What's the most overrated book you've read?

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lightheir
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What's the most overrated book you've read?

Post by lightheir » Fri Dec 09, 2011 10:32 am

What's the most overrated book you've read?

For me, it's the Alchemist. Paul Coehlo. I know most folks adore this book.

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Re: What's the most overrated book you've read?

Post by Brody » Fri Dec 09, 2011 10:38 am

"The Help" I made it through about 2/3rds and had no desire to finish it.
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Re: What's the most overrated book you've read?

Post by Brody » Fri Dec 09, 2011 10:39 am

Also, any John Grisham book. They are good, but they are just missing that oomph. It's like all foreplay without the sex.
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Re: What's the most overrated book you've read?

Post by SamGamgee » Fri Dec 09, 2011 10:47 am

Two:

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Erinreich

I've started a lot of bad books, but those are two that I finished even though I hated them.

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Re: What's the most overrated book you've read?

Post by HomerJ » Fri Dec 09, 2011 10:49 am

"The Corrections" by jonathan Franzen... Book awards, NY Times best seller, etc.

That book was mostly terrible.

There was ONE good passage about the senile father dealing with defective Christmas lights that I thought was very well done. Really captured the feeling of getting old and tired. But that's about 2-3 pages out of the whole book.

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Re: What's the most overrated book you've read?

Post by HomerJ » Fri Dec 09, 2011 10:50 am

Brody wrote:Also, any John Grisham book. They are good, but they are just missing that oomph. It's like all foreplay without the sex.
Well Grisham books aren't usually hailed as masterpieces, so I'm not sure they're overrated.

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Re: What's the most overrated book you've read?

Post by White Coat Investor » Fri Dec 09, 2011 10:51 am

The Iliad
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Re: What's the most overrated book you've read?

Post by Kulak » Fri Dec 09, 2011 10:54 am

Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond
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Re: What's the most overrated book you've read?

Post by madsinger » Fri Dec 09, 2011 11:00 am

Life of Pi

I don't think I've ever been so disappointed or angry reading a book of fiction...

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Re: What's the most overrated book you've read?

Post by randomwalk » Fri Dec 09, 2011 11:00 am

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers.

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Re: What's the most overrated book you've read?

Post by randomwalk » Fri Dec 09, 2011 11:04 am

lightheir wrote:For me, it's the Alchemist.
I'm with you. My best friend gave me this book with a really nice note written on the inside cover. I hated the book so much that I tore off the cover to keep the note and tossed the book in the garbage.

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Re: What's the most overrated book you've read?

Post by newbie001 » Fri Dec 09, 2011 11:05 am

Kulak wrote:Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond
Ditto to that.

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Re: What's the most overrated book you've read?

Post by SPG8 » Fri Dec 09, 2011 11:17 am

rrosenkoetter wrote:"The Corrections" by jonathan Franzen... Book awards, NY Times best seller, etc.

That book was mostly terrible.
Really?

Not just the most overrated, but mostly terrible too?

What the hell...

Ulysses

I tried a few times in high-school, prodded by a very good teacher. Made it maybe 11 chapters in on the deepest run, and could of kept going, like running a marathon in 12 hours, but acknowledged that I wasn't doing anything more than looking at words at that point and quit.

This novel typically appears in public (not just critic's) lists of "best novels". I believe only a fraction of people who claimed to have read it actually have.
Last edited by SPG8 on Fri Dec 09, 2011 11:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: What's the most overrated book you've read?

Post by Bungo » Fri Dec 09, 2011 11:18 am

I agree with both The Alchemist and Guns, Germs and Steel.

Some other books I've read in the past year that I thought were very overrated: Dune, Catch-22, Snow Crash, and How to Solve It: A New Aspect of Mathematical Method.

The worst book I've read this year was Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers; not sure if it was highly rated, but if so then it doesn't deserve it.

