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

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Jethro2007
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Re: What's the most overrated book you've read?

Post by Jethro2007 » Mon Dec 12, 2011 7:06 pm

Hey Y'all,

Wow, look at all the haters!!!
Ahhahahahahahahahahahahahahha...

Sorry, I am one of you...
Catcher in the Rye, most of Ayn Rands work, just didn't do it for me...
Wondered what I was missing and still do...

Glad, I am not alone in this mystery...

Happy Holidays, Jethro2007

P.S. Catch -22, I think I deferred to the Movie..sorry...

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Jethro2007
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Re: What's the most overrated book you've read?

Post by Jethro2007 » Mon Dec 12, 2011 7:15 pm

Hey Y'all,

I forgot to mention, Women in Love, D.H. Lawerence...

It was on a list of novels to read, maybe its not suited for the 21st century, but it wasn't as awesome as I expected...
I read Ulysses, by Joyce, it was difficult to get the book, firstly, then it was written in dialect that made it difficult to stay with...
Maybe I should read again, hmmmmmm...or not...

Toodles, Jethro2007

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

Post by gkaplan » Mon Dec 12, 2011 7:49 pm

the last fifty pages of War and Peace

Moby Dick - Probably because I had to read as a sophomore in high school.
Gordon

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

Post by Boglenaut » Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:50 pm

rrosenkoetter wrote:
Bungo wrote:plus the obligatory Tolkien (speaking of overrated).

OOOOO! My blood is boiling now! :annoyed

I liked Catcher in the Rye as well. I guess it may depend on the age one read it.

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

Post by Sulvar » Tue Dec 13, 2011 9:50 am

Mr Grumpy wrote:For me, I immediately thought of The Road by Cormac McCarthy. He can be a good writer, but not in this case.
I'd place this book in my top 10 books ever read. The language is just so captivating in places it is more like poetry than a novel. To me this really added to the whole feel of desperation and hopelessness of that the main characters felt. It was as if when the world was destroyed that sentences and punctuation and even the characters names were destroyed with it.

The subject matter alone makes this a very difficult book to read, but I don't think that you can deny the quality of this book.

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

Post by grok87 » Tue Dec 13, 2011 9:51 am

Sulvar wrote:
Mr Grumpy wrote:For me, I immediately thought of The Road by Cormac McCarthy. He can be a good writer, but not in this case.
I'd place this book in my top 10 books ever read. The language is just so captivating in places it is more like poetry than a novel. To me this really added to the whole feel of desperation and hopelessness of that the main characters felt. It was as if when the world was destroyed that sentences and punctuation and even the characters names were destroyed with it.

The subject matter alone makes this a very difficult book to read, but I don't think that you can deny the quality of this book.
Meh..I kept waiting for something good to happen- too bleak...
Keep calm and Boglehead on. KCBO.

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

Post by JupiterJones » Tue Dec 13, 2011 10:25 am

epilnk wrote:
randomwalk wrote: 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.
That's exactly my take on it. I can't say it changed my life at 20 (I think), but it made a huge impact on me. I happened to pick up a copy again when I was in my early 40s and was blown away by how prosaic and stupefyingly dull it seemed. What happened to all those insights that were in there 20 years earlier?
Same here, but with Richard Bach. Stuff like "Jonathon Livingston Seagull" and "Illusions" seemed really profound when I was a kid. Not so much nowadays...
Maybe when I grow up I'll be able to appreciate James Joyce and Tolstoy. I'm kind of hoping I just tried those too young.
I remember hating--hating--Hemingway when they made us read him in Junior High. But I "get" him now. There are certain books that you really need some life experience and adulthood under your belt in order to really appreciate. Teaching them to kids, while noble in intent, is pretty much pointless.

Now "The Great Gatsby" is an interesting case. I loved it in High School, and I've loved it at every stage of my life in which I've read it since... but for different reasons. What I get out of the book--the characters I admire and/or the ones I identify with--seems to change as I get older. That's the mark of a good book, IMHO.

JJ

P.S. Getting back to the original question, I was very dissapointed with "The Kite Runner". Started out great. Ended like the author was bucking to get it made into a blockbuster movie.
Stay on target...

