The worst or most overrated books EVER!

I wrote this title ages ago and have come back to this post to discover that I have actually written nothing.  So am now wracking my brains, so far the worst book I can think of is,

Edward Rutherfurd Sarum – The most monotonous historical novel ever.  The history of  Salisbury from when it is divided from Europe by the Ice  Age to the present day.  I kept reading believing it would get better, it didn´t.  Over a thousand pages.

I am now stuck now obviously there are some appalling chick lit but I don’t read that, the closest I have come is this which is terrible;

Jodi Picoult – My Sister’s Keeper.  I don’t remember much about this book except maybe someone died or was dying and I couldn’t wait for it to end.  Why do so many people like her?  This book was a present so I felt obliged to read it

I have had to resort to Worst Books of All Time list.  I have now revised this list to books that everyone seems to like but I thought were overrated or in the case of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies books that were simply awful.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
by Seth Grahame-Smith

Anne Fine – The Gathering.  Everyone in the book club liked it except me, I was depressed.

Angela Carter – Nights at the Circus.  Maybe I need to try another one of hers.

Heart of Darkness Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad.  Depressing dirge.

Ernest Hemingway  – The Old Man and the Sea.  So short but so boring.  For Whom the Bell Tolls was a hard slog too, why does everyone like him?

The Book Thief, Markus Zusak – I have read so much about Nazi Germany that I was just switched off but other people and my students have enjoyed it.

Perfume: The Story of a Murder...Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind.  Just found this disturbing.

Mrs. Dalloway
Virginia Woolf.  One day where not much happens.

Underworld by Don DeLillo.  I found this so hard to read and it is so long.

Paulo Coelho – The alchemist, can’t remember how my boyfriend described this but very damning, might have been something like pretentious crap.

Umberto Eco – The Island of the Day Before – The Name of the Rose is brilliant, this is just  really hard going.

I am sure there are many others, and this list might get updated soon.



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13 responses to “The worst or most overrated books EVER!

  1. Vicki

    Before I even saw your list The Alchemist and Perfume were up there for me. I was going to say that I never managed to finish The Alchemist despite several attempts, but it would be truer to say that I barely got past the first few chapters. Perfume, like you K, I found a very disturbing book and made me feel physically ill on a number of occasions, a dreadful book with a loathsome leading man. I would also have to say One Day by David Nicholls, I wasn’t expecting a work of great literary genius, but given the hype I thought I should read it before watching the film. However I found it pretty dull and tedious and wasn’t enamoured particularly with either of the main characters. Disappointing. And I had forgotten about Sarum!!!!! Ha ha!! I never finished that one either!

  2. I actually finished the Alchemist being as everyone was raving about it because I thought it would have to get better, why do people fall for that kind of rubbish.

    One Day was a bit overrated (see my review ) but probably wouldn’t put it on my list.

    I am glad you didn’t waste your life on Sarum, unlike me. It has been the only book I have told a student not to bother carrying on reading. I must learn to stop if a book is crap instead of keeping going until the end.

  3. ann wood

    I hate leaving a book unfinished,but only managed 100 pages or so of Sarum.This is a shame because I love Salisbury & the surrounding area.
    Getting back into ‘Wheel of Fortune’.This is based mainly in Rhosilli,a lovely area on the Gower coast

  4. Jemma

    I’m with you on Jodi Picoult… only good for a brainless holiday beach read but I usually wonder why I bothered with books like that. Also with you on Paolo Coelho… After reading 11 Minutes and Veronica Decides to Die quite close together I came to the conclusion that he is a bit of a creepy, self important perv. Perfume also made me feel ill and i couldn’t read it but I quite enjoyed the film.
    But The Book Thief?? That is one of my all time favourite books! I loved it a lot. I have only read it once but I will read it again.

    • I didn´t think Picoult was even good for a beach read, I just couldn´t care less about any of the characters. Completely agree on Coelho, a very succinct critique. I was a bit bored in The Book Thief, but maybe it´s not completely awful.

  5. Sheesh. I wonder if I would like the others you didn’t. I enjoyed Sarum after the first couple of chapters (after I quit marking the typos and the passive voice.) Of course I also enjoyed Defoe’s Journal of the Plague Year in high school. Colleen McCullough’s Roman novels also tend to drag (but she puts in such great author’s notes, glossaries and charts that it’s better than trying to absorb the period through most nonfiction.) I’ll have to explore farther in what you do like.

  6. Judith, I am shocked to find someone who liked Sarum! I haven’t read the Defoe or any other McCullogh novels, maybe something to explore.

  7. Well, someone liked Sarum, or Rutherfurd’s contract wouldn’t have been exercised and we’d never have had the opportunity for London or Forest (neither of which I’ve read, incidentally, but intend to.) Another candidate for a book that’s terribly overrated (at least for half of it) is Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides. I kept thinking as I read, “It has to get better soon, it won a Pulitzer.” Then I began to suspect the author had been sleeping with someone on the committee. Almost exactly half way through, it picked up and turned into a good book, but I can’t quite figure out how anyone got that far into it to know.

    • Well that is true, maybe just personal taste but I felt it was just overlong and London just looks like it is written to exactly the same formula. I really enjoyed Middlesex, although my copy did get stolen just before I finished the last chapter and being as I was in the Seychelles I couldn´t replace it. Therefore it took another couple of months before I read the end so it had probably lost its impact then. His latest doesn´t seem to have had great reviews.

  8. yaykisspurr

    haha. Totally agree with you, especially the most popular books and authors. I don’t get what they see. Boring!!


  9. The worst book I’ve ever finished (other than ones we were made to read at school) is Coelho’s Alchemist.
    I read it while on one of my travels around East Asia, many years ago, and virtually everybody I met on the trip happened to be reading it, and LIKING it… Plus it had sold 26 million copies or thereabouts, about the same number as the Beatles’ Sgt Peppers, plus it only had about twelve pages so wasn’t going to be too demanding….So I figured I just had to struggle to the end and maybe there’d be some amazing revelation.
    It’s one of those highly annoying books whereby the author, through the principal character talks down to the reader, over-explaining everything, rather like the way Spielberg underlines every joke and then adds triple exclamation marks, in case we’re all a bit too thick to grasp it.
    Soooo patronising.

  10. I haven’t the others on your list, but I agree with what you say about Mrs. Dalloway. I have NOT been able to pick up anything by Virginia Woolf after that.

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