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Old 22nd October 2010, 07:52 AM   #321
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Originally Posted by John Jones View Post
Dyanetics?

ETA: The Center of the Cyclone By John Lily.
A guy fries his brain in LSD and expects us to take it seriously.
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Old 22nd October 2010, 09:56 AM   #322
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Originally Posted by Hans View Post
Jose Farmer mashup of Tarzan and Doc Savage doing strange sex things with a secret organization - fortunately the title escapes me - one of the few books I not only didn't finish reading but threw away.
A Feast Unknown (1969)

It has two innocuous sequels, one with Tarzan (more or less) and one with Doc Savage (ditto):

Lord of the Trees/The Mad Goblin (1970)

And they were building to a resolution when the books ended . . . that was all he wrote

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Old 23rd October 2010, 01:40 PM   #323
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Originally Posted by C_Felix View Post
The World is Flat.

State your point and back it up!
Don't belabor it.
I read that book. (It's third edition, I think.) I didn't think it was that bad.

Repetitous, certainly. It did have a habit of repeating its own points, over and over again.

But, I would not place it on the list of "worst books", as far as I have read, anyway; because there was still something to get out of it. Even if it did repeat itself a lot.

I suppose it is possible that it could be on someone's list as "Worst Book", if they simply never read anything worse than it.
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Old 23rd October 2010, 03:09 PM   #324
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Originally Posted by Wowbagger View Post
I read that book. (It's third edition, I think.) I didn't think it was that bad.

Repetitous, certainly. It did have a habit of repeating its own points, over and over again.

But, I would not place it on the list of "worst books", as far as I have read, anyway; because there was still something to get out of it. Even if it did repeat itself a lot.

I suppose it is possible that it could be on someone's list as "Worst Book", if they simply never read anything worse than it.
Did you ever write that review of "And Another Thing" ?
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Old 23rd October 2010, 03:24 PM   #325
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Originally Posted by Brainache View Post
Did you ever write that review of "And Another Thing" ?
I am trying to finish it. But, it's such agony reliving those hideous moments, now. At least I have some semblance of a working draft done.
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Old 23rd October 2010, 03:50 PM   #326
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Originally Posted by Wowbagger View Post
I am trying to finish it. But, it's such agony reliving those hideous moments, now. At least I have some semblance of a working draft done.
So you didn't think it was utterly hilarious the way everyone was scared of being sneered at by a 13 year old girl? Or the fact that Arthur had to wear a school uniform? Or um, something about Trillian feeling guilty or something...?

What a laugh riot.
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Old 23rd October 2010, 08:52 PM   #327
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Originally Posted by Brainache View Post
So you didn't think it was utterly hilarious the way everyone was scared of being sneered at by a 13 year old girl? Or the fact that Arthur had to wear a school uniform? Or um, something about Trillian feeling guilty or something...?
How old are you?!
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Old 24th October 2010, 01:36 AM   #328
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Originally Posted by Wowbagger View Post
How old are you?!
I'm 47 and very sarcastic, I hope you noticed that.
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Old 24th October 2010, 03:46 AM   #329
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Two that I can think of are Anthony and Cleopatra and Quotations from Chairman Mao (Little Red Book), both are quite tedious. I never finished Anthony and Cleopatra even when I forced to read it at school. And The Little Red Book I did finish, but it turns out that Mao's speeches really are boring and uninteresting
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Old 24th October 2010, 11:30 AM   #330
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Originally Posted by Stylesjl View Post
And The Little Red Book I did finish, but it turns out that Mao's speeches really are boring and uninteresting
Agreed. But the book, reading the foreword, was mostly intended to incorporate Mao's quotes into everyday use, creating a strong culture of quoting him.

"You know, that reminds me of when Chairman Mao said..."
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Old 24th October 2010, 12:03 PM   #331
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Originally Posted by Brainache View Post
I'm 47 and very sarcastic, I hope you noticed that.
I should hope that was sarcasm.

But, you never know. I've seen far more positive reviews for this book, from folks far less sarcastic than you are.

