22 April 2010


Negative Ten
(Joining the weekly "Top Ten Picks" meme at Random Ramblings)

This Week's Topic:
Worst Books You've Ever Read

When Jillian announced this topic a couple of weeks ago, I thought I would have to pass. I may seem to delight in my snarkiness, but I don't actually like featuring anything "bad" unless I think it has something "good" in it to redeem it. I do like most of the stuff I publicly put down (at least on this blog); and for the same reason I had decided to do only "Top 5 Lists" and no "Bottom 5 Lists", I was planning to wait for the next "Top Ten Picks" topic from Jillian before joining her link up again.

Obviously, my "bad" side won out! LOL!

Just so that I don't feel too horribly guilty for "trashing" these books in public, I'm not going to reveal their titles! I will, however, leave enough clues for interested readers to make some educated guesses. =)

First clue: The books are listed in alphabetical order!

A Tenner: The Worst Books I've Ever Read

Raphael cherubs and HotStuff comic x2

Even if I could get over the author's "style" of telling rather than showing (and doing even that really badly), how can one gloss over an ending that makes this novel worthy to open a "Tenner" made up mostly of books that get sex all wrong? (One can't!)

Count SesameStreet+ing Stars

This book is proof that there is no bigger anti-Catholic than an ex-Catholic: it features sex-obsessed seminarians, a priest who believes that counting more than 100 stars at a time is a sin, a retarded girl who is abused at Lourdes, a boy whose tongue is slit with a knife after he prays a string of Hail Marys, teenagers who fornicate on Good Friday (if I remember correctly) and a main character who finds the religion he is looking for in a book by T. Lobsang Rampa. (And that's just half of it, really . . .)

The DrDoomx2 Sun Daytime Plastic Cone Orange Photobucket-a-Harrington WreckSeaVenture

I know the author is supposed to specialise in this kind of pulpy fiction, but a mystery involving aliens who are upset at the ways we are abusing the environment, which is cracked open by a military man still pining away after an ex-wife who supposedly always slept naked, crosses the line from pulp to polemic. (Even when she had her period, she slept naked?)

God Michaelangelo NES classic

After a man's home is hit by lightning one night, he finds himself playing "God" to a universe of beings living inside his computer--and trying to get them to have as much sex as possible, not so he can watch or anything, but because he, as their "God," knows that it's for their own good. (If the author were a Christian writer--which is the case--would this count as blasphemy?)

Photobucket (minus) Photobucket

What kind of Romance novel has a happy ending that requires the time traveling lovers to convince a creepy man to seduce a happily married woman as often as it takes to get her pregnant, just so one of the lovers can be sure of being born in the future? (Do you see why time travel must be done right in stories or not at all???)

The Mars glyph (minus) a MelGibson

Let's just say that the moral of this story is that an emotionally troubled and vulnerable fourteen-year-old boy who is sexually initiated by an older man who is like a father to him, only got what he was asking for and what he probably needed in order to move on with his life. (In other words, don't expect what you saw in the movie!)

The WeddingCakeTopper Bed

A philandering husband wants his wife to accept responsibility for her naivete in believing his professions of love when he was duping her into marrying him, because he suddenly needs to have sex with her again (for an heir, you know) . . . and eventually grows up himself after discovering he has, in the meantime, sired an illegitimate son with another woman who fell foolishly in love with him and will be heartbroken forever because he'll never leave his legal broodmare wife. (Can you believe this was published as genre Romance???)


The main character spends the entire novel wallowing in self-pity, using other people for her own secret ends, and worrying all those who really love her, then asks at the end, when finally made accountable for one of her selfish choices, "What did I do to deserve this?" (Oh, I'll tell you, you pale little princess . . .)

The AugustusCaesar statue Tick Photobucket-fest-TowTruck

This collection of propaganda essays attempts to explain why the writer's novels are the best books ever written, why all other novels fall short of the mark because their own authors aren't as smart as this writer, and why everyone who disagrees is either stupid or evil. (Seriously.)

cast TheWomen in Photobucket

Easily the worst novel I had to read for uni: all the characters treat everyone around them (including each other) like crap; the "heroine" in particular is especially awful whenever she thinks her father is trying to force her to conform, when all he wants to do was speak to her as if she were a reasonable person (which she probably isn't); and despite the title, the author seems to hate women. (I'm still not sure why this is a "Great Book".)

Image Sources: A -- B -- C -- D -- E -- F -- G -- H -- I -- J -- K -- L -- M -- N -- O -- P -- Q -- R -- S -- O -- T -- U -- V -- W


Warren said...

