IS Forum
Forum Index Register Members List Events Mark Forums Read Help

Go Back   International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » History, Literature, and the Arts
 


Welcome to the International Skeptics Forum, where we discuss skepticism, critical thinking, the paranormal and science in a friendly but lively way. You are currently viewing the forum as a guest, which means you are missing out on discussing matters that are of interest to you. Please consider registering so you can gain full use of the forum features and interact with other Members. Registration is simple, fast and free! Click here to register today.
Reply
Old 4th October 2010, 03:57 PM   #121
jakesteele
Fait Accompli
 
jakesteele's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Rain City
Posts: 2,181
I never, ever finish bad books. I can usually tell very quickly if it meets my enjoyment standards. What I do hate is when an author like Clive Cussler, Frank Herbert, etc. reaches the point where their new books always say "By Clive Cussler and Joe Blow. Now the famous author is just putting his name in the credits to keep selling books.
__________________

Life is Gods funniest joke
And we are the punchline
jakesteele is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th October 2010, 04:06 PM   #122
Checkmite
Skepticifimisticalationist
 
Checkmite's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Gulf Coast
Posts: 26,350
Originally Posted by autumn1971 View Post
Anthem, by Rand.
This was my first choice; but as it is taken, I will choose another.

A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess. This book has a gimmick - its invented slang, which you have to work to learn as you read the book (and then have to start over from chapter 1 to see what you missed because you didn't know what you were reading); but beyond that there is nothing redeeming or even remarkable about it. I even agree with (what I think is) the author's political message, or one of the messages, but I still hate it.
__________________
"WHAT KIND OF BIRD?
A PARANORMAL BIRD?"
--- Carlos S., 2002
Checkmite is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th October 2010, 04:35 PM   #123
Foolmewunz
Grammar Resistance Leader
TLA Dictator
 
Foolmewunz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Pattaya, Thailand
Posts: 41,468
Originally Posted by Darat View Post
I have read many terrible books (some I've even enjoyed) but I remember, back when I was a youngster before my brain became calloused with cynicism, reading once a so-called classic that was so awful all that has remained is the scar that was seared into my brain to remind me for all eternity how awful it was: The Einstein Intersection by Samuel Delany
More the shock (and I agree with you that I could find no reason for EI to be committed to paper) because his major opus, Dahlgren, was so damned good.


My "worst ever" was a mystery. I didn't know Braun's name and picked up a mystery thinking it was one of her cat series to see what they were like (as I'm always looking for a reliable series - it makes picking out airport books so much easier). I got about 60% through the damned thing when it became apparent that the murders were based around someone trying to take over the magical cats. Yes, magical cats. Purportedly there are no male calico cats, but this farmer had a bunch of them and not only were they rare (which, used as a plot could've been slightly acceptable as "rare" often equals "valuable"), but they're rare and MAGICAL.

I never found out why or how.... I threw the book in the garbage.
__________________
Ha! Foolmewunz has just been added to the list of people who aren't complete idiots. Hokulele

It's not that liberals have become less tolerant. It's that conservatives have become more intolerable.
Foolmewunz is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th October 2010, 04:45 PM   #124
Baylor
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 8,394
Originally Posted by Schrodinger's Cat View Post
For me, the worst book I ever finished was Ayn Rand's "The Fountainhead."
I purposely avoided posting in this thread to see if anyone came up with the same worst book as me - lo and behold, SC has.

What a terrible book. Just aweful. No conflict. No plot. Absolutely pointless book.
Baylor is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th October 2010, 05:09 PM   #125
Loss Leader
I would save the receptionist.
Moderator
 
Loss Leader's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Florida
Posts: 27,719
I wish this list included books you read the first three pages of and then throw out. Eat, Pray, Love actually started slowly burning my hands as I read it. By page 3, my sleeve was on fire. It may well be the only book I have ever thrown out


of a window.
__________________
I have the honor to be
Your Obdt. St

L. Leader
Loss Leader is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th October 2010, 05:36 PM   #126
ZirconBlue
Sole Survivor of L-Town
 
ZirconBlue's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Lexington, KY, USA, Earth
Posts: 13,659
Originally Posted by bookitty View Post
It was a romance novel set in Scotland during some completely undefinable era. There was a nod to historical fiction, some unnamed king was at war with England, the hero (brooding, determined to never marry after heartbreak) wore a kilt and sporran, etc. The only good thing about it was the length, 5000 pages or so but I had to read it carefully. No skimming or I would be lit-less. Painful.
Sounds like the novelization of Braveheart.

Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess. This book has a gimmick - its invented slang, which you have to work to learn as you read the book (and then have to start over from chapter 1 to see what you missed because you didn't know what you were reading); but beyond that there is nothing redeeming or even remarkable about it. I even agree with (what I think is) the author's political message, or one of the messages, but I still hate it.
Even Anthony Burgess wasn't all that enamored of A Clockwork Orange.
__________________
Religion and sex are powerplays.
Manipulate the people for the money they pay.
Selling skin, selling God
The numbers look the same on their credit cards.
ZirconBlue is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th October 2010, 05:58 PM   #127
BenBurch
Gatekeeper of The Left
 
BenBurch's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: The Universe 35.2 ms ahead of this one.
Posts: 37,535
"Sword Of Shannara" by Terry Brooks.

AWFUL attempt to (IMNSHO) write something "just like" LOTR to cash-in.

Boatloads of FAIL.
__________________
For what doth it profit a man, to fix one bug, but crash the system?
BenBurch is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th October 2010, 06:41 PM   #128
ZirconBlue
Sole Survivor of L-Town
 
ZirconBlue's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Lexington, KY, USA, Earth
Posts: 13,659
My nomination: Legends of the Fall. Horribly written. There's no dialog in the entire book, just summaries of discussions. The whole book reads like a prologue to another, more interesting, book.
__________________
Religion and sex are powerplays.
Manipulate the people for the money they pay.
Selling skin, selling God
The numbers look the same on their credit cards.
ZirconBlue is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th October 2010, 06:48 PM   #129
Athyrio
Hipster Doofus
 
Athyrio's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Nutsack, FL
Posts: 2,155
It

Cured me of Stephen King, finally. I liked him because he was a contemporary but felt he had run out of Bogeymen to write about. I did read Green Mile later but only after I got into the Richard Bachman stuff. Haven't read any SK since.

Only read Atlas Shrugged for the first time last year. I thought I had really missed something all of my life until I finished it. She could have summed up her ideas in a simple paragraph.
__________________
Knowledge is good.... Emil Faber
Athyrio is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th October 2010, 07:01 PM   #130
Piggy
Unlicensed street skeptic
 
Piggy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 15,905
Originally Posted by Lucian View Post
The novelization of the film Beowulf. It made me angry. Beyond that, I choose not to relive it.
I give a book a very short time to prove itself, so I haven't read much of many bad books, but the worst one I can recall was a translation of Beowulf by a contemporary poet -- it was someone I'm familiar with, but I've put his name out of my mind -- which attempted to modernize the story.

When I got the phrase "jumper cables" I threw it across the room.

On the other hand, one of the best books I've ever read is Seamus Heaney's translation of Beowulf.

Allow me the pleasure of transcribing from my well-worn first edition:

So. The Spear-Danes in days gone by
and the kings who ruled them had courage and greatness.
We have heard of those princes' heroic campaigns.

There was Shield Sheafson, scourge of many tribes,
a wrecker of mead-benches, rampaging among foes.
This terror of the hall-troops had come far.
A foundling to start with, he would flourish later on
and his powers waxed and his worth was proved.
In the end each clan on the outlying coasts
beyond the whale-road had to yield to him
and begin to pay tribute. That was one good king.
__________________
.
How can you expect to be rescued if you dont put first things first and act proper?
Piggy is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th October 2010, 07:12 PM   #131
alfaniner
Penultimate Amazing
 
alfaniner's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 24,616
Seconded on Stephen King's Cell. A good premise gone horribly wrong.

I thought of another one (which apparently some people liked) -- Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon. I stuck it out for the first half of the book (about 5000 pages) thinking it would get better, but in all that reading absolutely nothing happened. Skimmed the rest just to find out what the big "reveal" was. It wouldn't have been worth it.
__________________
Science is self-correcting.
Woo is self-contradicting.
alfaniner is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th October 2010, 07:12 PM   #132
Prometheus
Acolyte of Varr
 
Prometheus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 49,733
Originally Posted by Piggy View Post
I give a book a very short time to prove itself, so I haven't read much of many bad books, but the worst one I can recall was a translation of Beowulf by a contemporary poet -- it was someone I'm familiar with, but I've put his name out of my mind -- which attempted to modernize the story.

