusing herself from such a case. My respect for her dropped even more when she admitted that the verdict at the end of The Pact was likely NOT the way a similar court case would have gone in real life, but she wrote the ending the way she did because she wanted it to end that way. Even though the premise was good, very reminscent of the movie A Place in the Sun – an excellent film, based on the book * An American Tragedy*, in which the main character is accused of murder, yet it remains ambiguous to the very end as to whether he was truly guilty of it, not in the sense of violating a particular law, but whether there was murder “in his heart”.

Hmm, maybe this says more about my preferences in literature than anything else. I just don’t like cop-out endings.

Oh, and Bearontherun – I also tried to get through Jude the Obscure. The most disturbing fact about that book is that much of it is based on actual events in the author’s life. But yet he (Thomas Hardy) wrote a number of other books that were no where near as depressing…I actually did get through Tess of the D’Urbervilles.

The Stoneheart series. I couldn’t get past one chapter it was so boring. There was absolutely nothing that excited you in the book, and it was just a disappointment all throughout. It’s been a few years, but I remember how it was talking about the main character’s woes, using repeated analogies on how he felt in school and such. “He felt like he was falling and there was no end. That’s how he felt. He felt like he was in between a rock and the ground, and it never stopped. He felt like a piece of clothing in a washing machine.” etc. It was so boring that I just ended it there. Maybe one day I’ll have the guts to try and read it again, but until I’m locked up in an attic with nothing else to read, I wouldn’t count on my review for the book to arrive anytime soon.


Good to know his books aren’t all like that one.

“Women in Love” by D.H. Lawrence. It may not have been the worst written book, and I understand that Lawrence was basically expressing his opinions on sex and society in the novel, and it is an interesting look at the “unwashed” view of Pre-WWI British society, BUT the four main characters really annoyed me. I was determined to finish it, because I don’t like to leave books go unread once I start them, but I was frustratingly annoyed with the relationships and personalities of all four of them up till the very end.

I never read “Jude the Obscure”, but had seen a film adaptation of it and have been reticent about reading the novel because of how upsetting the movie was. If it is based on Hardy’s life, that makes it even more upsetting and depressing. I can tell you, I have never wept as uncontrollably and as long as I did at a movie. We had to pause it for about 15 minutes before I pulled myself together. My husband and I were both crying.

I did read “Tess of the D’Urbervilles” and loved that, as depressing and horrible as the outcome of that story was. (I tend to like depressing novels and Hardy seems to have been very good at writing them.)

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