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Topic: Massively beloved... disappointments

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Subject: Massively beloved... disappointments
Date Posted: 1/26/2008 1:42 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2007
Posts: 12,842
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Curious: what massively beloved novels did You (Dear Reader) find ultimately massively disappointing? I ask because there seem to be an awful lot of hyper-popular, well-regarded "classics" through the years which I could just never get into, if not downright hated -- despite repeated attempts, and across a variety of genres:

  • Watership Down by Richard Adams
  • Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
  • Labyrinth by Kate Mosse
  • The Stand by Stephen King
  • The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger (yes, The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger, I said it, and I'll say it again: The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger -- deal with it)
  • Going After Cacciato by Tim O'Brien

-- to name but a few. Anyone else wanna pony up?

Just for the record, I only edited this a zillion times to get the HTML code right

Last Edited on: 1/26/08 1:56 PM ET - Total times edited: 9

Date Posted: 1/26/2008 2:01 PM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2007
Posts: 515
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Catch 22 - I've tried and tried  but haven't finished it yet.


Date Posted: 1/26/2008 2:47 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2007
Posts: 942
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Jane Eyre.  I gave it a try a couple of times.  I never did finish it.

Date Posted: 1/26/2008 2:49 PM ET
Member Since: 4/17/2007
Posts: 918
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well they're not classics, but a lot of people seem to like them

Eat, Pray, Love

The Mermaid Chair

Nicholas Sparks books

Augusten Burrow's books

see, and I loved Jane Eyre,,,, to each his own :0)

Last Edited on: 1/26/08 2:50 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/26/2008 5:02 PM ET
Member Since: 3/10/2007
Posts: 3,272
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I'm with you, Greg:  I did not like The Catcher in the Rye!!!

Rick B. (bup) - ,
Date Posted: 1/26/2008 5:12 PM ET
Member Since: 11/2/2007
Posts: 2,625
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Lord of the Rings - too much landscape description, too much magic solving interesting problems, too many things that were...deus ex machina. Like, that elven bread solved the problem of how they were going to travel so long and far without a huge chuckwagon. The elven cloaks that were light, warm, cool, good camoflage and made their own gravy. Junk like that.

Date Posted: 1/26/2008 5:34 PM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2007
Posts: 3,326
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So far, everything I've tried to read by Jane Austen and the Bronte Sisters. Just can't seem to follow what's going on long enough to get interested in the characters.

The Kite Runner. I know, everyone loves the Kite Runner. I thought it was boring and depressing, but I finished it because everyone raved about it.

OTOH, I absolutely LOVE Watership Down. I have a falling apart copy on my bookshelf, left from HS literature class. I'd love to find a like-new copy, but no one reading the forums seems to have one available. (hint hint!) LOL

Speaking of HS literature, I also hated A Tale of Two Cities. I paid enough attention during discussion that I could pass the unit, but I never did finish the book. I tried several times over the years, and I simply can not read that book. dunno why... it just bores me to tears.

I'm sure someone will take me apart on this one -- I thought the whole Hitch Hiker's Guide series was just "okay". I basically only kept reading it so that I could "get the jokes" people made in reference to the books. 42:  big whoop.

Anything by Louis L'Amor. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz....

Date Posted: 1/26/2008 6:27 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2007
Posts: 12,842
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So far I mostly agree, but:

Catch-22: brilliant

Hitch-Hiker's Guide: brilliant (but only the first three books)

Lord of the Rings: unreadable

And for the record, Salinger's Nine Stories collection: brilliant.

Last Edited on: 1/26/08 6:29 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 1/26/2008 6:29 PM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2006
Posts: 2,246
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Classics or modern classics: Gone With the Wind, Moll Flanders, Don Quixote, anything by Ayn Rand, nearly everything by Thomas Hardy, Moby Dick.

Recent publications everyone else thought wonderful and I hated, hated, hated: The Thirteenth Tale, Water for Elephants, The Kite Runner, anything by Alexander McCall Smith, anything by Mitch Albom, and that self-indulgent drek Eat, Pray, Love.

Whew, that feels better.


Date Posted: 1/26/2008 6:30 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2007
Posts: 12,842
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De gustibus in action: I L-O-V-E not only MOBY DICK but almost all of Thomas Hardy's novels, with the notable exception of Jude the Obscure.

Date Posted: 1/26/2008 8:16 PM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2006
Posts: 2,246
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Possibly I should give Moby Dick another try, Greg, because I read and thoroughly enjoyed In the Heart of the Sea - if you haven't read it, you might look at this and see what you think. PBS link http://www.paperbackswap.com/book/details/9780141001821-In+the+Heart+of+the+Sea+The+Tragedy+of+the+Whaleship+Essex

I think I hated old Moby because a sadistic teacher made us memorize pages of it as punishment. Literature, reading, should never be a punishment.

Date Posted: 1/26/2008 8:27 PM ET
Member Since: 1/13/2007
Posts: 25
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I have somehow convinced myself that I should love Wuthering Heights.  I have read it 3 times, thinking I must be missing something.  I'm not!  It really just isn't very good.

I feel better now :)

Date Posted: 1/26/2008 10:07 PM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2008
Posts: 5,297
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I totally agree on The Kite Runner. I tried...I did but I was so bored!

