1. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    Most Average Book You've Ever Read... and Forgotten Books!

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by CharlieVer, Jun 20, 2009.

    I noticed there are threads for "the worst book you ever read" and "best book you ever read."

    Some books are bound to slip through the cracks! What is the most... average... exactly in the middle... book you've ever read?

    Okay, I'm trying to be funny. Ironically, the "worst books" get more attention than the 2nd-tier "pretty good" books. I'd bet there are people who run out and buy books that others say are bad. Nobody gets the books nobody ever heard of, because they didn't leave that much of an impression either way.

    Let's try this:

    What's an underrated, often forgotten book, little known book, but one that was really, really good?

    Not a lot of people know about "The Red Tent" by Anita Diament, but it's an incredibly moving, powerful book. Highly recommended. Perhaps one of the best fiction books I've read!
     
  2. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Hmm....average book.....Pride and Prejudice? It was okay, exactly what I expected it to be...well enough written, sorta funny, a little sad, pretty romantic....nothing thaaat special? Maybe that's just me.

    As for novels that are amazing and no one reads....Pale Fire by Nabokov. Evevryone knows him for Lolita, but Pale Fire is another amazing work (really all of his books are)....basically Pale Fire is a 999 line poem with an accompanying foreward, commentary and appendix by an admiring critic (all written by Nabokov, of course)...it questions things like authorship, interpretation, identity, the role of literature and the role of the critic (well, none of those really directly, but if you're in the mood to think about things, then its very deep.....if you don't read deeply though, you'll probably hate it....)
     
  3. HKB
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    HKB Contributing Member

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    I read several Steven King books when I was in middle school. They seemed exceptionally unexceptional and I barely remember anything about them. Though I did read several them so clearly not the worst...
     
  4. Dr. Doctor
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    Dr. Doctor Contributing Member

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    Award goes to...Dean Koontz' Door to December, a book which incited absolutely nothing in me and that I did not either hate or love in any way!
     
  5. Mercurial
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    Mercurial Contributing Member Contributor

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    The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards, I found, was neither fantastic or appalling... it just was. I picked it up in the first place because I'd heard rave reviews about it from close friends and contemporary literary nerds. I thought I'd find it interesting considering the time period I find interesting, and I can relate to it on a personal level --the daughter in the novel has Down's Syndrome, and my absolute favourite family member, Hannah, also has Down's.

    However, I could tell you that I've picked up and restarted that novel seven times and never could finish it. I always get to about Chapter Three, set it down, and never pick it up again. The plot was somewhat slow to move (I never did get past the infant stage of the girl with Down's), and the characters, despite being developed, fell flat. If your plot is slow to move, you must at least have characters that compel you to stick with them anyway! Hello, writing 101! ;)

    As for the best novel you've never heard of? This one is a bit tougher. Most of the pieces I read are not always commonplace names, but they are well-known in one genre or another...
    I guess, if I had to pick one, it would be a novel called Born Confused by Tanuja Desai Hiddier. Definitely a teen novel, but I can see myself holding onto it until I'm old and grey. It received boxed and starred reviews, yet I dont know anyone who's ever heard of it. Not only did it guide me through my own, trite, teenage trials but it taught me a lot about the Hindi culture. Fascinating. :love:
     
  6. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

    I can recognize its literary quality, somewhat, but I found it so sentimental and treacly. Yuck.
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Why does thread make me think of Tell me what you can't remember about last night's party?
     
  8. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    Funny point... and actually, the effect was intended. I thought this little parody of the "best book" and "worst book" threads might strike the funny bone. Tell me about the book the was most forgettable. In some ways, in all seriousness, it may be a worse sin than being the worst book, to be the most forgettable book.

    The second half is the better (more serious) question... what books are underrated... a book nobody's heard of, that sits ignored and forgotten in book stores or libraries, and on a whim, you picked it up, and the book was absolute dynamite? A book need not be a mega-best seller to be an incredibly well written, moving, thrilling book.
     
  9. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    [​IMG]

    Candy by Kevin Brooks would be the sleeper novel for me. Totally captivating story, and simply sublime prose. I had no idea it would be such an excellent book when I got it.
     
  10. rory
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    rory Contributing Member

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    It might be just you, and then again it might be just me that has Pride and Prejudice on my list of all time favorite books. ;)

    My most forgotten book... is forgotten. I can't for the life of me remember what it was called, or who it was by. I read it in school and I know it was about the Japanese internment during WW2, and the little girl was named Naomi. I clearly didn't love it, but I don't remember loathing it either.

    As for books I think are underrated: SQUAWWWK! by Thomas Rockwell, it's aimed at a younger audience, but I laugh out lout every time, and The Leap by Jonathan Stroud, I haven't even decided what it's really about but it makes me think so much my brain hurts.
     
