Archive for nglreturns.myfreeforum.org Nglreturns is a forum to discuss religion, philosophy, ethics etc...

NGLReturns Daily Quiz - Play here!
 



       nglreturns.myfreeforum.org Forum Index -> Hobbies and pastimes
BevIsHopeful

Worst 10 works of fiction

Literary works we should have liked:  

We Need To Talk About Kevin -- Lionel Shriver (too dark to finish.)
The Horse Whisperer  --  Nicholas Evans (couldn't stand the parents.)
The Poisonwood Bible  --  Barbara Kingsglover (I just couldn't like it.)
A Thousand Acres  --  Jane Smiley (well written, but. . .ugh!!)
The Handmaids Tale -- Margaret Atwood (although I would agree it was exquisitely written.)

I can't think of more, but will post if I do.
LornaDoone40

Anything written by Will Self - his head disappeared up his backside some years ago and hasn't been seen since.
krysta25uk

One Hundred Years of Solitude
Great Expectations
The Grapes of Wrath

Three books I found so boring I counldn't finish.

Krysta
Shaker

The Da Vinci Code. Obviously.
LornaDoone40

The French Lieutenants Woman.

The Old Man And The Sea.

Anything by DH Lawrence.
Lexilogio

Top of the List has to be the Da Vinci Code. Absolute tripe - no characterisation, poor research...

Others?
The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Tolstoy
Sorrows of Young Wether by Goethe

Both of which are like guide books for the suicidal

Gargantua and Pantagruel by Francois Rabelais - bloke should have written for The Sun

and anything labelled "Mills and Boon" - yes he was tall dark and handsome, rich... it's like Hello magazine readers try books.
Shaft2101

Quote:
The Old Man And The Sea


You're KIDDING me??? How could you not like it?  :o

Forum ban if you don't take that back  :x

:lol:
Paul

krysta25uk wrote:
The Grapes of Wrath


This I found very hard to get into, and was very tempted to give up. However, I persevered and ended up quite liking it.
LornaDoone40

Shaft2101 wrote:
Quote:
The Old Man And The Sea


You're KIDDING me??? How could you not like it?  :o

Forum ban if you don't take that back  :x

:lol:



  Misogynistic guff.  (Just to clarify my position!)    :P
Shaft2101

Quote:
Misogynistic guff


Misogynistic? There's one old dude, his boat, and a helluva big fish!  :P I don't disagree that Hemingway clearly had very little time for women, but to pick out OMS is a little puzzling. I reread it 2-3 weeks ago and can't say that I remember even the mention of a woman  :lol: Though perhaps I missed something (which wouldn't be a first)!

As for "Grapes of Wrath" - for those who didn't enjoy it, you might still like "Of Mice and Men" by Steinbeck. A real classic of literature :)
david_geoffrey

krysta25uk wrote:
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Great Expectations
The Grapes of Wrath

Three books I found so boring I counldn't finish.

Krysta

I could cry Krysta,  :cry:  :cry:  :cry:   you have just named three of my favourite books of all time...especially the first two which on the top 10 books list make it into mine. I have read 100 years of Solitude twice and Great Expectations about 4 times....

Hey ho though, each to their own  

As well as Of Mice and Men which is much shorter, but is a bit gloomy, you should try Steinbeck's Cannery Road. Whimsical yes, but very funny and in Doc you have one of the great character's in literature. He is described thus
Quote:
Doc would listen to any kind of nonsense and change it for you to a kind of wisdom. His mind had no horizon—and his sympathy had no warp. . . . He lived in a world of wonders, of excitement.


Aslo love Hemingway, don't agree he is misogynistic (especially OM&TS), but he does write about men mostly and what is wrong with that?

Never read Da Vinci code, so can't really give an opinion...so worst books? Not sure if I can really say there are any, I have always found something to enjoy in almost everything I have read.
Conspiracist

Barefoot in the Head - Brian Aldiss

Words fail me.
Lexilogio

Conspiracist wrote:
Barefoot in the Head - Brian Aldiss

Words fail me.