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

Post by stoptothink » Tue Dec 13, 2011 10:29 am

grok87 wrote:
Sulvar wrote:
Mr Grumpy wrote:For me, I immediately thought of The Road by Cormac McCarthy. He can be a good writer, but not in this case.
I'd place this book in my top 10 books ever read. The language is just so captivating in places it is more like poetry than a novel. To me this really added to the whole feel of desperation and hopelessness of that the main characters felt. It was as if when the world was destroyed that sentences and punctuation and even the characters names were destroyed with it.

The subject matter alone makes this a very difficult book to read, but I don't think that you can deny the quality of this book.
Meh..I kept waiting for something good to happen- too bleak...
Same thing with me. Kept reading, waiting for something to actually happen....luckily it is a very short book.

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

Post by HomerJ » Tue Dec 13, 2011 11:02 am

JupiterJones wrote:
epilnk wrote:
randomwalk wrote: 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.
That's exactly my take on it. I can't say it changed my life at 20 (I think), but it made a huge impact on me. I happened to pick up a copy again when I was in my early 40s and was blown away by how prosaic and stupefyingly dull it seemed. What happened to all those insights that were in there 20 years earlier?
Same here, but with Richard Bach. Stuff like "Jonathon Livingston Seagull" and "Illusions" seemed really profound when I was a kid. Not so much nowadays...
Interesting... I LOVED RIchard Bach when I read him in college... Made a big impact on my life... I'd be scared to reread him now... I'd be very sad if the 42-year old me thought "Meh, just more new age drivel"

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

Post by HomerJ » Tue Dec 13, 2011 11:05 am

tokyoleone wrote:Twilight. The most boring, not-scary vampires ever.
The only thing that makes me mad about those books is that the author changed vampire lore...

You can't just make vampires that "sparkle" in sunlight... Vampires BURN AND DIE in direct sunlight...

And now my teen-age daughter doesn't understand vampires... I have failed as a parent.

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

Post by bradshaw1965 » Tue Dec 13, 2011 11:06 am

Confederacy of Dunces is a favorite of mine, but skip some of my New Orleans touch points and I can see why my wife and others consider it vastly overrated.

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

Post by HomerJ » Tue Dec 13, 2011 11:08 am

market timer wrote:Some popular books mentioned here that I never enjoyed, sometimes with multiple attempts:

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Ender's Game
Hitchhiker's Guide
Anything by Umberto Eco

On the other hand, I enjoyed the following:

Confederacy of Dunces - read it on vacation in Vienna and Venice at age 25, was relaxed and happy already, many laughs on the train
Atlas Shrugged - read it at age 16 and think it may have started me down the path to becoming an economist
Swann's Way - read it for a class at age 19, loved it, probably helped to have a professor's guidance (also read Journey to the End of the Night by Celine in this class, one of my favorite books of all time)

Oh, and I found the Lord of the Ring's trilogy boring even in movie form.
Interesting... I would have thought you would have like Ender's Game, with the kid being smarter than everyone else.

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

Post by HomerJ » Tue Dec 13, 2011 11:19 am

nisiprius wrote:I love The Lord of the Rings.

I found The Hobbit: Or There and Back Again to be a sort of necessary evil--you have to read it first, but it's written for children, and unlike the best books that are written for children, it talks down to them. I have a minor claim to fame with regard to The Hobbit, though: I am the person whose letter to Houghton Mifflin caused them to correct the runes on the dust jacket of the U. S. edition. On that dust jacket, the "runes" are just a simple letter-by-letter substitution for English, and in the U.S. edition they spelled out "The Hobbit, or There and Back Again, being the account of" (etc. etc.) "... and published by George Allen and Unwin." I probably should look at the rare book websites and see whether that's now one of the recognized "points" and whether the ones with the faulty jackets are worth more...

I am proud to say that I first read The Lord of the Rings before they were available in paperback.

