2016 Library Challenge: A Book with a Bad Review



Worst thing I have ever read.

This book stinks!

Ever read any of these on an Amazon review? Ever intentionally sought out books with bad reviews?  Now’s your chance since one of the challenges in the 2016 Library Challenge is to do just that – read a book with a bad review.

I must confess, this challenge probably amused me the most of any of the ones on this list when I first read it at the beginning of this year.

Because, really, how hard is it to find a book with bad reviews?

I love reading reviews of bad books (and movies and products or really anything.) Any time I am researching something and find a page with reviews, I am instinctively drawn to the 1 star reviews. I’ll eventually get around to the more positive ones, but I have to read the negative ones first because they usually are hilarious, some intentionally and others unintentionally.

Besides, I’m not automatically dissuaded by bad reviews, anyway. Everyone has different taste, so I am always open to the possibility that the reviewer and I will differ and that I will end up enjoying or even loving whatever it was they were bashing.

I don’t usually get around to reading books that do sound horrible because I just don’t have the time for it, but I tend to love watching things that are so bad they’re good. I have even paid for and sat through some truly terrible movies because there’s just something relentlessly fascinating about incompetence so glorious that it becomes awe-inspiringly bad.

However, I had underestimated the differences between enjoying a bad movie and a bad book.  This year, with this challenge, I learned that enduring a truly bad book takes an act of almost superhuman determination.

A bad movie, I now suspect, is endurable simply because you have a finite point of time you have to deal with it. You know you only have 90 minutes, maybe 120 minutes of awfulness. You just have to sit back and judge for that period of time and then you can move on with your life. There’s also a good chance you can watch it with other people and experience the shared joy of experiencing terrible film-making together. Shared misery is a wonderful bonding experience.

But you can’t do that with a bad book.

You’re stuck with it all by yourself, and you’re not likely to talk anyone else into joining you in reading it.

There’s also no set amount of time you have to wade through it so that you can measure out your progress. Oh, sure, you can count pages and chapters, which I will do nearly every minute or so when I am stuck with a bad read.

But that still tells you nothing about how long it will take you to get through the written equivalent of a dumpster fire. I even know my own approximate reading speed and can usually estimate pretty accurately how long it will take me to read a given book, but those guesses are never right for the truly bad books because I can’t really account for the amount of time I spend arguing with the book, questioning the sanity of its writer or editor, or desperately trying to be distracted by shiny objects or anything really.

It’s an act of mental self-torture that I don’t wish to repeat any time soon.

However, I did read my book that gets bad reviews and survived.  I am sure you will too!

How about you–what book with bad reviews did you pick? Did you like it? Do you have a favorite “bad” movie? Do reviews even matter to you? Tell us in the comments!



Author: berryvillelibrary

"Our library, our future"

6 thoughts on “2016 Library Challenge: A Book with a Bad Review”

  1. I love this challenge!
    I never judge a book by the reviews unless it is a marketing book…
    Sometimes when someone writes a bad review about the book they never explain why it is bad or why they didn’t enjoy it. Most of the time it is their personal opinion and something they don’t like may be something another person loves.
    The other problem is with the increase of bots writing books it makes it harder to find the books written by a real author/writer.
    Anyways, I think I’m going to try my hand at finding a low rated/ bad reviewed book and see how I like it. XD
    Good luck with your challenge. I look forward to reading more in the future.


    1. Yes it is a really interesting one!

      One thing I learned in my quest to find one is that pretty much any book can get a bad review–and a lot of ones I like get bad reviews. So, the bad review in and of itself often doesn’t mean anything beyond personal taste.

      On the other hand, the books that unanimously get bad reviews are an . . . interesting . . . experience. 😀

      You’ll have to tell me which bad book you picked and whether or not it was really all that bad! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. As an author it can get disheartening to read a bad review but if someone didn’t even take the time to explain why they didn’t like it I don’t pay any attention to it. If they didn’t take the time to explain to me what they didn’t like why should I spend time worrying about something that can’t be changed.
        As for what I’m looking at reading: Magical Probi (The Federal Witch Book 2) by TS Paul. The book was rated 2 stars with one review that was pretty brutal so I want to give it a chance. We shall see how that turns out. XD


      2. Yes, I can definitely understand that.

        I’ve never been formally published beyond a couple of articles nobody read, but I remember doing workshops in creative writing classes. I enjoyed getting feedback, but not all of it was terribly constructive or well-informed. That was always frustrating and quite demoralizing.

        I can only imagine how much worse that would be with actual reviews where they aren’t dealing with you face-to-face.

        I’ve never heard of that book before! Definitely interested in hearing about it when you’re done!

        Liked by 1 person

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