Mar 26, 2009

Meme: Best Worst Book

from Booking Through Thursday, the flip side of last week's question:

What’s the best ‘worst’ book you’ve ever read — the one you like despite some negative reviews or features?

I can't really think of any books I've liked that got lots of bad reviews. I have plenty of favorites that seem to be kind of obscure or unpopular- like Call It Sleep, The Bone People, The Lute Player.... Oh, and I do still like The Clan of the Cave Bear (read it at least four or five times) even though it's sexist, the protagonist is practically a Neanderthal superwoman and a lot of the historical details are totally inaccurate. (The rest of the series was junk, though. I struggled through The Valley of Horses and quit a few chapters into The Mammoth Hunters. Too much sex, flat characters, pointless plots).

As for a book I really liked in spite of negative features, I still have admiration for Richard Monaco's books Parsival and The Grail War, even though I found a lot of the details distasteful, nothing admirable in the characters, and the storyline wandering to the point of confusion, there was just something about the descriptions and the writing that enthralled me. I continue to puzzle over those books and wonder what to do with them- I can't imagine reading them again, yet I can't quite bring myself to pull them off my shelf for good, either.

14 comments:

Lisa said...

This was a toughy. You came up with some though. I thought of one and its a little surprising.

TheBlackSheep said...

I can't ever get rid of books, whether I like them or not. The only option is to find a good home for them.

I think I'd have to choose the Twilight Series for this meme. So, so bad, but totally enthralling.

Jeane said...

Lisa- Yeah, I had a hard time thinking of some.

BlackSheep- I am constantly finding homes for books I don't want anymore! Mostly as giveaways here, or online swaps.

Never read Twilight yet.

Nymeth said...

My answer would have to be the Goosebump books :P Sure, I was young, but I remember really enjoying some of the stories.

Jeane said...

Nymeth- hey, I didn't even think of books read when young. I'd have to add in the Choose Your Own Adventure Books. For a period, my sister and I were crazy about those. But really, they're kinda awful!

Trish said...

Oh no--is The Bone People a bad book? I really loved it a lot and would like to re-read it again. I have to admit that as much as people dislike her, I like a little Picoult for brainless entertainment. Nowadays you can't say that without getting rotten tomatoes thrown your way! :)

Jeane said...

Trish- no, no, I think it's an excellent book! But I've encountered very few people who've read it, and most of those have told me they didn't like it at all. My husband tried to read it once and he couldn't stand the writing style. It's very unique. But I loved it!

Trish said...

I read it for school a few years ago and I think maybe our class was split--although those who didn't like it didn't mostly because of Joe's behavior--the freezer book nature of the story. It was tough reading, but I loved Hulme's writing style as well. I really wish she had another novel. But yes, I agree that it is obscure. If I hadn't had to read it for class, I probably still wouldn't have heard of it.

An Anonymous Child said...

I actually think this is a better, more relevant question than the previous about "good" books that weren't liked. A lot of reading is exactly the immediate impression. An opinion can also change relatively easily depending on the thoughts of those around us. It's precisely these books readers "know" are horrible but enjoy that provide us with some insight as to what makes books enjoyable... Very interesting.

Jeane said...

Trish- She's published some short story collections. I tried reading The Windeater once, and couldn't get into it. I've never tried to read her poetry.

Anonymous Child- I so agree. Why we enjoy books that have terrible writing, or some other objectionable quality, can be very insightful, indeed!

Janet said...

I enjoyed your post, Jeane. After reading through a number of posts in answer to the question, I'm realizing one could probably write a book.

Jeane said...

Thanks, Janet. I need to go back and check out some more other responses.

Bybee said...

I'm curious about Call It Sleep...saw a copy at the bookstore last year.

Jeane said...

Bybee- You should pick it up! It's one of my very, very favorites. Even though the father is a total jerk.