Worst/Overrated books.

A slow, analog alternative to the internet

Moderators: SecondTalon, Moderators General, Prelates

Polyphase Avatron
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2013 3:24 pm UTC

Re: Worst/Overrated books.

Postby Polyphase Avatron » Fri Mar 01, 2013 5:18 pm UTC

Metaphysician wrote:Moby Dick.


I agree, Melville's attempts at humor were kind of sad.

Paradigm_Arsonist
Posts: 15
Joined: Sat Feb 23, 2013 8:14 pm UTC

Re: Worst/Overrated books.

Postby Paradigm_Arsonist » Mon Mar 04, 2013 2:53 am UTC

The Art of War springs to mind. Some businessmen like to go round saying how amazing it is, probably to look well-travelled and as if they have the confucian and daoist virtues that most people associate with the martial arts. Good reviews are probably mostly motivated by pretentiousness.

You don't need to know about passing quickly through swamps and not letting your weapons to get damp in the modern world unless you're in an army. Abstract meaning conveyed through such examples would probably be better obtained from a serious book on game theory or something.

That said, I've invested too much time studying it in my free time to hate it (I decided to keep an open mind) and now I find it rather entertaining. I have Thomas Cleary's translation as a paperback. I enjoyed his introduction but the translation itself is too westernised and simplified. I prefered Dr. Giles' translation, which is available for free on Project Gutenberg.

I found the Very Short Introduction series from Oxford University Press as a whole to be thoroughly disappointing. At first I told myself "Well at least you can trust that it's rigorous and honest". When I was reading Islam: A Very Short Introduction, this seemed true. I was glad not to be consuming propaganda, be it left-wing Islamophilic or right-wing negative stereotyping.

However, I found that History: A Very Short Introduction and Theology: A Very Short Introduction did not reach my expectations of clarity of thought and concepts.
The former seemed to be unfamiliar with the normal concept of truth -- it reminded me of a question I had at school:
"To what extent is x true" -- I answered either "the statement is false" but was told that I hadn't addressed how much it was false.
It was also dreadfully indirect, using long-winded examples rather than clear, conceptual statements. And I seem to recall finding much of the attempts at conceptual and logical thought rather sloppy.

The latter (Theology) seemed to be a load of poorly thought-out sentences bulked out by expanding single words into lists of words with the same gramatical function, like this:
"It is only through engaging, spiritually intertwining and seeking unity in division with the His Noodly Appendage the Son metaphysically within the context of salvation that the individual and his Self can begin to worship."
It also had a tendency to make up definitions of words that I found rather suspect. "Worship" was defined something like "That which shapes life and society spiritually, economically, intellectually, blah de blah de yada yada yada". I expect that if you asked 500 other theologians, you'd get 500 completely different answers.
My annoyance at this book probably has more to do with the discipline than the VSI series. Oh, but it was still horrifically biased, as far as I could tell, but I suppose that most people who write and read about Christian theology will be doing so from at least a slightly Christian persepective.

Overall, I found them both pretentious and badly written. They were written in a way that showed off the author's academic credentials and made the reader feel clever for being able to follow. This way didn't actually help illuminate anything, make it more efficient to understand, remember and think about or apparently serve any useful purpose. Choose a decent introduction carefully and you'll end up with more knowledge, more precisely and clearly explained, faster, with more stimulation and enjoyment.

User avatar
Guu
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2013 7:46 pm UTC
Location: Central Europe

Re: Worst/Overrated books.

Postby Guu » Sun Mar 10, 2013 9:55 pm UTC

ahammel wrote:
Jesse wrote:Haunted is probably Chuck's weakest book, but also one of his most recommended.
Once upon a time there were some people. Horrible shit happened to them. The end.


:D nice summary.

I recently read HGTTG The restaurant at the end of the universe.... it seemed a little unnecessary to me :( Random funny stuff happened, but I somehow missed a coherent plot line? Maybe I should read it again Oo

cphite
Posts: 1084
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 5:27 pm UTC

Re: Worst/Overrated books.