---------------------------------------------------------

I was tempted to respond to your comment in a different manner. But, doing so would result in spoilers. Plus, I wanted to be sure I wasn't dealing with some 8-year old before getting all dark-mooded on you. Here is what I was going to say:
No, I don't think its particularly funny that:

The person who gave Arthur his clothing was once the woman he loved, plucked out of his own private memories, by a completely impersonal computer, and turned into a holographic psychiatrist robot thing, (to supposedly help him with his problems).

Nor, that Trillian would run off with a man who she: A. Knows had abused her 13-year-old daughter (to the point of even losing a finger), and B. Knows full-well that her feelings were not even naturally hers - but induced by some magic field in the man's ship, etc.

I don't find any of that funny, at all.
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Old 25th October 2010, 12:43 AM   #332
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Originally Posted by Wowbagger View Post
I should hope that was sarcasm.

But, you never know. I've seen far more positive reviews for this book, from folks far less sarcastic than you are.

---------------------------------------------------------

I was tempted to respond to your comment in a different manner. But, doing so would result in spoilers. Plus, I wanted to be sure I wasn't dealing with some 8-year old before getting all dark-mooded on you. Here is what I was going to say:
No, I don't think its particularly funny that:

The person who gave Arthur his clothing was once the woman he loved, plucked out of his own private memories, by a completely impersonal computer, and turned into a holographic psychiatrist robot thing, (to supposedly help him with his problems).

Nor, that Trillian would run off with a man who she: A. Knows had abused her 13-year-old daughter (to the point of even losing a finger), and B. Knows full-well that her feelings were not even naturally hers - but induced by some magic field in the man's ship, etc.

I don't find any of that funny, at all.
I agree entirely (no sarcasm there). That Colfer bloke should give back any money he made writing that abomination or maybe donate it to some worthy Douglas Adams inspired charity (if such a thing exists).

It certainly made me admire Terry Pratchett even more than I already do, AAT makes Pratchett's worst look like ...um... something a lot funnier.
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Old 25th October 2010, 05:57 AM   #333
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Searching for "Atlas Shrugged" shows it was mentioned before on this thread. I admit "Battleship Earth", I couldn't finish. Same for "And another Thing."
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Old 27th October 2010, 09:47 AM   #334
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Originally Posted by Jeff Corey View Post
Searching for "Atlas Shrugged" shows it was mentioned before on this thread.
Have you seem this one, yet? http://www.internationalskeptics.com...d.php?t=189734
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Old 27th October 2010, 02:13 PM   #335
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I have a few to add to the pile. Some people will probably disagree, which makes sense considering the subjective nature of the subject. Also, I'm probably a lot pickier than you.

The Princess Bride. But first, let me explain why. I love the movie, it's fantastic, funny, and quotable. Half of the book was made up of horrendously boring tripe, in which the "author" (I say in scare quotes because it wasn't the real author being written about) is a whiny, boorish, thoughtless prick, who constantly complains about how sucky his life, wife, and son are. Did not care. I started skipping over these parts because they added nothing to the story.

Zodiac. Heard some people raving about Stephenson, and it reminded me of this garbage. I had to read it for a college class (English 102, with an emphasis on environmentalism, which I'm still bitter about to this day, because I would not have taken an environmentalism class if I knew better). You'd think eco-terrorism would be kind of interesting, but no, it manages to be dull. There's not much of a story. The main character is one dimensional, and his affectation is nitrous oxide, which he breathes on a daily basis. Wow. Did not care.

Things Fall Apart. You may never have heard of this one, but I was required to read it for a high school class. Boring, didn't care, something about a tribe in Africa and colonialism. Main character was a misogynist jerk, who ruled his family and village through fear and terror. Yay. Then white men came and messed it all up. Maybe if I'd cared about the main character, and the people of the tribe, the colonialism might have hit harder, but frankly, I didn't care. When bad stuff happens to bad people, maybe I feel schadenfreude, instead of sympathy.