Smilie_PDT I read 3 of Aldiss's books - considered to be seminal works of Sci fi - but to be honest - after coming from Iain M Banks, I was sorely disappointed. He reminds me a bit like CS Lewis and Stephen King, in that he feels the need to take the story too far, instead of knowing when the entertainment has stopped. (I realise some people may be upset by the CS Lewis reference - I loved the first 5 of the Narnia books, but hated the last one).
krysta25uk

Have to agree about CS Lewis Lexi.  The first three Narnia were good but the last I found weren't as good.  Should have stopped at four.
Conspiracist

Quote:
He reminds me a bit like CS Lewis and Stephen King


I hate King. He has this peculiar knack of giving the impression that something really impressive is going to happen in a few paragraphs time, so you keep turning the pages waiting for the thing to happen and then suddenly its the end of the book. I read two or three of his "books" before I cottoned on to what he was doing, representing several hours of my life that I will never get back.
Pukon_the_Treen

krysta & Lexi

Quote:
Have to agree about CS Lewis Lexi.  The first three Narnia were good but the last I found weren't as good.  Should have stopped at four.


Agreed muchly.  Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe is ok, Magician's Nephew is much better as is Prince Caspian and Horse and his boy (if you can swallow the racism) but after that the moralising started to get in the way of the story (or I was just a bit older when I read them so I was better at spotting all the Christian metaphors).  Last Battle was atrocious.

The trouble is, C S Lewis had a good scope of imagination and was a fairly good storyteller, but his use of language was rubbish.  Compare Lewis to Kenneth Grahame, or A A Milne, E Nesbit, L. Frank Baum and Richmal Crompton and you can really see the difference; they don't talk down to children, and they love language, whereas Lewis just loves Jesus and moralising.

Personally I grew up on Susan Cooper, Alan Garner, William Mayne, Robert Westall and Ursula Le Guin and they are a far superior class of writer to Lewis.
Lexilogio

E Nesbitt was one of my favourites as a child, along with Louisa May Alcott and Penelope Lively. Until I discovered Tolkein, and then moved into sci fi at about 10.

I'm just about to start reading "Οι Ιστορείς του Μπιντλ του Βαρδος"  (The History of Beadle the Bard), which was a Mother's Day gift.

After that.... I fancy reading a modern book - but I find so many of the advertised modern books are incredibly disappointing.
Pukon_the_Treen

Quote:
E Nesbitt was one of my favourites as a child, along with Louisa May Alcott and Penelope Lively. Until I discovered Tolkein, and then moved into sci fi at about 10.


Similar pattern to me by the look of things!  Louisa May Alcott's not my thing, but Penelope Lively certainly deserves a mention.  Have you read any Diana Wynne Jones?

I've got so much course work to read at the moment I'm not reading much for pleasure.  Got a book of M. R. James ghost stories on the go (and my ever-present Lovecraft of course) but that's just comfort reading really.  I was reading Jack Vance 'Tales of the Dying Earth' until fairly recently, but I've had to put it aside for now while I do other things.
Lexilogio

Quote:
Have you read any Diana Wynne Jones?


No - but having just looked her up - she wrote the incredible Howls Moving Castle! I'm buying that at the next trip to the bookshop.

I would strongly recommend The Sparrow, by Mary Doria Russel. It's a fantastic book which deals with a Jesuit Priest who is on the first mission to another inhabited planet.
Pukon_the_Treen

I hate the acclaim that Rowling gets for her third-rate unoriginal two dimensional turgid stuff (especially when she seems totally scornful of the fantasy genre and claims to have single-handedly reinvented it) when Diana Wynne Jones has been writing far better and more original stuff for decades!

Howls Moving Castle is very good but possibly her best is one called Hexwood – very sophisticated for a kids book.  Also worth a look is 'Eight Days of Luke' (about the Norse gods) and 'The Homeward Bounders'.

Quote:
I would strongly recommend The Sparrow, by Mary Doria Russel. It's a fantastic book which deals with a Jesuit Priest who is on the first mission to another inhabited planet.


Looks interesting; I'll keep an eye out.  What did you think of C S Lewis's Sci Fi?
Silver

I liked the thin volumes of Robert Heinlein and I was recommended the larger volumes: Stranger in a Strange Land and Time Enough For Love, so I gave them a try.

Boring!!!

It turned out that the guy who had recommended them to me had never read them but been recommended them.
BevIsHopeful

Lexilogio wrote:

Sorrows of Young Wether by Goethe



I recently read, Lexi, that Goethe hated this work, and he wished it to be forgotten.  Apparently, at the time of his writing it, he was hailed as being the first German writer to expose the then silent suffering many people endured because of lost hopes, lost love.  After its publication, an entire bohemian-styled, upper-class culture openly embraced the stark, emotional drama as something worthy of elevating in the public consciousness.  In a sense, he saw them valuing tragedy, and he hated it.  Not to mention he had unintentionally embarrassed a couple, good friends of his, at the time well-known in the community.  He had secretly fallen in love with Charlotte, the fiance of his good friend at the time, and when another acquaintance took his own life (some guy with the last name Jerusalem) after he was rebuffed by the wife of his good friend, he was instantly inspired to write Werther.  Goethe infused his own before-unknown feelings for Charlotte into the characters he outwardly intended to pattern after Jerusalem and the woman he had fallen for, but after its publication, Charlotte and her now husband came under public scrutiny, her reputation now on the line.

