What's The Worst Book You've Ever Read?

David Plankton

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Kryptonite said:
I read his autobiography, Cue Frank, once. It wasn't the worst book I've ever read.

What was the worst book you've ever read? I think there could be a new thread brewing.
 
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Kryptonite

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What was the worst book you've ever read? I think there could be a new thread brewing.


A Tale of Two Cities.




Not the Charles Dickens book, the autobiography of Scottish ex-footballer Dave McPherson (he played for teams in Glasgow and Edinburgh, y'see). It was pretty bad, and I say this as someone who has read Living With the Lama, the book that Lobsang Rampa claimed his cat telepathically dictated to him.
 

EnolaGaia

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What was the worst book you've ever read? I think there could be a new thread brewing.

New thread begun (spun off from the "Oops ... Silly Mistakes" thread).

For the last half-century my stock answer to that question has been Mein Kampf.
 

Naughty_Felid

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Can’t say I’ve ever finished a book that I thought was truly bad. Even at school, there was always Cliff Notes.

This pretty much.

As mentioned before Job: A Comedy of Justice by Robert Heinlein. The first book I'd ever read as a teenager that I realized was awful.

Some of those Peter and Jane ladybird books could have been fleshed out a bit, but Pat the dog stopped them from being bad.
 

JamesWhitehead

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Though not much more than a child - albeit one strangely-attracted to big books - I can recall tunnelling through The Fall of a Titan, by one Igor Gouzenko.

I am not sure if I ever finished it, though I can remember thinking that the task would not defeat me, when I was half-way through the mountain!

Even as a kid, I sensed that it was a terrible novel with cardboard characters and melodramatic situations. It is regarded, these days, as
a pretentious, cold-war, anti-Soviet tract. I can, dimly, recall trying to write a review of it, when the teacher asked us to explain what we were reading. Had she been more helpfully laconic, her response would have been a very large why?

Because it was there, I suppose; I just wish it had been Dostoyevsky! I guess the author also hoped that! :evillaugh:
 
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Dinobot

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The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.

Both Christmas gifts, because I wouldn't dream of buying myself such rancid tripe. Forced myself to read them, just so I could politely tell the people who gave them to me I had actually read them, detested every single word and gave said books to charity at the earliest opportunity.

Hate those books, hate them, hate them, hate them more than I can express...:incan:
 

JamesWhitehead

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Sooner or later, we will have to face the question of those books which are tripe, despite which we wolf them down joyously.

I well recall discovering Hollywood Babylon in the bookcase of a friend, during a party. I hid behind the sofa to savour every poisonous word of it - and I don't want to know if it's not true! Clearly, there was precious little to match that decadence at the party!

The sequels were total rip-offs with very little text, though they looked the business on the shelf, wrapped in cellophane, like porn! :rup:
 
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maximus otter

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The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown.

The hype kept on mounting, so l bought a copy (from a charity shop, luckily) and waded in. l still to this day cannot believe what poorly-written, contrived, turgid shite it was.

l kept on ploughing through, assuring myself that it must improve soon. Reader, it did not.

l would kill myself with a wire brush-mounted Black & Decker before l read another Dan Brown excretion.

maximus otter
 

Dinobot

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The hype kept on mounting, so l bought a copy (from a charity shop, luckily) and waded in. l still to this day cannot believe what poorly-written, contrived, turgid shite it was.

l kept on ploughing through, assuring myself that it must improve soon. Reader, it did not.

l would kill myself with a wire brush-mounted Black & Decker before l read another Dan Brown excretion.

maximus otter
Last time I was in a charity shop, there were oodles of Dan Brown books. Either people were donating them in record numbers, or no-one was desperate enough to read that tripe and buy a copy. Dan Brown books came in handy during the Great Toilet Paper Shortage Of 2020...
 

Ringo

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I hated Conrad's Lord Jim but that might be down to personal taste. I just couldn't finish it despite trying several times. It appears in all the Top 100 lists so maybe it's a case of PWUNWM (Problem with User, Not with Machine).
 

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Comedian Steve Coogan's autobiography ... normally comedians who create unlikeable fake persona characters are nice in real life but he actually is as shallow as Allan Partridge it seems, wanking on about how much more he's achieved in life than his contemporaries .. I don't think he was trying to be funny either.
 

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Has anyone here actually read '50 Shades Of Grey'? .. I haven't, it must have been shite because at one point charity shops were asking people to stop donating copies of it .. one shop even built a wendy house sized structure built solely of copies of '50 Shades Of Grey' to reinforce their request that people stop donating copies of it ..
 

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Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger - I persevered with it in the diminishing hope it would get better. Read it after I left School to see what all the fuss was about - had I produced that quality of work in an English lesson, I would have got a 'D' and a bollocking. And I mean that, I really really do.
 

MercuryCrest

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"Don't Stop the Carnival" by Herman Wouk.

I got midway through the book and I found myself thinking, "I don't know if this author's racist, a product of his time, or trying to ape the racism of his time, but if I can't tell, then it's probably not worth reading anymore."

Seriously, I really couldn't tell and that's what made me put it down and walk away.

Also, instead of a comedy of errors, as I expected, I really started to feel bad for the protagonist. Not at all what I was expecting.
 

Cochise

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The chronicles of Thomas Covenant. Boring boring boring. I amazingly got as far as halfway through the third book before deciding that watching wood warp would be more interesting.

I've never really got on with Dickens either. Being forced to read Oliver Twist at school may have something to do with that. Maybe I'll try again in the current climate - there is a half-finished copy of David Copperfield by my bed.
 

