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Old 01-28-2008, 10:10 AM
Location: Piedmont NC
4,597 posts, read 9,843,208 times
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The five best books thread has me perplexed. I found myself thinking, 'man, but could I talk about some of the worst! Oh, LOL.'

For me, and I'll stick my neck out here, it has to be a toss-up between the author Nicholas Sparks, and the book, The Bridges of Madison County. My problem with the authors/works actually has more to do with what I see as 'plausible' or 'believable.' Unless I am reading what I know is purely fantasy, or something, I want to a story to resonate with honesty or reality.

As much as I enjoyed the sweet, almost saccharine story of Sparks's The Notebook, I was frustrated by Message in a Bottle, and never picked up another title of his. I admire him -- or anyone who can stick to a work and see it published -- for continuing to write, but I think he is largely a good storyteller and not a good writer. Likewise for The Bridges of Madison County. I was enjoying the story enough until the anti-climatic (all puns intended) moment when the silly photographer gets on his soapbox about being a man out-of-step with the times and rants about for pages, no less. OMG, but I'd have handed him his trousers and sent him on his way.

So, those are two that come to mind. I hope I've defended my opinion. I am curious to see what works other readers have hated, and why.

Oh, I forgot Conrad's Heart of Darkness. Had to read that in college, and all I could think was 'just shoot me.'
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Old 01-28-2008, 10:59 AM
Location: Lower Hudson Valley, NY
313 posts, read 879,707 times
Reputation: 309
Ah, The Notebook gave me cavities. LOL.

On that note, I read a "chick lit" novel some years ago called Dating Without Novacaine. Made me numb. There really are smart books in this genre, but this wasn't one of them. Not well written at all.

And as much as it's well-written, I hated Atonement. I didn't finish it. The action was way, way too slow for me.
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Old 01-28-2008, 11:37 AM
Location: Richardson, TX
8,451 posts, read 15,363,998 times
Reputation: 18600
You guys are aiming too high. Danielle Steel has got to top this list with her "spectacular" and "fabulous" looking main characters.
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Old 01-28-2008, 12:29 PM
3,714 posts, read 7,795,054 times
Reputation: 1397
I can't even name the worst; since I disliked them so much I didn't finish them or remember the authors. One was supposed to be a story about a military dog that was 'rescued' by some guy - there turned out to be no story line, it was just a vehicle for gore and more gore. Another was a romance, which I do enjoy if they are well done - but this particular one was so scattered that half way through, the hero turned into the heroine, or vice versa. And it wasn't a once off typo, the change in gender was carried on through as much of the rest of the story as I read. I figured that if the author and/or the editor didn't have any more pride in their work than that, forget them.

I also don't like Hemingway, but it's more of a personal thing than anything to do with the writing itself.
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Old 01-28-2008, 01:09 PM
Location: Utah
1,455 posts, read 3,330,714 times
Reputation: 1520
Titles that I can remember...

Time Traveler's Wife...maybe I wouldn't have been SO irritated with this book if there hadn't been so much hype.

Exit to Eden...what crap!! I saw it and picked it up because I've heard many positive mentions of it...but have since wondered...hmm, did I perhaps mix this up with East of Eden?? anyway, I kept thinking..."okay, there's got to be a plot developing here soon"...nope, I made it 3/4 of the way and still couldn't detect a plot And yes, I am embarassed and would never admit to IRL friends that I was reading it!!

Red Poppies by Alai...I love to read books set in other countries and cultures. Especially Asia. Tmain character was royalty and there for did not live "in" the culture where it was set...so I didn't get a cultural sense from it. The character was so disconnected from the other characters, you got to see the worst of everyone-including him, and for no apparent reason. There was no points made, no history learned, no charchter developement, no connections...total disappointment.

That's all I can think of!
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Old 01-28-2008, 01:52 PM
Location: Piedmont NC
4,597 posts, read 9,843,208 times
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Laughing my head off, Lola. Nothing to commend then in Alai's Red Poppies? Was the cover at least pretty? eye-catching? How about the info on the author -- nice photo? good bio?

Oh, LOL.

Sometimes, ya just gotta wonder. I don't know which to scratch my head over, more -- the author writing it and thinking, 'hey, this is good!,' or the people who read it, and tell others, 'hey, this is good!'
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Old 01-28-2008, 04:09 PM
3,927 posts, read 5,180,203 times
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The first book that comes to my mind when I hear terrible books is "The Pilots Wife" by Anita Shreve. It was supposed to be about a pilot who was leading a double life, and of course his wife didn't find out until he died in a plane crash. What it really was more about was the wife falling in love with the man who came to tell her about her husbands plane crash. It was obvious right away. Its books like this that really make me wonder how in the heck they get published! The reason I didn't quit reading it was because I was waiting for the confrontation between the wife and the mistress. Complete letdown.

If I"m not into a book by page 50, I put it down. Theres way too many books to read to spend time with one you don't like. I gave "Anna Karenina "more of a chance because I had heard a lot about it. I'm thinking that was because if its an Oprah book, it gets more pub., but I finally had to put that down. Boring love story. Another book I disliked, but finished because someone close to me recommended it, was "A Prayer for Owen Meany". That Owen kid got on my nerves with his "screaming". I just couldn't stand him.

Now, one book I read and liked, but the ending took away from the great story, was "Hammer of Eden" by Ken Follet. It was as though someone completely different took over for the ending. I also thought "These Lovely Bones" was stupid. This girl is watching everyone after she dies, and even comes back and makes love with her boyfriend!
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Old 01-29-2008, 04:51 AM
Location: Oxford, England
13,035 posts, read 20,567,688 times
Reputation: 19766
"Ulysses " and "portrait of the artist as a young man" by Joyce are the worst books I never got to finish just because I can't. They bore me silly and I just don't "get it". In fact could someone explain to me why they are considered such seminal pieces of literature ? To me they just plainly stink. I would rather chew my own foot off than try reading those again.
I think they should be prescribed as ways of "breaking" terrorist suspects. This kind of mental and intellectual torture would surely be far more effective than anything else...
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Old 01-29-2008, 05:33 AM
Location: on an island
13,363 posts, read 38,741,220 times
Reputation: 13126
Originally Posted by lolagranola View Post
Titles that I can remember...

Time Traveler's Wife...maybe I wouldn't have been SO irritated with this book if there hadn't been so much hype.
I loved TTTW, but I read it years before the hype.

Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code was like reading a comic book without the pictures.

The Red Tent was written as if for fifth graders, and almost all of the male characters were one dimensional.
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Old 01-29-2008, 09:08 AM
Location: Piedmont NC
4,597 posts, read 9,843,208 times
Reputation: 9095
Default entertaining responses

The laughs have been great! How well I remember not being able to get through Joyce's Ulysses, in spite of feeling like I absolutely had to do it -- English major and all. There were students in HS with me who walked around with copies of the thing, and I always tried to understand what 'statement' they thought they were making? "Look at me. . . I can read a BIG book now." One fellow I dated likened himself to Ulysses -- perhaps someone here can tackle explaining that one to me.

Tried to give you all reputation points, but because I had already given them for other great stuff here, I couldn't do it. Sorry, but I did want you to know how much I have enjoyed the responses and the laughs.
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