It's been a while since I read it, but my recollection is that each "volume" is really in two books... that is, there are six big parts in all... and that I loved about four of them. The epic parts with the big battles and the girl dressed as a man so she can fight in the battle and the stirring before-the-battle speeches and such bored me to tears. And the battle between Frodo and Shelob, the spider, is just... appalling. And there's some cheap stuff--as I was reading it for the first time, I was talking from time to time to another fan, and when I got to the part where Gandalf battles with the Balrog and falls into the abyss, I said to him, "I have the feeling that I haven't actually seen the last of Gandalf" and he said something equivocal...

Still, to me it is a great, great book and I reread it every five years or so. The only major work of fantasy I've ever read that convinced me that the writer wasn't just making it up as he goes along, and that the fantasy world obeys consistent rules even if I don't understand them.
Yep, I read Lord of the RIngs at 11, and revisit it every 5 years or so...

I loved Sam the best I think...
Now splaying her legs she drove her huge bulk down on him again. Too soon. For Sam still stood upon his feet, and dropping his own sword, with both hands he held the elven-blade point upwards, fending off that ghastly roof; and so Shelob, with the driving force of her own cruel will, with strength greater than any warrior's hand, thrust herself upon a bitter spike. Deep, deep it pricked, as Sam was crushed slowly to the ground.
No such anguish had Shelob ever known, or dreamed of knowing, in all her long world of wickedness. Not the doughtiest soldier of old Gondor, nor the most savage Ore entrapped, had ever thus endured her, or set blade to her beloved flesh. A shudder went through her. Heaving up again, wrenching away from the pain, she bent her writhing limbs beneath her and sprang backwards in a convulsive leap.
Sam had fallen to his knees by Frodo's head, his senses reeling In the foul stench, his two hands still gripping the hilt of the sword. Through the mist before his eyes he was aware dimly of Frodo's face, and stubbornly he fought to master himself and to drag himself out of the swoon that was upon him. Slowly, he raised his head and saw her, only a few paces away, eyeing him, her beak drabbling a spittle of venom, and a green ooze trickling from below her wounded eye. There she crouched, her shuddering belly splayed upon the ground, the great bows of her legs quivering, as she gathered herself for another spring-this time to crush and sting to death: no little bite of poison to still the struggling of her meat; this time to slay and then to rend.
Even as Sam himself crouched, looking at her, seeing his death in her eyes, a thought came to him, as if some remote voice had spoken, and he fumbled in his breast with his left hand, and found what he sought: cold and hard and solid it seemed to his touch in a phantom world of horror, the Phial of Galadriel.
'Galadriel!' he said faintly, and then he heard voices far off but clear: the crying of the Elves as they walked under the stars in the beloved shadows of the Shire, and the music of the Elves as it came through his sleep in the Hall of Fire in the house of Elrond.

Gilthoniel A Elbereth!

And then his tongue was loosed and his voice cried in a language which he did not know:

A Elbereth Gilthoniel
0 menel palan-diriel,
le nallon si di'nguruthos! A tiro nin, F anuilos!

And with that he staggered to his feet and was Samwise the hobbit, Hamfast's son, again.
'Now come, you filth!' he cried. 'You've hurt my master, you brute, and you'll pay for it. We're going on; but we'll settle with you first. Come on, and taste it again!'
As if his indomitable spirit had set its potency in motion, the glass blazed suddenly like a white torch in his hand. It flamed like a star that leaping from the firmament sears the dark air with intolerable light. No such terror out of heaven had ever burned in Shelob's face before. The beams of it entered into her wounded head and scored it with unbearable pain, and the dreadful infection of light spread from eye to eye. She fell back beating the air with her forelegs, her sight blasted by inner lightnings, her mind in agony. Then turning her maimed head away, she rolled aside and began to crawl, claw by claw, towards the opening in the dark cliff behind.
Sam came on. He was reeling like a drunken man, but he came on. And Shelob cowed at last, shrunken in defeat, jerked and quivered as she tried to hasten from him. She reached the hole, and squeezing down, leaving a trail of green-yellow slime, she slipped in, even as Sam hewed a last stroke at her dragging legs.
I was very mad they didn't do this scene justice in the movie.

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

Post by Eleazer » Tue Dec 13, 2011 11:42 am

There are a few: The Old Man and the Sea- Slaughter House Five- The Naked and the Dead- Bleak House- and most of Faulkner.

