This week’s Musing Mondays asks
What is your least favourite book?
An odd question, and one with two answers as the host pointed out: the worst book I have ever read, or the book I count among my favourites which I enjoyed least.
Worst book ever read
Well. My rule for reviewing a book here on the site is that I have to have read at least 25% or 100 pages (whichever is shorter) before I consider that I’ve got enough of a flavour to review the book. Obviously if I stop at that point, it’s because I don’t want to carry on, and it’s unlikely to get a good review from me.
I used to read everything up to that point (memorably even reading 100 pages of The Quickie in order to meet my criteria before I hurled the book across the room), but eventually I gave myself licence to just stop after a few pages if I really didn’t want to read it. Books which have been abandoned very quickly:
– The one in which someone’s ring finger gets cut off as a punishment by criminals (I’ve got a pretty strong stomach when it comes to reading crime, but I thought I was going to throw up on the train reading the start of that one) – I seem to have repressed the memory of the title
– Eat Pray Love of which I read 30 pages a few nights ago – I abandoned it as too self-indulgent; my fairly black-and-white moral view on the world means I had little patience with running away to Italy to get away from a bad relationship with a rebound lover after a messy divorce.
Least favourite best book
This is quite a tricky one. An easy way to look at it is to look at the books on my shelf of favourites, to borrow from which you will have to climb over my dead body (and realistically, the washing rack which usually stands in that corner of the room), and see which of those I’m least likely to re-read.
At 7/10, Stieg Larsson’s The Girl Who Played With Fire wins (or rather, loses) that race – I have all three books because I like complete series and I loved the other two in the series.
Ranging beyond the bookshelf, I’ve struggled with a few but then given them good ratings (e.g. The Sense of an Ending, which The Book Accumulator said has an ideal reader who is a white 60-year-old man) or where I’ve given an excellent rating to a book which suffers on critical re-examination (e.g. The Love Verb, which I really enjoyed, but which I feel a little odd admitting to giving 9/10 – it’s not exactly literary fare).