Postby cphite » Tue Apr 23, 2013 5:50 pm UTC

Guu wrote:
ahammel wrote:
Jesse wrote:Haunted is probably Chuck's weakest book, but also one of his most recommended.
Once upon a time there were some people. Horrible shit happened to them. The end.


:D nice summary.

I recently read HGTTG The restaurant at the end of the universe.... it seemed a little unnecessary to me :( Random funny stuff happened, but I somehow missed a coherent plot line? Maybe I should read it again Oo


The original series was random funny stuff. Sure, there was sort of a consistent setting and list of characters, but it was never really intended to be a coherent story in the traditional sense. A few of the books sort of get close to a coherent plot line, but really the point is to provide a framework for the random funny stuff.

If you enjoy Adam's writing and want something closer to an actual story with a plot, try the Dirk Gently series. Mind you, the key word is closer. :D

User avatar
ahammel
My Little Cabbage
Posts: 2130
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 12:46 am UTC
Location: Vancouver BC
Contact:

Re: Worst/Overrated books.

Postby ahammel » Tue Apr 23, 2013 6:06 pm UTC

Life, the Universe and Everything and Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency are DNA's most plot-driven novels, not least because they were both recycled from Doctor Who scripts that were never filmed.
He/Him/His/Alex
God damn these electric sex pants!

User avatar
Jorpho
Posts: 6068
Joined: Wed Dec 12, 2007 5:31 am UTC
Location: Canada

Re: Worst/Overrated books.

Postby Jorpho » Wed Apr 24, 2013 2:51 am UTC

Gee, I knew about the Dirk Gently connection, but I didn't know Life, The Universe, and Everything was the same way. It makes a lot of sense.

It sure has been a while since I read that one. I wasn't too impressed with it, as I recall.

User avatar
ahammel
My Little Cabbage
Posts: 2130
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 12:46 am UTC
Location: Vancouver BC
Contact:

Re: Worst/Overrated books.

Postby ahammel » Wed Apr 24, 2013 2:08 pm UTC

The bistro-mathic drive was amusing.
He/Him/His/Alex
God damn these electric sex pants!

san1
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Apr 27, 2013 2:02 am UTC

Re: Worst/Overrated books.

Postby san1 » Sat Apr 27, 2013 3:19 am UTC

personally for me, the George Martin series A Song Of Ice And Fire was overrated. I read (parts of) it on recommendation of a friend, who knows i´m into thick books and the genre, so i started reading it and i had to stop in the middle of the fourth, after that i stopped. It started on an alright level, but it was way too long while simultaneously nothing happened, it just dragged itself out. And I don´t get easily bored by a book. There were some really well-developed characters and interesting interactions between them, i loved alot of the side-characters and at first the huge amount of story that was promised. But, i was positively bored.

And, that´s possibly just me, i really hated the spelling and language Martin used sometimes. British swear-words, american spelling (no surprise here, as the author is american), seemingly random ways to spell certain words, all mixed up. It didn´t seem to fit.

For me it promised you alot, but held up next to nothing. And the spelling, ruined it for me. Of one of the apparently most influential contemporary writers i expected more.

User avatar
LaserGuy
Posts: 4317
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2009 5:33 pm UTC

Re: Worst/Overrated books.

Postby LaserGuy » Tue Apr 30, 2013 7:34 pm UTC

I never noticed any weird spellings in GRRM's books. He uses a few terms that are archaic (nuncle, mislike), but still legitimate English words, and a few expressions that are legitimate but I've never seen anyone write before (must needs), but I don't recall him ever spelling anything outright wrong.

[edit]Compared to a lot of other works in the genre, I'd say his work requires less linguistic gymnastics than average, if anything.

User avatar
Adam H
Posts: 1267
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2011 6:36 pm UTC

Re: Worst/Overrated books.

