“What’s the worst ‘best’ book you’ve ever read — the one everyone says is so great, but you can’t figure out why?”
I must admit that I experience uncomfortable feelings answering questions like this. First of all, I empathize with the author. I simply cannot imagine how much time, talent, blood, sweat and tears it must take to give birth to a novel – only to hear some “amateur” rate it as a “worst” book ever read. I apparently to do not have the tough skin (not to mention the talent) to become a professional writer. Secondly, I tend to take responsibility for the poor rating – especially if it is a book that several others have found “great” (my husband claims that I am a guilt-sucking fool). I just can’t help it: I feel as though I must not be literary enough to appreciate all the subtleties of the writing. I HATE feeling stupid.
BUT…having said that…the first book that popped into my head when I read this question was Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I have read and heard countless accolades for this series. I even noticed that there is an Outlander reading challenge taking place in anticipation of the newest release in the series this September. I am absolutely in awe of an author who can write thousands of pages (I think each book is no less than 600 pages and there are – so far – 6 books in the series) on a given topic. I really, really, really wanted to like this book – even though I knew the genre (time travel romance) was not my cup of tea. I managed to read about 350 pages of it, and then I allowed myself to put it away. It was absolute torture for me and I decided that time is simply too short to spend reading books for “fun” that are not fun.
I do want to make one point: I did enjoy the author’s writing style and I believe she has tremendous talent for developing detailed characters. My dislike of the book has nothing to do with her talent, but rather everything to do with the subject matter.
I am sure there are many of you in cyberland who totally disagree with my selection. I would welcome comments from those of you who love this work. Please help me understand its broad appeal. And, if there is perhaps one single soul who shares my same sentiments, I wouldn’t mind hearing that I am not alone.