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  1. The Time Machine Did It,] by John Swartzwelder, is the only book I’ve ever read and disliked. I don’t know what I expected, I don’t remember what I got, I’m just glad it’s done.

  2. In my entire life… possibly A Separate Peace.. I never did finish it. Recently, that would probably be Desperation by Stephen King. Abso-freaking-lutely hated it. The entire second half of the book is YAY GOD!

    1. The first of King’s magical cowboy in the desert series was the last King book I read. I was already growing tired of him (I had been on a bit of a Stephen King streak back in high school), but that one cinched it.

      1. Stephen King was my gateway to “adult” books in high school too.

        And if you mean that first book of his Dark Tower series I’m with you. Everybody raves about it but I can’t get through the first book.

      2. I was actually going to say the entire Dark Tower series. I began reading it when I was too young to care about real quality. By the time I realized just how mediocre the rest of it was, I had already invested so much time in it that I just had to finish it. It got to be a real grind toward the end.

  3. I hate to say it but The Hobbit and Catch 22 were hard for me to get through. JR Tolkien with 15 pages of describing a blade of grass and Catch 22 with tons of character bullshit.

  4. Dan Brown’s Lost Symbol. Angels & Demons and Da Vinci Code are terrible and yet I still found them mildly entertaining. Lost Symbol is everything that is bad about those two, times a million, with zero redeeming qualities. Not sure why I finished it.

  5. The Great Gatsby- I’ve read it at least three times (two of those times because I had to teach it). I didn’t like it any of those times, and have never met anyone who could give me a coherent reason why it should be considered good literature. It’s total crap.

    Two I gave up on: like ange, I had a hard time with Catch 22. Just couldn’t get through it. Didn’t like the Hobbit, either, but at least stayed until the end. I can’t say the same for Lord of the Rings, however, which was hurled at my wall at around page 320. Fuck elves!

    1. Bingo. Anyone who likes this book, please pull back from its “rep” in the literati world and actually summarize the plot, then tell us why we should love this book, please. These are despicable people. well perhaps Nick is neutral. But why did he inflict this tale on us, then? But you “have” to read it. I read it to the end because I just could not believe a book so highly revered could be as bad as what I was seeing on the page.

      Frankly, this book is a setup job. The non-Nick people are constructed “as if” they represent American capitalists. FSF puts them through trash behaviors to show their ugliness. Hit job complete.

      You know, there is a remake in the works out in Hollywood, with Leonardo DiCaprio. In 3D!. I hope it stinks.

  6. Mody Dick. I had to read it for a class back in high school and just couldn’t take it. I was expecting a novel, instead I got an overly technical 19th century textbook on whaling.

  7. No Promises in the Wind. I had to read it for English class in the 7th grade and it was so, so awful. It was a pointless, rambling mess with some random historical facts awkwardly thrown in. My best friend and I used to force our other friends to read passages from it as a type of hazing.

  8. A Game of Thrones. I forced myself to finish it, but it was painful the whole way. Call me old fashioned, but I can’t abide the Deadwooding of the fantasy genre.

    1. We who love Ayn Rand are protected by the size and radicalism of Atlas Shrugged. I NEVER believe that anyone who hated it actually read it from cover to cover. 500 pages, okay, kudos to dang. But the thing is a sure fire bet to make anyone not “of it” to fling it against the wall. No Problem.

      1. The Fountainhead. Pure drek.

        “Ayn Rand is dead,” wrote conservative author William F. Buckley in an obituary column in 1982. “So, incidentally, is the philosophy she sought to launch dead; it was in fact stillborn.”

      2. MKULTRA that is an odd quote for you to cite. Buckley is dead too, gee wiz.

        Do you REALLY want to measure the staying power of Buckley’s legacy against that of Ayn Rand? Just because you are one of the ones tossing her against the wall does not make Poor William’s prediction come true.

  9. Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West.

    I was looking forward to reading it and it just fell flat and I grew increasingly annoyed with the fantasy scenarios.

    I had a chance to see the musical Wicked. Excellent show in every way and not tedious like the book.

    1. That was some of the worst dreck I have ever read. I soldiered through it but it was the dumbest thing I have ever read. It was a great premise I loved the idea of it but it really was so half-baked. Maybe it is better to music…

      1. I barely made it through Wicked. And I’m a fool for starting Confessions of An Ugly Stepsister afterwards. It’s still on my pending list after 2 yrs……brutally boring.

  10. I forced myself to read all of Battlefield Earth, back in junior high. It was mildly entertaining to 13-year-old me for the first hundred pages or so, but then it just kept droning and droning and droning on, getting nowhere and I forced myself to read the whole thing just so I could get some sort of payout for my effort. Not worth it at the end.

