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The worst book you've ever read? (1 Viewer)

Blossom

Senior Member
If you read quite a lot, you are doomed to come across the odd book that makes you want to burn every copy in existance or hunt down the author and stop them unleashing another horror on the poor, unsuspecting public. Or that you at least swear never to read again.

So what are your most hated books? And what made you dislike them?

Mine:

The Prophecy of the Gems, Eragon and The Da Vinci Code all made me wince at nearly every page because of the appallingly bad writing, overused cliches and pretty horrendous plot lines.

The Tales of the Otori trilogy by Lian Hearn also ranks up there; while the books were written quite well, it has to win the award for worst characters ever. I wanted to kill off the entire cast - apart from the ones she killed off herself.
 

Mira

Senior Member
Eragon. I only got halfway through, but wow, that book is bad... It really doesn't have a single original thought. Lord of the Flies, not too fond of that book either. I've read it twice, but still, I think its kinda silly. I have a very hard time imagining something like that actually happening...:p

I didn't dislike the Davinci code though. Very entertaining at some points, even though I don't really take what it says very seriously. Read it as fiction, that's my advice....
 

Stewart

Senior Member
I didn't dislike the Davinci code though. Very entertaining at some points, even though I don't really take what it says very seriously. Read it as fiction, that's my advice....

I don't quite understand how you can read a novel as anything other than fiction.

Stuff like The Da Vinci Code and The Kite Runner are obvious crap. The one that gets me is Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. It has pedigree in that it took the Pulitzer Prize for fiction a couple of years ago but I found it a complete chore to read. And, talking of chores, I won't be reading any more of A.N. Wilson once I finish his new novel, Winnie And Wolf, which I would abandon if I hadn't made the decision to read and review all thirteen books longlisted for the Booker prize this year.
 

TinyMachines

Senior Member
Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis.
I will never ever be able to forget a scene in that book, and I want Ellis to burn for scarring me with it.
 

Johnnyelvis

Senior Member
Worst book ever written?

Wonderland Avenue by Danny Sugarman. Interesting story, reads like it was written by a Koala bear with fused fingers.
 

Patrick Beverley

Senior Member
The Prophecy of the Gems, Eragon and The Da Vinci Code all made me wince at nearly every page because of the appallingly bad writing, overused cliches and pretty horrendous plot lines.
If I haven't misinterpreted -- you're saying you read all the way through these books, despite the fact that you hated them? All three of those books are over four hundred pages long -- that would mean that you were prepared to wince, by your account, four hundred times without giving up. You sure are a sucker for punishment.

I've never read all the way through a book that I didn't like. I put down Jonathan Coe's The House of Sleep early on, because of a scene that I considered to be badly written. But I have since read and loved The Rotters' Club and The Closed Circle by the same author, so I may go back and give HoS another try.

A friend read Clever Girl by Tania Glyde all the way through because his girlfriend loved it. He expressed a desire to burn every copy of that, though he acknowledged the quality of the writing; his objection was that the author had used her writing talent to make him feel nauseous and depressed.

I've seen films that I really hated, but the worst reaction I tend to get to books is, "Well, it's alright, but nothing much to write home about."
 

Linton Robinson

Senior Member
Most of the bad books I read were in English class in high school. They don't WANT guys to read novels so they give them Lord of the Flies and Jane Eyre and SILAS FUCKING MARNER and all that turgid crap. THen for a little light, youth reading, Catch in the Fucking Rye.

Other than that I don't finish worse books.

EXCEPT, for some reason I read one by Brett Easton Ellis and two by Michael McInnery, the two poster boys for disaffected lame-ass eighties coke-lit. I think with those I just got fascinated by how awful the were and tried to figure out why so many people didn't realize it.
 

ClancyBoy

Senior Member
Whatever the first book in the Wheel of Time series was. What godawful crap. I got it because it was the most downloaded audiobook on the bittorrent tracker I use most.

Second worst was China Mountain Zhang. I got it without hearing anything about it because it was sci-fi set in China. Could have been interesting if the author had the first clue what she was talking about or even the tiniest bit of imagination.

Publishers seem to give a free ride to minorities who write ignorantly about the countries their great grandparents come from. Chinese 101 and a summer in Hong Kong teaching English seem to be enough research for people (especially Asian-Americans) to write fiction set in China.

I can't count the amount of ignorant dreck people write about "their Grandfather's Village" and other such rubbish where they crib all they know of the country and culture from a travel guide.

Edit:
I know I'm kind of begging the question here. I write fiction set in Asia, but I try to be careful never to write about aspects of it that I'm not intimately acquainted with.
 
