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Old 7th October 2010, 08:06 AM   #241
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(Because I was reminded of it in another thread.) I'll never forgive Orson Scott Card for the travesty that was The Lost Boys. Although it was quite interesting most of the time, the treatment of the kid was heartbreaking and the end was such a shift of genre as to be unforgiveable. Especially since he himself had warned against this kind of thing in his book on writing, Characters and Viewpoint.
The boy gets raped and murdered and turns into a ghost with a bunch of other boys who reappear, and whose families are called and they all sit around the living room talking.
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Old 7th October 2010, 03:39 PM   #242
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Originally Posted by Swagomatic View Post
Wow, I must say, I don't really understand all the hatred for The Great Gatsby. As I remember, I thought it was a pretty good book, and relatively short. Oh well.


One book that I read that I really hated, and I had hoped it would be really good, was Sanctuary by William Faulkner. It's supposed to be a literary treasure, but I just didn't get it.
Most any of F. Scott Fitgeralds books I hated. I believe Tender is the Night was the first book I ever actually threw in the trash.

Julia
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Old 8th October 2010, 03:22 AM   #243
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Originally Posted by Philosaur View Post
Yeah, I recognized a couple of the names from the flashback matching names of the more contemporary characters, and I understand that Doyle was using the flashback as exposition--but the flashback was just BORING. Maybe I'll just skip to another story.
Makes sense. The short stories from Adventures and Memoirs are much more compact.

Although in terms of novel-length stories, I quite enjoyed Hound of the Baskervilles. YMMV.
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Old 8th October 2010, 06:03 AM   #244
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Although in terms of novel-length stories, I quite enjoyed Hound of the Baskervilles. YMMV.
I sometimes wonder whether a friend said to him before he wrote it, "Hey Arthur, why not pad out the story to fill the whole damned book?"

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Old 8th October 2010, 06:16 AM   #245
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Originally Posted by Fireshadow View Post

As far as the criticisms of The Number of the Beast and later Heinlein books go, I suppose I'll have to agree to disagree on those.
Before answering "The Number of the Beast" I thought I'd search the thread, and there it was. Love Heinlein, mind, but this novel smacked of being a contractual requirement or something. In fact I recall passing references in the story to such matters, suggesting to me Heinlein bitterly resented having to write it.

eta: a spectacularly devastating review here

Last edited by GlennB; 8th October 2010 at 06:30 AM.
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Old 8th October 2010, 06:46 AM   #246
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Originally Posted by Morrigan View Post
I'll be the first to criticize Wheel of Time but it's sheer genius compared to the stupefying drivel that is Sword of Truth. No hyperbole here, it's really, really BAD.
I think I made it through the first 4 Sword of Truth novels before I had enough. Formulaic plot, formulaic characters and the characters were annoying. I truly found Richard and his woman (I forget her name) to be annoying. And the author would constantly make up excuses for why they could not be together. For once I just wanted them to say, "Let's wait a day on saving the world and get down with our bad selves."

A friend of mine loves the series but I have learned not to trust him (although he did turn me on to Game of Thrones.

Oddly, I rather enjoyed the Legend of the Seeker TV series. At first I was laughing that it was based on Sword of Truth but I got sucked in. Not that it was so great but for the total lack of fantasy TV programming there was no competition.
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Old 8th October 2010, 06:48 AM   #247
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Originally Posted by Brainache View Post
but I don't think it's the worst I've ever read. That honour goes to "Battlefield Earth".
I beg of you, never even contemplate reading Hubbard's Mission Earth series. It makes Battlefield Earth look like fine literature. Imagine Hubbard trying to do funny.
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Old 8th October 2010, 06:57 AM   #248
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Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
The worst well-known books I've read are The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy...
I read it in High School and wrote an essay slagging it for English class. I was nervous turning it in because I figured the teacher assigned the book because she like it but I just could not fake like I enjoyed the book. Too preposterous.

I received a B+ on the essay so I guess she did not punish me. Many years later, as an adult, I found that essay and reread it. She was being generous.
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Old 8th October 2010, 07:01 AM   #249
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The one I wrote, at least that's what people tell me... (sigh)
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Old 8th October 2010, 07:40 AM   #250
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Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
Before answering "The Number of the Beast" I thought I'd search the thread, and there it was. Love Heinlein, mind, but this novel smacked of being a contractual requirement or something. In fact I recall passing references in the story to such matters, suggesting to me Heinlein bitterly resented having to write it.