Postby Adam H » Tue Apr 30, 2013 7:53 pm UTC

san1 wrote:personally for me, the George Martin series A Song Of Ice And Fire was overrated. I read (parts of) it on recommendation of a friend, who knows i´m into thick books and the genre, so i started reading it and i had to stop in the middle of the fourth, after that i stopped. It started on an alright level, but it was way too long while simultaneously nothing happened, it just dragged itself out.

Are you saying that the fourth book started out alright and then dragged? Or the series started out alright and then dragged? I guess I sort of agree with both of those statements anyways, but you should know that the fourth book is considered the worst (seriously, probably by at least 99.9% of readers).

And there are a ton of references that you only have a hope of understanding on the second or third (or 10th) reread, which partially explains why long time fans can be so fanatical and first-time readers are not.

Also, book 5 runs parallel with book 4 (for the most part), so you could just skip book 4 and move on to book 5 which compares well with the first three books (course, YMMV).

What similar books have you read that are more exciting???? :slobbery emoticon:
-Adam

User avatar
LaserGuy
Posts: 4317
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2009 5:33 pm UTC

Re: Worst/Overrated books.

Postby LaserGuy » Tue Apr 30, 2013 7:58 pm UTC

I found book 4 to be okay as long as you skip all of the Iron Islands and Dorne chapters.

User avatar
Frimble
Posts: 480
Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2008 6:57 pm UTC
Location: UK

Re: Worst/Overrated books.

Postby Frimble » Wed May 01, 2013 1:40 pm UTC

I gave up near the begining of the first "Song of fire and ice" book. I reached the line "I'm off to break my fast." and couldn't take it seriously any more. As a friend of mine rightly said: "he might as well have had a character say 'prithee let us hang out'."
"Absolute precision buys the freedom to dream meaningfully." - Donal O' Shea: The Poincaré Conjecture.
"We need a reality check here. Roll a D20." - Algernon the Radish
"Should I marry W? Not unless she tells me what the other letters in her name are" Woody Allen.

User avatar
Paul in Saudi
Posts: 262
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 12:52 pm UTC
Location: Dammam, Saudi Arabia

Re: Worst/Overrated books.

Postby Paul in Saudi » Thu May 30, 2013 1:20 am UTC

Another vote for Moby Dick.

DanD
Posts: 247
Joined: Tue Oct 05, 2010 12:42 am UTC

Re: Worst/Overrated books.

Postby DanD » Wed Aug 21, 2013 9:54 pm UTC

One thing to realize is that books that were truly ground breaking often become cliche. I had this problem with LOTR. It was far from the first epic fantasy I read so by the time I got to it, much of the material seemed extremely overdone. Of course, I did find

"
podbaydoor wrote: She basically took existing fairy tales and chucked them in,
" from page two comparing LOTR and HP extremely amusing, since Tolkien did basically the same thing pulling from Norse myth.

However, and it may just be the translation I got my hands on, but Don Quixote, absolutely the most over-rated book ever. It's basically a critique of chivalric romances, with a nonsensical story wrapped around it.

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 25452
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: Worst/Overrated books.

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Aug 21, 2013 10:14 pm UTC

Frimble wrote:I gave up near the begining of the first "Song of fire and ice" book. I reached the line "I'm off to break my fast." and couldn't take it seriously any more. As a friend of mine rightly said: "he might as well have had a character say 'prithee let us hang out'."
Were you under the mistaken impression that "I'm off" and "hang out" were particularly recent expressions?
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)

User avatar
Jorpho
Posts: 6068
Joined: Wed Dec 12, 2007 5:31 am UTC
Location: Canada

Re: Worst/Overrated books.

Postby Jorpho » Fri Aug 23, 2013 5:14 am UTC

I am reminded of when Zelazny casually throws in the word "Dig?" in Nine Princes of Amber, which uniquely dates the novel in a way I've seen nowhere else. He manages to avoid it in the other nine books, though.