The Neverending Story. Again, let me explain. I saw the movie growing up, loved it, etc. Thought I'd check out the book, of which the first part, which is similar to the movie, is fantastic, wonderful, interesting, five stars, you get it. The second part, which I guess they made into a second movie, was horrible. Not because the movie was horrible. There's no tension, there's no plot, it's just the kid doing whatever he wants, like wish fulfillment. It seems hard to imagine, but that is some of the most boring **** to read. I frankly didn't give a flying ****. That and the ending was anti-climactic, and when I thought about it, seemed so glurgy, that I couldn't buy the second half of the book. (Glurge like unintended message.) It's a shame too, because the first part is so good.
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Old 27th October 2010, 02:25 PM   #336
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Originally Posted by BlackCat View Post
The Princess Bride.
I'd say if The Princess Bride is amongst the worst books you've ever read, then you've been very lucky indeed.
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Old 27th October 2010, 02:45 PM   #337
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Originally Posted by Jeff Corey View Post
Searching for "Atlas Shrugged" shows it was mentioned before on this thread. I admit "Battleship Earth", I couldn't finish. Same for "And another Thing."
Do mean Battlefield Earth? The L Ron book?
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Old 27th October 2010, 02:47 PM   #338
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Originally Posted by BlackCat View Post
Zodiac. Heard some people raving about Stephenson, and it reminded me of this garbage. I had to read it for a college class (English 102, with an emphasis on environmentalism, which I'm still bitter about to this day, because I would not have taken an environmentalism class if I knew better). You'd think eco-terrorism would be kind of interesting, but no, it manages to be dull. There's not much of a story. The main character is one dimensional, and his affectation is nitrous oxide, which he breathes on a daily basis. Wow. Did not care.
Try The Monkey Wrench Gang it's far better.
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Old 27th October 2010, 05:16 PM   #339
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I just remembered another really bad book:

"The Road To Mars" by Eric Idle. It reads like a novelisation of a rejected screenplay. I loved Mr Idle's work with Python and Rutland Weekend Television, but sometime after that he seems to have lost his ability to be funny. Do not bother to read this book.
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Old 27th October 2010, 05:23 PM   #340
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I bought one of these on demand cheap books that was a History of Sweden. It was a collection of folklore and myths..written in the 1800s. They got the right number of kings, the rest was gossip and folklore. I could not even give it away. Not sure if it went to trash. Oh, I did give it to a church book collection bin. My son sang there, not a member.
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Old 28th October 2010, 01:54 AM   #341
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Originally Posted by BlackCat View Post
The Princess Bride. But first, let me explain why. I love the movie, it's fantastic, funny, and quotable. Half of the book was made up of horrendously boring tripe, in which the "author" (I say in scare quotes because it wasn't the real author being written about) is a whiny, boorish, thoughtless prick, who constantly complains about how sucky his life, wife, and son are. Did not care. I started skipping over these parts because they added nothing to the story.
There's a book called The Princess Bride, which is not the original book The Princess Bride, in which the kid from the movie is grown up and remembers his grandfather reading the book to him, so he finds a copy of the original and gives it to his son as a birthday present. The son hates it and wonders what his dad made such a fuss about. Finally the dad (who, remember, is the kid in the movie) actually takes a look at the book, and he discovers that his grandfather skipped almost all of the book because it was so incredibly dull. So the dad (ie. the kid in the movie) only ever got the highly edited version of the original.
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Old 29th October 2010, 08:17 AM   #342
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
There's a book called The Princess Bride, which is not the original book The Princess Bride, in which the kid from the movie is grown up and remembers his grandfather reading the book to him, so he finds a copy of the original and gives it to his son as a birthday present. The son hates it and wonders what his dad made such a fuss about. Finally the dad (who, remember, is the kid in the movie) actually takes a look at the book, and he discovers that his grandfather skipped almost all of the book because it was so incredibly dull. So the dad (ie. the kid in the movie) only ever got the highly edited version of the original.
That's the conceit of the novel, but, in fact, there is no "original" version. William Goldman's novel is the one and only version.
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Old 29th October 2010, 11:44 AM   #343
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Originally Posted by ZirconBlue View Post
That's the conceit of the novel, but, in fact, there is no "original" version. William Goldman's novel is the one and only version.
Yeah, yeah, you probably think there's no Red Book of the Westmarch, too.
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Old 29th October 2010, 01:40 PM   #344
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Originally Posted by Cactus Wren View Post
Yeah, yeah, you probably think there's no Red Book of the Westmarch, too.
I used to think that there was no actual Necronomicon, too, but then my wife bought a copy. In paperback.
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Old 29th October 2010, 01:42 PM   #345
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Wuthering Heights. GACK!
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Old 29th October 2010, 04:14 PM   #346
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Anyone else have to slog his/her way through An American Tragedy by Dreiser? I have never read such drippy-eyed pap in my life. (And Clyde Griffiths deserved what he got.)
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Old 29th October 2010, 04:49 PM   #347
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Originally Posted by Roadtoad View Post
Anyone else have to slog his/her way through An American Tragedy by Dreiser? I have never read such drippy-eyed pap in my life. (And Clyde Griffiths deserved what he got.)
Try Sister Carrie.
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Old 29th October 2010, 05:16 PM   #348
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Originally Posted by Resume View Post
Try Sister Carrie.
What are you? Some kind of sadist?!?!
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Old 30th October 2010, 05:22 AM   #349
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Originally Posted by ZirconBlue View Post
That's the conceit of the novel, but, in fact, there is no "original" version. William Goldman's novel is the one and only version.
...and she also knows F. Morgenstern is a figment of imagination!