eta: a spectacularly devastating review here
I'd managed to forget that sefl-absorbed wankfest until now. Yes that was worse than Digital Fortress and I expected a little better from Heinlein. Painfully accurate review.
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Old 8th October 2010, 07:50 AM   #251
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Anybody mentioned "A Confederacy of Dunces" yet?
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Old 8th October 2010, 08:43 AM   #252
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Originally Posted by Lurker View Post
I think I made it through the first 4 Sword of Truth novels before I had enough. Formulaic plot, formulaic characters and the characters were annoying. I truly found Richard and his woman (I forget her name) to be annoying. And the author would constantly make up excuses for why they could not be together. For once I just wanted them to say, "Let's wait a day on saving the world and get down with our bad selves."
Sword of Truth was a terrible series. I forget which book (3 or 4 I think) there is a prophecy that Richard's wife will "betray him in her blood". What ends up happening is that for some reason she is forced to have sex with another man which she refuses because she loves only Richard and also she is in the middle of her 'time of the month'. Somehow she is convinced to have sex with this other man because something horrible will happen if she doesn't. So she has sex with him in the dark and then gives him oral sex. When the lights come she sees it's Richard who wipes some of the menstrual blood off her face with his finger and shows it to her repeating the prophecy "And she will betray you in her blood". The series is full of head scratching weirdness like that.
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Old 8th October 2010, 09:18 AM   #253
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Originally Posted by rwguinn View Post
Anybody mentioned "A Confederacy of Dunces" yet?
Darn ... I was starting to think I would get through this thread without seeing a book I liked mentioned. :-)

I don't think "A Confederacy of Dunces" is a great book, but I didn't feel my time was wasted reading it ....

... unlike a couple of other books that I've read ....

I thought a old-style pulp detective novel by Stephen King was a cool idea. But, King's Colorado Kid has no ending. I feel that my time was wasted reading it. Sometimes "worst" is influenced by your expectations.

I made the mistake of reading one of the novels by someone else that has James Patterson's name on the cover. It was dreadfully bad. Now, I now that "James Patterson" on a book cover is sort of like the "Good Housekeeping Seal" ... for really bad novels.

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Old 8th October 2010, 09:25 AM   #254
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Originally Posted by rwguinn View Post
Anybody mentioned "A Confederacy of Dunces" yet?
The hell? That's an amazing book.


Sadly, I never finished it.
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Old 8th October 2010, 10:30 AM   #255
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Originally Posted by Abe_the_Man View Post
Sword of Truth was a terrible series. I forget which book (3 or 4 I think) there is a prophecy that Richard's wife will "betray him in her blood". What ends up happening is that for some reason she is forced to have sex with another man which she refuses because she loves only Richard and also she is in the middle of her 'time of the month'. Somehow she is convinced to have sex with this other man because something horrible will happen if she doesn't. So she has sex with him in the dark and then gives him oral sex. When the lights come she sees it's Richard who wipes some of the menstrual blood off her face with his finger and shows it to her repeating the prophecy "And she will betray you in her blood". The series is full of head scratching weirdness like that.
That is weird. Very weird. I think the author has some issues, myself. I always found it irritating that Richard and Kahlan (I recall her name now) never could be together for any length of time. It was getting to be like some bad soap opera.
Quote:
I'm sorry Richard, I know we have been apart for a year now and you really want to have some alone time with me but I just received a vision that my neice Buttertoes stubbed her toe and I need to start the 1000 mile journey in order to console her. But as soon as I get back...

You can't start the journey tommorrow, dearest?

Sorry, duty calls.
then again, maybe she was acting like a wife of 20 years. Not now dear.....

Judging from the TV series, I'd rather be with the Mord Sith wench. Far, far hotter.
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Old 8th October 2010, 10:38 AM   #256
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Originally Posted by Wudang View Post
I'd managed to forget that sefl-absorbed wankfest until now. Yes that was worse than Digital Fortress and I expected a little better from Heinlein. Painfully accurate review.
"Friday" was even worse.
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Old 8th October 2010, 10:41 AM   #257
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Some thoughts on other books mentioned:

Gor - Even as a horny teenager I got tired of the "women want to be subjugated" mantra that Norman weaved repeatedly in every book. I think I made it through about 15 of them.

Tommyknockers - Used to be a King fan until this book came along and I drifted away. The book seemed written specifically for a TV adaptation.

Lord Foul's Bane - But the cover looked so good! I disliked it but slogged through the trilogy and grew to appreciate it. The anti-hero takes some getting used to and was quite atypical at the time.

Shannarra - First was ok, not terribly original. Following ones were bad.

Dune - Books 1-3 are classic SF. Books after that, not so much. Never read the son's but from what people here say, I won't.

