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What Books Do You Dislike? 
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Post Re: What Books Do You Dislike?
I always thought I was alone in thinking The Catcher in the Rye overrated.
I've been trying to read this book called Three Cups of Tea but it just seems too unbelievable.
Another one that people look at me aghast is The Old Man and the Sea. Soooo boring! I tried.



Tue Dec 08, 2009 7:55 pm
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Post Re: What Books Do You Dislike?
Ernie said:
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I always thought I was alone in thinking The Catcher in the Rye overrated.


So did I. In fact, I've kept my distain for "Catcher" a deep dark secret all these years, lest I be ostracized :D Nice to meet you!!!


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Post Re: What Books Do You Dislike?
I think that some writers make a name for themselves, and then tend to be treated with reverence, even though some of what they later produce can be mediocre. I believe Canadian authors Margaret Atwood and Pierre Burton have sometimes fallen into this category.


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Tue Dec 08, 2009 11:46 pm
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Post Re: What Books Do You Dislike?
etudiant wrote:
I think that some writers make a name for themselves, and then tend to be treated with reverence, even though some of what they later produce can be mediocre.


I agree. Stephen King fell into that as well. Dean Koontz had a couple of good books, but most of it was the same thing with different titles and names. An author that impresses me is Elizabeth George. She isn't afraid to do possibly career ruining twists.

Bart, nice to meet you too!! 8)



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Post Re: What Books Do You Dislike?
I dislike Ayn Rand's work intensely. I was introduced to her, as I suspect many people were, while in high school because the Ayn Rand Institute bribes its way into classroom curricula by offering some rather paltry scholarship prizes for essays based on her works. Because of that, I read Anthem in 10th grade (which was a pale rip-off of Evgeny Zamyatin's We) and The Fountainhead in 11th grade. Rand's prose always seems like a too-lengthy submission to the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest. I would also really love to know what perverse part of her sexual history causes her to write scenes the women who are obviously her projections and who are raped by men with the initials H.R., after which the women invariably fade into the background.

To give Rand a fair shake, I made the fateful decision to read Atlas Shrugged over a three-day Model UN Conference in Costa Mesa, CA. Honestly, almost any long book would have been better, and this experience caused me to take multiple books with me on any future trip. I read it all, despite how desperately dull it was, because I needed some diversion from my fellow students droning on about international affairs. Most of them wouldn't have known Brasilia from Beijing, and yet they couldn't be shut up. They went on at such length and so unproductively that there was no time to negotiate over the resolution that was introduced on the first day of the conference. There was barely time for a reading. We had to vote on it in a way that could have been done within five minutes on the first day.

But I digress. Despite being the dullest thing I've ever had to sit through, I still put down Atlas Shrugged and listened to it or read from a nearby phone book. I damn near walked to the local Borders, and would have done it if I had any confidence that I would be able to find my way back. Later, I read some of Rand's 'philosophy', which is even worse than her prose. Her notions about causality are either nonsensical or tautological. John Hospers pointed this fact out to her, but she was apparently too dim to understand his objection. At least her novels, however didactic, give her philosophy some cloak to hide behind, but when they're out in the open, with nothing to hide behind, then they appear as the vacuous and muddled mess they are. Rand's philosophy is 'new' to the extent that she didn't understand anything about previous philosophical systems, so her works are difficult to fit in either as continuations or criticisms of prior trends of thought.

While Rand's works may represent the worst prose that has ever been styled as "classic American novels", Dan Brown's books are even worse, but at least there's no Dan Brown Institute insisting that we teach The Da Vinci Code in high schools. I read The Da Vinci Code and later Angels and Demons, borrowing both from my mother.

Everything I could possibly say about Dan Brown—and I certainly could go on!—has already been said by Geoffrey Pullum. It's just the sort of thing that makes you want to cringe in your seat.

