Viewing 32 posts - 161 through 192 (of 192 total)
  • Your top 3 ‘WTF was that rubbish’ books ever
  • Premier Icon thols2
    Free Member

    Premier Icon creakingdoor
    Free Member

    A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers. Not exactly an apt title. Tosh.

    I read something (may have been Wilt) by Tom Sharpe a few years back. Got to the end and thought “WTF did I just invest hours and hours reading?” Utter garb!

    I’m on record in this parish as resenting some crappy book by some American bloke who writes himself into his books as a chiselled, tall and handsome hero-type character. Can’t remember the author now, but he can Get In The Sea as well.

    I generally don’t persist with crappy books, life’s too short and there’s loads of decent ones available.
    If you disagree with any of the above, you’re wrong, so have a word with yourself!

    Premier Icon johndoh
    Free Member

    I got Grapes of Wrath for my birthday. I just need to finish ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ (Erich Maria Remarque) which is still great on it’s second read through 🙂

    Premier Icon tjagain
    Full Member

    for me Harry Potter. didn’t get beyond a few pages

    Premier Icon IdleJon
    Full Member

    My favourite quote:
    “there is a Catskill eagle in some souls that can alike dive down into the blackest gorges, and soar out of them again and become invisible in the sunny spaces. And even if he for ever flies within the gorge, that gorge is in the mountains; so that even in his lowest swoop the mountain eagle is still higher than other birds upon the plain, even though they soar.”

    Thing is, that might* be a lovely, inspirational quote, but it’s written in such an overblown, pompous way that it means nothing at the same time as being really difficult to understand what he’s on about. (Try reading it out loud to an unsuspecting victim – see what they say.) He was writing this in the mid-19th century, and there are plenty of novels which were written in the same period or earlier which are actually readable.

    *Might! It can be paraphrased as a trite social media meme though..

    Premier Icon nickc
    Full Member

     but it’s written in such an overblown, pompous way that it means nothing at the same time as being really difficult to understand

    It’s because (and this isn’t aimed at you, please don’t be offended) language skills are being lost and reading and comprehensive ability is on the decline.

    The simple fact is that when Moby Dick was written (1851) fewer people were taught to read, and those people received a better education, they used words now lost and structured sentences in ways that we now find difficult to follow. It’s why it seems archaic and overblown, it’s appeal is to a readership who’re looking (partly) to be challenged and to increase their own ability accordingly, and to find poetry in description and use of language. As education broadened it’s reach, is why simpler books (Dickens, Twain, E.A. Poe) start to become more popular, and then at the turn of the century Wilde, Conrad, and Wells start to write in much more modern style…More people can read, but only to a certain standard, and books become more popular, and so more and more simple books get published…

    Premier Icon mariner
    Free Member

    The Third Policeman Flan O’Brian (a friend insisted)
    Labyrinth Kate Moss (bought in airport for holiday reading)
    Gravity’s Rainbow Thomas Pynchon (no amount of mind altering substance could ever make sense of this)

    Premier Icon Flaperon
    Free Member

    Anything by Matthew Reilly.

    Premier Icon crazy-legs
    Full Member

    Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton

    Most of Crichton’s books are pretty decent (given when they were written) and Pirate Latitudes started off promisingly enough before descending into cliches and fantasy.

    Premier Icon IdleJon
    Full Member

    It’s because (and this isn’t aimed at you, please don’t be offended) language skills are being lost and reading and comprehensive ability is on the decline.

    Not offended at all, because I was thinking the same about some of the ‘too wordy’ replies. What you say sounds snobby until you realise that reading is a skill, like anything else. Read a lot (and I don’t mean airport novels) and you’ll get better at finding the rhythm of the writer.