  11. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    I know of a few books great that a lot of people don't know about... at least, I never hear about them.

    I mentioned "The Red Tent," it's really an amazing book, moving with incredible imagery. It's the life story of a woman living about 3,000 years ago. It's based on a short passage in Genesis, but it's not overtly religious. The "Red Tent" refers to a "no man's land," the literal red tent where women who were menstruating or in labor and deemed "unclean" by Hebrew law were required to go.

    Another book I found awesome that a lot of people don't know about is a work of historic fiction by Gore Vidal called "Burr." It's really a story within a story. The "outer" story is about a man interviewing the infamous Aaron Burr (Thomas Jefferson's first Vice President who famously shot and killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel) in a secret attempt to prove that he's really the father of Martin Van Buren, in an attempt to derail Van Buren's Presidential bid. The "inner" story is the story Burr tells the interviewer, the American Revolution from a unique perspective: From the eyes of Aaron Burr, a man almost universally detested by everyone. Extremely interesting work.

    Also in the "historical fiction" category, but in the Young Adult category, "Wolf by the Ears" was an interesting portrayal of the life of Harriet Hemings, the daughter of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings and her struggle between staying with her family or seeking freedom. Very well written and entertaining.

    I'm not sure if these are sleepers (they're actually pretty popular) but for a fun read, I recommend anything by Brad Meltzer, and especially the Book of Lies, a thriller-novel murder-mystery involving the murder of the father of Jerry Seigal (creator of Superman) and a secret clue about the killer hidden in an old copy of Action Comics #1 (the first appearance of Superman.)
     
  12. x_raichelle_x
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    x_raichelle_x Contributing Member

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    Wow =D I didn't know anybody else had heard of The Red Tent, I loved that book!

    I'd say most forgettable would be...any of the ones by Dan Brown. I know people love them, but I read them all and the only one I can actually remember anything about is The DaVinci code, and thats probably more because of the film. I didn't think they were anything exceptional or memorable really.

    Can't think of any books of the top of my head which hadn't got the credit they deserved, I'll come back to this one =]

    xxx
     
  13. ChaseRoberts
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    ChaseRoberts Senior Member

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    Hmmmm... most unexeptional book? I'd have to agree with earlier posters about anything by Stephen King and some stuff by Dean Koontz. Although I did read a really good book by him that was about a guy who got a phone call about his wife or something being held hostage... erm... can't remember what it was called though. Guess that's my forgotten book!

    Seriously, though, I was thinking back the other week, and I remembered about a book I read as a little kid, about the adventures of a girl named Ursula, who, just by consuming the right sort of food, could turn herself into a bear. That was a forgotten classic, as far as I'm concerned. A book that encourages children to eat cold burgers and chips, run on the rampage like a wild animal and still call it an 'adventure' has got to have a place in the annals of literary history.

    That, and, I'm not sure how big it was, or is, but a book called 'The World according to Garp'. Can't remember who wrote it (I have a terrible memory for these sort of things), but it was inspired. In fact, I should really re-read it, but it's gone Walkabout, so clearly one of my family or friends has also appreciated it.
     
  14. Mephisto0
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    Mephisto0 Member

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    A childrens book. Touching Spirit bear.
     
  15. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    At a yard sale recently, I bought my mother a book based entirely on the title: "Delusions of Grandma" by Carrie Fisher (of Star Wars fame.)

    I decided to read it, and I must say, it's quite forgettable. There are a few puns that almost provoke a half-smile, at least, they try to. I'd give you an example, but they were so forgettable, I've forgotten them.

    Other than that, I'm about half way through, and I think it has something to do with a woman named Cora. It's a great cure for insomnia. Two Red Bulls and a large expresso couldn't keep you awake through this one. I hate to admit this, because I do love the Princess, and the only three Star Wars movies that count.

    Don't get me wrong: It's not bad writing. Nothing to offend (except a few curse words), nothing to anger, no grammatical errors or wordy excerpts to speak of. It's just forgettable. Bland vanilla, minus the flavor. Well, okay, there's a sad subplot about Cora's friend with Aids... wow, I actually remembered something.

    (Then again, it might just be hard to get a thriller-novel junkie like myself to wrap his mind around a heartwarming romantic comedy. If only I could get the humor...)

    I really want to get a book for my mother, but alas, I don't know how to resurrect Erma Bombeck from the dead, and there was only one of her. May be I'll take a chance and get her one of Janet Evanovich's fun-filled Stephanie Plum novels, or perhaps, an Amelia Peabody book by Elizabeth Peters. (The latter actually being a pretty good example of a pretty good series not a lot of people know about.)

    Charlie
     

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