Eddings - I read his first series of six books and thought they were ok. Not terribly memorable and substandard in comparison to today's books but I would not say they were the worst.
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Old 8th October 2010, 03:18 PM   #258
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Originally Posted by TubbaBlubba View Post
The hell? That's an amazing book.


Sadly, I never finished it.
You might want to try Geek Love by Katherine Dunn. Nothing like Dunces at all but compatible. Also, not classic fiction or anything, just very rich and readable.
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Old 8th October 2010, 03:34 PM   #259
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Originally Posted by bookitty View Post
You might want to try Geek Love by Katherine Dunn. Nothing like Dunces at all but compatible. Also, not classic fiction or anything, just very rich and readable.

A great book and a young classic. And Arturo the Aqua Boy.
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Old 8th October 2010, 07:09 PM   #260
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The Red Badge of Courage immediately jumps to mind. I was forced to read in high school english.

The most angry a book has ever made me was Insomnia by Stephen King. I was really enjoying it until the last few chapters turned into a *********** commercial for the Gunslinger series. Pissed me off so much I haven't picked up a King novel in over a decade.

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Old 8th October 2010, 08:04 PM   #261
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Originally Posted by Swagomatic View Post
One book that I read that I really hated, and I had hoped it would be really good, was Sanctuary by William Faulkner. It's supposed to be a literary treasure, but I just didn't get it.
Agreed. I was on a classic kick one year. Reread a lot from high school and college, such as candide and don Quixote, and then fell into a bunch of hemingway. The don q was a bit of a slog, but the Hemingway was great and some other were fun, like the monkey wrench gang and catch22. Then I read sanctuary. It was like a kick in the groin.

I'm surprised that Infinte Jest hasn't shown up here. I found it frustrating at points, but worth the effort.
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Old 8th October 2010, 08:45 PM   #262
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Harry Turtledove' Homeward Bound it appears to be trying to be a tour of the race's homeword. However after reading it is still unclear how the economy works and how much individual liberty there is. There is also a lack an explantion as to why the race is so loyal to it's emperor.

It also uses the whole "humand adapt fast the race doesn't" a far too high a frequency. Despite that it avoid the issue of if this is a result of how the society is structured or just a result of the way memebers of the race think (both approaches have problems with them).
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Old 8th October 2010, 08:57 PM   #263
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Clancy's "Cardinal of the Kremlin" was awful. I stopped reading his work after that. I imagine the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy is bad overall...I never got past page 50 or so in the first book. Some of Asimov's work can be tough to get through...the Foundation series is great, but "Prelude to the Foundation" and "Forward the Foundation" were bad. They just went nowhere.

I am a bit surprised to see "Confederacy of Dunces" in some posts. Since I lived in New Orleans at the time, I am a bit biased, but it is one of my favorites.

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Old 8th October 2010, 10:51 PM   #264
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Piers Anthony's Firefly. I'll spare you all (unless someone expresses curiosity) a rant I'm pretty sure I've posted here before: suffice it to say that the central female character is a young woman whose Great Life-Altering Tragedy is the death of her lover.

When she was five.



Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah, by Richard Bach. You can make bad things disappear by not wanting them in your life. If they don't just go away, it's because you're still too attached to them.

Oh, and at some way-station that happens between incarnations -- between your previous life and this one -- you prearranged everything that's going to happen to you in this life, so it's no more real or consequential than the events in a movie. When it's pointed out how many people in the world's history have suffered through lives of unrelieved misery, the hero's response is, "Yabbut some people like horror movies too."

It's rather disturbingly convenient for a well-to-do white Westerner who owns his own airplane to put forward a philosophy based on the notion that other people's suffering isn't real.
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Old 8th October 2010, 11:14 PM   #265
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Originally Posted by Hindmost View Post
Clancy's "Cardinal of the Kremlin" was awful. I stopped reading his work after that. I imagine the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy is bad overall...I never got past page 50 or so in the first book. Some of Asimov's work can be tough to get through...the Foundation series is great, but "Prelude to the Foundation" and "Forward the Foundation" were bad. They just went nowhere.

I am a bit surprised to see "Confederacy of Dunces" in some posts. Since I lived in New Orleans at the time, I am a bit biased, but it is one of my favorites.

glenn
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Old 9th October 2010, 04:30 PM   #266
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Originally Posted by Cactus Wren View Post
Piers Anthony's Firefly. I'll spare you all (unless someone expresses curiosity) a rant I'm pretty sure I've posted here before: suffice it to say that the central female character is a young woman whose Great Life-Altering Tragedy is the death of her lover.