    BUT I still stand by what I say – that quote is convoluted rubbish and I think it would have been even in 1851. But then I do have a problem with Victorian persiflage! 😀

    Premier Icon nickc
    Full Member

    BUT I still stand by what I say – that quote is convoluted rubbish

    Yes and no…It seems typical of Melville to me, I haven’t read a lot of his work; Typee, Moby Dick and Bartleby the Scrivener, (same as everyone else) but his style of weird adjective-noun combinations, and bible inspired passages (especially in Moby)  was very popular. especially Typee which was more successful than Moby Dick, and a straightforward read as he’d not settled into his style which became very consistent through out his books and poems. You have to know your King James Bible to get much out of his references and allusions though.

    Premier Icon IdleJon
    Full Member

    You have to know your King James Bible to get much out of his references and allusions though.

    Yeah, I was reading some stuff on wiki and noticed that reference. I’ve read tons of 19th century novels but never Melville and not any version of the Bible, so I’d be missing a key reference if I did read Moby Dick. I don’t much like 19th British stuff (with the odd exception) because they insist on convolution and persiflage* so often, but I’ve never studied the history of writing, as such, so what you said earlier makes sense. And maybe that’s the way they spoke in real life, although I think not because prose became simpler within 20 years. However, going back to that quote, he is just saying that some people are born high-fliers, but in 4 long, clumsy lines. YMMV 😀

    *my favourite word, so I’m pleased to use it twice in 24 hours. I love the irony inherent in the word. 😀

    Premier Icon pondo
    Full Member

    I read something (may have been Wilt) by Tom Sharpe a few years back. Got to the end and thought “WTF did I just invest hours and hours reading?” Utter garb!

    Just rereading Blott On The Landscape for the first time in years – great stuff. 🙂

    I’m on record in this parish as resenting some crappy book by some American bloke who writes himself into his books as a chiselled, tall and handsome hero-type character. Can’t remember the author now, but he can Get In The Sea as well.

    That’ll be Clive Cussler, I’ll warrant – now HIS stuff is bilge, pure and simple. Looping a Catalina while his mate shoots a rifle out the waist hole as they dogfight a WW1 Albatross? F*** off!

    Premier Icon onehundredthidiot
    Full Member

    Pretty much any Pratchett book after your third one. It gets pretty clichéd and repetitive. The odd funny part but there’s a definite repeat.
    “A suitable boy” nope.
    Any Harry Potter just no and game of thrones books are so badly written as to cause ocular pain.

    Premier Icon nickc
    Full Member

     he is just saying that some people are born high-fliers, but in 4 long, clumsy lines

    🤣😂

    Or alluding to it with more prose and poetry perhaps would be kinder. Agree with you about British 19thC , can be like a an overstuffed chair or heavy pudding. Somehow (some of) the Americans seem to be even worse for it! If you can gird your loins long enough the 18thC authors Swift and his ilk and are ruder and funnier, or in Fielding’s case just obnoxious, and worth it for that alone but the language barrier can be even harder to cross.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Full Member

    they used words now lost and structured sentences in ways that we now find difficult to follow

    Nah I don’t think that’s it.

    Language has moved on a lot, and novels have moved on a lot just like music and art have. What was considered worthy 150 years ago isn’t any more. Nowadays we expect (or should expect) shorter, more pithy and condensed prose that still contains the same imagery and beauty. This is a lot harder to write, but we’re better at writing and reading it now because now, in 2021, we have the previous 150 years of novel writing and reading to draw on. When a new style evolves, the old books don’t go away so we’re sitting on a much bigger pile of cultural exposure than Melville was, and we all draw from that. Just look at how poetry has changed in the period.

    Anyway, I googled the full quote and it works much better IMO with the previous sentence included and the second sentence ditched. The sentence about woe is beautiful because it’s got a great rhythm to it; but the the last clause has too many syllables and wrecks the flow. Also, three ands.

    There is a wisdom that is woe; but there is a woe that is madness. And there is a Catskill eagle in some souls that can alike dive down into the blackest gorges, and soar out of them again and become invisible in the sunny spaces.

