1. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Famous books you never cared for/understood the appeal of?

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by Lemex, Jun 6, 2015.

    Has there ever been a really famous, really well liked book you just never cared for, or just did not understand the appeal of? Tell us about it.

    For me, it's Hermann Hesse's Steppenwolf. To me, it's just 500 Days of Summer written by Thomas Mann. I don't need a book about some proto-hipster who finds for himself a manic pixie dream girl girlfriend. I mean, forget Holden Caulfield, you who can at least argue has a good reason to be annoying, this guy is the worst!
     
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  2. The Mad Regent
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    The Mad Regent Contributing Member

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    50 Shades of Grey aka the Doorstop.

    :bigmeh:
     
  3. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    The most recent one is the Scottish 'classic' written by George Douglas Brown, called The House With the Green Shutters. It was given to me as a gift by somebody who really rated it, and said it reflected real Scottish life and attitudes. Well, it did—in a way—but I wasn't too far into it before I started chuckling, then laughing out loud, then hooting out loud.

    And no, it was NOT supposed to be funny. In fact, it's considered 'tragic.' But for me the tragedy came from the utter stupidity of the characters—none of whom were the slightest bit sympathetic—and how easily they could have wiggled out of the situations they found themselves in. Instead, they were portrayed as irreversibly thrawn and 'trapped by tradition,' ochone, ochone. Pardon? Just walk away, man, walk away.

    I thought it was a very bizarre book. Not exactly a boring read, in fact I was riveted. But riveted by how melodramatic and silly it was—and it was supposed to be 'reality.' Hard to explain, but a strange experience all around. It was almost a satire of itself, but it's never portrayed that way. It's supposed to be 'gritty.' Spelled with an 's' perhaps.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2015
  4. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    Interview With a Vampire. 300 pages of pathos and whining. I couldn't listen to music while I read it, because my eyes would just autopilot over the (incredibly boring) text, while I thought about literally anything else.
     
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  5. Masked Mole
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    Masked Mole Contributing Member

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    For me, it's The Fault in Our Stars. I'm probably going to get a ton of hate for this. I just don't understand why someone as intelligent and stimulating as John Green (I listen to him quite frequently, so I know how creative he is) could make such a cliche book. It just seems kind of beneath him. The concepts behind his other work seem so much more inspired to me.
     
  6. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I've not read the book, but I did see the movie which I quite liked. And I hate vampire stuff, as a general rule. Did you ever see the movie? If so, did you think it was as bad/worse or better than the book? Maybe it was an improvement? Or maybe I just liked the historical bits—and the sight of Tom Cruise in a weird wig.
     
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  7. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Or perhaps The Winter Fuel?
     
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  8. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    Oh, I read the whole thing. Have I talked about the emails yet? I'mma talk about those fucking emails.

    Early on in the text Grey gives Anna a blackberry in order to chat with her. It's a pathetic literary device, but whatever. Only James includes all of the email information. The date. The time stamp. The "To:" (whole email address). The "From:" (whole email address). And the subject line.

    In. Every. Fucking. One. Goddamn pages of that bullshit.

    And you can tell James has never been part of an email chain, because her characters change the subject line every goddamn time. That's gonna fuck up your display formating Anna, you fucking idiot.
     
  9. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    Cross post.

    The movie is only one of three Tom Cruise movies I have seen. The best way to insure I'll never watch a movie is to put Tom Cruise in it. But the movie was very very different from the book. Rice literally can't go a page without mentioning how miserable Louise is now that he's a vampire. That particular horror didn't translate to the screen very well, I assume.

    Also, I'd like to point out (as I do in my novel) that killing someone every night is incredibly stupid. You couldn't get away with it even 140 years ago. Jack the Ripper only killed six people and there was a 20 man investigation. The BTK killer only killed 30 people. In one year a vampire would top the most prolific serial killer in history. In 20 years he would have eliminated 43% of the population of New Orleans at that time.
     
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  10. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Well, yes. This is why I don't buy into the formula at all. Dig into it very far and it's incredibly silly, isn't it? But I did think the movie was quite ...lush, maybe? Fun to watch. But I didn't like it well enough to want to buy the book. Sounds like that was a good choice, eh?

    BTW, I loved your point about changing the subject line in emails! I've got friends I've had email contact with for well over 10 years who continue to use the same subject line every time. Aargh. Plays merry hell when I'm trying to backtrack to find a particular one! Even though every one I send to THEM has a different subject line, the reply always comes back with the same one again. I don't even know how they do this!
     
  11. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    Most email services track messages by subject line and sender. Your friends are probably seeing your emails as one long tree, as they rightfully should. Alternate sending emails from different addresses if it bothers you so much.

    Edited to add: Most email services have a search function, if you can remember a line from your message you can just leap right to it.
     
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  12. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I'm reading it now: Lord Foul's Bane, book one in The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant.

    The word "chronicles" in the series name should have been my first clue.... Hate that word.

    This is an old book for a genre book so it will probably be off most people's radar, but I remember all too well as a nerdy kid in the late 70's and early 80's, this book (and this series) being one of the books that made up the canon of nerdom. I never read it because I went the Sci-Fi route, not the Fantasy route.

    Regardless, it's utterly, utterly tedious to read. Half the book is this long-ass march that Thomas goes on with this lady he meets in The Land, and very little else, unless you wanna' count the fact that he rapes the lady's daughter shortly after arriving in The Land and the lady is too caught up in her own issues not to kill him for it. Like, seriously, the author totally glosses over this rape like it was just a minor deal. And it's not a questionable thing of did she or did she not consent. Oh, no. No. He rapes her. Period. End of. And before we even get to The Land there's this tedious reiteration that Thomas Covenant is a leper. An actual leper, not a metaphorical one. And it goes on, and on, and on, about him being a leper. Not interesting facts about leprosy. No. Just Thomas thinking to himself, at every single improbable venue "I'm a leper! Ooga Booga! Fear me!"