See also http://xkcd.com/771/ .

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 25452
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: Worst/Overrated books.

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Aug 23, 2013 11:54 am UTC

My point, though, was that "I'm off" is almost 200 years old. As, for that matter, is "hang out". "Prithee let us hang out" would be jarring because "prithee" is such a dated term in itself, but I really don't find "break my fast" to be in remotely the same category. It is, after all, what we *still* say if we talk about breaking an intentional (e.g. religious) fast rather than simply the one that corresponds to 8 hours of sleep.
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)

User avatar
Izawwlgood
WINNING
Posts: 18636
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2007 3:55 pm UTC
Location: There may be lovelier lovelies...

Re: Worst/Overrated books.

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri Aug 23, 2013 11:59 am UTC

Frimble wrote:I gave up near the begining of the first "Song of fire and ice" book. I reached the line "I'm off to break my fast." and couldn't take it seriously any more. As a friend of mine rightly said: "he might as well have had a character say 'prithee let us hang out'."
Honestly, if that's what made you decide to not give the book a chance, you probably shouldn't be reading anyway.
... with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet.

User avatar
Jorpho
Posts: 6068
Joined: Wed Dec 12, 2007 5:31 am UTC
Location: Canada

Re: Worst/Overrated books.

Postby Jorpho » Fri Aug 23, 2013 12:36 pm UTC

I think the point is that it comes across as a brazenly pretentious and awkward means of injecting flavor.

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 25452
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: Worst/Overrated books.

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Aug 23, 2013 2:01 pm UTC

I guess it's more awkward if you've never heard of someone fasting for awhile and then breaking it, so that the original meaning of "breakfast" is abundantly obvious just by looking at the word.
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)

User avatar
Izawwlgood
WINNING
Posts: 18636
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2007 3:55 pm UTC
Location: There may be lovelier lovelies...

Re: Worst/Overrated books.

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri Aug 23, 2013 2:36 pm UTC

Jorpho wrote:I think the point is that it comes across as a brazenly pretentious and awkward means of injecting flavor.
To me, that's like hating on Clockwork Orange because they utilize slang. I'm not saying the use of slang is inherently apropos, but comon; have a bar that's a bit higher than page 4's inconsequential exchanges about the day.

Imagine putting down Dune because you find the word 'gom jabbar' too silly, or never reading Harry Potter because the name Harry invokes an old man in your mind, or Lord of the Rings because Shire sounds like Shite (teehee!).
... with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet.

User avatar
no-genius
Seemed like a good idea at the time
Posts: 4219
Joined: Wed May 17, 2006 6:32 pm UTC
Location: UK
Contact:

Re: Worst/Overrated books.

Postby no-genius » Tue Sep 17, 2013 9:04 pm UTC

Guu wrote:
ahammel wrote:
Jesse wrote:Haunted is probably Chuck's weakest book, but also one of his most recommended.
Once upon a time there were some people. Horrible shit happened to them. The end.


:D nice summary.

I recently read HGTTG The restaurant at the end of the universe.... it seemed a little unnecessary to me :( Random funny stuff happened, but I somehow missed a coherent plot line? Maybe I should read it again Oo

Probably doesn't help that it starts at the 2nd radio series (7-12), then goes back to the end of the first series because DNA didn't finish adapting it in the first book (5-6), while changing all of the stuff he co-wrote with John Lloyd. (Which made for lols when the third series of the radio series had to tie in the third book with the ending of the 2nd series and 2nd book.) It's best to read it as a trilogy of 5.

Oh, and there's a novelisation of the abandoned DW serial that the 1st Dirk Gentley book was based on (Shada). I've read some of it, and it's a little weird having all the characters different, or timelords.
I don't sing, I just shout. All. On. One. Note.
Official ironmen you are free, champions officially

The Mighty Thesaurus wrote:Why? It does nothing to address dance music's core problem: the fact that it sucks.