Last edited:

Linton Robinson

Senior Member
Publishers seem to give a free ride to minorities who write ignorantly about the countries their great grandparents come from.

Thank you. I was telling this to a librarian and I thought she was going to call security.

If you are a Tibetan-American, an advance awaits you.
 

Linton Robinson

Senior Member
More of that conversation might be of interest here:
I had been noticing that the shelves were full of all these politically correct, ethnically enlighted titles...most totally inappropriate to the area the branch was located...so I started opening them and pulling their cards. NOBODY WAS READING THEM. They had collections of five books by authors that NOT ONE SINGLE PERSON had checked out the first one he wrote.

I pointed that out to her and asked if it wouldn't be a good idea to stock books that people wanted to read, rather than what they thought we should be reading.

He got really bitchy about that (I mean, you know, for a public employee) and this hippy-looking grad student nearby looked like he was going to try to kill me.

I kept coming back to "but nobody is reading them. You're spending money and space on stuff nobody wants." But she wouldn't hear of it, kept on ranting about how I didn't realize the mosaic of the country. Finally she played the big card, "It's no longer the case that people only get to read books by middle-aged white males."

I said, "Well, my experience from grade school up to right now is that what we're getting shoved down our throat is the choice of menopausal white females. Your etnics here don't want your cool fucking books, they want people shooting and fucking each other."

Incredibly, she was speechless. She just stared at me and wandered off. I stared down the grad student and left.

They just keep buying the same old shit. They have every title Carlos Fuentes ever wrote and none of them have a single stamp on the card, just to name one.
 

jamesdemann

Senior Member
the da vinci code is probably the worst book ever written with the greatest sucess....it is a funny old game.

A pretty bad book I started to read, but gave up as it was that bad was Ken Macleod's engines of light trilogy. Looks good, and the blurb on the back sounds really interesting, but both me and mum, both sci-fi fans took a look at this and gave up after just 20 or 30 pages. It is a confused and boring mess of a book. In fact so bad, that when thinking of a psycho drunk neighbour for my latest work, I used his surname for this character....
 

BlackWolf

Senior Member
Every Wheel of Time book after book three. The first three were ok, and I was bored, but I can't start something and not finish it, so even though it is absolute torture I will read the next one too.
 

ClancyBoy

Senior Member
Thank you. I was telling this to a librarian and I thought she was going to call security.

If you are a Tibetan-American, an advance awaits you.

Don't you understand? Cultural insight is heredetary.

Doesn't matter if you spent your childhood playing nintendo and eating frozen burritos. If your last name is Tan, knowledge about your grandfather's village is stored in your ancestral memory just waiting to be tapped.
 

kenewbie

Senior Member
Clive Cussler - Atlantis Found.

I should have guessed it looking at the cover, the MC is named "Dirk Pitt". It sounds something out of a horribly cheesy novel. Which it is.

The book is an exercise in clichés and pulp-plots. They find Atlantis, there are of course special ops teams with fantastic not-really-existent-yet technology, and Nazi gold!

The best part is; at one point the author inserts himself, as a real person, into the book and helps resolve the plot. Deus ex Machina doesn't quite cover it, it needs it's own term.

It is bad to a point that I use it to cross-reference other books on amazon. If the book I contemplate buying figures on any "listmania"'s that also contain works by Cussler, I push it to the bottom of the list.

After reading it I started bringing my own books to holidays, the selection they carry at the beach-side kiosks aren't that fantastic.

k
 

Patrick Beverley

Senior Member
They don't WANT guys to read novels so they give them Lord of the Flies and Jane Eyre and SILAS FUCKING MARNER and all that turgid crap. THen for a little light, youth reading, Catch in the Fucking Rye
They gave you those because they didn't want you to read novels? Damn, I never got any of those to read for school. Maybe they could have stopped me reading novels. As it was, I had to find those four for myself, and loved all of them.
 

Mira

Senior Member
Most of the bad books I read were in English class in high school. They don't WANT guys to read novels so they give them Lord of the Flies and Jane Eyre

Hm, I really liked Jane Eyre. I do kinda think you have to be female to get any joy from this book though... But I've read it twice, and I really enjoy it. Granted it's insanely wordy and takes forever to get through, but it's still a good book....

Wheel of Times-Yah, I read like two books and a half, and those hours feel very wasted to me. Oh, so terrible!!!
 
As soon as I figure out a book isn't going to get any better, I will put it down. This is not an option with required reading for school. The absolute worst I ever had to read was Johnny Tremain. It was so unspeakably boring that the teacher didn't even read it. I wasn't too fond of The Outsiders, either.
 
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