When I got the phrase "jumper cables" I threw it across the room.

On the other hand, one of the best books I've ever read is Seamus Heaney's translation of Beowulf.

Allow me the pleasure of transcribing from my well-worn first edition:

So. The Spear-Danes in days gone by
and the kings who ruled them had courage and greatness.
We have heard of those princes' heroic campaigns.

There was Shield Sheafson, scourge of many tribes,
a wrecker of mead-benches, rampaging among foes.
This terror of the hall-troops had come far.
A foundling to start with, he would flourish later on
and his powers waxed and his worth was proved.
In the end each clan on the outlying coasts
beyond the whale-road had to yield to him
and begin to pay tribute. That was one good king.
I keep meaning to pick that up....
__________________
As Einstein once said, "If you can't think of something relevant to say, just make something up and attribute it to some really smart dead guy."
"I find your lack of pith disturbing," - Darth Rotor
..........
Don't be offended. I'm not calling you a serial killer. -- Ron Tomkins.
Prometheus is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th October 2010, 07:35 PM   #133
Lucian
Illuminator
 
Lucian's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 3,237
Originally Posted by Piggy View Post
I give a book a very short time to prove itself, so I haven't read much of many bad books, but the worst one I can recall was a translation of Beowulf by a contemporary poet -- it was someone I'm familiar with, but I've put his name out of my mind -- which attempted to modernize the story.

When I got the phrase "jumper cables" I threw it across the room.

On the other hand, one of the best books I've ever read is Seamus Heaney's translation of Beowulf.

Allow me the pleasure of transcribing from my well-worn first edition:

So. The Spear-Danes in days gone by
and the kings who ruled them had courage and greatness.
We have heard of those princes' heroic campaigns.

There was Shield Sheafson, scourge of many tribes,
a wrecker of mead-benches, rampaging among foes.
This terror of the hall-troops had come far.
A foundling to start with, he would flourish later on
and his powers waxed and his worth was proved.
In the end each clan on the outlying coasts
beyond the whale-road had to yield to him
and begin to pay tribute. That was one good king.
Allow me to transcribe something even better, from my well-worn third edition of Klaeber's Beowulf:

Hwt, we Gardena..in geardagum,
eodcyninga..rym gefrunon,
hu a elingas..ellen fremedon!
Oft Scyld Scefing..sceaena reatum,
monegum mum..meodosetla ofteah,
egsode eorl[as],..sydan rest wear
feasceaft funden;..he s frofre gebad,
weox under wolcnum..weormyndum ah,
o t him ghwylc..ymbsittendra
ofer hronrade..hyran scolde,
gomban gyldan;..t ws god cyning!

Heaneywulf isn't a bad verse translation, but it irks me, partly because of some of W.W. Norton's decisions regarding it (replacing E. Talbot Donaldson's translation in the Norton Anthology, for instance). I also got really tired of reading dim-witted reviews by people who basically said that Heaney made something great out of a piece of ****--not that any of these people could actually read the original or were even able to keep the plot straight in their reviews.

I own several translations of Beowulf. I haven't come across the "jumper cable" translation, thankfully.
Lucian is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th October 2010, 07:40 PM   #134
Wowbagger
The Infinitely Prolonged
 
Wowbagger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Westchester County, NY (when not in space)
Posts: 15,435
Originally Posted by TubbaBlubba View Post
That made me think of Angels and Demons (which I enjoyed more than Da Vinci Code, which in my opinion was pretty awful) where they are astonished over those invertible words with EARTH, WATER, etc on them, because no one knows what they looked like and no one could possibly create images like that again!

... Yet there are images of them which Dan Brown had an artist make.
The abigrams were definately the best part of that book.

Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess. This book has a gimmick - its invented slang,
That so-called "invented slang" was really just Russian, apparently. At least according to someone I know who speaks Russian.

The language of Nadsat, in spite of its origins from such a lousy book, can be fun to use, though! Dobby gruppa, me old droog!

And, I've also read that Anthony Burgess, himself, didn't even like the book he wrote, after a while.
__________________
WARNING: Phrases in this post may sound meaner than they were intended to be.

