Worst popular books

(Guess this could go either in IMHO or CS, but since it deals with “literature”… here it is).

A friend posted on her Facebook page that her book club is agreed, Twilight is the worst thing they’ve ever read.

I replied that maybe it was the worst they’d read as a group, but surely there were worse ones out there!

So the challenge: Name books that were / are popular, read by a lot of people, most well-read people would have at least heard of them even if they didn’t read them… but you think are lousy.

I know many folks will say the Harry Potter series (which I don’t agree with but that’s cool). Others?

I’m going with Twilight, since I’ve actually read the series, and I’m not going to vote for anything I haven’t read.

It’s probably not the worst thing I’ve ever read, but it’s definitely the worst extremely popular thing I’ve read.

The Bridges of Madison County.

Well, I think Big Stone Gap was pretty popular, but it was so bad it made me angry.

The Kite Runner was huge, but I thought pretty bad.* Didn’t get angry, though.

  • I can get specific, but it’d involve spoilers.

This is reaching way back, but Jonathan Livingston Seagull. How that book got onto, and remained on, the Best Seller List astonishes me. Some people just like their philosophy and mysticism in pre-digested form, I guess

My pick for the worst popular book is The Notebook. It was so bad, I couldn’t even finish it. And it’s not a very long book, so I wouldn’t have even wasted that much time reading it. I ended up giving to a friend. I did warn her, but she wanted it anyway. I felt kind of bad about it, though.

Memoirs of an Invisible Man. Idiot plot with an idiot protagonist.

I agree that Jonathan Livingston Seagull was awful.

I know it’s a cliché to say it, but The Da Vinci Code really is a dreadful piece of writing. Its chief fault is the embarrassingly clunky use of dialogue as exposition.

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. Probably not as well known as the others mentioned, but it was a best-seller with favorable mainstream reviews. The writing is slightly better than Twilight but it has a cockamamie premise (Count Dracula is searching for someone to catalog his library) and the story is full of silly coincidences and contrivances.

I just remembered one of the worst ones I read, years ago: “The Clan of the Cave Bear”.

A very interesting premise… by a hack writer who used such phrases as “the idea that sex led to babies was inconceivable”. ::::cringe::::

And the sequel (which I borrowed from a friend for reasons that still escape me) which veered into bodice-ripper / soft-core porn territory.

There are several hours I’ll never get back.

The DaVinci Code belongs in there, too!

eta: what Colophon said.

Well they are disqualified because Stephen King says they are good and even if he didn’t write so many books he reviews thousands every year.

The worst well known book I have read is Mein Kampf. I bought it as a book prize for topping some subject in high school. I imagine, since the prizes were awarded by a local politician, that I thought picking stupid books was “cool” because every prize I bought was equally dumb.

After awards night I made several attempts to read it but all were futile. It was garbage.

There’s nothing wrong with the Harry Potter books! They aren’t for everyone, true - they are looooong and complex and stuffed with the HP mythology, but even if you can’t handle one of those doorstops yourself, that doesn’t mean they are the “worst popular books”… Stephen King cranked out a whole lot of garbage while high as a kite in past years, even he admits it. I quit reading his stuff after The Tommyknockers…I vote for anything by Danielle Steele and 99% of chick-lit books. I know they are popular sex n’ shopping fantasy-wanking for the typical female, but I’m not the typical female!

Yeah, those got really bad fast. The first one was…interesting…then downhill fast.

I couldn’t get through Da Vinci Code. Made me too angry.

And, oh my God, how did Robert Ludlum ever sell a book? The Bourne Identity is HORRIFICALLY bad.

On the other hand, I thought the first Twilight book was very readable for teen lit. I don’t know why I liked it - the writing was atrocious - but somehow I read the whole thing and felt the guilty pleasure of a wasted enjoyable read. People who think Twilight is the worst thing they’ve ever read really haven’t explored the depths of badly written popular fiction.

Anything by L. Ron Hubbard published after his death (might not fit the bill because sales where inlfated by $cientologists).

The Left Behind books.

I would have expected that book to be set before the invention of the bodice.

Mein Kampf was never really popular. It’s well known, but not often read, and it’s never been well-liked.

For fiction, I don’t think there can be anything worse than Twilight out there for something which has attained popular success.

For non-fiction, I would cite The Secret, although there’s a laundry list of other popular “spiritual,” type garbage that’s just as bad.

I suppose Ann Coulter’s books deserve a mention too.

Tom Clancy. Clive Cussler. Dan Brown. They all started getting repetitive and derivative. Frankly, I got bored.

You’re being redundant now.

Not HP7. No, the seventh book was an unmitigated pile of incredible garbage, written by a writer with no clear concept of plot or even understanding what coherency might vaguely sound like. It was a giant sequence of deus ex machina, irrelevancies, broken characterization, and pulling completely new plot elements out of her ass with no warning and usually for no purpose.

It sucked as badly as the first few were charming and well-written.