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Bleak Books – top 10 most depressing reads

the-bell-jar1I am currently halfway through Zeitoun by Dave Eggers. I know the second half of the book is going to be depressing but I’m not going to stop reading. Earlier this year AbeBooks asked its customers to identify their most depressing reads.

The Road easily topped the list but that’s no surprise. Bizarrely, there are three Oprah Book Club picks on the list – The Road and Elie Wiesel’s Holocaust novel, Night, and Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye – a novel of racism, incest and cruelty.

nightAyn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged has undergone a massive revival over the past 12 months with many critics relating the book’s collapsing society to the world’s current economic woes – it is also one of five books on the list published in the 1950s (along with Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four from 1949). Was the 1950s really such a depressing period for authors?

Sylvia Plath’s own suicide shortly after the publication of her semi-autobiographical novel, The Bell Jar, adds a depressing note of realism to the appearance of this particular book on the list.

jude-the-obscureTop 10 most depressing books
1. The Road by Cormac McCarthy (2006)
2. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (1963)
3. Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy (1895)
4. Nineteen Eighty-four by George Orwell (1949)
5. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand (1957)
6. Night by Elie Wiesel (1955)
7. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (1939)
8. On the Beach by Nevil Shute (1957)
9. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (1970)
10. Lord of the Flies by William Golding (1954)

More on depressing books.

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