SkeptiCamp NYC: http://www.skepticampnyc.org/
An open conference on science and skepticism, where you could be a presenter!

By the way, my first name is NOT Bowerick!!!!
Wowbagger is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th October 2010, 08:50 PM   #135
Madalch
The Jester
 
Madalch's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 9,763
Originally Posted by Wowbagger View Post
That so-called "invented slang" was really just Russian, apparently. At least according to someone I know who speaks Russian.
Most of it is- my wife (who is fluent in that language) translated a bunch of it for me when we watched the movie. Even my feeble grasp of Ukrainian allowed me to get a bunch of it.

Originally Posted by bjornart View Post
For me it's The Iron Tower. I borrowed it from a friend in a pile of other SF and fantasy, and put it down after 20 pages the first time because that was enough to tell me this was an unimaginative Lord of the Rings rip-off.

I later decided to finish it, since I was returning the pile of books and returning one unread just felt wrong. It's not that it's badly written, in fact, at times I enjoyed it and thought things like "Hey, this bit is good. Nice to have some realistic females in your LOTR. And you haven't plagiarized stoff for a whole chapter." But then he'd do things like have the heroes enter the mines of Moria, only he changed the names.
I think I read that he actually had originally set it as a sequel to LOTR, but was advised by his lawyers to change the names and some details rather than to beg of permission from the Tolkien estate.
__________________
As the size of an explosion increases, the number of social situations it is incapable of resolving approaches zero. -Vaarsuvius
It's a rum state of affairs when you feel like punching a jar of mayonnaise in the face. -Charlie Brooker
Madalch is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th October 2010, 10:17 PM   #136
Arkayik
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 131
I tend to be quite tolerant, but one that really got to me was Tariq Ali's "Clash of Fundamentalisms". I suppose it was a profound disappointment. What was offered was insights into Arab vs European cultures, so I was sort of expecting to see some of those insights.... It really was more autobiographical, self-aggrandizing and about what a jolly interesting life he has personally led...

However, I do tolerate Dan Brown and Clive Cussler, so clearly my tastes are not to be trusted.

I read far more Piers Anthony than I care to remember, and eventually it just became too painful. The wheel of time series sucked me in till about 5 when I decided I just couldn't read another...
Arkayik is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th October 2010, 12:10 AM   #137
yomero
Graduate Poster
 
yomero's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,218
The French Connection, by Robin Moore. I read the book before the movie came out. The true story it relates is very interesting in itself, that's why I finished reading it. The prose was boring, with long lists of the New York City's streets that the detectives followed to chase the criminals. In this case, I found the movie much better than the book.
yomero is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th October 2010, 12:50 AM   #138
timhau
NWO Litter Technician
 
timhau's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Looks like Finland. Smells like Finland. Quacks like Finland. Where the hell am I?
Posts: 14,370
Originally Posted by Foolmewunz View Post
Purportedly there are no male calico cats, but this farmer had a bunch of them and not only were they rare (which, used as a plot could've been slightly acceptable as "rare" often equals "valuable"), but they're rare and MAGICAL.
[kitty genetics lesson]
Male calico cats aren't magical, but they are XXY males and therefore usually sterile. You need two X chromosomes to get black and orange into the same cat.

We now return to our regularly scheduled programming.
[/kitty genetics lesson]
__________________
When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bicycle. Then I realised that the Lord, in his wisdom, doesn't work that way. I just stole one and asked Him to forgive me.
- Emo Philips
timhau is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th October 2010, 12:53 AM   #139
bjornart
Master Poster
 
bjornart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 2,568
Originally Posted by alfaniner View Post
I thought of another one (which apparently some people liked) -- Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon. I stuck it out for the first half of the book (about 5000 pages) thinking it would get better, but in all that reading absolutely nothing happened. Skimmed the rest just to find out what the big "reveal" was. It wouldn't have been worth it.
The big weakness in all of Neal Stephenson's books up to and including Cryptonomicon is the ending. And of course that's where most people form their lasting impression of a book. But I try to elevate myself above that, because, when ignoring the last 20-30 pages of each, Cryptonomicon, Diamond Age and Snow Crash are some of my favourite books.
His Baroque Cycle doesn't suffer from the same issue, but that's the last I've read of him so I don't know about later books.
__________________
Well, I DON'T CARE WHAT YOU LIKE TO BELIEVE, GODDAMMIT! I DEAL IN THE FACTS!
-Cecil Adams
bjornart is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th October 2010, 12:56 AM   #140
bjornart
Master Poster
 
