Dear reader, life is too short for crap books.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Books I Hate

There was an interesting feature in the Times Online this week where critics wrote about their least favorite books. Whether these titles were actively loathed (such as Ian McEwan's Atonement) or just frequently given up on (more than one person chose Crime and Punishment), I didn't see anything on the list I disagreed with. But I feel the need to add a few of my own:

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Listening to teenage girls talk about Edward, I begin to think that Elvis might have had more luck with the ladies had he been a brooding fictional vampire. I paid little attention to Edward's charms, being unable to look past the lazy writing, dull plot, and annoyingly passive and bland narrator. My intense hatred of Twilight is more thoroughly documented here.

The Moviegoer by Walker Percy

I'm prepared to catch hell for including this one, but let me just say that I don't *hate* The Moviegoer, I just fall asleep every time I try to read it.

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The year I taught 11th and 12th grade English my top priority was to teach my students how to write well. My second priority was to protect them from The Scarlet Letter and to do all that was in my power to keep it out of the curriculum. We read The Crucible instead, and everyone was grateful.

On the Road by Jack Kerouac

The pervasive sexism is bad enough, but the thing I could never get past in this book is that Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty are basically the 1950s equivalent of suburban white boys who sit around listening to 50 Cent and talking about how they are all gangsta and whatnot.

Any book by Philip Roth that is not Goodbye, Columbus

I find his writing to be uniformly nasty, ugly, misogynist, and willfully unlikeable, though I will always have a soft spot for "The Conversion of the Jews."


Julie said...

I'm with ya on Twilight, though I would have said any book by Philip Roth that isn't The Human Stain.

Ang said...

Absolutely on board with On the Road, for precisely the same reason. I would share more opinions, but I am horrifyingly ill read.

raidergirl3 said...

I won't worry about trying to get the Myers sereis read, since I completely agree with you on The Scarlet Letter, On the Road, and Philip Roth (although I haven't read the one you recommended, I just hated The Human Stain). Since our tastes overlap on hated books, I shall avoid Twilight.

There are lots of books I haven't liked, but those 3 are the ones I've actively hated.

Elizabeth said...

I'm with you on most of that stuff, but I have to say I actually liked Twilight. What I liked about it was that it reminded me of feelings I had as a teen. Edward tells her he's a vampire, and Bella says, okay. Maybe I was an especially stupid 16 year old, but that felt like a really believable reaction to me.

Maybe I have weird taste though. My all-time favorite YA Book About Love is Orfe by Cynthia Voigt. And that one never shows up on anyone's list for anything.

Anonymous said...

If I were the book-burning type, The Scarlet Letter would be my kindling. Thank you for keeping it, at least temporarily, from corrupting young minds.
I remain, however, unabashed in my love for Philip Roth. Except Sabbath's Theater. That was heinous.

Kathy said...

Not a fan of Philip Roth either, despite my best efforts.

Nathan said...

the Phillip Roth book where Charles Lindberg becomes president of the USA is really good.

I always knew you were a closet hater, McCoy.

Deusner said...

Oh man, American Pastoral is one of my favorite novels ever.

And the movie version of the Scarlet Letter is better than the book. At least I laughed at the movie.

I'll add: anything by Rick Moody.