User avatar
ahammel
My Little Cabbage
Posts: 2130
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 12:46 am UTC
Location: Vancouver BC
Contact:

Re: Worst/Overrated books.

Postby ahammel » Wed Sep 18, 2013 2:10 pm UTC

no-genius wrote:Oh, and there's a novelisation of the abandoned DW serial that the 1st Dirk Gentley book was based on (Shada). I've read some of it, and it's a little weird having all the characters different, or timelords.

Somebody cut together the footage of it that was shot and made it into a mini episode. Tom Baker narrates the bits that weren't filmed. It might be on YouTube if you're interested.
He/Him/His/Alex
God damn these electric sex pants!

GrimmJoke
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2015 1:13 am UTC

Re: Worst/Overrated books.

Postby GrimmJoke » Sat Jan 17, 2015 1:31 am UTC

Infinite Jest. Two weeks wasted reading that m-fing brick. Sorry if you think its a "masterpiece" but I think its awful. And yes I "get it" about the book and what it was trying to say but I still loathe it.

User avatar
cemper93
Posts: 209
Joined: Sun Feb 20, 2011 2:35 pm UTC
Location: `pwd`

Re: Worst/Overrated books.

Postby cemper93 » Sun Jan 18, 2015 9:47 pm UTC

I actually thought that Infinite Jest was a joy to read, but pretty lacking in depth. But then, I feel the same way about pretty much all of the great American novels, except when I find them boring to read too (Steinbeck, looking at you).

EDIT: Maybe nevermind, actually. I was just thinking about for which of the Great American Novels I would make an exception - admit some depth too -, and Infinite Jest is one of the first to come to mind, just for the sheer amount of topics it handles. Still, I catch your drift, GrimmJoke.

wumpus
Posts: 468
Joined: Thu Feb 21, 2008 12:16 am UTC

Re: Worst/Overrated books.

Postby wumpus » Fri Jan 23, 2015 9:10 pm UTC

Did I somehow miss a warning that Candide by Voltaire hasn't been highly rated for centuries? Back when I read it the whole book could be summed up in the (then popular) bumper sticker [spoilered for NSFW language and presumably spoilers]
Spoiler:
shit happens.

Q: Good gods why? Why did it have to drag on like that?
A: The point of the book wasn't be enjoyable, give deep insights, or anything like that. It was to show that after Gottfried Leibniz claimed that an omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent diety would create the "best of all possible worlds", that this one ain't it. Since western (Christian) theology had been pretty much moving steadily toward such a conclusion, it took a thicker book to whack such a silly idea around.
Q: Any other reason to read this book?
A: Anyone struggling with calculus might enjoy Pangloss/Leibniz being skewered. Especially while condensed into the scene in Silverlock.

Others "Worst/Overated" books (already mentioned)
The Aeneid, Virgil: Political propaganda won't work if it isn't read (or more likely heard in Roman times). Maybe he just wanted the paycheck from the Emperor and hoped nobody heard about it.
Catcher in the Rye: The ratings for this drek don't come from Twilight fans and they should know better.
Sword of Truth: Blew through the first book while overlooking the extreme flaws. Said flaws keep accumulating (at a rapidly increasing pace) until you can't believe how bad it is. Then more and more books are published. Trust me, they really are that bad.
Wheel of Time: Another series that is pretty popular (and with people who have enjoyed other books). Goes well while copying various wildly popular sources (to the point you might turn your geek card in if you miss a source), then goes off on its own. Then stops. For several doorstopping books in which nothing happens (beyond a few braids being tossed). Avoid.
Anything by Michael Crichton: While his shtick seems to have been stolen by Dan Brown (let's see how wrong I can get something), it didn't hit me until "The Thirteenth Warrior" how he can get everything wrong: not just science (which tends to involve knowing a ton of things and thinking correctly), but getting basic myths wrong (no Mr. Crichton. Beowulf's thanes (except one) ran away. It's particularly important that they ran away when Beowulf faced the dragon).
podbaydoor wrote:I heard a reviewer recently rate [Harry Potter] higher than Lord of the Rings. I wanted to reach through the radio and rip his throat out. Or at the very least, chew on it.