When she was five.
Yeah. That was the last book of his I read.
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Old 9th October 2010, 04:38 PM   #267
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Originally Posted by Cactus Wren View Post
Piers Anthony's Firefly. I'll spare you all (unless someone expresses curiosity) a rant I'm pretty sure I've posted here before: suffice it to say that the central female character is a young woman whose Great Life-Altering Tragedy is the death of her lover.

When she was five.

It's not the only book of his that wandered off into pedophilia. There was one that went int great detail of the courtship of the main character and a 14 year old.

The bizarre thing about Firefly was the girl actively seduced the man in question when she was 5. For all intents and purposes she rapes the guy.
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Old 9th October 2010, 05:29 PM   #268
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Originally Posted by Alareth View Post
It's not the only book of his that wandered off into pedophilia. There was one that went int great detail of the courtship of the main character and a 14 year old.
If that's The Shade of the Tree, I thought she was 16. But I could easily be wrong. Or it could be one of his other books- it's not like it's a subject he so rarely brings up.
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Old 9th October 2010, 06:27 PM   #269
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Originally Posted by Damien Evans View Post
didn't like it either I see.
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Old 9th October 2010, 07:39 PM   #270
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Ok, two that might make some people mad.

The Colour of Magic. My god is this an awful awful book. It's badly written (sorry PTerry, I love you but this is dreadful) and I read it thinking "and now something funny will happen...something funny will happen...any minute now" for maybe a quarter of the book before I threw it across the room in frustration. I've tried reading it twice since then and it's STILL not funny.

The 5th HHGTTG book is simply dreadful utter nonsense lazily spilled out on paper that could have been used for much greater things. Like tissues. I have the first 4 in one book and while I felt they dramatically went downhill from first to fourth, I still enjoyed all of them. This one though was simply dreadful. I didn't care for any of the formerly wonderful characters and it made me really rather angry. I was amazed that it was actually written by Adams. Ugh.

Finally one most people should get on board with. Anthem by Ayn Rand. Masturbatory fantasy for every self centred sociopath with deeply seated paranoid fantasies about government control. Laughably poor understanding of Socialism which leads to a would-be-funny-if-it-weren't-pathetic vision of the inevitable future of all states with a socialist system whereby no-one has a name and we've forgotten how to make glass. I laughed while reading it before remembering some people actually think this woman was right rather than just an overgrown toddler with insecurity issues. Her writing style hovers somewhere around Dan Brown cartoonish and actually offensive to read, and for a novella it goes precisely nowhere for a surprising amount of time.
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Old 10th October 2010, 12:54 AM   #271
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Originally Posted by Hindmost View Post
didn't like it either I see.
The Lord Of The Rings is my favourite book.
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Old 10th October 2010, 01:08 AM   #272
Fireshadow
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Originally Posted by Madalch View Post
If that's The Shade of the Tree, I thought she was 16. But I could easily be wrong. Or it could be one of his other books- it's not like it's a subject he so rarely brings up.
I think that it's most likely referencing Virtual Mode--the female protagonist in that series is 14 at the outset of the story. That being said, I actually quite enjoyed those books (I read the first one when I myself was 14, so didn't automatically see anything inherently wrong with the premise). Also, if I recall correctly, the king character was not too pleased when he realized just how young the girl was--he had opened a gate between dimensions with the intent of finding a bride, but his mores, while not the same as Earth's, were still fairly straight-laced.
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Old 10th October 2010, 01:24 AM   #273
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Originally Posted by MarkCorrigan View Post
Finally one most people should get on board with. Anthem by Ayn Rand. Masturbatory fantasy for every self centred sociopath with deeply seated paranoid fantasies about government control. Laughably poor understanding of Socialism which leads to a would-be-funny-if-it-weren't-pathetic vision of the inevitable future of all states with a socialist system whereby no-one has a name and we've forgotten how to make glass. I laughed while reading it before remembering some people actually think this woman was right rather than just an overgrown toddler with insecurity issues. Her writing style hovers somewhere around Dan Brown cartoonish and actually offensive to read, and for a novella it goes precisely nowhere for a surprising amount of time.
On the bright side, at least anthem was a short read, whereas those masochistic enough to read The Fountainhead or Atlas Shurgged had nearly, or over, 1000 pages to endure. I said before, I found The Fountainhead to be the worst book ever written and Schrodinger's Cat corroborated my findings.
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Old 10th October 2010, 01:41 AM   #274
Marquis de Carabas
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Catcher in the Rye

There are far worse books, but I never finished any of them.
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Old 10th October 2010, 02:27 AM   #275
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Originally Posted by bookitty View Post
You might want to try Geek Love by Katherine Dunn. Nothing like Dunces at all but compatible. Also, not classic fiction or anything, just very rich and readable.
Loved it.
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Old 10th October 2010, 03:10 AM   #276
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Originally Posted by Marquis de Carabas View Post
Catcher in the Rye

There are far worse books, but I never finished any of them.
OH GOD YES. I read that about a year ago for school. That book is the whiniest piece of crap I have ever read.
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Old 10th October 2010, 07:20 AM   #277
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Most of these have been fiction books, so far.