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

Post by bertilak » Tue Dec 13, 2011 1:14 pm

nisiprius wrote:I love The Lord of the Rings. ... Still, to me it is a great, great book and I reread it every five years or so. The only major work of fantasy I've ever read that convinced me that the writer wasn't just making it up as he goes along, and that the fantasy world obeys consistent rules even if I don't understand them.
Me too. I went so far as to buy a leather-bound three-volume edition and a matching leather-bound Hobbit -- total cost about $800-$900, if I remember correctly.

The Hobbit is not much to my liking, but it is a must-have to pair with LOTR. Somewhere in this thread someone mentioned JJRT was himself unhappy with The Hobbit because it was aimed at children. I generally love children's books that don't "talk down" to them. For example Alice in Wonderland, Aesop's Fables, and most of the Mother Goose stories. My dislike for The Hobbit is for a different reason: I found Bilbo to be an unlikable, untrustworthy, character in The Hobbit.

P.S. I have Harvard Lampoon's Bored of the Rings on the shelf right next to LOTR.
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Re: What's the most overrated book you've read?

Post by HomerJ » Tue Dec 13, 2011 2:06 pm

If you guys ever played Dungeons & Dragons, there's a great spoof of Lord of the Rings if it was played by people in a D&D tabletop game.

http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=612

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

Post by RobertAlanK » Tue Dec 13, 2011 4:15 pm

The Bridges of Madison County.

Oh yes, I did. I wonder now what possessed me. Ah yes, a woman I was trying to impress at the time.

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

Post by sschullo » Tue Dec 13, 2011 5:13 pm

rrosenkoetter wrote:
market timer wrote:Some popular books mentioned here that I never enjoyed, sometimes with multiple attempts:

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Ender's Game
Hitchhiker's Guide
Anything by Umberto Eco

On the other hand, I enjoyed the following:

Confederacy of Dunces - read it on vacation in Vienna and Venice at age 25, was relaxed and happy already, many laughs on the train
Atlas Shrugged - read it at age 16 and think it may have started me down the path to becoming an economist
Swann's Way - read it for a class at age 19, loved it, probably helped to have a professor's guidance (also read Journey to the End of the Night by Celine in this class, one of my favorite books of all time)

Oh, and I found the Lord of the Ring's trilogy boring even in movie form.

Interesting... I would have thought you would have like Ender's Game, with the kid being smarter than everyone else.
But if I recall the ending, he was humbled when he was told what happened after playing just another round of "the game."
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Re: What's the most overrated book you've read?

Post by jginseattle » Tue Dec 13, 2011 7:24 pm

gkaplan wrote:the last fifty pages of War and Peace

Moby Dick - Probably because I had to read as a sophomore in high school.
Two of the greatest novels ever written.

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

Post by dnaren » Tue Dec 13, 2011 8:46 pm

Bible

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

Post by abuss368 » Tue Dec 13, 2011 9:15 pm

George Soros "books"!
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Re: What's the most overrated book you've read?

Post by grok87 » Tue Dec 13, 2011 9:38 pm

bertilak wrote:
nisiprius wrote:I love The Lord of the Rings. ... Still, to me it is a great, great book and I reread it every five years or so. The only major work of fantasy I've ever read that convinced me that the writer wasn't just making it up as he goes along, and that the fantasy world obeys consistent rules even if I don't understand them.
Me too. I went so far as to buy a leather-bound three-volume edition and a matching leather-bound Hobbit -- total cost about $800-$900, if I remember correctly.

The Hobbit is not much to my liking, but it is a must-have to pair with LOTR. Somewhere in this thread someone mentioned JJRT was himself unhappy with The Hobbit because it was aimed at children. I generally love children's books that don't "talk down" to them. For example Alice in Wonderland, Aesop's Fables, and most of the Mother Goose stories. My dislike for The Hobbit is for a different reason: I found Bilbo to be an unlikable, untrustworthy, character in The Hobbit.

