What’s the worst ‘best’ book you’ve ever read — the one everyone says is so great, but you can’t figure out why?
I have given up on a few book here and there, usually more because I can’t get into them than because they are actually bad. Generally I do a pretty good job guessing what I would like to read, even with ARCs (which can be more challenging).
My confidence in my ability to separate the wheat from the chaff broke down a bit last year with one of my picks from LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer program. The book, “Two Brothers: One North, One South” sounded so promising: Civil War historical fiction with two brothers on opposite sides of the battle, their story narrated by Walt Whitman. The only problem is that the book – at least the first 45 page, because that was as long as I could manage to submit myself to the dreck, was horrid. The dialog was completely boring and stilted, and I really couldn’t understand the audience. The concepts of the Civil War seemed on about a 4th grader’s level, but the author was using million dollar words (seemingly just to show off, because they did not flow with the writing). For the passage that made me give up the book in disgust, see my review.
What surprises me is that, while “Two Brothers” does have a very low rating overall (under 3 stars, most books on LibraryThing are above 3 stars, for a variety of reasons), there are actually people who rated it highly. Three people even gave it 5 stars! Granted, one of them in the author (he also owns the company that published the book…HMMM), but another is someone whose opinion on books I respect. Evidently from some of the other 2-3 star reviewers who managed to make it through the book it did get better when you got further into the story and he used less dialog. However, I’d much rather go read Michael Shaara’s “Killer Angels” or something.