Well, anyway, the other work I absolutely loathed from my time in high school was The Catcher in the Rye. I honestly have no idea why it's considered a classic, nor why it's inflicted on younger generations, except that this whiny emo angst about nothing is supposed to resonate with us. I think that if teachers want a classic American novel that should resonate with teenagers, then they could do worse than to assign Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth. We're not all poor relations who luck into a privileged Old Money upbringing, but I think students would sympathize with Lily Bart's struggle to find a way to remain true to herself and live as she wishes.



Last edited by Nullifidian on Sun Jan 17, 2010 5:26 pm, edited 2 times in total.



Sun Jan 17, 2010 4:22 pm
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Post Re: What Books Do You Dislike?
Nullifidian:

I did enjoy reading your post. You express yourself so well!!

However, I enjoyed both of the Dan Brown books you mention. And yes, I know they have been lambasted by the literati and by the religious. But I just thought they were a good read. An exciting story. No more, no less.

I've also enjoyed quite a few of Stephen King's novels, but the foul language is attrocious and gets into my head, and I don't want it there.

I prefer James Herbert if I'm in the mood to scare myself to death. Mostly, I like a good laugh.

However, I do know that peoples' senses of humour differ greatly and so best not to recommend Terry Pratchett....it can loose one a lot of friends. :(


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Post Re: What Books Do You Dislike?
Penelope wrote:
Nullifidian:

I did enjoy reading your post. You express yourself so well!!


Thanks! :blush:

Quote:
However, I enjoyed both of the Dan Brown books you mention. And yes, I know they have been lambasted by the literati and by the religious. But I just thought they were a good read. An exciting story. No more, no less.


I understand, and I don't think you should ever feel the need to apologize for what you read. I do accept that Brown is often considered good "beach reading" or something similar. I have no problem with that sort of thing. I happily admit that one of my favorite book series is Stephanie Barron's Jane Austen mysteries. Likewise, I'm a major fan of John Mortimer's Rumpole books.

Where I differ from some people is that bad prose bothers me so much that I simply cannot stay relaxed while reading it, so it completely undercuts the concept of relaxation reading. Barron's and Mortimer's books, and of course many hundreds of others, work for me because they're great examples of style as well as "ripping good yarns".

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I've also enjoyed quite a few of Stephen King's novels, but the foul language is attrocious and gets into my head, and I don't want it there.


I used to enjoy Stephen King's novels when I was younger, but now I have the same problem with much of his writing that I have with Dan Brown (although King is a much better writer than Brown). So much of King's work just reads like he's phoning it in, which is why I haven't read a book by him in over ten years. I think I read most of King's good books when I was young.

Again, though, I accept it if your tastes are different. De gustibus non disputandum est—there is no disputing in a matter of taste.

Quote:
I prefer James Herbert if I'm in the mood to scare myself to death. Mostly, I like a good laugh.

However, I do know that peoples' senses of humour differ greatly and so best not to recommend Terry Pratchett....it can loose one a lot of friends. :(


I like Terry Pratchett (and Neil Gaiman). I thought I'd die laughing when I read their collaboration, Good Omens. :lol:



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Post Re: What Books Do You Dislike?
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Where I differ from some people is that bad prose bothers me so much that I simply cannot stay relaxed while reading it,


I do appreciate beautiful prose. I think Patrick Leigh Fermour is the one who impresses me most (A Time of Gifts). But if someone is telling me an exciting story....I forget about the prose and just surrender myself to the story.

But, I do think humour needs to be well-worded to work. I suppose it is something like comic-timing. Terry Pratchett is very good a forming a sentence thus, as is Douglas Adams in the Hitchhiker's series, don't you think?

I'm glad you like Rumpole though.....so do I.

I'm just finishing 'Witches Abroad' and then I will read 'Good Omens' on your recommendation.

