My Worst Books of All Time (books I hate so much they make me feel like I’ve reached rock bottom)

You know, I genuinely wish I’d forgotten all the bad books I’ve ever read. And to be honest, when I go back over my “most disappointing” lists, I generally don’t remember (or care about) most of the books on there. Yet sometimes there are books so frickin AWFUL that they’re seared into my memory and I can’t forget them even though I’ve tried!! (Of course, usual disclaimer that this is just my opinion and what technically constitutes a bad book is subjective… although, for some of these, if you tell me they’re not technically bad, I just want to ask: who hurt you?!) ANYWAY, in no particular order (cos it feels too much like sifting through shit), these are the books I hate most in the world:

Fifty Shades of Grey– oh my, I can’t believe I actually read this book. I mean, no “worst books” list would be complete without it- but why oh why did I have to read it?! I blame myself for getting all caught up in the fact everyone was reading it. This (should’ve) been the moment when I realised never to listen to hype. And unfortunately, it’s forever scarred into my memory. There’s no two ways about it: this book blows. 

Nutshell– in a nutshell, this book is nonsense. Unless of course you believe a foetus can monologue reams of conceited drivel. And of course that little synopsis would be bad enough on its own, if it wasn’t masquerading as a Hamlet retelling… (seriously, how do some books exist?)

As I Lay Dying– this book makes me want to die… ahhh I’m not even being melodramatic. It’s been years since I was forced to read this for uni and I’m still not over this insipid advertisement for postmodern bullshit. Amazingly, I’m not impressed by people that pontificate on whether words can truly convey emotion. I wish the self-indulgent wankers who engage in such discussions would just go off to baa in some field somewhere and leave the rest of us in peace.

Wideacre– just gross. I’m disturbed that this was recommended to me, because, WHY?!?! If you don’t know the book, then maybe shield your eyes, stop reading and be grateful in the knowledge that you have been spared from this abject horror. For the rest of us, we have to know that a “feminist” book about incest exists… It’s the book no one asked for/needed/wanted. Yay. Now excuse me while I vomit.

Conversations with Friends– this book is memorable for all the wrong reasons: the pretentious writing style, the characters, oh and did I mention the characters?! I loathe everything about everyone in this book. They’re not only up their own arse, they frequently get far too intimate with other (arsey) characters who happen to be married. And they have no emotions about it cos they’re sociopaths. Cool. Love this kind of thing.

Inspector Calls– technically a play, but I’m counting it. I don’t know why but there’s something endlessly irritating about this precious little play and it’s non-stop moralising. All the “characters” are so flat they may as well be made out of cardboard. And the writing has a sickeningly saccharine edge to it, as it dictates the ways of the world in oh-so-simple terms that even mere mortals such as you or I could understand… Luckily for Priestley, he was preaching to the choir (that choir being the Soviet Union… great- just the kind of regime you want endorsing you).

Dishonourable mentions that I don’t want to waste too much breath on:

The Fault in Our Stars– I wouldn’t care anymore if not for that awful scene in Anne Frank’s house.

Atlas Shrugged– I’d rather thump myself over the head with this gigantic book than talk about it.

Foxhole Court– why is this book?

Girl Woman Other– because there is nothing wrong with a full stop.   

And that’s all… for now! Though I hope I never have to add to this list! Dare I ask- what do you think of these books? And what are your worst books of all time? Let me know in the comments!

29 thoughts on “My Worst Books of All Time (books I hate so much they make me feel like I’ve reached rock bottom)

  1. Never rad 50 shades avoided the hype. Will never get Fault in our stars. Haven’t read Conversations with friends BUT I hated Beautiful world where are you, the characters were bloody awful, I couldn’t find one redeeming thing about any of them and my god it was boring

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  2. I read The Fault in Our Stars about… maybe 9-10 years ago now. I recall enjoying it (certainly enough to give it a high rating on Goodreads) but even then, the Anne Frank Museum chapter was inappropriate.

    Thinking back to it now, with a bit more experience and maturity behind me, it’s absolutely galling that that scene made it to publication. I actually can’t believe how insensitive it is.

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    1. Oh gosh I can’t believe I missed lolita!! And I thought I was so diligent making this list as well 😅 perhaps I forgot about it because I’ve tried so hard to scrub it from my mind!! I mean unlike a fair few of these I get that it’s well written… But my god I hate it

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  3. I am kinda surprised to see The Fault in Our Stars here, but I agree with you- it’s not worth the hype! I don’t actively hate it, but I don’t love it either! I enjoyed reading this post, though!

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  4. Oh nooo, I plan on reading Conversations with Friends before the hulu show airs this May :/ that’s going to be rough. To be fair, I have a very strong hate-love-relationship with the author’s novel “Normal People” already. I was prepared for it to not be easy.

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  5. Oh dear…lol…I’m afraid that I loved Conversations with Friends and Fault in our Stars. And As I Lay Dying is something I look very forward to reading some day. 😀

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  6. I haven’t read any of these books, so it seems I may have had a lucky escape. This is a brave blog post, though, in the current climate. I’m surprised no one has been “triggered” into initiating a social media pile-on to demand that you #BeKind. 😄

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  7. Some resonance for me: 50 Shades is a weak story, but worse is a sop to the disempowerment of women – the way he treats her out side the bedroom is more telling. McEwan wrote well at other times, this must be one he’s living off; Gregory – never liked her writing; Priestly well …; Rand – another right-wing extremist capitalist who believed that the poor were weak and undeserving, gah.

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  8. Ha ha ha, oh dear. Fifty Shades — I agree that it’s awful… and yes, must admit that not only did I finish the book, I read the entire trilogy! Mad times, what can I say? At least I’ve declined to read any of the retellings from Christian’s POV, so maybe I’ve slightly redeemed myself. I haven’t read the others, but some sound truly atrocious. I did have to read one Faulkner book in college, and hated it… have never felt the need to explore further.

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  9. Never read 50 Shades and. nor do I want to despite how much attention it got. The whole thing is just sordid . I read Normal People by Sally Rooney and that was more than enough for me – such irritating characters.
    I’m add the Do Vinci Code to this list – interesting idea but the writing was dire

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  10. I heard a joke online that if the suitor of Fifty Shades of Grey was a poor man and not a member of the elite rich, it would not be a spicy romance–it would be an episode of Criminal Minds.

    A good friend of mine foolishly spoiled our time in each other’s company when she recommended Ayn Rand to me. I might have read Atlas Shrugged if I didn’t get the message that Rand despised the poor.

    There are a few perennial favourites I have trouble with, such as 1984. Ben Shapiro recently said that George Orwell’s book doesn’t deal with the underlying subject of Communism as effectively as many take it to be saying.

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  11. I did not like Normal People by Sally Roony at all. Mainly for the same reason as Conversations with Friends. The writing style and paper thin characters.

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