I nominate this as Most Fun Bit of Shredded Cheddar Yet.

I think that hating something can be cause to create art. Perhaps Ebert's best reviews ever are the movies he hated most.



Sullivan McPig said...

I love the way you depicted the books! Must say they don't sound like something I'd want to read either.
Great post.

Enbrethiliel said...


Warren: I tend to enjoy critical reviews much more than glowing reviews, myself. =)

Sully: How else to give otherwise awful books a fresh opportunity to make people happy? ;-)

So . . . did you recognise any of the titles?

dylan said...

Your rebuses (rebi?) are hard for me to figure out, but they look like great fun. The male minus a Mel? The A?

I don't know if I'll blog my least favo(u)rite ten -- I don't know if I have ten! -- but here are a few:

1. Jack Kerouac's On the Road. Not atrocious, but grossly overrated.

2. Megan McKenna's Mary, Shadow of Grace -- "progressive" Mariology.

3. Truman Capote's Breakfast at Tiffany's. A major disappointment compared to the (Audrey Hepburn!) movie.

4. Savage Beauty, a bio of Edna St Vincent Millay, which reveals its subject to be really unpalatable.

5. Walker Percy's Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book. Was this supposed to be funny?

6. Anything by Dom Basil Pennington, OCSO. Alas. I want to like him, he's a Trappist and all, but ... no.

7. A critical study of the poems of Dylan Thomas by one Barbara Something-or-Other. Really abstruse. And really obtuse. I wrote a scathing Amazon review!

I'll leave it at seven. I reserve the right to revisit this list if I can think of three more!

Marian said...

Rats, I only managed to guess two of the titles. I feel rather dim. :(

Becki said...

You know what I find the most sad? The fact that there is no way that I would be able to come up with the ten books I have most hated, mainly because I went through such a long period of my life where I just *didn't read*. I know, it's terrible, isn't it?

I didn't get all of these because I didn't get all of the references (argh! I'm terrible with any kind of pop culture, I'm afraid).

dylan said...

Revisiting my list:

#7 is called Dylan Thomas: An Original Language by Barbara Nathan Hardy.

And I'm adding two more books:

8. Voice from the Desert by Bishop Jacques Gaillot. I took this one out of the library. A heterodox bishop compares the late Pope John Paul II to Joseph Stalin.

9. The Inner Voice of Love by Henri J M Nouwen. I try to be generous to Nouwen, though I am conscious of his faults. This much-praised book I thought fell quite flat. But I must admit, I liked its format. About fifty or sixty meditations of two pages' length. The meditations, unfortunately, were tristfully dippy.

I can't think of a tenth right now, but if I do, I might blog the list, either at darkspeech or at draggard.

Cozy Book Nook (Lesa) said...

You are so clever!

I think I may have figured out 6 titles-- and read two of them.

Paul Stilwell said...

You're genius.

I didn't know the film based on #6 had a novel basis at all, let alone one that is so different from the script.

I really, really want to know #3.

dylan said...

#3 is clever!

Jessica said...

The ones I did get Ive read which was only about 3. Great idea using the pictures, dont think Id have the patience to think of those.

Enbrethiliel said...


Dylan: What's funny is that I showed #6 to my little brothers and asked them to figure out the title, and they thought the Mars glyph stood for "Boy"!

And did you get what the title is yet? Mel Gibson is a clue with more than one layer! ;-)

Your Bottom Ten has some class, by the way! The majority of the books on my own list are "just" mass market titles . . . not that there's anything wrong with that! =P

Marian: Hi! Thanks for all your comments! =)

Well, the titles are pretty "far flung" in terms of both genre and the decades in which they were written (though they're all from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries)--and I went a little crazy with the images I used for "glyphs"--so please don't feel bad! I doubt my mother, who walks past my bookcase every day, would get half these titles!

Becki: Hello! Welcome to Shredded Cheddar!

Don't worry too much about that period of no reading. I'm sure you'll catch up soon enough! =)

Lesa: Six is not bad! =) That's what my two brothers got, working together. I'll admit that #5 is seriously obtuse and that I could have found a different second glyph for #4, if that helps any . . .

Paul: Yes, that's my second name. ;-)

The movie is only passingly based on the novel. The filmmakers could have totally changed a few more details and gone with a different title. After reading the book, I wish they had, too. =(

I don't think I should reveal what the titles are yet, but I can give you an extra clue by making a rebus for the author's name! (Or you could just e-mail me for the entire answer key. I'm flexible.)

And unless I am mistaken, Dylan seems to have figured out #3! =D

Jessica: Oh, I almost ran out of patience about halfway through! I kept going because I'm stubborn like that. =)

Glad you figured out some of the titles!