bjornart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 2,568
Originally Posted by Madalch View Post
I think I read that he actually had originally set it as a sequel to LOTR, but was advised by his lawyers to change the names and some details rather than to beg of permission from the Tolkien estate.
The wikipedia article says it was meant to set the scene for a LOTR sequel, which I find much more likely. If you change the names and minor details back to Tolkiens world you don't get a sequel to LOTR, you get LOTR.
__________________
Well, I DON'T CARE WHAT YOU LIKE TO BELIEVE, GODDAMMIT! I DEAL IN THE FACTS!
-Cecil Adams
bjornart is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th October 2010, 01:07 AM   #141
arthwollipot
Observer of Phenomena
Pronouns: he/him
 
arthwollipot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Ngunnawal Country
Posts: 69,631
Originally Posted by TubbaBlubba View Post
That made me think of Angels and Demons (which I enjoyed more than Da Vinci Code, which in my opinion was pretty awful) where they are astonished over those invertible words with EARTH, WATER, etc on them, because no one knows what they looked like and no one could possibly create images like that again!

... Yet there are images of them which Dan Brown had an artist make.

I have to admit that I thought Digital Fortress was pretty good.
I thought Angels and Demons was a superior book to The Da Vinci Code, which I thought was a little implausible. But Digital Fortress pissed me the hell off.

If I were running the plot of Digital Fortress as a roleplaying game, my players would lynch me. In fact, I almost did once, and they almost did.

The plot went like this:

We need the McGuffin! Person A has it, in Location 1.

Go to Location 1 and find Person A.

Person A gave it to Person B, who took it to Location 2.

Go to Location 2 and find Person B.

Person C stole it from Person B and ran off to Location 3.

Go to Location 3 and find Person C.

Person C sold it to Person D, in Location 4.

Go to Location 4 and find Person D.

Repeat until frustrated.
__________________
Please scream inside your heart.
arthwollipot is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th October 2010, 03:36 AM   #142
Wudang
BOFH
 
Wudang's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: People's Republic of South Yorkshire
Posts: 13,384
Digital Fortress by Dan Brown. After reading the drivel of the Da Vinci Code someone swore this was much better. Afterwards they got to listen to me explain to them the many reasons this was a bigger waste of paper than wiping my backside and if any tree had the choice it would pick the latter.
__________________
"Your deepest pools, like your deepest politicians and philosophers, often turn out more shallow than expected." Walter Scott.
Wudang is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th October 2010, 03:51 AM   #143
Robin
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 12,881
Peter Carey's Oscar and Lucinda.

I hated that book.

When I read something that I know is going to be rubbish then I don't mind that it is rubbish.

But when I read something that is supposed to be good...
__________________
The non-theoretical character of metaphysics would not be in itself a defect; all arts have this non-theoretical character without thereby losing their high value for personal as well as for social life. The danger lies in the deceptive character of metaphysics; it gives the illusion of knowledge without actually giving any knowledge. This is the reason why we reject it. - Rudolf Carnap "Philosophy and Logical Syntax"
Robin is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th October 2010, 04:02 AM   #144
lionking
In the Peanut Gallery
 
lionking's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Melbourne
Posts: 46,876
Originally Posted by Robin View Post
Peter Carey's Oscar and Lucinda.

I hated that book.

When I read something that I know is going to be rubbish then I don't mind that it is rubbish.

But when I read something that is supposed to be good...
Wow. One of my all time favourite books and a Booker Prize Winner to boot. Personally I don't think Carey is capable of writing a bad or uninteresting book. There you go.......
lionking is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th October 2010, 05:06 AM   #145
Robin
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 12,881
Originally Posted by lionking View Post
Wow. One of my all time favourite books and a Booker Prize Winner to boot. Personally I don't think Carey is capable of writing a bad or uninteresting book. There you go.......
I just couldn't see the point. It was like he just invented a character to be tormented by his own imperfections.

Carey hints at a story worth telling, just towards the end of the book.

But as far as I know he has never written that book.

That is the book I would probably like.
__________________
The non-theoretical character of metaphysics would not be in itself a defect; all arts have this non-theoretical character without thereby losing their high value for personal as well as for social life. The danger lies in the deceptive character of metaphysics; it gives the illusion of knowledge without actually giving any knowledge. This is the reason why we reject it. - Rudolf Carnap "Philosophy and Logical Syntax"
Robin is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th October 2010, 05:42 AM   #146
ZirconBlue
Sole Survivor of L-Town
 
ZirconBlue's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Lexington, KY, USA, Earth
Posts: 13,659
Originally Posted by alfaniner View Post
I thought of another one (which apparently some people liked) -- Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon. I stuck it out for the first half of the book (about 5000 pages) thinking it would get better, but in all that reading absolutely nothing happened. Skimmed the rest just to find out what the big "reveal" was. It wouldn't have been worth it.
A friend gave me this to read. It was his new favorite book. I don't think it was a bad book, but it needed to be edited down to about half the length.

Originally Posted by Arkayik View Post
I read far more Piers Anthony than I care to remember, and eventually it just became too painful.
Oh, yeah. Anthony was my favorite author during my teens. I'm not sure whether he became much worse over time, or my tastes changed.
__________________
Religion and sex are powerplays.
Manipulate the people for the money they pay.
Selling skin, selling God
The numbers look the same on their credit cards.
ZirconBlue is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th October 2010, 06:32 AM   #147
Helen
Implicitly explicit
 
Helen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Here. Or very nearly getting there, at least.
Posts: 2,129
Originally Posted by lionking View Post
Wow. One of my all time favourite books and a Booker Prize Winner to boot. Personally I don't think Carey is capable of writing a bad or uninteresting book. There you go.......
Admit it, you've stolen my taste in books...

I have tried a couple of times, but find Moby Dick unreadable. Can't stand Ayn Rand, and haven't finished Atlas Shrugges. Actually read all of the Da Vinci Code, mostly because I thought it had to have something. Turns out it didn't. So that was perhaps the worst book I ever read.

I agree about Liza Marklund, she is awful, isn't she? But then I don't think Mankell is that good either; extremely stilted dialogue, and pedestrian prose.

I really like Heany's Beowulf, but it seems to me to be more Heany than Beowulf.
Helen is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th October 2010, 07:20 AM   #148
Dave Rogers
Bandaged ice that stampedes inexpensively through a scribbled morning waving necessary ankles
 
Dave Rogers's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Cair Paravel, according to XKCD
Posts: 32,247
Originally Posted by Roadtoad View Post
The flying car was fine. It was the 20,000 mile range on a single tank that was a bit OTT.

Originally Posted by Roadtoad View Post
Part of the problem you folks have with Clive Cussler is that you don't get it. This is beach reading, folks. Turn off your brain, and read through as Dirk Pitt/Kurt Austin/Juan Cabrillo/Isaac Bell or whomever the hero is for that particular book happens to be takes on the "impossible," and comes out smiling.
I tried, believe me. I can turn my brain off and enjoy Robert Ludlum, no problem. To enjoy Cussler, I'd have to turn it off, yank it out one ear, put it in the deep freeze, smash it, bury the remains at the crossroads with a stake through the medulla oblongata, and I'd probably still need to get very drunk.

Dave
__________________
There is truth and there are lies.

- President Joseph R. Biden, January 20th, 2021
Dave Rogers is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th October 2010, 07:49 AM   #149
Wowbagger
The Infinitely Prolonged
 
Wowbagger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Westchester County, NY (when not in space)
Posts: 15,435
Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
To enjoy Cussler, I'd have to turn it off, yank it out one ear, put it in the deep freeze, smash it, bury the remains at the crossroads with a stake through the medulla oblongata, and I'd probably still need to get very drunk.
Are you sure you're not talking about Eoin Colfer? 'Cause that's kinda how I feel.
__________________
WARNING: Phrases in this post may sound meaner than they were intended to be.

SkeptiCamp NYC: http://www.skepticampnyc.org/
An open conference on science and skepticism, where you could be a presenter!

By the way, my first name is NOT Bowerick!!!!
Wowbagger is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th October 2010, 08:15 AM   #150
Checkmite
Skepticifimisticalationist
 
Checkmite's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Gulf Coast
Posts: 26,350
Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
I thought Angels and Demons was a superior book to The Da Vinci Code, which I thought was a little implausible. But Digital Fortress pissed me the hell off.

If I were running the plot of Digital Fortress as a roleplaying game, my players would lynch me. In fact, I almost did once, and they almost did.

The plot went like this:

We need the McGuffin! Person A has it, in Location 1.

Go to Location 1 and find Person A.

Person A gave it to Person B, who took it to Location 2.

Go to Location 2 and find Person B.

Person C stole it from Person B and ran off to Location 3.

Go to Location 3 and find Person C.

Person C sold it to Person D, in Location 4.

Go to Location 4 and find Person D.

Repeat until frustrated.
tl;dr:

THANK YOU MARIO, BUT OUR PRINCESS IS IN ANOTHER CASTLE!
__________________
"WHAT KIND OF BIRD?
A PARANORMAL BIRD?"
--- Carlos S., 2002
Checkmite is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th October 2010, 08:34 AM   #151
samanthakayee
Scholar
 
samanthakayee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 81
Originally Posted by bookitty View Post

Other than that, the first two books of the Twilight series which I read to see what my niece (then 13) was so infatuated with. The writing is so poor and the message so incredibly horrible that they left me enraged. The niece and I had several long talks about how Edward is actually a creepy stalker. It was a bonding experience, so I got that out of it. But I wouldn't read the rest of the books in that series if you paid me.
They do get worse. To save her canon about Jake being all into Bela you find out in the 4th book its her demon child that he is into It just more painful as it goes LOL


I also have to agree about SK Cell. My sister wanted me to read it so we could tear it apart but not coming out to say it said ohh make sure you read it to the end. It could have been a better book it has some good parts but the ending felt like he was just done and wanted to get the book over with.

Last edited by samanthakayee; 5th October 2010 at 08:41 AM.
samanthakayee is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th October 2010, 09:14 AM   #152
Philosaur
Muse
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 971
Speaking of Beowulf, anyone read Grendel by John Gardner? I liked it.

And speaking of Neal Stephenson, I must say I absolutely love his books. I've read everything from Snowcrash through Anathem (though nothing pre-Snowcrash, which I hear isn't very good anyway). My only gripe with Stephenson is that his descriptions are both lengthy and unclear. I often have to read back over the descriptions a couple of times before I'm able to visualize what he's writing about.

The slang from A Clockwork Orange is, indeed, Russian.

I can't think of a worst book, per se, but I really didn't like A Confederacy of Dunces--maybe the constant talk about the guy's pyloric valve just made me queasy.

I recently stopped reading A Study in Scarlet. As my introduction to Sherlock Holmes, it wasn't so good. Part I ends with Holmes collaring the murderer--but without an explanation of the crime. Part II (where I quit reading) is this interminable flashback to the Wild West, replete with buzzards, vicious Mormons, and an Englishman's laughably bad attempt at period American dialog.
Philosaur is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th October 2010, 09:24 AM   #153
Piggy
Unlicensed street skeptic
 
Piggy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 15,905
Originally Posted by Wowbagger View Post
And, I've also read that Anthony Burgess, himself, didn't even like the book he wrote, after a while.
Burgess had a big problem, and rightly so, with the American edition, which kills the aptly-numbered 21st chapter, which contains the book's resolution. The American publisher thought audiences here would prefer the book if it ended at the climax and didn't fool with the denoument. (The movie follows the US version.)

Of course, that meant that the overall theme and the reading experience for the two editions were 180 degrees reversed!
__________________
.
How can you expect to be rescued if you dont put first things first and act proper?
Piggy is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th October 2010, 09:30 AM   #154
Piggy
Unlicensed street skeptic
 
Piggy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 15,905
Originally Posted by Helen View Post
Actually read all of the Da Vinci Code, mostly because I thought it had to have something. Turns out it didn't. So that was perhaps the worst book I ever read.
That's probably the worst book I read cover to cover.

It relies on recycling a bunch of old but obscure tropes which its intended audience will find new and shocking.

The characters are flat, the plot is cliche, and the mysteries are old hat.

You can sum up DVC very easily:

Characters discover something shocking.
They run off to an exotic locale.
They meet another character and engage in expository dialog.
The riddle is answered, but in the process....
[repeat]
__________________
.
How can you expect to be rescued if you dont put first things first and act proper?
Piggy is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th October 2010, 09:32 AM   #155
Piggy
Unlicensed street skeptic
 
Piggy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 15,905
Originally Posted by Lucian View Post
Heaneywulf isn't a bad verse translation
I disagree. It's a tremendous translation.

Translations are always difficult, and never perfect, but to my ear, Heaney's adaptation strikes the perfect balance.

If you're going to render that book in contemporary English, I can't imagine how it could have been done any better.
__________________
.
How can you expect to be rescued if you dont put first things first and act proper?
Piggy is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th October 2010, 10:11 AM   #156
Wowbagger
The Infinitely Prolonged
 
Wowbagger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Westchester County, NY (when not in space)
Posts: 15,435
Originally Posted by Piggy View Post
Burgess had a big problem, and rightly so, with the American edition, which kills the aptly-numbered 21st chapter, which contains the book's resolution.
Ah, yes, that was probably what I was thinking about.
__________________
WARNING: Phrases in this post may sound meaner than they were intended to be.

SkeptiCamp NYC: http://www.skepticampnyc.org/
An open conference on science and skepticism, where you could be a presenter!

By the way, my first name is NOT Bowerick!!!!
Wowbagger is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th October 2010, 10:18 AM   #157
CptColumbo
Just One More Question
 
CptColumbo's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Lots of places
Posts: 9,237
Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler. Do I need to go any further?
__________________
I've been involved in a lot of cults, both as a leader and a follower. You have more fun as a follower, but you make more money as a leader.--Creed, "The Office"
The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices to be only found in the minds of men. Prejudices and suspicion can destroy, and a thoughtless frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all its own.--Rod Serling
CptColumbo is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th October 2010, 11:42 AM   #158
Aitch
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 2,723
Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
The flying car was fine. It was the 20,000 mile range on a single tank that was a bit OTT.
IIRC there is space-going car in A. E. van Vogt's Slan. But that is supposed to be science fiction.
Aitch is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th October 2010, 12:05 PM   #159
TubbaBlubba
Knave of the Dudes
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 12,901
Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
I thought Angels and Demons was a superior book to The Da Vinci Code, which I thought was a little implausible. But Digital Fortress pissed me the hell off.

If I were running the plot of Digital Fortress as a roleplaying game, my players would lynch me. In fact, I almost did once, and they almost did.

The plot went like this:

We need the McGuffin! Person A has it, in Location 1.

Go to Location 1 and find Person A.

Person A gave it to Person B, who took it to Location 2.

Go to Location 2 and find Person B.

Person C stole it from Person B and ran off to Location 3.

Go to Location 3 and find Person C.

Person C sold it to Person D, in Location 4.

Go to Location 4 and find Person D.

Repeat until frustrated.
Well, it left a pretty strong impression on me; I couldn't sleep the night I started reading it, so having started at 1 AM or something, I'd finished it by maybe 9 in the morning. Then I went to sleep and slept all day.

Since I actually kept reading it throughout the night (not that I was sleepy or anything anyway) I can't have found it that horrible. It's definitely not anywhere near my favourite books, but I didn't think it was bad.
__________________
"The presidents voracious sexual appetite is the elephant that the president rides around on each and every day while pretending that it doesnt exist." - Bill O'Reilly et al., Killing Kennedy

Last edited by TubbaBlubba; 5th October 2010 at 12:07 PM.
TubbaBlubba is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th October 2010, 12:08 PM   #160
TubbaBlubba
Knave of the Dudes
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 12,901
Originally Posted by CptColumbo View Post
Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler. Do I need to go any further?
Holy mother of God, you managed to trek through that? I've promised myself to do it some day.
__________________
"The presidents voracious sexual appetite is the elephant that the president rides around on each and every day while pretending that it doesnt exist." - Bill O'Reilly et al., Killing Kennedy
TubbaBlubba is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Reply

International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » History, Literature, and the Arts

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 03:18 AM.
Powered by vBulletin. Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

This forum began as part of the James Randi Education Foundation (JREF). However, the forum now exists as
an independent entity with no affiliation with or endorsement by the JREF, including the section in reference to "JREF" topics.

Disclaimer: Messages posted in the Forum are solely the opinion of their authors.