P.S. I have Harvard Lampoon's Bored of the Rings on the shelf right next to LOTR.
The thing about the Hobbit is, I don't think there is any way Tolkien could have written the Lord of the Rings without it. I'd really recommend reading Tolkien's letters. He started off writing the Silmarillion first. All the "high" tales of Valinor etc. But he basically got stuck. He never published the Silmarillion in his lifetime (his son pulled it together after his death) even though his publisher was begging him for it after the success of the Hobbit and the LOTR. He got too caught up with revising it endlessly, trying to make it all consistent, make everything fit together. Even so there are cracks-Glorfindel for example, and Galadriel.
Hobbits weren't even part of this original mythos/schema. There were dwarves, people,elves,Valar,Maia etc. but no hobbits. So he just sort of came up with the "Hobbit"/hobbits thing spontaneously. I think it just came to him one day "In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit" And it gave him a hook, a pathway to actually pull it all together, all the worlds he was creating, into a story that he could hang it all on. So I think later in life he wished he hadn't written "The Hobbit" the way he had. But people loved it then and (and love it now) and many of those readers got in touch with him and helped push him to write the LOTR.
I think there's a quote somewhere about painters. About how behind every great painter working on a painting there should be a man with a wooden mallet, who when the painting is "done" should hit the painter over the head and knock him out stone cold to keep him from endlessly revising and tinkering with his masterpiece. I sort of feel that way about the Hobbit. I'm glad Tolkien didn't try rewriting it in his old age. I think its perfect the way it is...
cheers,
Keep calm and Boglehead on. KCBO.

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

Post by Dan Moroboshi » Tue Dec 13, 2011 10:09 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.
"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged.

One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world.

The other, of course, involves orcs."

(author of quote unknown)

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

Post by grok87 » Tue Dec 13, 2011 10:15 pm

Dan Moroboshi wrote:
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.
"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged.

One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world.

The other, of course, involves orcs."

(author of quote unknown)
great quote!

here's the Krugman piece:
http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/1 ... idiculous/

the quote is by John Rogers
http://kfmonkey.blogspot.com/2009/03/ep ... 009-7.html
http://www.blogger.com/profile/12551450586119958881

cheers,
Keep calm and Boglehead on. KCBO.

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

Post by Jerilynn » Wed Dec 14, 2011 12:35 am

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

Post by gd » Wed Dec 14, 2011 8:00 am

If any LOTR fans don't know of it, there is revisionist fan fiction on the internet based on it, "The Last Ringbearer". It won't win any literature awards, and is apparently in a particularly Russian popular fiction style, but is interesting for all that. The Orcs are the good guys, elves are sublimely evil, and not a hobbit in sight. I don't think I could ever reread the original in quite the same spirit. You've been warned.

And yeah, Shakespeare. I acquired a really appealing complete set from a house-purging relative several years ago, thinking I'd better myself in my (supposed) time-filled retirement. Several pages into Macbeth and I conceded that language I could barely understand had little beauty for me. When I wanted the shelf space back, I couldn't sell it online despite massively undercutting numerous other sellers with dollar signs in their eyes, and finally gave it away to someone for bookshelf decoration.

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

Post by DesertOasis » Wed Dec 14, 2011 8:05 am

A Perfect Spy by John Le Carre

Found the writing to be focused on insignificant details to the point of tedium.

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

Post by cubby08 » Wed Dec 14, 2011 12:03 pm

the alchemist.

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

Post by chaz » Wed Dec 14, 2011 12:31 pm

Bleak House - rough on litigation.
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Re: What's the most overrated book you've read?

Post by Cuzz35 » Wed Dec 14, 2011 12:35 pm

gkaplan wrote:
Moby Dick - Probably because I had to read as a sophomore in high school.
I didn't finish Moby Dick the first time I picked it up. I was in 5th grade. At the time I didn't understand everything and it seemed really weird. I came back to it in highschool and loved it.

One book I didn't like was "The Homecoming"

I also never finished "Drums along the Mohawk"

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

Post by newbie001 » Wed Dec 14, 2011 2:21 pm

Jerilynn wrote:Anything by Shakespeare

*Grabs torch and pitchfork*

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

Post by Miskatonic » Wed Dec 14, 2011 5:06 pm

I've seen my pick for over rated lit already mentioned so no need to pile on.