The most boring, hence perhaps overrated as well, were Caesar: Life of a Colossus and The Americans: The Colonial Experience.

I really liked The Corrections!

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Re: What's the most overrated book you've read?

Post by SPG8 » Fri Dec 09, 2011 11:21 am

Bungo wrote:Catch-22
Hesus...

It's one of the three funniest books ever written.

I really thought my first response would be to the obligatory mention of A Confederacy of Dunces.

Well done, everyone.

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Re: What's the most overrated book you've read?

Post by cinghiale » Fri Dec 09, 2011 11:23 am

I suspect this will cause some of the faithful to break out the long knives:

Atlas Shrugged

Choppy, turgid prose; two-dimensional characters; plodding story line.

Yes, there is an ideogical "something" percolating there, but it gets swamped in the awful writing.
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Re: What's the most overrated book you've read?

Post by Bungo » Fri Dec 09, 2011 11:25 am

SPG8 wrote:
Bungo wrote:Catch-22
Hesus...

It's one of the three funniest books ever written.
I know it has that reputation, and that a lot of people love it, but it did nothing for me. I guess that's the definition of overrated.

I enjoyed A Confederacy of Dunces when I read it, but that was 20 years ago. I suspect I would find it as grating as Catch-22 if I were to read it today.

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Re: What's the most overrated book you've read?

Post by HomerJ » Fri Dec 09, 2011 11:26 am

Bungo wrote:I really liked The Corrections!
I just had zero empathy for ANY of the characters. It was sold to me as high literature. I gained no insight into the human condition, and zero joy from reading about multiple extremely unhappy horrible people (These weren't slighly flawed people - those I could relate to. These people were way over the top).

But that's just my subjective opinion of the book... :)

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Re: What's the most overrated book you've read?

Post by newbie001 » Fri Dec 09, 2011 11:31 am

cinghiale wrote:I suspect this will cause some of the faithful to break out the long knives:

Atlas Shrugged

Choppy, turgid prose; two-dimensional characters; plodding story line.

Yes, there is an ideogical "something" percolating there, but it gets swamped in the awful writing.
I just posted something, but apparently was lost. Yes, couldn't agree more. Not necessarily disagreeing with the ideas behind it, but way too simplistic and heavy handed to be good literature, IMO.

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Re: What's the most overrated book you've read?

Post by newbie001 » Fri Dec 09, 2011 11:33 am

As one of the above posters said, this might bring out the long knives, but Catcher in the Rye is always on my list of overrated. The Old Man and the Sea and Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man get honorable mention.

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Re: What's the most overrated book you've read?

Post by Harold » Fri Dec 09, 2011 11:36 am

cinghiale wrote:I suspect this will cause some of the faithful to break out the long knives:

Atlas Shrugged

Choppy, turgid prose; two-dimensional characters; plodding story line.

Yes, there is an ideogical "something" percolating there, but it gets swamped in the awful writing.
Given the influence this book has, it just has to top this category.

Many of the other books being listed are just blips in the whole stream of literature (e.g. the Alchemist). And there are great books others will mention that are deserving of their reputations, but for whatever reason just didn't reach a given reader (the Iliad is the first I see, and I'm sure others will appear as this thread progresses).

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Re: What's the most overrated book you've read?

Post by grap0013 » Fri Dec 09, 2011 11:37 am

Bungo wrote:
SPG8 wrote:
Bungo wrote:Catch-22
Hesus...

It's one of the three funniest books ever written.
I know it has that reputation, and that a lot of people love it, but it did nothing for me. I guess that's the definition of overrated.

I enjoyed A Confederacy of Dunces when I read it, but that was 20 years ago. I suspect I would find it as grating as Catch-22 if I were to read it today.
+1

Catch-22 has a few laughable parts early on, but then it kinda drags. I got to around page 100 and have put it down since. It doesn't happen to often where I start a book and don't finish it. I really wanted to like it, but I didn't.

