The Guardian’s worst books of the decade

Being a modest sort of outfit, Christchurch City Libraries blog has recently only been asking our readers for the best and worst books of 2009.

Not so the Guardian. This cultural behemoth has been taxing its readers with the vexatious question: what were your worst books of the decade? With 878 blog comments so far, this has clearly struck a chord and some of the responses are hilarious in a book-geeky kind of way. Several well-known authors and titles have been turning up with almost monotonous  regularity: Ian McEwan’s Saturday has quite rightly taken a good kickin’, as has Vernon God Little by DBC Pierre, White Teeth by Zadie Smith, Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake, John Updike’s Terrorist, Don DeLillo’s The falling man, David Mitchell’s Cloud atlas and anything published by Martin Amis, Dan Brown or Jeffrey Archer.

I too felt compelled to put my ten cents worth in and poured scorn on The divine secrets of the Ya-Ya sisterhood by Rebecca Wells. It was actually published in 1996 but I have never been able to shake off my absolute and profound hatred for this book. Anyway, have a chuckle at the sight of high-brow, prize-winning authors being shredded and roundly abused by the good readers of the Guardian.

And remember to get your Best and Worst reads of 2009 into us before December 16th and be in to win a lovely $50 book voucher.

10 thoughts on “The Guardian’s worst books of the decade

  1. Lynne 14 December 2009 / 2:46 pm

    My worst book of the decade would have to be Stewart O’Nan’s book “Wish you were here”. It’s not well known and deservedly so. The plot is cliche after cliche (an American family’s reunion at a lakeside holiday home) and nothing happens. They go get the groceries and swim in the lake and nothing happens. I kept hoping that a serial killer or a group of wandering zombies would show up, but no. Nothing happens, and then nothing happens again.

  2. joyciescotland 14 December 2009 / 4:50 pm

    I just had a wee look a Stewart O’Nan’s oeuvre and they all look dull as dishwater..good grief who gave this man a book deal!

  3. zackids 15 December 2009 / 8:42 am

    Americans do publish a lot of junk don’t they. Alot of the children’s books that come out of the US are absolutely horrible!

  4. joyciescotland 15 December 2009 / 11:14 am

    Name some names Zac! What is your worst children’s title of the decade? and you can’t use Madonna, Geri Haliwell, Fergie or Kylie Minogue books ‘cos that is toooo easy

  5. jane 15 December 2009 / 2:24 pm

    Oh dear, the awful thing about these lists from the Guardian is the dreadful feeling of intellectual ineptness when you realise that you prefer the books on the worst list more than on the best!

    • joyciescotland 15 December 2009 / 3:24 pm

      But the great thing about the recent Guardian worst blog is that it debunks all the worthies and must-read intellectuals, Ian McEwan gets more stick than Dan Brown. And the potty mouths on some of those Guardian readers adds to the delight.

      • jane 17 December 2009 / 1:04 pm

        I really liked Saturday though – but haven’t enjoyed anything else by McEwan. Dare I mention that I also quite liked The Divine secrets of the ya ya sisterhood and White Teeth. Will you still talk to me?

  6. tewp 18 December 2009 / 12:45 pm

    I’ve got to speak up for Stewart O’Nan who is regarded as one of the leading American writers. He writes about ordinary people and he has a very unsentimental direct style – the best one is “Last night at the Lobster” which is about a restaurant closing up and is a great evocation of small town life. I realise he doesn’t write about zombies, serial killers, tall dark and dumb vampires and people dealing with Oprah Winfrey Big Issues like Joanie Pickles but sometimes everyday life can be just as interesting as the E-Channel version.

  7. joyciescotland 18 December 2009 / 10:38 pm

    Over to you……..

  8. Lynne 19 December 2009 / 10:23 am

    Can’t agree, ordinary life is incredibly boring, why read about it when you are living it everyday. I could write a novel about mine own life that will have them yawning in the aisles.

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