Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia

Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesiaby Elizabeth Gilbert explores the author’s journey across the world (and the self, natch) following a protracted divorce. Trying to find yourself is never easy, particularly if you have jet lag. From what these reviewers say, she seems to have found herself but never anyone else:

She is the most vapid, narcicistic, insecure, self-absorbed, spoiled brat I have ever had to listen to. I could not wait to get her whiny, foolish voice out of my head.

…and:

This is the type of person you meet at a cocktail party and RUN in the other direction after a few minutes when she starts spewing out all her problems at you with no end in sight. Note to the author: I am your reader, not your psychotherapist.

…and:

Pure drivel that reinforces my theory that a “good” agent can get even the worst of stories published.

…and:

I started rolling my eyes on the second page and pretty much didn’t stop rolling them until I stopped reading.

…and:

Does the world really need a field guide for selfishness? Can’t they just watch a few minutes of Joel Osteen?

…and this reviewer, who manages to find the books hidden theme:

Isn’t it ironic that the three countries that the author traveled begin with the letter “I” as did nearly every sentence in the book? What a sex-crazed narcisist!

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, by Michael Chabon

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon made quite a splash when it was published in 2000. A serious author writing about comic books? Since the book was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, that was, to the literary world, the equivalent of making a silk purse from a sow’s ear. C’mon folks, comic books aren’t that bad if you take them on their own terms. Despite the book’s reputation, these readers found the book to be less than amazing:

. The author must have won the Pullitzer-Prize in a sweepstakes. Give me a break!

…and:

…this book needed editing like Britney Spears needs underpants.

…and:

I’d rather pull all my eyelashes out for fun than read this book. on a side note..maybe the movie will be better!?

…and:

…if florid writing, and purple prose, and adjectives and cliches are your thing, by all means click that shopping cart!!

…and:

The only reason I finished the book is so I could feel qualified to write a review, and express my distaste for the writing.

…and:

In a nutshell, Chabon took the movie Chasing Amy, stripped away the sharp dialogue and provocative examination of courtship and sexual politics and managed to walk away with a Pulitzer.

…and this reviewer, who says he hit the trifecta for not being able to appreciate the book:

I think the one big hindrance I had was that I am not an immigrant, I am not gay, and I don’t hate German people.

The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a book that I have yet to read, and I’ve been told that the Demi Moore movie version was not the most faithful screen translation – too many bathing scenes. Anyway, it’s certainly still read today, though it wouldn’t be if these reviewers had their way:

The Scarlet Letter, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne holds little significance other than being a complete waste of time.

…and:

The author uses incredibly large words and you constantly have to use a dictionary or else you most likely won’t know hat you are reading.

…and:

This book is like a bad soap. No action. No drama. Very predictable. It is about a woman who cheated on her husband with another man. The baby dad is the preacher. Why the couple couldn’t have gotten a divorce is beyond me.

…and:

…reading through “dost thou” after “dost thou” isn’t any fun.

…and:

This work by Hawthorne, whose subject matter is always really boring anyway, is as dry and frigid as a desert.

…and, from this reviewer who apparently has never heard of Cliff Notes:

I read to pages of this novel and I had to stop!: I have yet to actually complete this novel. It is so dog-gone hard to understand. On top of this, I have an essay that is due: TOMORROW! Is there no relief?!

…and this comment, from a person that has CAREFULLY analyzed the book:

THE AVERAGE NUMBER OF WORDS PER SENTENCE IS 22.1! THAT IS IN THE 80TH PERCENTILE FOR RUN-ON SENTENCE STATISTICS!

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, by Steven R. Covey

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey is perhaps the most well known “self help” book of the Late 20th/Early 21st Century. Dr. Covey seems to be absolutely sincere about what he has written, and I have to admit I’ve read it myself. It’s a fairly long read – maybe too long, but I think its good stuff. These reviewers, however, would like the break this particular “Habit” :

If you think that some bozo who’s only interested in making money for himself can help you become a success, think again. You need to talk to a professional. Someone who will help solve your real problems. You must have fallen to some deep, depressing place if you have resorted to reading this trite trash and think it’s good.

…and:

Horrifying: This may be the very worst book I have read in my 37 years. Stuffed with linguistic fluff and stylistic errors, and short on ideas and evidence, the book reads like a map of the capitalist, Christian fundamentalist, anti-intellectual U.S. mind.

…and:

The only thing buying this book helped was Covey’s bank account.

…and:

I figured 10 million readers (as the cover states) can’t be wrong. I pray I’m never trapped in an elevator with any of them.

…and:

If your a Christian and even if your not why not just read the book God wrote for us instead of reading all these “self help” books.

…and this, from a reviewer that wants advice from writers that can “take the heat”:

Covey has done a cut and paste job of other self-help books. it is easy to write a book after having reviewed other people’s books. I respect anthony robbins (after all a man who can make you walk on fire must know something)…

Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card is one of those books that lurked around the edge of my awareness for years, if only because of the unique title. Its aged pretty well, given that its original publication date was in the mid 1980s, and I’m sure someday it will be turned into a movie. Its considered a “Modern Science Fiction Classic”, and Card certainly made a good living out of it, with the requisite sequels, samequels and prequels that successful genre books seem to generate. But for these reviewers? Game Over:

It is an insult to the great sci-fi books like the STAR WARS series.