    So fucked up.

    And then the march across The Land.... jinkies. All I can picture is Harpo and Miss Sophia marching up to Mr.'s house. I can hear Celie saying, "They just be marchin'. Like theyz goin'ta war!"

    I won't even mention the gobbledegook nomenclature that is made use of throughout.

    I won't even talk about the fact that I'm 2/3 the way through and there seems to be really only one plot point so far that has been explored.

    Did I mention the rape that everyone just brushes off? I did? Ok, just wanted to make sure because... fuck. :wtf:
     
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  13. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Oh, I forgot that one. Yes, I didn't get very far with it at all, many moons ago when I tried to read it. I actually took several books from the series home from the library at one time because I was so sure I'd love it—then discovered ...nope. Really could NOT get into that character.
     
  14. Nicoel
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    Nicoel Contributing Member

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    Anything written by Nicholas Sparks. His books are boring, the same thing happens every book, and just simply shit. I've never been able to get past the second chapter without consciously forcing myself not to fall asleep.

    In fact, that's how I keep myself motivated. "If he can be successful then so can I."

    ---

    The movies based off his books are better, but only barely (I mean, just look at the source material).
     
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  15. No-Name Slob
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    No-Name Slob Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    50 Shades reads like it was written in crayon on a cocktail napkin.
     
  16. Woof
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    Woof Contributing Member

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    Alison Moore's The Lighthouse. I finished it because it was a shared reading project but IT WAS SO DULL, and such a nothing ending. I get that that was kind of the point, but she went too far in making Futh too small and too real: he is the most uninteresting unengaging character I have ever read and never, ever want to hear about ever ever ever again.

    Jamrach's Menagerie (Carol Birch). Another one that was too real and too ugly for me. I don't like seeing people that close up. Yeuch.
     
  17. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Pretty much every book from the Victorian period.
     
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  18. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Really? Even Jane Eyre? Mind, I must admit I find Victorian poetry (Tennyson and Rossetti mostly - I mean, yeah 'Ulysses' and 'The Lotus Eaters' are good, but ...) can be boring and overrated.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2015
  19. Reilley Turner
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    Reilley Turner Active Member

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    I never cared for the Harry Potter Series of books, or even the movies. I can't explain why, they just hold no appeal in my eyes.
     
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  20. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I've never read Jane Eyre. I've read quite a bit of Victorian poetry, however. I like some of it, though I honestly don't care for most of it. I had to read an anthology of Victorian poetry in one of my classes back in college. I remember reading Tennyson, Elizabeth Browning, Robert Browning, the Rossetti siblings (Christina and Dante), the Bronte sisters, Kipling, Oscar Wilde, and several others I don't remember at the moment. Out of the many dozen poems I read, I only really liked four or five of them, three of which were written by Tennyson. I'm just not that impressed with Victorian stuff. My English professor would have failed me for saying that, but I'm among friends now so I can say what I want. :D
     
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  21. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Oh, gosh. I'm a huge fan of good Victorian-era novels and even some poetry. But then again, I'm quite fond of the era as well. I can certainly understand why people might resent having it stuffed up their noses at school, though, if it's not their thing. Now me ...I loved most of the older literature I studied (with the exception of Milton...aagh) but really disliked both Hemingway and Faulkner! Loved Steinbeck, though. So go figure.
     
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  22. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Actually, this has made me think I quite like Robert Browning too, and Thomas Hardy's poems too, but most of those you named - yeah, no thanks. :D I don't find Oscar Wilde to have been all that good of a writer in all honesty, I mean yes he was quite funny, and yes Portrait of Dorian Grey is a decent enough novel, but everything else he written I just can't find a lot of enthusiasm for. I mean 'Soul of Man Under Socialism'? Can you honestly say you get through that essay in a single sitting? And other than 'Ballad of Reading Goal', which is very pretty, his poems are crap, there I said it. He doesn't deserve his reputation as the premier English wit, that would be P.G. Wodehouse if this was a world with any justice, literary taste, or common sense. Kipling, I must admit I've not read everything by him, but what I've read isn't terribly impressive. Sure 'If ...' is a very nice sentiment, but ... meh, it's just not a very interesting poem. I've not read the Bronte's sister's poetry I must admit.

    I find American literature of that era much more interesting. Mind, I say that, as I get older I seem to find less and less to admire in Poe. And Longfellow I really dislike. But Emily Dickenson, Emerson, Moby Dick, and Walt Whitman, I mean, jesus you guys had it good back then. :p

    I'd say give Jane Eyre a go, though. It's one of my favorite novels.

    Everyone who knows me well enough are likely writing this post for me. :p
     
  23. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    The Silmarillion.

    I tried. I did.

    It's like a religious text in its density, obfuscation, and begets, but there's not even a religion to go along with it, so.... what's the point?
     
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  24. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    That's a book that makes more sense if you are familiar with both the Voluspa and The Bible. When you realize that Middle Earth is basically our world in a 'forgotten time', The Silmarillion literally becomes a massive waste of time.
     
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  25. The Mad Regent
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    The Mad Regent Contributing Member

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    I was the same, until 'The King' gave it his blessing, and then I bought a copy. Still not got round to reading it, though.

    I will give it a fair try.
     

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