Booking Through Thursday: Worst Best Book You’ve Ever Read

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The weekly Booking Through Thursday question for today is:

Suggested by Janet:

How about, “What’s the worst ‘best’ book you’ve ever read — the one everyone says is so great, but you can’t figure out why?”

The Man in the Iron Mask by Alexandre Dumas was a big disappointment to me. I don’t know how much of the disappointment was due to the ending being totally unlike any of the film versions I’ve seen. It was totally depressing. I wasn’t crazy about The Three Musketeers by the same author, either, and I usually like swashbuckling “defender of the good and right” stories. I did enjoy Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo, though.

I was also surprised not to really like Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen as much as I thought I would, though the DVD of the latter is one of my all time favorite films. I did really enjoy Persuasion, Northanger Abbey and Mansfield Park. I’d seen film versions of most of them before reading the books, so I don’t think that was a major cause of not liking the first two.

I would be willing to give all of these books another read, though, some day — maybe there was just something else going on at the time of my first reading that influenced my impressions.

16 thoughts on “Booking Through Thursday: Worst Best Book You’ve Ever Read

  1. Totally agree on re-reading as you might like something at a different time in your reading life which is why I am giving We Need To Talk About Kevin a go again.

  2. I absolutely adore, adore, adore Jane Austen, and I can get my feathers ruffled a bit when others don’t.. huff! It did take me a while to really appreciate her, though. I first read Sense and Sensibility when I was a teen and I just couldn’t get into it… and even now I’ll freely admit that Emma Thompson improved upon the tale when she wrote her screenplay.

    As far as disappointing “good books”… we just finished reading “Red Sails to Capri” which was a Caldecott book and part of our Sonlight core this year… I have never been so pleased to close the cover on a book in my life! way too much oh-so-clever dialog for my taste, and really quite boring.
    One good thing… it was relatively short, hehehe

    what a fun subject!☺

  3. I remember having to read The Man In The Iron Mask in high school. I HATED it! I also remember being the ONLY one in the class who hated it! Now, mind you – English & Literature were MY subjects! The only ones I was EVER any good at! My teacher could always plan on my very active input into class discussion about whatever we read – but on this book she could not get me past “this is the most barbaric rubbish I’ve ever read!” She just could not understand my vehement abhorrence of this book! Fast forward 40 years to a time when I needed an MRI and couldn’t get it done! I am THAT claustrophobic! I didn’t know it when I was a teenager! I just knew I hated that book! But it was the very idea of being put in that mask … I’ve never watched the movie either!

  4. Jane Austen’s plots and characterizations are wonderful. Both P&P and S&S are excellent in that regard. Unfortunately, we’re just not used to reading as many words as people wrote back then, which tends to make reading her work (and others) laborious.

  5. That’s true, Ann. But I have been reading a lot of classics over the past few years and haven’t had much of a problem with the older style of language. And, as I said, Ireally enjoyed her other books. Maybe my expectations were just higher for those two. I particularly didn’t like what seemed like biting sarcasm in S&S, as I mentioned in my review of it.

    But, as Janet said, sometimes different books are more appealing at different stages of life. I tried A Tale of Two Cities a few different times before I finally finished it, and now it is one of my favorites.

  6. I really need to start reading some classics. The book that comes to mind for this question for is a more recent one; “The Time Traveller’s Wife”. So many rave about this book and I couldn’t stand it.

  7. I think sometimes what other people say about a book — about how good it is, etc etc — can sometimes set our own expectations so high that the book became a disappointment when it didn’t leave up to our expectation. It has happened to me.

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