Not that Lord of the Rings is perfect. But let's see Rowling invent a bunch of languages and build an intricate mythology out of them. She basically took existing fairy tales and chucked them in, because the whole premise of HP was basically "but what if wizards were REAL??"

Oddly enough, there is another thread in this board http://forums.xkcd.com/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=62115 that deals a fanfic based on this premise. Rowling seemed more interested in simply giving her characters a place to live (seriously: quidditch exists only to make Harry a star jock. You couldn't possibly come up with it if you wanted wizards to act in a remotely reasonable way). On the other hand, I think that now that Harry Potter is finished, it should get judged as a whole. From the light hearted (if poorly written) start to the better written if rather clunky ending. Of course, for those who were 11 years old (when *any* of the books came out), there will be a generation who will wildly overate it, but I think it's rating will eventually be reasonable.

User avatar
Whizbang
The Best Reporter
Posts: 2237
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2012 7:50 pm UTC
Location: New Hampshire, USA

Re: Worst/Overrated books.

Postby Whizbang » Fri Jan 23, 2015 9:27 pm UTC

Jumping in to agree that Moby Dick is a hard book to swallow. I found many bits of it interesting, and many bits of it entertaining, but none that were interesting AND entertaining. If I wanted to know all the details of whaling, I'd hardly go searching in the Fiction section. If I wanted a good action tale of revenge against a monstrous whale on the high seas, I'd do my best to avoid essays on ship construction and whale anatomy. Maybe there is a way to do both at the same time, but Moby Dick isn't it.

I enjoyed Moby Dick VASTLY more than The Secret Garden, though.

What a steaming pile of wasted time that novel was. My wife and I like to read books together (actually, I read to her before bed), so we decided to go through the classics. We both had mostly liked the '93 movie, so we were both expecting an interesting, if short, book. No. It was the most dull, uninteresting crap I have ever read, and I read Youtube discussion threads.

Another thing to note is that if a friend suggested that you read The Sword of Truth series, stop after the 3rd book. The rest of the series just goes downhill.

User avatar
Quizatzhaderac
Posts: 1487
Joined: Sun Oct 19, 2008 5:28 pm UTC
Location: Space Florida

Re: Worst/Overrated books.

Postby Quizatzhaderac » Fri Jan 23, 2015 10:54 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:My point, though, was that "I'm off" is almost 200 years old.
200 years ago is post enlightenment; hardly a neologism, but later than the period fantasy literature tries to imitate.

@Whizbang
What she wrote:Moby Dick is a hard book to swallow
The thing about recursion problems is that they tend to contain other recursion problems.

User avatar
freezeblade
Posts: 1023
Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2012 5:11 pm UTC
Location: Oakland

Re: Worst/Overrated books.

Postby freezeblade » Fri Jan 23, 2015 11:35 pm UTC

It might be because I had to read it in school, but what instantly jumped into my mind was:
The Joy Luck Club.

Fuck that book. Seriously.
Belial wrote:I am not even in the same country code as "the mood for this shit."

Breakfast
Posts: 117
Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2009 7:34 pm UTC
Location: Coming to a table near you

Re: Worst/Overrated books.

Postby Breakfast » Mon Jan 26, 2015 6:16 pm UTC

Whizbang wrote:Jumping in to agree that Moby Dick is a hard book to swallow. I found many bits of it interesting, and many bits of it entertaining, but none that were interesting AND entertaining. If I wanted to know all the details of whaling, I'd hardly go searching in the Fiction section. If I wanted a good action tale of revenge against a monstrous whale on the high seas, I'd do my best to avoid essays on ship construction and whale anatomy. Maybe there is a way to do both at the same time, but Moby Dick isn't it.


