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The worst book I ever read . . .

February 7, 2011 5 comments

bring it . .

On the best of days, Beatle sees about 4 hours of consciousness. On most days, he listens patiently to any rants I have brewing. Today he listened to me deconstruct the appeal of literature. The next book display at our library is going to have the tag line, “the worst book I ever read.” Our Middle School Advisors are going to write a sentence or two – a mini book review – to go with their personal worst book. A little fodder for conversation about books and book genres and what constitutes worst. And, by comparison: best.

So I thought about the book that made me the maddest. And why. I was incensed by the choices the main character made: bad choices. Bad after bad, after bad. And then some. No, that wasn’t the worst book.

What about that “memoir” of a famous chef, liberally peppered with words my mother wouldn’t say? Does that even count as literature? Yet, parts of that book made me laugh out loud. Was that the worst?

I decided to ask our resident English major about worst.  The measure of a book’s appeal is its ability to resonate with the reader, Joe responded. You can hate a book because its connection with you is disturbing or too emotional, but that doesn’t make it the worst book. You can love a book that is pure fluff, that wouldn’t even vaguely be considered good literature, but you wouldn’t count that as the worst book. For Joe, the measure of worst  is a book that doesn’t connect. 

Still, I haven’t settled on a worst book.  And,  I’m mighty interested to see what our group will select. And why.