Heather said...

I say that authors that write drivel deserve to have it called such. I used to feel bad about it as well, since they went to all the trouble to write it and all, but now, no guilt! If I don't like it I say so, and expect someone will disagree with me. I've had some of my best book discussions that way!

Dauvit Balfour said...

I think I know 1, 4, 8, and 10. There are two or three others I can guess at but not because I've heard of the books, just guessing based on the glyphs.

Something about the series of glyphs for 9 screams Fred Reed to me. It's just the kind of quirky thing he'd title a book, though I'm positive it's not him: he doesn't write novels... and beside, you love Fred, everyone loves Fred (except feminists).

I don't think I could come up with 10. As a matter of fact, I've read little enough in the past years that I haven't had time to read bad books... I think.

Heinlein's Puppet Masters was disappointing, but not eye-gougingly so...

I read a "computer science" book that turned out to be mostly the authors proposing their own psychological filth... so there's that.

ninjapeps said...

unfortunately, if I did this meme, I'd only have four books on it. I'm sure you know which four those are. there have been other less than stellar books I've read but none of them have made me regret reading them.

Enbrethiliel said...


Heather: I've stopped feeling bad about it, too, but I won't give them special publicity on my blog, if I can help it!

Dauvit: Oh, I'd never put a Fred Reed book on a list like this! =O

What do you think #9 spells out, by the way???

And in fairness to these ten books, only about four are truly, "eye-gougingly" bad. A couple would have been so-so until the sucker punch of their endings. One of them got in because a much worse book by the same author wasn't as easy to break into glyphs! =P

The last book, counted as a "Great Book" of English literature, even has some compelling prose. I remember randomly pulling it down from my shelf for no reason, and seeing the first line I read seem outlined in fire. No exaggeration: the writing was that strong. But that doesn't make the characters less hateful.

Peppy: There's a fifth book being planned. Are you going to read that one so that you have a nice "Bottom Five"? =P

Bethany said...

Apart from the first one I have no idea what any of these are. Gah.

BUT what is #2?! It sounds crazy insane, and (so long as it's well written) something I'd love to read.

Also, I would NEVER feel bad about ranting about books I hate. I'd name them and shame them!

Enbrethiliel said...


As I told Heather, I feel less bad about bashing them (well, some of them) as I do about giving them extra publicity. I mean, if I had named #2, you would have gone straight to the library to look for it, wouldn't you? LOL!

But since you asked so nicely . . . I'll e-mail you the title, anyway. =) I hope you get more out of it than I did!

dylan said...

Hey, Enbrethiliel -- happy Shakespeare's birthday! (Off topic, but why not?)

Jillian said...

Hahaha this was such a fun -- and confusing! -- post, E! I loved it! :D I was staring at my computer for so long with both my hands on my chin, trying to figure out the titles! So far, I only got 1, 8, and 9. Oh dear, I'm awful at this! Oh and by the way, please please please tell me what #5 is! It sounds so familiar but obviously, I am blanking out..

Amanda said...

I love what you've done here, Enbrethiliel. I had fun trying to figure some of them out. There were a couple that I couldn't quite figure (the little green superhero guy... I'm a bit rusty on superheroes).

But it was sooo much fun! Thanks for some fun after a rotten afternoon at work.

Amanda Desert Book Chick

ninjapeps said...

what, is the version of the first book from Edward's perspective back on track? if I've exhausted my reading list and have nothing better to do with my time, maybe.

Enbrethiliel said...


Jillian: I'm glad you had some fun! =)

I'll e-mail you the title of Book #5. If it turns out that you have read it, I'd be interested to hear what you think of it!

Amanda: Thanks! =) Okay, an additional clue just for you . . . the green guy in #3 is Dr. Doom!

Peppy: The last I heard was that it is . . . but you'll need to ask an actual fan about the real deal! =P

r said...

Some of these are pretty hard!

Enbrethiliel said...


As I've said, I didn't expect that so many people would try this hard to solve them!

Rebus #5 is particularly obtuse. Everyone I've explained it to seemed to want to kill me afterwards! =P

Which ones did you get?

r said...

I've figured out 1, 2, 4, 5 (maybe), 7 (maybe), 8, and 10. I say "maybe" because I have solutions to the rebi, but I don't know anything about Romance novels and can't map them to titles of books!

Enbrethiliel said...


If you e-mail me, I'll let you know all the answers. =)

(That offer is open to everyone, by the way!)

r said...

I'll e-mail my solutions, and you can send me the answers. (I still think I can come up with a few more though.)