Some good comments about perspectives changing with age and life experience. I've wondered about some of my high school teachers throwing some very, very heavy reading our way at seemingly too young an age (Herman Hesse, Faulkner, Melville) but I'm glad they did because while I didn't catch anything close to half the import of some of these authors, sometimes their stories, style and voice stayed in my head and I've gone back and read more of them and come to love and appreciate what I could not at 16.

Yet the author-reader link is a very personal one and sometimes there will never be a good match even if the reader is intelligent and willing to meet the author half way. It just wasn't meant to be.

For instance, both Faulkner and Joyce often wrote in that most experimental (at the time) and dangerous style- stream of consciousness. I've read all of Faulkner's S of C works, even the most challenging which I think are his short stories: the Bear, the Woods etc and while very challenging, I can keep up enough that I can follow him well enough and enjoy it. Joyce, in Portrait of an Artist, I can't follow him and don't enjoy the attempt. Same technique, different authors, different results for me.

I failed miserably with Thomas Hardy's "Mayor of Casterbridge" in high school; I've been meaning to revisit him as an adult to see how it goes.

The one book that sticks out that really got my goat was the cult classic, Thomas Pynchon's "Gravity's Rainbow". I dove into this long novel and was a handful of chapters into it when I found that the story was not settling down-I didn't have a grasp of the characters or the story line. I was completely off balance knowing what was going on. I looked the story up on line for some help and read that the novel contained 800 characters.

I'm a bibliophile to the degree that I will not mark up even a text book with a highlighter. I threw "Gravity's Rainbow" across the room and into the trash can.

I've never done that to a book before (and only once since).

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

Post by Kuckie » Wed Dec 14, 2011 5:25 pm

Dow 36000, pub 2000, by James Glassman who is now picking stocks for Kiplinger's Magazine.
http://www.kiplinger.com/columns/openin ... -2012.html

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

Post by randomwalk » Wed Dec 14, 2011 5:25 pm

Miskatonic wrote:I've never done that to a book before (and only once since).
Don't hold out on us! What was the second book you tossed?

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

Post by Mr Grumpy » Wed Dec 14, 2011 6:02 pm

Miskatonic - Thank you for your wise observations. I think that when we start to read a book we are holding a mirror up to ourselves and have the author's ideas and artistic talents reflect (or not) back at us. I just finished reading Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand and loved it, but I can imagine an earlier time when I would have considered it trite...and that's ok. Another author once said that as they get older, they no longer feel the need to put a T-square on the corners of life.

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

Post by Miskatonic » Wed Dec 14, 2011 7:04 pm

randomwalk wrote:
Miskatonic wrote:I've never done that to a book before (and only once since).
Don't hold out on us! What was the second book you tossed?
:lol: I honestly don't remember!

I sometimes have access to galley proofs and pre publication books from one area of my job and I took this novel home to read from a new author. It was a story about a romance between two middle aged people in LA. Both of them with dark, quirky lives. It's not the kind of book I'd normally read but something on the back cover must have intrigued me to try it.

I didn't enjoy it that much. Didn't bond with the characters. Didn't feel it was that well written or original. All in all I thought it was a poor novel. I thought about taking it back to work to see if anyone else wanted to read it and something stopped me. As I mentioned, books hold a special place in my mind and even books I don't like may find resonance for someone else. Destroying a book is, in a way, destroying an idea and the implication of that makes me uncomfortable.

So I paused for a few minutes with this no name book in my hand by an author that I would be willing to bet good money will not find himself in Oslo picking up an award or even providing the local book club with much good discussion, and asked myself "does anyone need to read this book?"

I answered "No" and binned it. In a world flooded with literally more authors than readers, I felt this was yet more dross.

(I feel a little guilty... and more so now that I've admitted it in public!)

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

Post by Die Hard » Wed Dec 14, 2011 9:00 pm

I haven't seen this one listed-

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
By Laurence Sterne

I'm trying.....trying............trying

Has anyone made it through?
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Re: What's the most overrated book you've read?