Anyway, I found it interesting that he would regret the writing, especially when it had become so wildly successful.  

I'm definitely going to read it now.  
Silver

Decades ago now but I found the original Dracula book (Bram Stoker) boring, unlike Frankenstein which was excellent.
BevIsHopeful

Silver wrote:
Decades ago now but I found the original Dracula book (Bram Stoker) boring, unlike Frankenstein which was excellent.


:smt045
jeremyp

The Lord of the Rings.

About five times longer than the plot, no character development.  Deserves a nod for starting a genre but annoyingly there are so many aged hippies who like it that any public vote for the "greatest novel" gets distorted to the point where it wins.
Lexilogio

BevIsHopeful wrote:
Lexilogio wrote:

Sorrows of Young Wether by Goethe



I recently read, Lexi, that Goethe hated this work, and he wished it to be forgotten.  Apparently, at the time of his writing it, he was hailed as being the first German writer to expose the then silent suffering many people endured because of lost hopes, lost love.  After its publication, an entire bohemian-styled, upper-class culture openly embraced the stark, emotional drama as something worthy of elevating in the public consciousness.  In a sense, he saw them valuing tragedy, and he hated it.  Not to mention he had unintentionally embarrassed a couple, good friends of his, at the time well-known in the community.  He had secretly fallen in love with Charlotte, the fiance of his good friend at the time, and when another acquaintance took his own life (some guy with the last name Jerusalem) after he was rebuffed by the wife of his good friend, he was instantly inspired to write Werther.  Goethe infused his own before-unknown feelings for Charlotte into the characters he outwardly intended to pattern after Jerusalem and the woman he had fallen for, but after its publication, Charlotte and her now husband came under public scrutiny, her reputation now on the line.

Anyway, I found it interesting that he would regret the writing, especially when it had become so wildly successful.  

I'm definitely going to read it now.  


Have you read it yet?

I warn you, it even beats Tolstoys "The Death of Ivan Ilyich" for depressing.
Dave B

Re: Worst 10 works of fiction

BevIsHopeful wrote:

The Handmaids Tale -- Margaret Atwood (although I would agree it was exquisitely written.)
That is strange. I heard it on the radio and enjoyed it, but could not get on with the book.

I should say that L E Modesitt's "Recluse" series has some serious errors - too many similarities between the books in detail and some appalling English (even for an American writer) and some never seemed to have been proof read (a character's name was changed part way through in one!). But, for some reason, I find them strangely compelling.

Modesitt seems more like a committee than an individual, some of his books seem so different in all ways as to have been written by another person.
Shaker

Quote:
The Handmaids Tale -- Margaret Atwood (although I would agree it was exquisitely written.)

I agree. I read it recently. Yes, it's well written, but I found it an almost entirely dislikable read in a way that I can't quite put my finger on. There's something thin and unsatisfying about it that went against the grain with me.

Still, my loss is the charity shop's gain.
LornaDoone40

I felt similarly about 'French Lieutenants Woman' - simply couldn't stand John Fowler at all, despite how well written it was.

And I can't be doing with D H Lawrence at all. I think it was the overwhelming feeling that both these writers were entirely fascinated by their own mental naval fluff, which grated on me very quickly indeed.
Humph Warden Bennett

LornaDoone40 wrote:
The French Lieutenants Woman.

The Old Man And The Sea.

Anything by DH Lawrence.


Not so sure about Lawrence, but pretty much anything by Thomas Hardy, whom I find overlong & throughly miserable. The only Hardy work that I quite enjoyed was "The Wellbeloved", which is uncharacteristically short, and has a bittersweet rather than a depressing ending.
Lexilogio

I've never read any Hardy. I guess it's not worth making the effort...
Sebastian Toe

Lexilogio wrote:

after coming from Iain M Banks, I was sorely disappointed..

Banks has written some excellent books but I have to say that 'A Song of Stone' was the most turgid read I have had the misfortune to experience.
Ever.
I always finish a book but this one had me seriously considering sandpapering my eyes, just to stop my brain from eating itself out of sheer boredom.
cyberman

Silver wrote:
Decades ago now but I found the original Dracula book (Bram Stoker) boring, unlike Frankenstein which was excellent.


