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Old 04-17-2007, 09:51 PM   #1
onelife
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books that have disappointed you

in a similar vein to "books that have moved you", i introduce this new thread. we have all read books that have been hyped by the publisher, the media, reviews, family and/or friends.

what books have you read, that you thought (or hoped) you might like, but did not?!

i'll start things off.

i bought where the heart is, by billie letts, for $2.99 (second-hand). on amazon, it gets 4.5 stars, as reviewed by 1266 people. holy crap! not many books have that many reviews, not to mention 4.5 stars! i had high hopes, as it was also one of oprahs picks. not that that swayed me, either way, but i figured i'd give it a read.

it was somewhat heartwarming, but mostly anticlimactic. i thought it was just okay. pls share your views, if youve read it.

i also know there are other books that have disappointed me, and i'll add them as i think of them.

thanks for listening and for your thoughts.

:-)

(-:
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Old 04-18-2007, 12:26 AM   #2
trisherina
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Fall On Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald. The plot's "secret" seemed obvious pretty much from the outset, and I found the subsequent coy treatment it was given for many many pages subtly annoying.

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. This thoroughly ordinary book was sent to me by a friend as a must-read favourite of hers. I'd add something snide but it wouldn't be seemly, or particularly satisfying.

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. I liked this book despite Wallace's extreme self-indulgence throughout (he's earned a little benefit of the doubt). However, I loaned the book to someone who died violently shortly thereafter, and I've never quite forgiven it.

The Accidental Tourist and Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler. After thoroughly enjoying Celestial Navigations, I had high hopes for another quirky, gentle read. They were not fulfilled: only the gentle remained.

Everything Bill Bryson's written since his Penguin Dictionary of Troublesome Words. He's not the same person he was then -- at least, not very often.

Podkayne of Mars by Robert Heinlein. Inexplicably loved by Heinlein fans, this marks the life juncture when he left behind his sweet and enjoyable "juveniles" world to dabble in nauseating dreck.
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Old 04-19-2007, 02:51 AM   #3
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Wicked Neat idea, boring book.

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell A somewhat better book than Wicked, but, strangely, even more boring.

Gilligan's Wake. Yeah. Whatever.

Now, for a totally different kind of disappointing, there's Bedroom Secrets of the Master Chefs, disappointing only because it's not quite as good as Irvine Welsh's best.

Truly disappointing is trying to read almost any historical fiction after reading Patrick O'Brian.

David Foster Wallace - disappointing? Not sure that's the right word for it. I'm not crazy about his fiction. His essays are just brilliant. I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt & allow that maybe I'm just too dense to get his fiction. I like his non-fiction so much that I'm disappointed I don't like his fiction more. There. Does that work?
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Old 04-19-2007, 09:55 AM   #4
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(Find a copy of The Broom of the System, one of his early fiction works, and I guarantee you'll like it -- not dense at all and merrily entertaining!!)
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Old 04-19-2007, 02:30 PM   #5
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re Broom of the System - ever read Crash by JG Ballard?

I liked Infinite Jest quite a bit. Two thirds of it, at least. One of the plot threads - the Canuck in the wheelchair - either went totally over my head or was just a waste of time ink & paper.

Broom of the System didn't do much for me. A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again and Consider the Lobster, though...
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Old 04-19-2007, 04:56 PM   #6
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captain corelli's wotnot

i read the whole bloody thing cos everyone said
how great it was, and then had to endure an ending
that barbara cartland would have found clichéd.

yuk!

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Old 04-19-2007, 06:10 PM   #7
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will self. i've only attempted one (my idea of fun), after hearing how brilliant he was, seeing him on tv and loving him, and generally meaning to read his books for ages. but i just couldn't get into it.
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Old 04-19-2007, 11:00 PM   #8
trisherina
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The title essay in A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again was excellent; I think everyone considering a cruise vacation should read it. What about Crash?
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Old 04-20-2007, 05:50 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trisherina View Post
The title essay in A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again was excellent; I think everyone considering a cruise vacation should read it. What about Crash?
So I'm into reading Broom when Crash comes via netflix & in it Patricia Arquette opens a wee door in her prosthetic something or other & pulls out a joint. Protag in Broom's brother, the brilliant stoner college student, keeps his stash - joints - in... his prosthetic leg.