I'm not sure if it's overrated but I disliked 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea for almost the exact same reason. Page upon page upon page of navigational headings, polyp, and fish descriptions. I don't know what happened to Verne between Journey to the Center of the Earth and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea but it must have been horrible. The former I enjoyed quite a bit; the later I just wanted to be done with when I was only a quarter of the way through.

User avatar
cemper93
Posts: 209
Joined: Sun Feb 20, 2011 2:35 pm UTC
Location: `pwd`

Re: Worst/Overrated books.

Postby cemper93 » Mon Jan 26, 2015 6:39 pm UTC

Breakfast wrote:I'm not sure if it's overrated but I disliked 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea for almost the exact same reason. Page upon page upon page of navigational headings, polyp, and fish descriptions. I don't know what happened to Verne between Journey to the Center of the Earth and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea but it must have been horrible. The former I enjoyed quite a bit; the later I just wanted to be done with when I was only a quarter of the way through.

Amazon was so forthcoming to release this book in two volumes for the Kindle store, giving me a convenient excuse to stop reading after the first.

Tyndmyr
Posts: 10119
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:38 pm UTC

Re: Worst/Overrated books.

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Jan 27, 2015 2:55 pm UTC

wumpus wrote:Sword of Truth: Blew through the first book while overlooking the extreme flaws. Said flaws keep accumulating (at a rapidly increasing pace) until you can't believe how bad it is. Then more and more books are published. Trust me, they really are that bad.
Wheel of Time: Another series that is pretty popular (and with people who have enjoyed other books). Goes well while copying various wildly popular sources (to the point you might turn your geek card in if you miss a source), then goes off on its own. Then stops. For several doorstopping books in which nothing happens (beyond a few braids being tossed). Avoid.
Anything by Michael Crichton: While his shtick seems to have been stolen by Dan Brown (let's see how wrong I can get something), it didn't hit me until "The Thirteenth Warrior" how he can get everything wrong: not just science (which tends to involve knowing a ton of things and thinking correctly), but getting basic myths wrong (no Mr. Crichton. Beowulf's thanes (except one) ran away. It's particularly important that they ran away when Beowulf faced the dragon).


I would like to second all of these. Particularly Sword of Truth. The first book is alright. For fantasy. Just enough to lure you into the sequel trap. Goddammit, those got bad.

I also greatly disliked The Stranger.

Breakfast
Posts: 117
Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2009 7:34 pm UTC
Location: Coming to a table near you

Re: Worst/Overrated books.

Postby Breakfast » Tue Jan 27, 2015 3:04 pm UTC

cemper93 wrote:
Breakfast wrote:I'm not sure if it's overrated but I disliked 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea for almost the exact same reason. Page upon page upon page of navigational headings, polyp, and fish descriptions. I don't know what happened to Verne between Journey to the Center of the Earth and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea but it must have been horrible. The former I enjoyed quite a bit; the later I just wanted to be done with when I was only a quarter of the way through.

Amazon was so forthcoming to release this book in two volumes for the Kindle store, giving me a convenient excuse to stop reading after the first.

You're lucky. Even if I had had that option I don't like leaving books unfinished. It was just a struggle. If it had been a hundred pages or so it would have been so much better.

User avatar
Grop
Posts: 1785
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2008 10:36 am UTC
Location: France

Re: Worst/Overrated books.

Postby Grop » Fri Jan 30, 2015 1:39 pm UTC

wumpus wrote:Did I somehow miss a warning that Candide by Voltaire hasn't been highly rated for centuries? Back when I read it the whole book could be summed up in the (then popular) bumper sticker [spoilered for NSFW language and presumably spoilers]
Spoiler:
shit happens.


Probably, but that was one of the funniest books I had to read at school.

