Worst ‘Best’ Book You’ve Ever Read – Booking Through Thursday

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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?’

This question is practically impossible for me to answer. If I don’t like a book I stop reading it because life’s too short and there are too many good books to read to bother with one that’s not.

But it’s impossible for everyone to agree about books (or anything else for that matter) and there have been a few books that I’ve not been too keen on and noticed that other people have rated them highly. For example – The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. I was disappointed with this one, about a depressive/suicidal teenager, but I finished reading it so it’s not that bad. No doubt it’s a good portrait of mental illness but I found it a bit confusing and disjointed and in parts rather dull. Maybe I was expecting too much from it and maybe I should have read it when I was a teenager.

29 thoughts on “Worst ‘Best’ Book You’ve Ever Read – Booking Through Thursday

  1. My 25 year-old niece loved that one, I think. Of course, I was always a little bit worried when she was a kid about her being depressed… It had something to do with the fact that her favorite color was black.



  2. I loved The Bell Jar but I read it in my teens, which was probably the right time. I do think there are a lot of books that you have to read at the right stage of life – I’m coming back now to a number of authors I would have dismissed out of hand in the past.


  3. I know what you mean about not finishing books you didn’t like. Sometimes I stick with them longer because I keep expecting them to justify themselves based on the reviews. I do that less and less as I get older, though.


  4. Good morning, I read ‘The Bell Jar’ too and I agree it would be impossible to love a book like that. I did learn quite a bit from reading it but it was very depressing indeed.


  5. I’ve not read that one. I agree with Janet’s answer — sometimes I read on because I think surely it will get better. A Tale of Two Cities is one I attempted a number of times before I finally finished it, but then it became one of my all-time favorites.


  6. I don’t finish books I’m not enjoying either, and had to go all the way back to high school to come up wit an answer to this week’s question. I haven’t read The Bell Jar.


  7. I had to read The Bell Jar for my University English class, and would agree that it was very depressing. I recall really struggling with the paper I had to write on it.


  8. I know what you mean. I no longer continue reading a book if it’s that bad for me, so some of my “worst” are ones I didn’t really finish. I did like The Bell Jar though.


  9. Hi!
    I haven’t read The Bell Jar, but have heard great reviews on it. I agree with you about not everyone liking the same books. What I like to read you may not like. Have a great day!!



  10. I used to make myself finish a book once I started until one of my daughters said, what are you reading it for if you don’t like it. Move on, good advice, I have learned how to do that and not beat myself up over being a quitter. Never read The Bell Jar

    My BTT is here


  11. I do the same thing. I don’t finish books I don’t like. I’ll never get to everything I want to read as it is! I haven’t read The Bell Jar, but I’ve always heard so much about it. I’m not sure why I haven’t gotten around to it.


  12. I guess its a good thing I’ve never felt attracted to The Bell Jar.

    I just noticed that you are also in the Agatha Christie Reading Challenge. I am also although I’m only on my third book. I’ll look for your reviews.


  13. I didn’t read “The Bell Jar”. My daughter read it when she was in High School and I got to know a little bit about it. I had wondered at the time if the book would have had that same impact or hype if Sylvia Plath had survived in real life? I am ok with sad when it is beautiful and passionate at the same time. When it is sad and depressing with little hope I find it difficult to read and spend time with it. Anyway my most disliked book was Ann Pratchet’s “Bel Canto” . I liked the characters that is about it. I hated the repetitions concerning the characters’ treats and mood, hated the plot and the ending was the worst possible scenario. The style also was tiresome. So many people liked this book that it really makes me wonder about myself. Did I miss the big picture? In my mind it could have been such a good read, in reality it was the worst read ever. For me that is. I also liked “Mrs Dalloway” also. I also liked the movie “Sylvia” staring Gwyneth Paltrow as Sylvia Plath.


  14. I read The Bell Jar in university and I loved it! My roommate was quite disturbed at the time, actually, because I kept telling her how funny it was (in a dark comedy kind of way). I’ve been meaning to reread it to see if I’d still enjoy it.


  15. I read The Bell Jar when I was around twenty and loved it. Several years ago I bought Plath’s journals, and as even dipping into them left me thoroughly depressed I finally sold them back to the bookshop. So I guess it does have something to do with being at the right age.

    A classic everybody seems to love and I don’t is Little Women.


  16. I’ve read the ‘The Bell Jar’ and just like you I finished it but was struggling throughout. I think I carried on reading the book because it was by Sylvia Plath and knowing how she died.


  17. I actually really enjoyed “The Bell Jar”. It’s one of my “up there” books. I’m not sure it’s a book that needs to be read as a teenager, but it could be that one needs a bit of appreciation for depression in order to truly understand it.


  18. The Bell Jar is one that always comes to mind for me too – I just found it a bit nothing-y, as it were, having been built up as a brilliant work. Ditto Catcher in the Rye – what’s all the fuss about?


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