I had never in my life thought about storing marijuana cigarettes in artificial limbs, & bam, turned out at least a couple of pretty bright guys had thought about it...
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Old 04-20-2007, 11:16 AM   #10
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Well, you know how it goes... often with technology, vice trades are the early adopters.

(apologies for thread hijack, onelife)
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Old 04-20-2007, 07:19 PM   #11
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Aye. What else could possibly explain the great improvement in the quality of pornography in the last few years?

It is better now, isn't it?
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Old 04-21-2007, 10:30 AM   #12
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Fury - Salman Rushdie. I now hear that this is not his best, by a long way, but it was unfortunately the first thing of his that I read. A little too much self-gratifying fantasy (hero is a Rushdie look-alike who miraculously finds stunning young women to sleep with him (and yes, I know that's pretty much true to his life, but still...)).

This Is All - Aidan Chambers. I had this book and its author relentlessly hyped to me, which I can't be doing with anyway. It's meant for teenagers, but the female teenage heroine is too much of what one feels the middle-aged male author wishes teenage girls were like; thinks like a boy, likes to get naked with her best friend, has amazing sex every time. Also, incidentally, in need of a slap.

The Hobbit *braces for impact*

I can't stand Bilbo Baggins; as a child I wouldn't let my Mum finish reading it to me, because I just didn't care what happened. Liked LOTR though.

Ulysses - James Joyce. Possibly tied in to my inability to finish it, even after four attempts. Yes, I get it, very clever, well done. Now, is there a point to this besides showing off?

Daniel Deronda - George Eliot. Personal reasons again; tall, blonde heroine(ish) gets passed over in favour of petite brunette. As a tall blonde, I was left feeling inadequate. Sigh. (that, and I find Eliot's constant insistence on over-moralising and over-explaining her characters' actions rather dry)

Last edited by Creepy Sheep : 04-21-2007 at 10:34 AM.
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Old 04-21-2007, 12:04 PM   #13
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lots of books to stay away from...hehe

i started fall on your knees, but couldnt get into it. ive also thought about reading poisonwood bible, but i started animal dreams, also by kingsolver, and couldnt get past the first chapter.

i wont read wicked, or see the stage show (i believe it is back in my city in the fall), because miss gulch and the witch frightened me silly as a kid...lol

im not into fantasy, so i havent read LOTR or the hobbit, etc.

havent read ulysses, although ive read portrait of the artist as a young man. it was just okay, for me. as an aside, i partied with the grandson of james joyce, in negril, in february!



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Old 04-22-2007, 10:14 AM   #14
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I guess disappointment is really a measure of the difference between how good you thought it was going to be, and how good it turned out to be, so they're not necessarily the worst books I've read this year, but I was disappointed by

The Art Of Loving by Erich Fromm
I'd read a few of his books several years ago, and always found them at least interesting and sometimes thought provoking, and this pretty slim volume had been left unread since then. Maybe the world and I both have become more completely post-Freudian in the last ten years (however I also read a couple of books by Adam Phillips recently which discussed a lot of Freudian ideas, without taking them to be 'true' ideas, and I found them quite interesting), but several times I felt compelled to stop and think "oh, this is such well meaning twaddle".

I'm Not Scared by Niccolo Ammaniti
Just the way it ended, not the storyline as such, but it was written in a fairly straightforward way right up to the end, then in the last page or so, veered toward the vague and ended abruptly, which isn't necessarily bad but it just seemed a little incongruent with the book as a whole. My advice: if you're going to write a bad page put it somewhere in the middle.
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Old 04-24-2007, 01:27 AM   #15
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"Bee Season" by Myla Goldberg. Luckily I only paid a quarter for it at a tiny used book store I stumbled into, because even paying that much disappointed me.

"A Confederacy of Dunces" by John Kennedy Toole. Blah. There were a few somewhat amusing points, but I barely smiled at anything in the book and had to force myself to finish reading it.

"Gulliver's Travels" - one of only a handful of books I haven't been able to finish. I really enjoy old books, and wanted to like this classic, but it just wasn't for me.
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