User avatar
Yablo
Posts: 367
Joined: Thu Feb 02, 2012 9:57 am UTC
Location: Juneau, Alaska

Re: Worst/Overrated books.

Postby Yablo » Wed Feb 04, 2015 9:04 pm UTC

wumpus wrote:Did I somehow miss a warning that Candide by Voltaire hasn't been highly rated for centuries?

I actually laughed all the way through Candide, and I also enjoyed his Zadig and L'Ingenu.

wumpus wrote:The Aeneid, Virgil: Political propaganda won't work if it isn't read (or more likely heard in Roman times). Maybe he just wanted the paycheck from the Emperor and hoped nobody heard about it.

Wasn't this just a Roman re-skinning of The Odyssey?

wumpus wrote:Catcher in the Rye: The ratings for this drek don't come from Twilight fans and they should know better.

This is another book I really enjoyed, and at least in some small ways, I believe it changed my perspective.
If you like Call of Cthulhu and modern government conspiracy, check out my Delta Green thread.
Please feel free to ask questions or leave comments.

User avatar
EMTP
Posts: 1556
Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2009 7:39 pm UTC
Location: Elbow deep in (mostly) other people's blood.

Re: Worst/Overrated books.

Postby EMTP » Thu Feb 05, 2015 6:41 am UTC

I couldn't get into George Martin's books. I love the TV show but the books -- I should say, the first fifty pages of the first book -- I thought were awful.
"Reasonable – that is, human – men will always be capable of compromise, but men who have dehumanized themselves by becoming the blind worshipers of an idea or an ideal are fanatics whose devotion to abstractions makes them the enemies of life."
-- Alan Watts, "The Way of Zen"

User avatar
Yablo
Posts: 367
Joined: Thu Feb 02, 2012 9:57 am UTC
Location: Juneau, Alaska

Re: Worst/Overrated books.

Postby Yablo » Mon Mar 02, 2015 8:01 pm UTC

Crime and Punishment is definitely near the top of my list. The first few chapters were great, and so were the last few. The whole middle of the book was just sooooo damned slow. I know it's usually heralded as a triumph of psychological fiction or somesuch nonsense, but I had a hell of a time making myself get from the first good bits to the other good bits.
If you like Call of Cthulhu and modern government conspiracy, check out my Delta Green thread.
Please feel free to ask questions or leave comments.

User avatar
Jorpho
Posts: 6068
Joined: Wed Dec 12, 2007 5:31 am UTC
Location: Canada

Re: Worst/Overrated books.

Postby Jorpho » Tue Mar 03, 2015 6:52 am UTC

Yablo wrote:Crime and Punishment is definitely near the top of my list. The first few chapters were great, and so were the last few. The whole middle of the book was just sooooo damned slow. I know it's usually heralded as a triumph of psychological fiction or somesuch nonsense, but I had a hell of a time making myself get from the first good bits to the other good bits.
Oddly enough, a rather nifty-sounding summation appeared on BoingBoing just the other day.
http://boingboing.net/2015/02/20/i-read ... nt-so.html

User avatar
Quercus
Posts: 1494
Joined: Thu Sep 19, 2013 12:22 pm UTC
Location: London, UK
Contact:

Re: Worst/Overrated books.

Postby Quercus » Tue Mar 03, 2015 10:51 am UTC

Ernest Hemingway's books - I can see on an intellectual level that they are good books, and I know lots of people love them, but there's something about the interaction between my brain and his writing that just doesn't work. I've tried two (A Farewell to Arms and The Old Man and the Sea) and haven't been able to finish either of them.

User avatar
Quizatzhaderac
Posts: 1487
Joined: Sun Oct 19, 2008 5:28 pm UTC
Location: Space Florida

Re: Worst/Overrated books.

Postby Quizatzhaderac » Tue Mar 03, 2015 3:55 pm UTC

Have you been able to finish For sale: baby shoes, never worn?
The thing about recursion problems is that they tend to contain other recursion problems.


Return to “Books”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest