25 Most-Hated Books

I am a sucker for book lists, as you know, and was intrigued when I saw this list over at www.bookriot.com:  Twenty-Five Most Hated Books.  Then I read the list, and was shocked.  Check it out:


  1. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (102 votes)
  2. Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (90)
  3. Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James (90)
  4. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (53)
  5. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville (41)
  6. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (41)
  7. Lord of the Flies by William Golding (35)
  8. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (33)
  9. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (31)
  10. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand (30)
  11. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (28)
  12. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (26)
  13. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (26)
  14. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway (25)
  15. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (24)
  16. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne (23)
  17. Life of Pi by Yann Martel (21)
  18. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (18)
  19. The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen (17)
  20. On the Road by Jack Kerouac (14)
  21. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (14)
  22. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (14)
  23. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold (14)
  24. The Pearl by John Steinbeck (14)
  25. Ulysses by James Joyce (14)

Some of these I agree with wholeheartedly (ahem, Twilight and 50 Shades).  But others are some of my very favorites: Catcher in the Rye, Lord of the Flies, Heart of Darkness, and a new but decided joy in all things Gillian Flynn.  I just don’t know how you can not only dislike these books, or like other books better, but deem them your least favorite of all time.  I’m not a huge Jane Austen fan, but on what planet is Pride and Prejudice the worst book you have ever read?  And Moby Dick may not be a laugh a minute, but it is undeniably good literature.

Here’s what I think: these people should all be forced to post their MOST favorite books of all time.  And if they hate James Joyce, but love anything written by Nicholas Sparks, detest Hemingway but read all however many there are Harry Potter books every year, shun Steinbeck but read trashy romance novels instead, then their library cards should be revoked, their Amazon accounts frozen, their Kindles confiscated, and they should be publicly ridiculed until the end of time!

There is a subjective element in what literature we like.  But you don’t get to hate recognized masterpieces just because you think it makes you hip or unique.  These people should have to defend their selections.  This is an outrage!

4 thoughts on “25 Most-Hated Books

  1. Looks to me that many of these are the books students are forced to read in high school. The analysis of books in high school is one of the greatest disservices to young people in our society. It made me hate reading. I never touched a book for reading pleasure until I made a decision to give reading another try 10 years after high school.

    When I dove back into reading I found I really liked some of these books. The Old Man and the Sea, Moby Dick, and Atlas Shrugged are a few that were on my rekindle my love of reading list and I enjoyed them all.

  2. It’s a shame that that happens. But it is true. We hate many of the things we are forced to do. I still don’t like making my bed or cleaning up my room, for example. Maybe if I tried it as an adult, I would like it better.

    It’s funny, but I have re-read a lot of those books as an adult, and it’s a completely different experience. The Old Man and the Sea is very good. Very spare and Hemingway-esque, so if you don’t like him, I guess there is no resolving that, but I’m glad that you gave reading another chance, and hope that others will do the same.

    Reading is one of my greatest sources of joy.

  3. I agree that a huge part of it is that many people were first introduced to these books in high school. It is hard to appreciate good literature when you have no clue what is going on. I was assigned to read Animal Farm and Of Mice and Men in the 8th grade. That means I was 12!!! And I hated them both. I HATED Old Man and the Sea when I read it my sophomore year in high school. That lead me to believe that I detested Hemingway in general. I have found a new appreciation for him though, as an adult. Maybe, one day, I will give the Old Man another try!

    And, I must add, Harry Potter is better literature than you think it is 🙂

    • I recently re-read “Animal Farm” (have I already said this?) It wasn’t the most exciting thing I have ever read, or probably best written, but it has social relevance, and is part of a canon I think should be required reading for all. Old Man and the Sea, not my favorite Hemingway, but good quality reading. There are subjective elements involved, and I’m afraid I am simply incapable of liking Harry Potter. It’s not worse than a lot of stuff that is out there, and it is better than a lot of other YA literature, but there are just so many things I would rather be reading, I have a hard time finding the motivation to plow through one of those gargantuan numbers. Maybe if my kids get into it or something someday. Never say never.

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