I entirely agree with all of this. I read Frankenstein first and was pleasantly surprised by what a good read it was. I then tried Dracula and found it rather dull and very poorly paced.

It is interesting that none of the screen adaptations of Frankenstein, including the ones that bill themselves as "this one is really true to the book" are really true to the book.

It would make a great 13 part BBC serial - but apart from a brief distant glimpse at the beginning (in the snow), the monster wouldn't show up until about episode 6, so I think the reviewers would get a bit antsy.
Lexilogio

Sebastian Toe wrote:
Lexilogio wrote:

after coming from Iain M Banks, I was sorely disappointed..

Banks has written some excellent books but I have to say that 'A Song of Stone' was the most turgid read I have had the misfortune to experience.
Ever.
I always finish a book but this one had me seriously considering sandpapering my eyes, just to stop my brain from eating itself out of sheer boredom.


I haven't read that one    I'm a bit behind.

Mr Lexi couldn't get his head round "Feersum Injun", because it was written in vernacular.

My favourites are in the more straight books of his - Bridge and Whit, but I do enjoy the culture books.
Sebastian Toe

Lexilogio wrote:


I haven't read that one  

Don't, if you value your time and sanity!

My favorites are Complicity and The Crow Road.
Outrider

I'd have to nominate David Eddings assorted works as the ones that I despise, now, despite having spent most of my time between the ages of about 12 and 16 reading and re-reading them.

When I go back to them now I see how obvious and one-dimensional the story is (even the third or fourth time he regurgitates it with different names on the same characters) and feel disappointed that I was so uncritical as to regard them so well at the time.

Most of the books that I like go onto the bookshelf and will get read again, but somehow those ones have been boxed up and put into the loft in the hope they might entertain my son at some point - I'm loathe to give them up, but I'm equally loathe to actually open them up again.

O.
Lexilogio

Outrider wrote:
I'd have to nominate David Eddings assorted works as the ones that I despise, now, despite having spent most of my time between the ages of about 12 and 16 reading and re-reading them.

When I go back to them now I see how obvious and one-dimensional the story is (even the third or fourth time he regurgitates it with different names on the same characters) and feel disappointed that I was so uncritical as to regard them so well at the time.

Most of the books that I like go onto the bookshelf and will get read again, but somehow those ones have been boxed up and put into the loft in the hope they might entertain my son at some point - I'm loathe to give them up, but I'm equally loathe to actually open them up again.

O.


I've read one David Eddings - and didn't feel the need to go any further.

It's a bit like David Gemmel. Read one and you could write the rest.
Pukon_the_Treen

Quote:
I've read one David Eddings - and didn't feel the need to go any further.

It's a bit like David Gemmel. Read one and you could write the rest.


David Gemmel is far superior to David Eddings, but I still agree with you. Gemmel is good pulp when you just want a bit of solid sword and sorcery.

David Eddings is unspeakably bad. Don’t get me started on him … oh if you insist. He writes appalling female characters; they are all either spoilt children you want to slap, or impossibly superior domineering mother-figures. How is it that each culture is populated entirely by one stereotype? A nation of warrior barbarians, a nation of farmers and craftsmen, merchants and spies, a nation of political intrigue and poisoners or of priests … for god's sake each culture contains all of these things; it would collapse if it was populated by one demographic only! The countries are equally stereotypical (Romans, Egyptian,Vikings and so on), all mashed together with no regard for how they fit. I get the impression that he drew a map first (and the maps are unrealistic too, with no regard to how and why towns and borders develop the way they do) and then simply shifted his protagonists systematically through each country on the map.

On the plus side, I used to read them because they would make me so angry and disgusted that it would inspire me to try writing.
jeremyp

[quote="Lexilogio:57716"]
Sebastian Toe wrote:

Mr Lexi couldn't get his head round "Feersum Injun", because it was written in vernacular.


I entirely sympathise.  I think I got about four pages in before I decided that I didn't want to read it enough to put up with the stupid language.
Lexilogio

It's really interesting reading back through this thread - especially when "We need to talk about Kevin" in the OP, has been made into a critically acclaimed film.

I think the worst book I read in the last year or so was Peter Leonard's "Trust Me", which can be summed up as - lots of swearing, lots of action, absolutely no description of place, character etc... Just a lot of 1 dimensional people running around.

       nglreturns.myfreeforum.org Forum Index -> Hobbies and pastimes
Page 1 of 1
Create your own free forum | Buy a domain to use with your forum