Originally Posted by Aurelian View Post
Wuthering Heights. GACK!
Oh, this was my father's favourite book. He was always trying to get me to read it. I always resisted.
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Old 30th October 2010, 09:29 AM   #350
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
...and she also knows F. Morgenstern is a figment of imagination!
That, and she always puts Horace before Descartes....
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Old 30th October 2010, 10:28 AM   #351
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I can't for the life of me even remember the exact name of the book (something like The Skeptic's Pocket Book? Dunno) but it was about rational thinking/skepticism - and then tried to pass off global warming denial as rational thinking, complete with graphs that didn't show what the author thought they showed.
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Old 30th October 2010, 02:01 PM   #352
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All of you who hated The Great Gatsby are crazy. That book is wonderful.

I haven't read most of the books people keep mentioning.

For my part, I have two most-hated books. They made me furious.

The Five People You Meet In Heaven.
It was given to me by a beloved aunt, whose taste I had never before had reason to question. It was very short. This is the only good thing about it. It was so mediocre and predictable and lazy, and it committed the terrible sin of thinking it was important when it was just a limp piece of tripe. It made me angry at the author for wasting my hour and a half. I could have been picking crud out from between my toes for that time. Instead I read that book, and I'll never get back that time.

My aunt has since given me The Red Tent. It sits on my floor, and will sit there until the end of time*, because my sister took the bullet this time and warned me.
*Or until I move, or bother to donate it.

Ishmael. The talking gorilla one. My sister had to read it for a class. She gave it to me after she was finished and said I should read it. I slogged through the entire thing because of her, and when I was done I called her up and ranted at her about how awful it was and how I wasn't sure I could trust her judgment on anything ever again. She said, "I didn't say it was GOOD. I just wanted to hear what you would say." I have not forgiven her for this. Again, what makes this book so maddening is that the author thought it was an insightful, philosophical triumph describing an important, different way of thinking about the world. He (the author) would have the talking gorilla (!) get into philosophical arguments with its (human) student, and the gorilla's (read: the author's) position was always transparently faulty, but of course the student never asked the questions that would have shown the gorilla's position for the stupidity it was, because then the author wouldn't have been able to have a book wherein he used the (stupid) device of having a talking gorilla spout his harebrained thoughts, teach the human student new and better ways of looking at the world, and change him fundamentally and for the better, thus proving how deep and meaningful the author's harebrained thoughts were all along. Ugh. It was unintentionally hilarious, but so intellectually infuriating that I could not appreciate the silliness.