Post by bertilak » Wed Dec 14, 2011 9:19 pm

Die Hard wrote:I haven't seen this one listed-

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
By Laurence Sterne

I'm trying.....trying............trying

Has anyone made it through?
I have the book and have not made it through -- it seems so dense, which i think is the point. It aspires to being the worlds longest and most complex "shaggy dog" story. This it almost certainly achieves, with the possible exception of One Thousand and One Nights.

But, even though I have not made it through, I enjoyed reading as much as I did get through. I put the book aside to get a break from it, fully intending to continue, but once you step away from it for even a little bit it is nearly impossible to pick up where you left off. I will someday start over. Somewhere on the internet there is a detailed plot synopsis. I will have that by my side next time.

There was a movie made of it. The movie was easier on your brain, but I don't think it really did the book justice.
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Re: What's the most overrated book you've read?

Post by epilnk » Wed Dec 14, 2011 10:33 pm

Die Hard wrote:I haven't seen this one listed-

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
By Laurence Sterne

I'm trying.....trying............trying

Has anyone made it through?
I thought it was hilarious. Nothing actually happens, though, so if you're expecting it to pick up you'll be disappointed.

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

Post by jeepster » Thu Dec 15, 2011 12:07 pm

Wow - so many hours spent reading some of these.

I found Catcher in the Rye super annoying. I kept expecting to relate to Holden, and instead just found him whiny.

I read the first few pages of Lord of the Rings and gave up. Have re-tried several times and never gotten any further. I read the first half of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance because a boyfriend loved it. Kept waiting for it to get better. We broke up, and though I still have his book, I've never finished it.

I had to read Proust (Remembrance of things past and Swann's Way) in French in college. I had absolutely no idea what was going on. Finally gave up and picked them up in English. At least I could understand the words, if not the plot. I still am amazed we were expected to slog through those hundreds and hundreds of pages.

Finally, I have a tough time enjoying written Shakespeare. On the other hand, I love to see them performed. I think his writing is not really meant to be read but spoken.

Jeepster

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

Post by Jerilynn » Thu Dec 15, 2011 12:17 pm

jeepster wrote:
Finally, I have a tough time enjoying written Shakespeare. On the other hand, I love to see them performed. I think his writing is not really meant to be read but spoken.

Jeepster
I would like to see a Shakespeare play that was translated to 21st century American English.
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Re: What's the most overrated book you've read?

Post by frugalhen » Thu Dec 15, 2011 12:19 pm

with the exception of "The hunt for red october", ANY book by Tom Clancy. Too much minutiae, although my guess is some of the engineer types on this website think it is great.

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

Post by AgnosticInvestor » Fri Dec 16, 2011 8:42 pm

Agree about Tom Clancy. While the 'action' sequences are ok, the rest is dreadful. Really bad.

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

Post by nisiprius » Fri Dec 16, 2011 9:23 pm

Cuzz35 wrote:
gkaplan wrote:
Moby Dick - Probably because I had to read as a sophomore in high school.
I didn't finish Moby Dick the first time I picked it up. I was in 5th grade. At the time I didn't understand everything and it seemed really weird. I came back to it in highschool and loved it.
I've read Moby-Dick, or the Whale four or five times, the first time in high school. I think I'd say that I like it a lot... that I think it's a really good book... and that it's overrated. It shot from a completely undeserved obscurity into undeserved fame. And it's not for everybody. You really have to enjoy whales and cetology and long descriptions, and Melville's "tone of voice." I love his definition of a whale as "a spouting fish with a horizontal tail."

I love it that Hawthorne mentions him in "A Wonder-Book for Boys and Girls:" "On the hither side of Pittsfield sits Herman Melville, shaping out the gigantic conception of his 'White Whale,' while the gigantic shape of Graylock looms upon him from his study-window." Hawthorne recognized it as an important work, even if few others did at the time.

When Moby-Dick was rediscovered by the literary critics in the 1920s, the artist Rockwell Kent was commissioned to do an illustrated edition, which was so popular that people mistakenly referred to the book as "Moby-Dick, by Rockwell Kent."

I remember thoroughly enjoying Typee and Omoo once, but tried to reread Typee recently and couldn't get into it.
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