Top Ten Picks-Worst Books You've Ever Read

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

This weekly meme is hosted by Jillian at Random Ramblings.  This week's theme is the "worst books you've ever read".  Now clearly this topic could incite a lot of discussion, since reading preferences are rather personal.  I'm going to go with books that I read but did not like, which may or may not be poorly written.

1.  Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man-James Joyce
     Really, you could probably put any title of stream-of-consciousness fiction in this place and it would still be one of the worst books I ever read.  This one I had to read for a class, and I was mad about it all the way through!

2.  Flowers in the Attic-V.C.Andrews
     This is actually an example of a truly terribly written book that I loved-because I read it when I was 14.  All that salaciousness felt truly exciting .  Now, of course, I recognize the ridiculousness of the whole thing.

3.  Anything by Danielle Steele
     I have never understood why people love her books so much.  I'm not huge into romance anyway, but I have read some good ones.   Hers are all the same-beautiful woman, with some kind of messed up family situation, looking for love in all the wrong places, being taken advantage of by someone, until saved by the love of one good man.  Really you could just read one of her books and say you've read all of them.

4. On Strike for Christmas-Sheila Roberts
     ...and any other women's fiction book that takes a "playful" look at the "battle between the sexes" but really just reinforces and perpetuates every sexist stereotype out there.  You can read my rather scathing review of this one here.

5.  State of Fear-Michael Crichton
     I usually like Crichton, but this book frankly pissed me off. He purported to be giving some scientific argument about the "myth" of global warming, but despite all of the charts, tables, and appendices, what science is in the book is disputed by every major climatologist.  All he did was muddy the waters and give some global warming deniers some flawed ammunition.

6.  The Witching Hour-Anne Rice
     I will admit to not really liking most of Anne Rice's books.  I think that she is too wordy (and considering how wordy I am that is saying something!).  I liked Interview with a Vampire, and The Vampire Lestat was OK.  What I really enjoyed was her historical fiction, but I seem to be in the minority (did you even know she wrote historical fiction?)  This particular book is especially egregious in both its verbosity, and its shameless ending designed to make you buy the next book.

7.  Hannibal-Thomas Harris
    Seriously, Clarice falls in love with Hannibal Lechter and runs away with him?  I don't think so!

8.  Little Altars Everywhere-Rebecca Wells
     I made the mistake of reading Ya Ya Sisterhood first, and expected that the charming older southern women I met in that book would be the same in the first book.  Apparently I thought wrong.  I couldn't even finish Little Altars.  I could not find one of those women to like!

9.  The Mammoth Hunters and Plains of Passage-Jean Auel
     I read these as a teen, and even then I recognized that the first two books were interesting pseudo-history, and the last two were really just an excuse to put the main characters into interesting places to have lots and lots of sex.

10.  Out of Africa-Isak Dineson
     I saw the movie first, and I thought that it was a beautiful love story.  Then I tried to read the book, and it was dry and emotionless...what a disappointment!


  1. I love this list! Have you ever read Under the Tuscan Sun? That would have been on my top ten (or should it be bottom ten?) list. Beautiful in small doses, but as a whole . . . eeeaaugh!!

  2. Oh gosh I hope you realized that when I said "I love this list" I didn't mean the books on it . . .

  3. I gave up on the Jean Auel books after a scene in which the two protagonists were turned on by watching mammoths mating. Urk! I tend to chuck books when they get bad enough. Literally threw Angels and Demons across the room after reading what I still think is the worst English sentence I've ever read: something like "Yoga? The ancient Buddhist art of meditation was an unusual interest for the physicist daughter of a Catholic priest." You can't make this stuff up -- at least, I can't. The least of it is that Yoga isn't Buddhist...

  4. I really disliked The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards. I had read all of these great reviews of it, but I hated the main characters. I couldn't identify with any of them. I never did finish it. :-P

  5. Thankfully the only one of those I've read is Hannibal (I read an interview with the director for the film Hannibal and he said he just couldnt buy that ending so thats why the film is different)

    I enjoyed reading your review of on strike for christmas.

  6. +JMJ+

    Danielle Steel is one of my mother's favourite authors, for exactly the reasons you don't like her! LOL! =)

    Great list!

  7. Bev, you're right about his long, clunky sentences, never mind their veracity. You know, I loved the subversion in The Davinci Code so much I think I was blinded to the actual writing style. I noticed it much more when I read The Lost Symbol, which was only so so for me.

  8. Wow thanks for including 'all Danielle Steel's books!' I remember there was a time when my mom would read nothing but her books. I kept telling her to stop, and one day, she decided to just give them all away as donations to the library. I asked her why she did so, and she just shrugged saying, "I realized you were right. She's crap." LOL!

    Yeah sorry for that random story, haha. I also agree with #6.

  9. Flowers in the Attics! I read that when I was 17. It would be interesting to read it again just to see how it feels...

    Why would anyone want to run away with Hannibal Lecter? duh.

  10. Interesting list. I don't think I've read any of those. And now I surely won't! :)

  11. Really enjoyed reading your list and seeing the selections. There were a few books in that Flowers in the Attic series if I recall. Sold well, too.

    Thanks for dissing Ms. Steele. You're right about her using the same plot in every single one of her romance books. She also manages to have at least one cliche per page.

    Have yet to finish any book by James Joyce but will continue to try. But not this month as I have too much to do!

    And I will steer clear of that Christmas title.

    Thanks for this list and look forward to reading more!

  12. I mostly agree with you. V.C. Andrews and James Joyce were Not Good. And with Little Altars Everywhere, I was wondering where my Ya-Ya girls had gone. I did enjoy The Witching Hour, but that series went downhill pretty quickly. Taltos was downright crazy! It's been forever since I read Out of Africa, but I think I liked it. That's all I remember. I only read Auel's first book, and I did like it. My husband, strangely enough, has read all of them. He and my aunt still sit around and moan about the most recent one and how they couldn't finish it. "The pottery! Oh my gosh! The pottery. It went on for 10 pages and I had to stop reading the book!" I haven't read the others on your list, but I'll steer clear.

  13. Hi, Found you at the book hop.

    I had to laugh as I read this post because I also read 'Flowers in the Attic' when I was young (about 12 or 13) and thought it was exciting and a great book. Now it just seems silly (and I wonder why I am not warped from the teenage love affair in that book - that is not normal, I tell you now!. Not really the best introduction into romance)

    Glad to see I am not the only one who can reassess book choices. I wonder how many books I read now and love, that I will feel different about in another 15 years?

    Great blog, by the way!

  14. Rachel-thanks for hopping by...

    I know what you mean about tastes changing, etc...I guess we all go through stages where certain things mean more or less. Like romance novels-I loved them in my teens and 20s, but now I rarely read them. I mean, I love a novel with some romance in it, but the genre itself leaves me cold. Wonder what that says about me :)

  15. For me it would be either The Road or The Corrections. Both were sooooooo boring that I felt like my mind was leaking out my ear


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