    Someday I’m going to watch the movie to see if it really was as bad as I hear.

    1. It is. Save your time – your life is too precious to waste on that kind of crap. It would be better spent digging out toe-cheese…

  11. The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Most unbearably self-involved, self-gratifying attempt at profundity I’ve ever had the misfortune GAH I can’t even start to articulate how much I despise that author for creating that book.

    1. Totally agree. I read it this past summer because I never had and for some reason felt like I should. When I finished, my only thought was, “huh. Wish I had those four hours back.”

      I hung on because I was expecting something good to happen at the end that would redeem the whole experience of slogging through the misery (or at least something slightly unexpected). Never happened.

    2. Same here. I remember reading Ethan Frome in Junior High and hating every minute of it. I think I actually threw the book in the garbage after finishing it because I couldn’t imagine giving it away to anyone else.

  12. House of Sand and Fog. The only book I’ve every reviewed online–it was unbelievably bad. I could not force myself to read Atlas Shrugged or the Fountainhead.

  13. Crossroads of Twilight by Robert Jordan. Not only is it the 10th in the WoT series, it’s extremely tedious (Two chapters on the girls in Caemlyn taking a bath? Half a chapter spent sifting weevils from grain? Where do I sign up?!) setup for the next three novels in the series.

  14. “Ghost Rider” by Rush’s drummer, Neil Peart. It’s an auto-documentary about dealing with life after his daughter and wife died within ten months of each other (car wreck and cancer, respectively). The majority of it covers two solo, months-long motorcycle trips he took across North America. The first 100 pages or so is a very good read, but after that it gets redundant (how many times can you describe a sunset?), and he fills it with copies of letters he wrote to friends and family – some of it rehashing what was already mentioned elsewhere in the book, and tales about people not involved with the story. It becomes a very boring book, and the last few chapters feel rushed. Seeing the book came around the same time as the next Rush album, it was probably due to a deadline.

  15. Finnegans Wake. Twice.
    I really, really love me some James Joyce, but “Finnegan” has to be the literary equivalent of a root canal minus anesthesia.

  16. Probably The Piano Teacher by Elfriede Jelinek. It was 2005 and she’d just won the Nobel Prize for Literature and I had a LOT of time to kill at my job.

    This question, though, depends on how you want to interpret ‘worst.’ I definitely did not enjoy the book, but I don’t think that was the author’s intention. It was powerful and artful and all that, and I hated the crap out of it.
    BTW, I really liked Catch-22.

  17. I manage a middle school library. I often don’t finish books. There’s always so many books I want to read, if I am not loving a book, I usually quit after about 50 pages.

    We recently had a parent challenge the books in the popular TTYL series. The books are written as conversations in text messages. Before trying to defend the books, I read one. OMG! It was explicit, shallow and annoying. Worst book I ever finished. I really could not justify having that in the school library. I send girls looking for the series to the public library. (I put our discarded copies up in the staff room where someone snagged them right away.)

  18. And Another Thing by Eoin Culfer.
    It’s a horribly bad, pretentious pseudo-sequel to the Hitchiker’s Guide series of books. It starts where Mostly Harmless ended.

    It is so bad, it’s just unspeakable. It tries so hard to make the small punchlines that the whole story is just lost. Aside form that, it’s just rubbish.
    And that’s all before you think of the fact that he’s ripping of Douglas Adams for this tripe.
    Ugh!
    I kept reading it just hoping it would get good at some point, and then it ended.

  19. The Old Man and The Sea – Hemingway

    What a pile of trash. I get the whole “man fighting with his own aging struggles, and finding a brethren in the fish both struggling to live and battle death”, but dude seriously. By the end of this book, I was hoping that fucking fish would just turn around and eat the old bastard, saving me some needless pain brought on by a sadistic literature teacher in high school.

  20. I have a fairly short list: Battlefield Earth, the Dan Brown books, Dianetics, and the Bible. I read Battlefield Earth for the same reason I eat Doritoes – it’s junk food and doesn’t challenge me. Dianetics got thrown away. I also read Dan Brown for the sugar fix – it’s junk that has just enough “intellectualism” to keep me going. But it’s still dreck. The Bible I have punished myself with twice. Having read it (really read it – I went back and forth over some passages until I got them) it has cured me of it and it defends me against people who try to convert me. The Bhaghavad (sp?) Gita is actually a GREAT read and I learned so much more from that than I ever will from the Bible!