Originally Posted by Yithmas View Post
I found the Dragonlance "Kinslayer War" (was it a triology?) really tedious reading.
Heh. Dragonlance books are TERRIBLE. TERRIBLE. They are so bad that if you try to describe them to other people, it seems like you must be making it up, they're so bad. However, they don't make my list because I read them in 8th grade and really liked them, even though I knew they weren't really very good. I still have three of them. Also, their terribleness doesn't make me angry, so they fall short of the two books that do make my list. I am also not including a terriwonderful romance novel set in space called Slave, for the same reason. I am also not including books I disliked, even though I could see how well they were written (Catcher in the Rye).

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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).
I have that and have not yet read it. I keep putting it off because I want to re-read Beowulf before I read it, which is not going to happen anytime soon. I should just read it. And I love Neal Stephenson, too. I sort of agree about his descriptions, but I totally feel they are worth the work.

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The worst book I've ever forced my way through would probably be Lord Foul's Bane, although I didn't quite finish...I think I just stopped with about 20 pages left, completely depressed by the utter hopelessness of the book, and the complete lack of any empathy for the main character. I can appreciate serious books, but I need at least a little light in all of the gloom.
I have this one in my to-read pile, too. I picked it up at a flea market, I can't remember why. (Author? Cover? Dunno. I would have to check; I just remember the title as something I've got.) What do others say? Should I bother?

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.
I just finished this. Quite a satisfying book. I had book deja vu the entire time, even though I am sure I've never read it and never found a scene that I remembered reading.

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The Princess Bride. But first, let me explain why. I love the movie, it's fantastic, funny, and quotable. Half of the book was made up of horrendously boring tripe, in which the "author" (I say in scare quotes because it wasn't the real author being written about) is a whiny, boorish, thoughtless prick, who constantly complains about how sucky his life, wife, and son are. Did not care. I started skipping over these parts because they added nothing to the story.
Wow. Just...wow. You seem to have missed...well, the point of the entire book. Which is, by the way, about a million times better than the movie, even though I love the movie.

[This next bit was in response to Arthwollipot's post] Also, the book isn't some weird sequel to the movie. It was written previously. The grandfather-grandson combo in the movie is just the way they chose to re-create the father-son bonding in the book.
If you get the 25th anniversary edition there's a lovely first chapter/introduction that talks about making the movie. Also the first chapter of the "sequel" that will never get written.
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Last edited by elipse; 30th October 2010 at 03:18 PM. Reason: to clarify who I was talkin' to
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Old 30th October 2010, 02:25 PM   #353
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Originally Posted by Roadtoad View Post
What are you? Some kind of sadist?!?!
They made me read it and I'm sharing the pain.
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Old 30th October 2010, 03:07 PM   #354
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Originally Posted by Aurelian View Post
Wuthering Heights. GACK!
Geez, what is up with all the classic lit haters?

Wuthering Heights is great. Classic anti-hero protagonist.

Perhaps I should ask you whether you like ANY books from the turn of the century or prior. 'Cause if the answer is no, it seems unfair to blame one particular book...
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Old 30th October 2010, 03:37 PM   #355
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Originally Posted by elipse View Post
The Five People You Meet In Heaven.
Yikes! I don't know why that was given to you: You are clearly not part of the target audience for a book like that!

Originally Posted by elipse View Post
Ishmael. The talking gorilla one.
At least this one sounds funny! Another candidate for book-based RiffTrax, I think.


------

I thought a little about how "RiffTrax for Books" might work: You get a set of transparancies that fit over each page in a book. Each one has commentary printed on it, mostly in the margins, that points to the parts of the book they refer to.

What does everyone think of that?
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Old 30th October 2010, 04:15 PM   #356
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Originally Posted by Wowbagger View Post
Yikes! I don't know why that was given to you: You are clearly not part of the target audience for a book like that!

