In Brief

Salman Rushdie accidentally reveals his least favourite books

Rushdie posts critical reviews on social media book group, thinking that his ratings would be private

Salman Rushdie has unwittingly revealed his private thoughts on some of the world's most celebrated authors, rating their works on a social media site for readers without realising that his verdict would be made public. 

Goodreads, the Amazon-owned online book group, allows users to give books a rating out of five, sharing the grade with other readers. 

Rushdie revived his three-year-old account on 2 April, entering star ratings for 43 books, but the novelist failed to adjust his settings to private, meaning that the reviews were instantly visible to all other Goodreads users.

And some of Rushdie's assessments made for eye-opening reading in themselves. Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize-winning To Kill a Mockingbird was given a middling three stars, while Paul Bowles' The Sheltering Sky received just one.

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"I'm so clumsy in this new world of social media sometimes," Rushdie told The Independent. "I thought these rankings were a private thing designed to tell the site what sort of book to recommend to me, or not recommend. Turns out they are public. Stupid me. Well, I don't like the work of Kingsley Amis, there it is. I don't have to explain or justify. It's allowed". 

Later, Rushdie seemed to backtrack, telling the paper: "I was just fooling around, experimenting with the site. Pls don't take [the ratings] seriously."

Other books Rushdie panned included The Death of the Heart by Elizabeth Bowen and Max Beerbohm's Zuleika Dobson. 

One book that did pass muster with the author of Midnight's Children was F Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, which was given five stars. Evelyn Waugh's A Handful of Dust also received full marks.

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