..and:

To me, this is what gives SF a bad name: juvenile militaristic rubbish with religous propagandist underpinnings; stereotypes instead of characters, a by-numbers plot; no depth, no complexity, no intelligence.

…and:

Let’s see if I can do some serious damage to my reviewer rating here. This must truly be the most overrated book in the entire science-fiction canon. Card writes prose with the vocabulary of a moderately intelligent adolescent, and since “adult acting kids” kids (in the most generous sense) constitute all the major characters of his book, that’s who most tends to love this novel. And for all the older readers who think Ender’s Game is the greatest thing since sliced bread, well, I guess some of us started our second childhoods a tad early. The best thing about the book is probably the whole subplot about Ender’s evil brother and loving sister, and trust me, that ain’t saying much.

…and:

It’s like enduring a root canal in slow motion. Without benefit of anesthesia. While the dental assissant reads aloud the latest celebrity gossip congealing around Paris Hilton.

…and:

The idea of a 6 year-old military genius is absurd. And if there was one, the idea that the people of power would put a child in command of anything is even more absurd. Does Card know any human beings? Can’t tell from reading his book.

…and:

It’s kind of like Harry Potter goes to space, but with much less thought and writing talent.

…and:

This was the first and last Orson Scott Card book that I will ever subject myself to read.

…and:

God almighty, I had to read this fantasy scifi book for a book club, and I’m lucky I didn’t strangle myself.

…and:

The one thing better than Ender’s Game is 17 hours of eye surgery.

…and:

Ender Wiggin is a weenie. What more can I say?

…and:

It could be retitled “Recess goes to Space”.

…and:

Hungry for more? Here’s a very serious take on Ender, and not a very kind one.

100 People Who are Screwing Up America, by Bernard Goldberg

100 People Who are Screwing Up America…and Al Franken is #37 by Bernard Goldberg is a book that has a fairly equal balance of 5 Star and 1 Star reviews. Conservatives go out of their way to praise it. Liberals go out of their way to denigrate it. I don’t know if writing that kind of book is a great way to help the country, but it certainly gets one’s attention and drives books sales! If you came here for Scathing Reviews, this is the right book for it:

The 101st would be the one on the cover.

…and:

Blah blah blah liberals hate America blah blah gansta rap blah blah radical feminists blah blah token conservatives thrown into list to make it appear non-partisan blah blah in my day, things were different… blah blah traditional values. Blah.

…and:

This book is tailor made for those who subscribe to People magazine. This gossipy, nasty, vile spew comes from the mind of a troubled person who devoted precious months of his limited time on earth to vilifying a hundred people in print.

…and:

Sorry Bernie, but you made a terrible book. Stick to your Real Sports gig. You are great at that!

…and:

Goldberg doesn’t have any brainstorms here, just light drizzles. Put away the umbrella and the book.

…and:

He’s the right wing Eric Alterman……..that’s not a good thing.

…and:

If you feel uncomfortable having to think all the time, purchase this book and give yourself a brake.

…and:

The writing is also amateurish, filled with more nasty name-calling (even his so-called good friends don’t escape notice that yes, he is better than they are) and finger pointing than any real answers or revelations.

…and:

The whole enterprise struck me as pretty mean-spirited cut and paste job.

…and:

Sometimes I wonder why I force myself to read crap like this.

…and:

This book should be named “I’ll do anything to win the love and honor of the republican party.”

…and:

…a book written by a right-wing nut for other right-wing nuts.

Even so, one reviewer pointed out something that the majority of Americans can agree on:

But he is right on one hand… Barbara Streisand is REALLY screwing up America.

Animal Farm, by George Orwell

Animal Farm, by George Orwell has one of the most misleading titles you could ever imagine. Bottom line, no matter how much your child likes farms, animals or Charlotte’s Web, don’t give this book to them as a birthday present. If you do, they may start singing “Old MacDonald” to the tune of The Internationale. I’ve read the book and while I appreciate both it and the message, its not exactly a “fun” read, despite the talking animals, as these reviewers will attest:

The book has one point that it beats to death over and over again. Why anybody would ever need Cliffs notes to figure out what the book is about is beyond me.

…and:

I can’t stand this kind of unrealistic plot, (whose ever heard of pigs giving lectures about politics).

…and:

…the book contained absurdities on EVERY page, such as: animals that can read, write, paint, sew, operate firearms, sing, teach, trade, and form Communist dictatorships.

..and:

This book was written by a insane man named George Orwell, who hated society, and displayed that by bashing humanity, and making people look like lower lifeforms than animals… To be honest I think this man is crazy and needs to be locked up.

…and:

…if it really happened the cats would run things because everyone knows that cats are born leaders.

…and:

I’m sure the author was a wonderful person, but this was just not a good book. Read something happier like, oh I don’t know, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. It’s amd excellent read, and with the Holidays coming up, everyone wants to feel happy.

…and:

This book is disgraceful! It is the worst book ever! It really stinks! All it has is animals that run around and say “Comrade”! Good Grief!

…and:

Stupid guy had to express his feelings and whine about Russia. Okay Russia was bad, but this is just annoying.

…and, this, from a true believer of the Good Ol’ Soviet Union. Cue the Internationale! :

Snitch for Brit. Intel. s diatribe on russian revolution:This is george orwells take on the russian revolution that tells lies and myths after another. I would suggest that others read historical tracts to reveal Orwells obivious bias and work for the british ruling class. He maligns the achievements of the working class in the soviet union to animalism…