...And that despite better judgement and the widespread availability of better books, you actually kind of enjoyed?

To this day, I'm still kind of amazed I made it all the way through Terry Brooks' Sword of Shannara. If I'd read it when I was in grade school, I probably would have loved it, but I picked it up out of morbid curiosity in my early twenties and read it over the course of a rainy summer vacation. It kept my attention for two reasons: 1) the brazen derivation from Tolkien (SoS is basically LotR with half the serial numbers filed off in a half-assed manner) and 2) the terrible quality of the writing. Pretty much everything those creative writing manuals tell you not to do is present in this book: endless exposition, scenes where the author says what the characters are saying or doing without providing any dialogue or action (so that the novel reads like a summary of the work rather than the source itself), constant recaps of the plot (as if the book were edited from a serial adventure), and scenes where Brooks explains what the characters are feeling or thinking rather than actually providing any evidence of it. And oh yeah, the prose suh-huuuucked. But I actually stuck through with the damn thing all the way through to the bitter end because I kind of wanted to see how everything turned out. (SPOILER ALERT: The good guys win.)

I think I followed it up with like six Elmore Leonard novels.