Perhaps some of y'all could start contributing some more non-fiction (or at least purported to be non-fiction) books?

As some of you might know, I traditionally read one book a year that I would not normally read, through some challenge of some woo-woo.

Last year, it was Outside the Gates of Science by Damien Broderick.
http://www.internationalskeptics.com...d.php?t=143156
(The link to my actual review should be back up by next week, I hope.)

It was bad. But, not as bad as the previous year's: Not by Chance: Shattering the Modern Theory of Evolution, by Lee M. Spetner. THIS was the Worst Non-Fiction Book I Have Ever Finished Reading, so far. (Though, it might not stay that way, if I keep the yearly tradition up.)
(Again, the link to my review should be back up by next week. I hope.)

That was a book that was almost entirely strawman: He was NOT really knocking down the actual modern theory of evolution used by scientists. He was spewing his own, badly distorted vision of what evolutionary theory is (for example, it's all random chance, according to him). Then he knocks it down with his own ideas that, ironically, sometimes closely (though never perfectly) match what modern evolutionary theory might actually say!

For example: He gets the concept of convergent evolution completely wrong (implying that DNA code converges, which he rightfully suggests is improbable). Then, he talks about how he thinks the features of different life forms might converge, in different ways, if they are facing similar environments. Which, of course, is what evolution is would really predict, anyway!
But, with one important difference: Spetner, at the end of the book, places God as the driving force behind the changes, instead of a natural selection force.

It was badly written, to boot. He spends pages building an analogy to something, then doesn't use it. Some portions are rather incoherent. And, other portions are outright boring.


This year, I am reading the infamous Darwin's Black Box, by Michael Behe. (Technically, this will be mostly for the second time.) Behe's arguments are, to be charitable, weak. But, at least he can write coherently. And, at least his strawmen are somewhat smaller than Spetner's. So, while this book is also bad. Very bad. I must say that it might only come in second place as the worst non-fiction book I have ever read.
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Old 10th October 2010, 11:51 AM   #278
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I don't read fiction either.
Not the worse but possibly the worse of its kind, I've read quite a few biographies of Picasso, there are many but the worse by far was Picasso: Creator and Destroyer by Arianna Stassinopoulos who later became Arianna Huffington of Huffington Post fame etc.
It had all the insight and original research of a free paper gossip column.


Now, Ayn Rand.
Is it me , I'm in my late 40s, even if you don't read fiction you know and recognise authors & influential books but until say a few years ago I had never heard of Rand, or Atlas Shrugged etc , now her influence, those pro & anti seem to be everywhere. Of course I accept it is partly my ignorance but am I alone in thinking , for whatever reasons, this revival of Rand consciousness is a relatively recent phenomena - ?
Is "Atlas Shrugged" the "Catcher in the Rye" of the 21st Century?

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Old 10th October 2010, 01:32 PM   #279
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Originally Posted by The Shrike View Post
A lot of people love it, but I thought it was some of the whiniest, most aimless drivel I've ever read: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.
hear hear

total crap
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Old 10th October 2010, 01:35 PM   #280
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Originally Posted by Rrose Selavy View Post
I don't read fiction either.
Not the worse but possibly the worse of its kind, I've read quite a few biographies of Picasso, there are many but the worse by far was Picasso: Creator and Destroyer by Arianna Stassinopoulos who later became Arianna Huffington of Huffington Post fame etc.
It had all the insight and original research of a free paper gossip column.


Now, Ayn Rand.
Is it me , I'm in my late 40s, even if you don't read fiction you know and recognise authors & influential books but until say a few years ago I had never heard of Rand, or Atlas Shrugged etc , now her influence, those pro & anti seem to be everywhere. Of course I accept it is partly my ignorance but am I alone in thinking , for whatever reasons, this revival of Rand consciousness is a relatively recent phenomena - ?
Is "Atlas Shrugged" the "Catcher in the Rye" of the 21st Century?
No, her ascendancy is not a new phenomenon. She has always had a very strong following. I find it surprising that you would not have heard of her earlier, especially considering your
age, which would have placed you at a point in time where she was perhaps at her height of popularity.
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