    Premier Icon nicko74
    Free Member

    Tessaract by that bloke who did The Beach. No story whatsoever.

    Alex Garland, and yes! I read it about 20 years ago and it was so utterly pointless that I still remember it now. Which is weird 😀

    Infinite Jest – David Foster Wallace. Pretentious and ridiculously long.

    I finished this just so I could know that I finished it, and I’ve hung onto it purely to be able to remind myself that I finished it. But dear lord it was a slog; I don’t see the point of it at all, and wonder how it ever got published.

    The Third Policeman Flan O’Brian (a friend insisted)

    I’d heard this was a classic but I’m still none the wiser wtf it’s actually about. Utter pish.

    Catch-22

    One of my favourite books now, I reread it every few years. But the first couple of times I couldn’t get into it.

    Premier Icon mrmonkfinger
    Free Member

    I finished this just so I could know that I finished it, and I’ve hung onto it purely to be able to remind myself that I finished it. But dear lord it was a slog; I don’t see the point of it at all, and wonder how it ever got published.

    To some people, the length of the book they just read is an intellectual wang extension.

    I used to know someone who insisted that every long book they read was totes mazeballs.

    They also insisted that every long film they watched was awesome.

    If they were truly erudite, they would value quality not quantity.

    Premier Icon nickc
    Full Member

    I read Infinite Jest in pieces in between other stuff. It took me a year…I sort of enjoyed it I think. The actual prose was in places amazing. the foot notes (drug side-effects all that) was baffling and irritating in equal measure.

    I remember finishing War and Peace with still seemingly half the book still to plow through, when I realised it was a this mad lecture on Christianity, I was like “Really?..” didn’t read it in the end.

    Alex Garland

    Seems to have some interesting ideas…28 days later (for instance) is a great idea story intro…but they don’t seem to go anywhere

    Premier Icon creakingdoor
    Free Member

    That’ll be Clive Cussler, I’ll warrant

    Yep, that’s the one. Utter nonsense. Just Google some of the plot lines and you’ll see, eg

    A wealthy American financier disappears on a treasure hunt in an antique blimp (like you do);
    From Cuban waters, the blimp drifts toward Florida with a crew of dead men—Soviet cosmonauts (inevitably);
    Pitt discovers a shocking scheme: a covert group of U.S. industrialists has put a colony on the moon (of course they have);
    Russians are about to strike a savage blow in Cuba—and only Dirk Pitt can stop them (who knew?)
    Seriously, what was the literary agent smoking when this one landed on his desk?

    Mind you, Cussler amassed a huge fortune, so what do I know?

    Premier Icon nickc
    Full Member

    so we’re sitting on a much bigger pile of cultural exposure than Melville was, and we all draw from that.

    I don’t disgaree entirely, but I think we not only sit on a larger (perhaps more transient) cultural world, we sit in a different one. Take Wordsworth’s Rainbow for instance

    My heart leaps up when I behold
    A Rainbow in the sky:
    So was it when my life began;
    So is it now I am a Man;
    So be it when I shall grow old,
    Or let me die!
    The Child is Father of the Man;
    And I could wish my days to be
    Bound each to each by natural piety.

    That poem couldn’t be written now, partly because of cultural implications of rainbows that just didn’t exist when Wordsworth wrote it, but also because of the biblical and cultural use of phrases that he uses would’ve been startlingly familiar to it’s readers then, but take deciphering now. Readers these days have different cultural touchstones, and aren’t used to (excuse the snobbery) have to work at understand what they’re reading or listening to. Shakespeare was popular partly because in the early 17thC it was fashionable to be seen to be clever, and you had to be, to get what Shakespeare was getting at. Not only that but Shakespeare uses made-up (like cryptic crosswords of their day) phrases to appeal to the clever folk, and then makes it plan in the second part of the line to folk in cheap seats…dead clever. Outside of Literature, that doesn’t exist much at all anymore at books and play directed at “regular folk” who’re reading the likes of well, the books mentioned in this thread. Dan Brown continues to be inexplicably popular…

    Premier Icon tazzymtb
    Full Member

    Gormenghast- god that was turgid

    The wasp factory- really hated it

    The Demons (the dostoevsky novel, not the crap horror novel ) bookIII particularly drags

    Premier Icon edd
    Full Member

    Like many above I really struggled with Gravity’s Rainbow – I finished it but, except for a few wonderful scenes, just found it hard work.

