Famous Brits Pick Their Most Hated Books
This list of the most vilified books dates from 2003, but is entertaining nonetheless.
JG Ballard: Author
Finnegans Wake by James Joyce
Joyce’s incomprehensible novel, which has provided a living for generations of English literature teachers, represents a dismal trend in twentieth-century fiction: the quest for total darkness. Finnegans Wake is the best example of modernism disappearing from its own foundations.
Jonathan Meades: Author and broadcaster
Harry Potter books by JK Rowling
“I think they’re absolute crap, just terrible, worse than Enid Blyton. I’ve discouraged my kids from reading them. They aren’t particularly badly written, I don’t mind writing badly c ‘complicity and complicity with the reader is what I don’t like. It’s like they’re written by a focus group. JK Rowling is the sub-literary analogue of Tony Blair. “
Dr. Jonathan Miller: Director, author and animator
Whatever by Jacques Derrida
“When I dive into the dark depths of Derrida, I feel like I’m drowning, I can deal with difficult subjects, but Derrida fails to make them interesting because his writing is completely impenetrable. He claims to be philosophical, but in fact he is perversely obscure. “
Sir John Mortimer: Author and creator of Rumpole
The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien
“Anything about Gandalf, and those little things with hair between his toes.” I hate this kind of presumptuous, phony, medieval-magical writing. “
Ken Russell: Director
Atlas shrugged by Ayn Rand
“It has a huge reputation as a masterpiece, but I found it to be a fascist tirade of how wonderful American tycoons are in business. Yet it is very cleverly written.”
What’s your most hated book? Mine is a mix between Ender’s match and The secret story.