I'm also going to throw Otar's Unveiling the Retirement Myth out there. He makes way too many overly complex calcuations for something that is more art than science. He has hundred of pages on withdrawal strategies which I could have summed up in much less space. Withdraw 4% real/nominal and leave some room for flexibility to adjust based on portolio returns.

Plus most/all of his backtests have only U.S. equities in them. The final straw was when he recommended rebalancing based on the president cycle.
There are no guarantees, only probabilities.

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Re: What's the most overrated book you've read?

Post by englishgirl » Fri Dec 09, 2011 11:46 am

I never finished any of: The Alchemist, The Kite Runner, Ulysses. I just. Couldn't. Keep. Going.

I did finish Catcher in the Rye, twice in fact, but still couldn't see what the fuss was about. And I think I struggled through to the end of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. Both were very underwhelming.

Of those mentioned as bad from the responses so far, I enjoyed The Help, Life of Pi, and Nickel and Dimed. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.
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Re: What's the most overrated book you've read?

Post by Tom_T » Fri Dec 09, 2011 11:52 am

The Secret.

Actually, it wasn't overrated by me, since I expected it to be silly, but I had no idea just how silly it was.

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Re: What's the most overrated book you've read?

Post by Bungo » Fri Dec 09, 2011 11:52 am

SPG8 wrote: This novel typically appears in public (not just critic's) lists of "best novels". I believe only a fraction of people who claimed to have read it actually have.
Yep, it was #11 in the readers' list compiled by the Modern Library a few years ago:

http://www.modernlibrary.com/top-100/100-best-novels/

From what I know of the book, I'd be surprised if 5% of the respondents had actually read it in its entirety. I certainly haven't.

BTW, check out the readers' top 10: four by Ayn Rand, three by L. Ron Hubbard, plus the obligatory Tolkien (speaking of overrated).

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Re: What's the most overrated book you've read?

Post by edge » Fri Dec 09, 2011 11:52 am

Rich Dad Poor Dad. Read 3 pages.

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Re: What's the most overrated book you've read?

Post by mitchapalooza » Fri Dec 09, 2011 11:57 am

I agree with Catcher in the Rye. I was determined to finish this book b/c I just knew it had to get better after all the great things I'd heard...but then it never did. I would go as far as to say a complete waste of time except at least now I know I wasn't really missing anything all those years before I read it.

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Re: What's the most overrated book you've read?

Post by manuvns » Fri Dec 09, 2011 11:58 am

edge wrote:Rich Dad Poor Dad. Read 3 pages.
i read all of it :(

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Re: What's the most overrated book you've read?

Post by Bungo » Fri Dec 09, 2011 12:03 pm

mitchapalooza wrote:I agree with Catcher in the Rye. I was determined to finish this book b/c I just knew it had to get better after all the great things I'd heard...but then it never did. I would go as far as to say a complete waste of time except at least now I know I wasn't really missing anything all those years before I read it.
I read it while I was in college and remember being very underwhelmed, but I don't remember much else about it (except thinking that the narrator was a twit) so don't feel qualified to list it. But I suspect you're right. :D

On the other hand, I was also forced to read The Sound and the Fury in college, hated it and found it almost impenetrable. For years I would have considered it as almost the canonical definition of an overrated book. Finally got around to re-reading it this year and thought it was very good.
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Re: What's the most overrated book you've read?

Post by newbie001 » Fri Dec 09, 2011 12:05 pm

I can't stop posting on this thread- all the terrible books I've read throughout the years have come flooding back to me.

Has anyone read The Paper Chase? It's often recommended to people on their way to law school. Boy was it dull.

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Re: What's the most overrated book you've read?

Post by stoptothink » Fri Dec 09, 2011 12:07 pm

cinghiale wrote:I suspect this will cause some of the faithful to break out the long knives:

Atlas Shrugged

Choppy, turgid prose; two-dimensional characters; plodding story line.

