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."