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.

Coffee drinkers are diabolical

I don’t like coffee. It’s far too bitter for my tastes. Though I do sometimes envy coffee drinkers their passionate love of the stuff. That look of relaxation and satisfaction on their faces when they get their hands on (and lips around) that first cup of the day almost makes me wish for another vice…but not quite. Coffee breath is right up there with smokers’ breath and coldsores on my “list of reasons not to snog someone”.

Writer Ben Obler clearly doesn’t have any such qualms. He obviously loves his cuppa-joe because he’s gone to the trouble of compiling a list of the top 10 coffee drinking scenes in literature. I mean, I’ve got to ask – is this not the unhinged behaviour of an addict?

What other top 10 literary scenes might other fanatical enthusiasts conjure up? The chicklit crowd might offer up the top 10 scenes “where the previously totally unsuitable suitor delivers a speech so moving that the heroine is rendered incapable of rebuffing him and they fall into each others arms”. Top 10 descriptions of trains (model or otherwise)? I’d like a top 10 of cheesecake eating. Truly the possibilities are endless.

What would be the subject of your literary top 10?