Krepostnoi

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The chronicles of Thomas Covenant. Boring boring boring. I amazingly got as far as halfway through the third book before deciding that watching wood warp would be more interesting.
Funnily enough, that's the first title that occurred to me. If I recall correctly, the main character commits a despicable act on one of the first female characters he encounters. And still you're supposed to care enough about him to see what happens next. Terrible, terrible piece of writing. I wasn't a very sophisticated reader when I picked this book up - in my early teens, I guess - but even then I knew it wasn't coming from a good place.
 

Cochise

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Funnily enough, that's the first title that occurred to me. If I recall correctly, the main character commits a despicable act on one of the first female characters he encounters. And still you're supposed to care enough about him to see what happens next. Terrible, terrible piece of writing. I wasn't a very sophisticated reader when I picked this book up - in my early teens, I guess - but even then I knew it wasn't coming from a good place.
Exactly. The most unlovable unidentifiable-with 'hero' I ever came across. I used to quite like fantasy novels back then - Moorcock, etc. but I seriously started to wonder whether anyone who actually enjoyed the Covenant stuff was certifiable.

Serious. My close friend Bryan who recommended the books to me committed suicide in later life - I doubt it was entirely due to those flippin' books but they can't have helped.
 

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The chronicles of Thomas Covenant. Boring boring boring. I amazingly got as far as halfway through the third book before deciding that watching wood warp would be more interesting.

I've never really got on with Dickens either. Being forced to read Oliver Twist at school may have something to do with that. Maybe I'll try again in the current climate - there is a half-finished copy of David Copperfield by my bed.
You'd be better off with that half-finished bottle of vodka by the bed...
 

David Plankton

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I'd enjoyed reading a couple of Graham Swift's earlier books so I thought I'd give Mothering Sunday a shot. It was about thirty pages in and my patience was already being tested when I read the phrase "his moist cock".
To date, this has been the only book that I have ever thrown across the room. I just hope no one bought this as an actual Mother's Day present.


I initially bought The Gallows Pole by Ben Myers on the strength of a few good online reviews and the cover - it's a great cover, look it up. I did finish this one but what a slog. Horrible characters doing horrible things to each other, the only interesting role, in my opinion (the Alchemist), just vanishes midway through without any further explanation. Here is a brief example of the writing style that I've copied from a two-star review on Good Reads -

The entire building came alive with the sound of scraping and banging and rattling and smashing and singing and shouting and braying and grinding and grating and crashing and clobbering and splintering and cleaving and burning and wresting and splashing and beating and clawing and shredding and shouting and splitting and screaming.

^That's enough to give me a headache^

I found Waiting Period by Hubert Selby Jr. a nasty, depressing little book which also didn't get finished and I once read the first page of the first Harry Potter. Not for me.


I'm currently halfway through a novel from the 90's that I'm still not sure about so I won't name it here just yet. It might get better but the 1950's male characters are really getting on my tits with their constant lechery and disgusting innuendo. It's almost as if the author wants to be nominated for the Bad Sex in Fiction Awards. (No actual sex so far, but if there is it's going to be awful).
 

Krepostnoi

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I initially bought The Gallows Pole by Ben Myers
That's handy to hear - for reasons that will shortly become apparent, he was on my list of authors to check out. I think, on the basis of that extract, I can safely remove him. He was this year's thing in the Calder Valley a few years back. More proof, not that it was needed, that the Calder Valley is full of people up themselves. Still, I did my bit to reduce the numbers - I moved away.
 

Krepostnoi

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I've finally remembered the other title that was bumping around at the back of my mind: We need to talk about Kevin. Massively, massively over-written, the product of MAs in Creative Writing, author workshops, and other activities designed to obscure the value of the original thought. So plenty of work had clearly been put in, but the end result was unreadable. Not just nondescript, or mediocre, but actively unreadable, as a result of the thorough kicking each sentence had received.
 

David Plankton

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That's handy to hear - for reasons that will shortly become apparent, he was on my list of authors to check out. I think, on the basis of that extract, I can safely remove him. He was this year's thing in the Calder Valley a few years back. More proof, not that it was needed, that the Calder Valley is full of people up themselves. Still, I did my bit to reduce the numbers - I moved away.

Someone is tied up in a barn and forcibly masturbated by a gang as a punishment.


But he was a spunky character who stood up proud to them, kept his head and managed to beat them all off. One-handed as well.
 

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I quite enjoyed The Da Vinci Code! Although it was very poorly written, I thought he spun a goodish yarn. I read another in the same vein called Crusader Gold (there were a slew of Dan Brown rip offs published at the time, and I got given a pile) and that was way, WAY worse!

For me, the Twilight novels; I'll never forgive them for making me read the sentence, "The pillow was flat and lumpy", in a published, presumably edited, book! Unforgivable!

Oh, I almost forgot a very old (turn of the 20th C, IIRC) Questions and Answers for children book that I was given, that was very informative on why whites were superior to coloured people. Some stuff about their skulls compressing their brains and how the shape of their lips meant they couldn't speak properly. The only book I've ever destroyed; I love books, but that one didn't deserve it's continued existence, IMHO.
 
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GNC

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Stephen King is normally reliable but I couldn't get through his Insomnia. Should be called A Cure For Insomnia. Most disappointing.

Yes, I usually love King but he was definitely having an off day there. An off day that lasts about seven hundred pages, FFS.
 

GNC

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How about Shaun Hutson's Assassins, which is a London geezers gangland pulp yarn until he gets bored in the last few pages and stages a flesheating zombie attack out of the blue?

Worst (supposedly) non-pulp book I read was something by Scott Turow, I forget which. It was excruciatingly tedious but I finished it because I wanted to read a "grown up" book. Frank Herbert's Dune was like that, by the end of it I was so bored I was taking very little of it in, I just wanted it to end. Hard SF not for me, I guess.
 
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