A British blogger recently ran a survey asking her readers to send her a list of their most hated books along with commentary on why they chose the books they did. From the submissions, she curated a list of 124 titles that received multiple votes, although I don't know how many votes constituted "multiple". Right - you have already deduced that this was not a scientific survey, nor was it part of a masters thesis or doctoral dissertation. At least I hope it wasn't. Then again, if this was a major piece of a dissertation, I'm boarding the next plane to England to work on my PhD.
Back to the subject at hand. I have great respect for British readers who placed Fifty Shades of Grey, Gone Girl and Twilight. at the top of the list. Think about it. An entire island of readers shares my opinion.
I was feeling rather smug until The Catcher in the Rye showed up as #4. What the heck? Too crude? Dialogue too common? England doesn't have confused teens or hookers? Readers attempted to justify their feelings about this book, but those made about as much sense as the choice itself. Basically 0. Nada, Big fat goose egg.
The remainder of the list baffles as well, taking an ugly turn to include many classics and standards. First, including the four already mentioned, the blogger goes on to name the seven additional books that made her top 11 list. 11! Who does that? Top 10, top 50...but top 11. Oh those Brits. They have kindly shared Shakespeare, the Beatles and Colin Firth with us so perhaps we need to look the other way when it comes to their list making skills.
The next seven (in the top 11)....
- The Great Gatsby - too decadent for the tea and crumpet set?
- Eat, Pray, Love - too indulgent? I wouldn't disagree.
- Lovely Bones - I guess they like their crickets on grass playing fields and not on corpses.
- Heart of Darkness - come on, Joseph Conrad? - give him another try, Beefeaters.
- The Awakening - maybe Kate Chopin's short stories would be less challenging
- Catch 22 - hmmmmm
- The DaVinci Code - no Masons in England? Yup...denial!
Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man
Moby Dick (OK, they got that one right)
The Red Badge of Courage
The Life of Pi (whaaaat?????, I see you doing cartwheels, Mary S.)
As I Lay Dying
Casual Vacancy (by the Queen of all things Potter-isn't that akin to British blasphemy?)
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightime (have they not heard of the award winning play based on the book - and the young English actor who recently won a Tony for his role in the adaptation?)
The Shack (such godless heathens).
I wonder what all those disappointed readers are doing with the books they purchased and hated? Donating is always an option, but my experience has been that when someone hates a book, they have no belief what-so-ever that anyone else could possibly enjoy it. To spare others the pain, the books are pitched in hopes that the small gesture will rid the world on the unnecessary verbiage contained between the covers. All will be right with the world. And, for the trash to treasure set, there's always this option.....