Times Online asked various literary types to name books "that made them angry just thinking about them; that were once clotted with extravagant critical praise....And that, from either category, we now realise are close to worthless."
Many mentioned Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and Carlos Casteneda’s interminable drug-soaked hippie ramblings, which I thought I was terribly cool to be reading as a kid. Luke Rhinehart’s The Dice Man scored heavily, too, and the names of Colin Wilson and Mervyn Peake were invoked with a sort of guttural sneer and one or two expletives on several occasions. Yet two names kept cropping up when my respondents were asked for the misbegotten stuff of serious literature, the people who still today have a reputation: John Fowles and Anthony bloody “Pole”.
My immediate response would be most anything Jane Austen, but I need to give it some more thought. I'm hoping to do a new round of bookshelf organizing in the next couple of weeks, so maybe at that point I'll be able to come up with my own stack of cringe-worthy books. Anything immediately come to mind for you?
You can see the list of nominations that Times Online came up with here.