Posted by: Jeanie F | May 3, 2010

Ten Worst Books

I’ve been inspired by Jessica at the Park Benches & Bookends blog to think about the worst books I’ve ever read. This seems appropriate since my blog’s “elevator pitch” is that I’m writing “for people who don’t have time to read bad books.” And isn’t that most of us? To that end, I have tried to select well-known, current titles that your friends might be likely to recommend to you. I would like to save you the time and expense of investing in books that don’t merit your attention, although I realize you may disagree with some of my choices. It should go without saying that these are only the ten worst books that I can remember. I’m sure I’m leaving some big ones out.

#10 See full size image

This Much I Know is True by Wally Lamb


Ines of My Soul by Isabel Allende


The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon


Suite Francais by Irene Nemirovsky


The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards


The Red Tent by Anita Diamant


Ahab’s Wife by Sena Jeter


The Life of Pi by Yann Martel


Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

AND . . . #1 Worst Book I’ve Ever Read

Welcome to the World, Baby Girl by Fannie Flagg


  1. I disagree with two of your choices – I actually loved ‘Shadow of the Wind’ and ‘Life of Pi’. I agree with ‘The Memory Keeper’s Daughter’, that was indeed terrible. I don’t know any of the other.
    May I ask why ‘Life of Pi’ was added to the list?

    • To some extent, I think Skip’s comment is accurate – it didn’t live up to the hype. In addition to that, I felt that Martel practically bludgeoned us with the heavy-handed allegory. Finally, it struck me as superficially New-Agey in the attempt to mix religion, philosophy, and pop psychology.

      Having said all that, over 1,000 people rated it 5 stars on, so it’s very possible that I just happened to come across it at a time when I was looking for something else. I was the only person in my well-read book club who hated Memory Keeper’s Daughter, too!

  2. Agree on many of these. Is it that Life of Pi was so over-hyped? I found myself underwhelmed, but I didn’t in the end think it was terrible.

    And Tuesdays with Morrie….kinda shooting fish in a barrel, no?

    • OK – I admit it – Tuesdays with Morrie was a no-brainer for this list. I think you’ll notice that there’s one quality all of these books have in common (except possibly #9) – all were popular beyond all merit or reason.

      • Yea, that’s definitely a phenomenon. Probably the opposite effect is significant–overly admiring obscure books.

  3. The Red Tent? Noooo…

    To each his own, though, right?

    I’ve never read Tuesdays with Morrie, but have never been so inclined to do so either 🙂

    • Amanda, I actually liked Red Tent at the beginning. However, as I read on it began to seem like a thinly disguised bodice-ripper. I don’t have a problem with sex in novels, not even so-called biblical novels, but I couldn’t believe that living in those difficult times Naomi and Ruth didn’t have just a little more on their minds!

  4. Oh, man- I totally agree with you about “Shadow of the Wind”. We are definitely in the minority, which I really cannot understand at all!

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