  21. The Masculine Journey, by Robert Hicks. It was foisted on me in college by my best friend from high school, who had turned full-blown batshit Promise Keeper Jesus-lubber, when I was a waning churchgoer. The book demands that proper Christian men take back their god-given role as “spiritual leaders” and decision makers in their relationships with women. Men are encouraged to do this by presenting this dogma as a gift (!) that they owe to their women. As in, “Honey, I’m sorry I’ve indulged you in your delusions of selfhood, of professional independence, and of biological and sexual agency. I’m going to be piloting the ship from now on, as per god’s command, so you don’t have to worry your purty little head about anything but putting dinner on the table and deciding whether you’ve behaved well enough for me to give you an allowance.”

    I was able to finish the book only by harnessing my outrage at the text. I prepared a chapter-by-chapter book report — along with a note expressing my sincere wish that my soon-to-be-former friend keep his reading suggestions to himself so long as his head remained lodged in his rectum — and included it with the book by return post.

    On the plus side, it did galvanize my burgeoning atheism.

  22. _The Atlantic Abomination_, by John Brunner. Possibly the worst SF ever published by ACE books.

    New peeve: Novels that mix chapters in first-person with chapters in third-person (MIchael Connelly is an offender). Hate them. Hate Them. HATE THEM. Did I mention I hate them?

  23. Probably ‘The Hunger Games’ series. I’ve never before encountered such unlikeable, spiteful, emotionless protagonists. The author somehow manages to extract all entertainment and moral implications from what would be an otherwise an intriguing concept.

      1. I will say that I know quite a few people who immensely enjoy ‘The Hunger Games’, so maybe I’m overly critical 😉 But seriously, I could rant about this series (the second and third books especially) for ages.

        Without spoiling anything, the main character is entirely reactive, wishy-washy, too immature/unwise for her supposed age, and often just plain mean. I don’t see the appeal to her at all (and not in the antihero way).
        Plus, a ridiculous amount of time is spent describing clothes and food. Seriously. It gets tiring.

  24. I tried to read Infinite Jest, and I know this makes me somehow intellectually inferior, but I struggled to read even the first chapter- I HATED it.

    1. Oh, the question was read to the end…… None? I don’t waste my time if they’re not either providing entertainment or teaching me something. 🙂

  25. Books 5, 6 and 7 of the Harry Potter series. I really liked the first 4, but after the movies started getting made, they lost all semblance of the original charm that brought me into the series and it just became about making a story that would look good on camera.

  26. For me, it was the utterly abominable “sequel” to “Gone With the Wind”, Alexandra Ripley’s insufferable “Scarlett”. It did NO justice to Margaret Mitchell’s original story at all. I finished it, if only in hopes that it would get better somewhere… but it didn’t.

  27. So I know that Twilight is always hated on, sometimes obnoxiously so, but there’s a reason for that. Bella is an obnoxious, whiny girl who has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Edward is plain unrealistic in his character design– he’s supposed to be a hot immortal teenager who is immune to, oh, say, STDs and the like: any guy in that situation would spend his time screwing like there’s no tomorrow. But no, he’s a 108-year-old virgin. Who falls in love with plain, whiny, sadsack Bella. Alice’s powers are inconsistent, one of the main Volturi vampires has the incredibly dangerous power of seeing emotional bonds, and Jasper freaks out at a paper cut and is totally fine when Bella is lying on the floor bleeding through her legs and hand. Werewolves don’t have jetpacks. Jacob and Charlie are like the two most realistic characters in the book, and Jacob’s a werewolf. And Stephenie Meyer says “murmur” and “glower” too often.
    Tl;dr version: Twilight could have been so, so, so much better. But the characters suck, the writing could use some work, and I have no idea why it’s so popular.

  28. Dune… endless descriptions of alien worlds and their political arrangements… and 5 sequels!

    Snoopy had a word for it… BLEAH!!!!!!!!!!

  29. I’m surprised no one mentioned The Kite Runner. The language in this book is no problem for anyone with a 6th grade education and the plot is reasonably easy to follow. The problem is the content: gay rape, suicide, people being beaten to death, child molestation, bullying, horrors of war… I just couldn’t take it.

  30. house of sand and fog. my friend loaned it to me – she loved it. i hated it. forced myself to finish it – shouldnt have wasted the time. the characters in this book are so unlikable it was hard to care one way or the other how the story ended.

  31. Someone mentioned it earlier, but Catch 22 for me too. There’s a few I haven’t finished, but Catch 22 was the most disappointing, irritating and completely unfunny novel I’ve ever read. Terrible book. And just about everyone I spoke to about it said “but you must finish it, it gets so much better and all comes together!”. I got half way – that was enough!

    1. And now I realise it was worst book you read right to the end. OOPS.

      Ok, last one was Dean Koontz Night Chills, recommended by a friend. Utterly facile and excruciatingly boring. Might not be the worst, just a recent one I can think of.

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