Yes, there is an ideogical "something" percolating there, but it gets swamped in the awful writing.
"The Fountainhead" isn't far behind. In fact, I have tried several times(unsuccessfuly) to get through both of Rand's seminal works and just can't. I believe they are the only 2 books I have ever started that I just could not finish.

As someone who's life revolves around health/wellness/nutrition/exercise, I read Dr. Andrew Weil's "Eating Well for Optimum Health" after seeing it recommended on Bogleheads. Never in my life had I read a book on health, wellness, and nutrition with such little verified evidence for the beliefs of the author. Almost every statement he makes begins with "I believe" and then with no real evidence (other than his professional reputation) to back any of it up. Very disappointing coming from the pen of a Harvard Medical School grad and one of the world's most renowned doctors of integrative medicine.

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Re: What's the most overrated book you've read?

Post by Cognitive Miser » Fri Dec 09, 2011 12:23 pm

Totally agree on The Fountainhead.

I also found Robert Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance to be incredibly dull.

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Re: What's the most overrated book you've read?

Post by xerty24 » Fri Dec 09, 2011 12:25 pm

Bungo wrote:Some other books I've read in the past year that I thought were very overrated: Snow Crash
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Re: What's the most overrated book you've read?

Post by Frobie » Fri Dec 09, 2011 12:29 pm

Bungo wrote:On the other hand, I was also forced to read The Sound and the Fury in college, hated it and found it almost impenetrable. For years I would have considered it as almost the canonical definition of an overrated book. Finally got around to re-reading it this year and thought it was very good.
That would be my pick. I read it in my late 20s. After I finished, I put it down on the table beside me, looked into space for a few moments, and then said out loud (which is relevant because I was alone at the time): "I have absolutely no idea what that book was about."

To this day I still don't.

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Re: What's the most overrated book you've read?

Post by Bungo » Fri Dec 09, 2011 12:35 pm

xerty24 wrote:
Bungo wrote:Some other books I've read in the past year that I thought were very overrated: Snow Crash
Not everyone appreciates the analogy between drugs, computer viruses, and organized religion.
I thought the ideas were interesting, but the writing was atrocious, and the plot was clunky.

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Re: What's the most overrated book you've read?

Post by keq1381 » Fri Dec 09, 2011 12:38 pm

Yay! It's not just me! I really didn't care for Catch-22 or Catcher in the Rye.

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Re: What's the most overrated book you've read?

Post by Indices » Fri Dec 09, 2011 12:39 pm

Tipping Point.

Anything by Thomas Friedman.

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Re: What's the most overrated book you've read?

Post by SamGamgee » Fri Dec 09, 2011 12:49 pm

Those participating in this thread would probably enjoy reading something Orson Scott Card wrote recently about the "literary canon". Follow the link below, and then scroll down about half-way to where he begins with, "I recently took one of the Great Courses on the Western Literary Canon..."

http://www.hatrack.com/osc/reviews/ever ... 1-23.shtml

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Re: What's the most overrated book you've read?

Post by stoptothink » Fri Dec 09, 2011 12:55 pm

Cognitive Miser wrote:Totally agree on The Fountainhead.

I also found Robert Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance to be incredibly dull.
I had been interested in reading Pirsig's work for years and finally found a copy for like $2 at the Border's liquidation sale. At first I was really disappointed, his writing style certainly is "different." About halfway through I started really reading it, examing every line, and there are some wonderful little morsel's in that book. I ended up highlighting a bunch of really powerful passages. I admit it was extremely hard to read, but I am glad I got through it.

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Re: What's the most overrated book you've read?

