There’s usually a lot of talk about the issue of best books ever read, but how about the opposite? I believe we all have at least one book that, no matter how hard you try, you just can’t enjoy. You might try again later, but never succeed in reading further than halfway, or you might struggle your way through just to admit that you’ve just wasted a whole lot of precious time you could have used for something better.
For me, the worst book ever has to be The Scarlet Letter.
I mean, there has been books that I’ve tried to read but have not been able to, just because I get so utterly bored in the middle, or because they have descriptions of trolls eating guinea pigs that creep me out, but all of those I could put away whenever I wished to do so. The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, was the main literary piece of my North American Literature and Culture 1 -course, on the first year of University, so unfortunately I had to suffer it ’till the end.
The reason why the novel was so painful for me is that the idea can basically be summarized in very few words, and thus, to make a whole book out of that (instead of, say, short story, which might still be readable), makes the whole thing so slow and boring. And for some reason, the way it was written made it horribly dry, as well.
Basically The Scarlet Letter is a story of a woman, who is supposedly married, but hasn’t seen her husband in a good while, and who has an affair with someone, and gets pregnant. The setting is a little village of first settlers in America, so for religious reasons the woman is now doomed to live in solitude and to raise that devil of a girl on her own, in poverty and isolation. The dilemma is that no one knows who the father is, except for the reader, who has to suffer from the constant complaining of a priest who’s basically dying of the pain of the sin burning in his chest. And then the husband comes back but no one knows who he is and there’s more pain and suffering and horribleness. And then they all die, except for the little girl, Pearl.
What’s the worst book you’ve ever read? Why?