I love to read, and for the most part, I tend to at least moderately enjoy every book I read. It is very rare I find a book without anything worthwhile in it, a book so amazingly bad it actually makes me angry. The worst though, is when this happens to a book I've been told by almost everyone is really good. "Surely, all of my friends and family wouldn't lie to me!" But guess what, they do, and they do it often, because they're mean and they want to hurt my feelings. Here are some of the most popular books that drove me to unstoppable fury:
- The Alchemist: Oh man, I hate this book. A book about a dumb kid looking for money. Why is this one of the most popular books in the world? Ugh.
- The Alchemist: That’s right—this books sucks so hard it counts for two books on this list. If this book were my mom I wouldn’t love her. Do you know how hard it is not to love your mom? I’ve tried (no I haven’t; I love you, Ma!), but if my mom were this book it would be so easy I could learn to unlove her while cooking a steak.
- The Alchemist: Are you beginning to see a pattern? The writing in this book is almost insultingly simple. There’s no metaphor, every meaning is explained and made as clear as possible, the words are big and spaced out so it only takes about two hours to read, which more than anything explains its popularity. There’s no substance! It’s overwrought, inspiring, self-help prose meant to appeal to everyone, which means at its core it means nothing.
- Watership Down: Just kidding, that book is great! But seriously, The Alchemist sucks so bad it makes other good books suck. You know how Catch 22 is really funny and darkly satirical? Well, it’s not anymore. The Alchemist took that away. Catch 22 is now also a book about a dumb kid looking for money. Shame on you, The Alchemist; that book meant something to me.
- The Alchemist: Have you read it? I’m going to spoil the ending for you, but by spoil I mean, “casually explain,” because there’s nothing worth getting upset about. So the whole book is about this little boy looking to fulfill his Personal Legend, i.e., his life’s purpose. His purpose? Finding treasure. The kid wants to be rich. That’s fine, I guess. By the way, who told him to find treasure? God? God told him to find treasure in a dream? Oh. Oh. I see. Surely, treasure is some kind of metaphor.
- The Alchemist: It has to be a metaphor. On his journey to Egypt, he gains all this experience, knowledge, and he even finds the love of his life! But none of these are good enough—he wants real treasure. He even gets wealthy, but not wealthy enough, so he uses all his funds to find greater fortune, being brave enough to strive for more excessive wealth whereas other people are too afraid of the risk. I’m waiting for the end, to discover that there was no real treasure, that the real treasure was all the friendships and experiences he gained. "Oh, you silly kid, you had the treasure the whole time! But greed made you throw it away!"—cheesy, a little predictable, but whatever.
- The Alchemist: Nope. End of the book, he finds his treasure. And the treasure? It’s actual treasure. I was so patient with this book, thinking, “The treasure has to be love, or a full life, or something. It has to. Who puts money above love?” Apparently this book, because the treasure, the purpose of his life, is literally gold and rubies. This treasure was worth more than knowledge, love, friendship, his personal health, and his reward for putting all those second in life is a ton of money. “Surely, this can’t be fulfilling—he’s let down at the end, right?” Nope. Totally fulfilling. He’s super happy.
- The Alchemist: Here’s the message of the book: being rich is great! If you’re rich it’s because you totally earned it, because God has always wanted you to be rich, and if you’re poor it’s because you’re a coward. Awesome. Note: this is not me being nitpicky, looking for meaning where there isn’t to intentionally misrepresent the book. This is what this book is actually about. Seriously, book, great message. What's the sequel gonna be about? How a good child would never get in the way of a dad’s drinking habit, or how a truly purposeful life is gained by tons of casual sex? I know you only took two hours to read, but dang, I feel like I lost a year of my life somehow. Shame on you, The Alchemist. And I’m still not forgetting what you did to poor, old, innocent Catch 22. Shame on you.
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Eh, just wasn’t that into this one.
If I offended anyone who loves this book, I apologize, and by "apologize" I mean "am totally not sorry at all." How about you guys? What books are so bad they make you angry?