Post by randomwalk » Fri Dec 09, 2011 1:02 pm

stoptothink wrote:I had been interested in reading Pirsig's work for years and finally found a copy for like $2 at the Border's liquidation sale. At first I was really disappointed, his writing style certainly is "different." About halfway through I started really reading it, examing every line, and there are some wonderful little morsel's in that book. I ended up highlighting a bunch of really powerful passages. I admit it was extremely hard to read, but I am glad I got through it.
Pirsig's book changed my life when I read it at 19. Not sure it could do the same today. Makes me think it may be important to read the right book at the right time(s). Some books have the benefit of being meaningful in different ways as we age, but some are probably appreciated only at particular stages of our lives.

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Re: What's the most overrated book you've read?

Post by bertilak » Fri Dec 09, 2011 1:06 pm

SamGamgee wrote:Those participating in this thread would probably enjoy reading something Orson Scott Card wrote recently about the "literary canon". Follow the link below, and then scroll down about half-way to where he begins with, "I recently took one of the Great Courses on the Western Literary Canon..."

http://www.hatrack.com/osc/reviews/ever ... 1-23.shtml
A very good read. Thanks for posting the link. I encourage others reading this thread who may have skipped over that to take a chance on it.
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Re: What's the most overrated book you've read?

Post by House Blend » Fri Dec 09, 2011 1:13 pm

Easy: The DaVinci Code.

I'm ashamed I didn't have enough good sense to stop reading after the first 10-20 pages.

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Re: What's the most overrated book you've read?

Post by HomerJ » Fri Dec 09, 2011 1:33 pm

Bungo wrote:plus the obligatory Tolkien (speaking of overrated).
Oh no you didn't!

:)

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Re: What's the most overrated book you've read?

Post by Cyclone » Fri Dec 09, 2011 1:36 pm

The New Coffeehouse Investor

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Re: What's the most overrated book you've read?

Post by laughlinlvr » Fri Dec 09, 2011 1:45 pm

Fight Club
Investing - The hardest way to make an easy living.

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Re: What's the most overrated book you've read?

Post by newbie001 » Fri Dec 09, 2011 1:50 pm

bertilak wrote:
SamGamgee wrote:Those participating in this thread would probably enjoy reading something Orson Scott Card wrote recently about the "literary canon". Follow the link below, and then scroll down about half-way to where he begins with, "I recently took one of the Great Courses on the Western Literary Canon..."

http://www.hatrack.com/osc/reviews/ever ... 1-23.shtml
A very good read. Thanks for posting the link. I encourage others reading this thread who may have skipped over that to take a chance on it.

A bit off-topic, but from that link:

"I think of Nordhoff & Hall's Bounty Trilogy, the third volume of which, Pitcairn's Island, struck me to the heart as a great tragedy, and the second volume of which, Men Against the Sea, became my exemplar of how the villain of one story can be the hero of the next, without changing even a shred of the character."

That trilogy is the most underrated work I've ever read. An absolutely fascinating read.

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Re: What's the most overrated book you've read?

Post by stoptothink » Fri Dec 09, 2011 1:51 pm

laughlinlvr wrote:Fight Club
+1000000. Chuck Palahniuk should be up there with Stephenie Meyer as the worst popular American fiction writer. I loved the Fight Club story, but the book was awful. I thought I'd give him another chance; Choke and Invisible Monsters were even worse.

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Re: What's the most overrated book you've read?

Post by frugalhen » Fri Dec 09, 2011 2:15 pm

[quote="lightheir"]What's the most overrated book you've read?




"The world is flat" or almost any book by Thomas Friedman
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Re: What's the most overrated book you've read?

Post by hicabob » Fri Dec 09, 2011 2:15 pm

keq1381 wrote:Yay! It's not just me! I really didn't care for Catch-22 or Catcher in the Rye.

:shock:
Catcher in the Rye was one of my favorites of the required high school reading list, and Catch-22 is an all time favorite of mine - as is anything written by Kurt Vonnegut who is possibly one of the best writers of all time - he had such a way with the word.

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Re: What's the most overrated book you've read?

Post by gkaplan » Fri Dec 09, 2011 2:17 pm

As I Lay Dying
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