It just occurred to me that we enjoy books whereby we can identify with the characters, so that will be why I couldn't get on with 'Catcher in the Rye' - couldn't understand him. However, the bawdy old witches in the Pratchett books.....well.....they're very me!!! :lol:


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Post Re: What Books Do You Dislike?
"Twilight," "New Moon," etc etc. My hatred for those books and the author knows no bounds. You guys have no idea how much they infuriate me. :evil: The same goes for pretty much every teen vampire romance book.

...Actually, the entire teen fiction genre has been going downhill for the past couple of years, really. Still some good ones though.

I also hate "The Lovely Bones" by Alice Sebold. Had to read it for a class, and it annoyed me. I liked the parts about the character being in heaven, but the other characters were all very irritating. Many of the events were unbelievable to me.


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Post Re: What Books Do You Dislike?
Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded by Richardson.

I was forced to read this in college. I want the tuition for that course back!

The book was wildly successful as 18th century fathers bought copies for their daughters as moral guides. It basically teaches that withholding sex can be used to capture a wealthy husband.

The thing was exported to the US and ultimately to the rest of the English speaking world. I would bet it was the least read of all best sellers.


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Post Re: What Books Do You Dislike?
wilde wrote:
"Twilight," "New Moon," etc etc. My hatred for those books and the author knows no bounds. You guys have no idea how much they infuriate me. :evil: The same goes for pretty much every teen vampire romance book.


I agree completely.

I hate Catcher in the Rye.
The Great Gatsby
Great Expectations

anything Steinbeck
John Updike's later novels where he is a lecherous old man and there is far too much gratuitous sex
Dracula (I found the concept and layout of the narrative interesting but also found it hard to read and hard to relate to any of the characters)
Jude the Obscure (probably anything Thomas Hardy, from what I can tell)
The Perks of Being a Wallflower

certainly others, but this is enough hate for now.



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Post Re: What Books Do You Dislike?
At least half the books I had to read through High School, including, but not limited to...

Of Mice and Men
Summer of the Seventeenth Doll
Treasure Island
Animal Farm
Lord of the Flies (To make it worse, teenage daughter now reading it for school. Can't they find something better by now?)
about half of Shakespeare,
- enjoyed Macbeth, Merchant of Venice, Othello
- but fell asleep during Caesar, Romeo & Juliet

Some of Stephen King's are just grusome and icky with no plot. Eyes of the Dragon was OK.
Emma (only one by Jane Austen I hate, love P & P, like the others)

Had difficulty reading Harry Potter series. I think it's a good storyline and plot written by a poor author. I'm sorry, but she waffles. First, and only, time I've enjoyed a movie adaptation better than original book.

Fanfiction! (Daughter loves it)

And finally.......any book written by someone else to cash in on a famous author's series/world after said author's death. Think up your own ideas people!!!

P.S. Really, really hate any book that sounds really good from the blurb on the back but turns into mush when you get past first chapter. So much promise, wasted.


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Post Re: What Books Do You Dislike?
Oh, I definitely agree about fanfiction. I can't stand it, although there is a parody of Harry Potter I like - "My Immortal." It's so stupid and unbelievable that it's hilarious.


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Post Re: What Books Do You Dislike?
You didn't like Great Expectations? That's one of my favorite fiction books. =(

What didn't you like about it? I didn't think Dracula was that bad either...

Now I'm reading a book by Hardy and you obviously don't like him.

I think I have found my arch nemesis!!! =D



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Post Re: What Books Do You Dislike?
Hello Camacho:

My theory is that female readers don't care for Hardy. His works make very good films because when you read them, it is as though you are watching the action. I mean that you never get under the skin of the characters. We ladies like books about 'feelings'. IMO

I like Great Expectations too, and Dombey and Son. But Dickens isn't very good at writing females. You just have to accept that and enjoy the story.

Now, Arnold Bennett is different. He writes excellent females. Has anyone tried 'Clayhanger' ?

Virginia Wolff and company wouldn't let Arnold Bennett into the Bloomsbury Group - because he was too common......so I like him.


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