' we forget sometimes that a vital part of loving literature is hating certain books and certain writers, just as hating Spurs is an important part of supporting Arsenal; and the embarrassing truth is that I have probably got far more satisfaction out of trying to persuade friends that The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a tawdry piece of misogynistic torture porn than I have out of discussing the reasons why Wolf Hall is a masterpiece.'This comment in Mark Haddon's wonderful essay 'The Right Words in the Right Order', really made me smile. I'm with him all the way with the Dragon Tattoo. Am I the only one to think so? It seems churlish to blog about books I hate, best not mention them at all. It's true though that our most entertaining book group debates have been between book haters and book lovers. It's great fun to heap scorn and vitriol on a book and equally to defend a book against its detractors.
I haven't read many books that I hate, mainly because if I hate them that much I just don't finish them at all. Consequently the books I hate are usually books I've been obliged to study. So I confess now that I hated Dracula and I never want the Count to darken my bookshelf again.
Often it's just a case of 'the wrong book at the wrong time'. Books need to be approached in the right frame of mind or at the right stage of life. Reading Camus' The Stranger as a seventeen year old was a revelation. I'm scared to reread it now for fear it leaves me cold and loses its place on my 'Greatest Books' list. It's not a risk I'm prepared to take.
Which books do you love to hate?