    Surprised no-one has mentioned The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson. I bought it as I’ve normally enjoyed past winners of the Man Booker prize. It’s the only book I’ve put in the bin after I finished it. To be fair I may just not be intelligent enough.

    Premier Icon Tim
    Free Member

    I cannot stand Tolkien. Just meandering largely pointless drivel. I don’t get it. It just seems poorly written and edited

    Cell by Stephen King is truely abysmal.

    American Psycho wasn’t terrible, but it certain wasn’t good

    Otherwise:

    Lovecraft is difficult – the universe he created is very interesting, but the stories themselves can be disappointing.

    The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists bogs down in places but it’s quite an interesting read

    I need to try Catch 22 as I loved the humour of the series, and All Quiet on the Western Front as I want to watch the film

    Premier Icon IdleJon
    Full Member

    Lovecraft is difficult – the universe he created is very interesting, but the stories themselves can be disappointing.

    I think the HPL is probably the worst of all the authors who write about the Cthulhu mythos, which is ironic as he invented it!

    Premier Icon eckinspain
    Free Member

    Can I include Watchmen?

    Years of hearing people claim it to be a masterpiece, and having enjoyed the film, I eventually read it.
    TOSH!
    Simultaneously up its own jacksie, nonsensical and dull.

    Premier Icon chriscubed
    Free Member

    Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance

    Properly wtf

    Premier Icon maccruiskeen
    Full Member

    The Third Policeman

    Is it about a bicycle?

    Premier Icon eckinspain
    Free Member

    Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance

    Properly wtf

    Zinn and the art of mountainbike maintenance however is a work of art

    Premier Icon reeksy
    Free Member

    This thread is gold. So many people hating on books i love, and vice-versa.

    Top 3 is impossible…

    1. Ulysees. Kept trying it. But whenever i read several pages of a book and have no idea what i’ve just read i take that as a sign it’s not for me.

    2. Catcher in the Rye. As a teenager i remember thinking the protagonist was a bit of a dick.

    3. Umberto Eco – Travels in hyperreality (See 1).

    4. EM Forster – Passage to India. I mean seriously, i was cringing so much in the first chapter I couldn’t go any further.

    5. Tolkien – The Silmarillion. (See 1).

    6. Paulo Coelho – the Alchemist. This just got so much hype from everyone, but i found it vacuous – maybe the translation didn’t do it justice?

    Premier Icon Kryton57
    Full Member

    It doesn’t matter how many people tell how great it is, im really struggling – for the 3rd time – to get to grips with Stephen Coveys 7 Habits of highly successful people.

    Let me know if there’s a secret to get on with it. Alternatively, perhaps the above tells me all I need to know about myself 😀

    Premier Icon Garry_Lager
    Full Member

    Like many above I really struggled with Gravity’s Rainbow – I finished it but, except for a few wonderful scenes, just found it hard work.

    Think that must be standard for anyone who finishes it – a dazzling / frustrating / bewildering monster of a book.

    I wonder in hindsight if books like this aren’t better read in conjunction with a guide. I think in a perfect world you wouldn’t do this, because it spoils it a little – like using a walkthrough in a computer game. You’d read it blind then read it a second time with a guide. But who reads Gravity’s Rainbow twice?

    Easy choice for anyone wanting to read Pynchon without the pain is The Crying of Lot 49 – 160 pages long and probably his masterpiece (although the man himself does not hold it in high regard iirc).

Viewing 32 posts - 161 through 192 (of 192 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.