BTT: Worst Best Book

March 19, 2009

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This week’s Booking Through Thursday question is an interesting one:

What’s the worst ‘best’ book you’ve ever read — the one everyone says is so great, but you can’t figure out why?

It doesn’t take much for me to like a book, so the ones I’ve hated or struggled with over the years really stand out, making this question relatively easy to answer. The first title that comes to mind is Walden by Henry David Thoreau, which is considered a “classic” and was required reading for my American Lit class in college. But the book was simply atrocious. It was horribly self-serving and utterly boring, with page after page of minute details about farming and frugal living. Ugh, just thinking of it again gets me worked up.

Another book I hated was The Trial by Franz Kafka. Again, this was a book that was made tedious by the author’s overindulgence in minutiae. Plus, nothing much ever happens in the way of plot. The premise sounds interesting (a man is arrested for an unspecified crime that he didn’t commit, etc.) but the execution is just terrible. Why this title regularly appears on lists of the greatest novels ever written is beyond me.

And finally, I would have to include The House of the Seven Gables in this list as well. I just finished my second reading of the book (the first coming 15 years ago in high school) and could barely get through it. Boring, boring, boring!

3 Responses to “BTT: Worst Best Book”

  1. I haven’t read any of the titles on your list – though The Trial figures prominently in one of Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next novels.

  2. Gee, “House of the Seven Gables” is one of my favorites. But I’d definitely agree about “Walden.” I’ve never understood how Thoreau got to be so popular. His writing is really awful.

  3. I will never read another Hawthorne book as long as I live and it’s good to know that I am not the only one who is not a fan.

    Thanks for stopping by though.

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