Well...my aunt has had a somewhat difficult life. She is very smart, and actually taught English in high school, and I have no idea what happened to her taste in books, but it is my guess that in her old age she wants comfort and everything ending happily. That said, I did have some idea what I was getting into, and I shouldn't have read it. Sometimes, though, it's very satisfying to hate something sooooo very much.


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At least this one sounds funny!
When I tell people about it, I see that it's funny, but honestly, remembering it, it just makes me feel disgusted.

Quote:
Another candidate for book-based RiffTrax, I think.

I thought a little about how "RiffTrax for Books" might work: You get a set of transparancies that fit over each page in a book. Each one has commentary printed on it, mostly in the margins, that points to the parts of the book they refer to.

What does everyone think of that?
I had never heard of rifftrax before this. I think there are some books that are just screaming for that kind of treatment.
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Old 30th October 2010, 05:03 PM   #357
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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.
Oh good! I'm glad I'm not the only one. I thought it started off OK but then unraveled pretty quickly.

Originally Posted by elipse View Post
Heh. Dragonlance books are TERRIBLE. TERRIBLE. They are so bad that if you try to describe them to other people, it seems like you must be making it up, they're so bad. However, they don't make my list because I read them in 8th grade and really liked them, even though I knew they weren't really very good. I still have three of them. Also, their terribleness doesn't make me angry
Hehe. I have good memories of these books. Raistlin was so angsty. I just loved him as a 13-year-old.

Mine is Anne Rice's Memnoch the Devil.
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Old 30th October 2010, 08:07 PM   #358
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Originally Posted by Denver View Post
Also Of Mice and Men, just because I was depressed for weeks afterward.
Well, it's not exactly meant to make you happy, so I guess that in that respect, it's actually a good book? I certainly enjoyed it (if that's the right word). And the 1991 movie with John Malkowich did justice to the book. Gave me goosebumps.

Originally Posted by MarkCorrigan View Post
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.
Actually, I agree that it's not really a good book, at least not in rereading value. The first time, if you enjoy the gags (which I won't assume everyone does. I did, though. Laughed a lot.), it is very funny, but it's pretty much completely absent of a plot. Now, one can say the same about the Hitchhiker books, but DNA's gift was in having the gags be so extremely, wonderfully hilarious and playing with language, that you won't realise the plot just goes all over the place until the third or fourth rereading. Anyway, Pratchett thankfully wisened up and realised he shouldn't try to just copy DNA's style - much due, I believe, to working together with Neil Gaiman on Good Omens - and started to write books that relied less on the gags, and more on characters one can, in a warped way, relate to, as well as tighter plots.


Personally, of all books, I got really, truly fed up with Raymond Feist. After reading -both- Magician: Apprentice and Magician: Master, I was basically "OK, maybe it's time for you to stop reading so indiscriminately through every book you buy." Apparently Feist has improved as an author, but I will never bother to find out, on account of having lost absolutely all interest. Should've realised something was amiss when he manages to give his main character the ugliest short name you can think of (Pug).

As for Wheel of Time: Gave up after book 10. Jordan manages passable action sequences, which the first books had plenty of. What he can't write are politics, and as politics gradually takes over, that means they are gradually deteriotating.
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Old 30th October 2010, 09:38 PM   #359
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Originally Posted by elipse View Post
[This next bit was in response to Arthwollipot's post] Also, the book isn't some weird sequel to the movie. It was written previously. The grandfather-grandson combo in the movie is just the way they chose to re-create the father-son bonding in the book.
If you get the 25th anniversary edition there's a lovely first chapter/introduction that talks about making the movie. Also the first chapter of the "sequel" that will never get written.
I first read the book long before the movie was made. My edition had the "binding story" in red. I wish I still had that edition, but I think it went to my ex-husband in the divorce.
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Old 30th October 2010, 10:03 PM   #360
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Originally Posted by Roxane View Post
Hehe. I have good memories of these books. Raistlin was so angsty. I just loved him as a 13-year-old.
Did you create a character to put yourself in the story? I totally did that.

Humans are such dorks at 13...
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