I loved Catch-22 but I read it in college for a class so they made it very interesting. I did try to read other Heller after but I couldn't get into it.

Date Posted: 1/26/2008 10:28 PM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2006
Posts: 1,930
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I agree with The Mermaid Chair - blech

Eat, Pray, Love - double blech

Anything by James Patterson or Nora Roberts - I will never understand their popularity

Les - I totally agree about In the Heart of the Sea - excellent nonfiction

I truly loved and enjoyed several book listed but, hey, it'd be a pretty boring world if we all read and enjoyed the same books! Also, I find I have a new appreciation for a few books I did not like in my teens. I believe that sometimes you need to read a book at the right time in your life for it to have meaning or be a pleasure to read.

Date Posted: 1/26/2008 11:02 PM ET
Member Since: 10/14/2005
Posts: 142
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I didn't like Angela's Ashes which everyone else seemed to love.

I did like Jane Eyre though.


Date Posted: 1/26/2008 11:44 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2007
Posts: 12,842
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Well, this doesn't really seem the place, but what the hell: I cannot recommend enough that y'all try William Kotzwinkle's FATA MORGANA -- a book for those who like light fiction, deep fiction, and everything in-between.
Date Posted: 1/27/2008 12:33 AM ET
Member Since: 11/20/2005
Posts: 601
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I agree about Catcher And The Rye. There was this other book about this boy on a farm. And his relationship with this pig his dad gives him. He had to kill his pet because she was barren. She had to be of use somehow. I didn't like either one of those.

Date Posted: 1/27/2008 10:55 AM ET
Member Since: 1/9/2006
Posts: 760
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Tried to read Catcher in theRye.  Even picked up the Cliff's Notes for it. Just didn't get into the story.  It bored me to tears.

Wicked - could not stand it.  Kept waiting to see when I was going to care or even like the character.  Never happened.

Memoirs of a Geisha - yeah, thought it was a waste of paper.

Date Posted: 1/27/2008 11:44 AM ET
Member Since: 10/27/2007
Posts: 643
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27 years ago, when I first tried to read Lord of  the Rings, I hated it...second time I tried and hated it. In case you might wonder why I would  even try a third time, my family was so into it  that it's all they talked about, and me being the English major, couldn't be the only one. So for the last time I decided to read 100 pages of the Hobbit (prequel  to Lord  of the Rings) before I made a decision....and amazing...I fell in love!!! I continued to read the remaining  Trilogy, and  to this day, I say they are the best books I've ever read. I re-read them in the 90's.

Go figure...............

Date Posted: 1/27/2008 11:57 AM ET
Member Since: 1/18/2008
Posts: 502
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The DaVinci Code....just couldn't get into it.

Date Posted: 1/27/2008 12:46 PM ET
Member Since: 1/13/2007
Posts: 25
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Oh yeah - I forgot about Wicked.  Couldn't even make it all the way through that one, and that's saying a lot for me.

Date Posted: 1/27/2008 12:54 PM ET
Member Since: 5/23/2005
Posts: 5,905
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You just know we will keep coming back here to add more stories as our memories are nudged!  But good thread.

I liked Watership Down very much.  Absolutely loved The Stand, but the second one was so much better, even though longer.

Uncle Tom's Cabin was one of the most difficult books I've ever plowed through, with some page-turning sections, but that awful way of writing in those days was so boring.

Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters.  Great title, but that and anything else by him bored me to death!

The Hobbit was ok at times, but I did struggle through it.

Modern Best Sellers: Could not even finish The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, another terrific title and boring book (boring for me--I and L already got blasted for disliking this book a few months back!). Couldn't finish The Memory Keeper's Daughter.  Kite Runner had it's good parts, but I really struggled to keep going, which I usually don't do.  Heart of the Sea, took off like fire and just petered out and I gave that away quickly. 

I'm sure I'll be back to add to this, and see what else has been written here.

Date Posted: 1/27/2008 1:22 PM ET
Member Since: 11/25/2007
Posts: 1,581
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Hi Melanie and Kris!

Do *not* judge the play Wicked by its book.  If you get a chance you simply MUST see the play.  It is one of the best I've ever seen - even my dh (who hates plays) and my kids (11 yo boy, 8 yo boy, 5 yo girl) are dying to see it again.  The book was a *total* stinker.

As far as classics I hated:  Anything by Ayn Rand (don't get her at ALL), Turn of the Screw, Where the Red Fern Grows (that book traumatizes me to this day), 1984.  "New" classics:  Memory Keeper's Daughter (way to choppy - I felt like I was being whipped around by a tilt-a-whirl), The Corrections (just plain didn't get it), Da Vinci Code

I loved Eat, Pray, Love!  I agree it was a little self-indulgent, but the India (albiet only in an ashram) and Bali descriptions of life there were so fascinating and well-told, I almost felt I was there.

Oh, yeah - I can't tell you how many times I've started The Hobbit with the best of intentions.....

Date Posted: 1/27/2008 5:46 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2007
Posts: 12,842
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Last Edited on: 6/26/08 2:26 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/27/2008 5:47 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2007
Posts: 12,842
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Roger on the Ayn Rand -- far less a writer than an avatar of political theory. As for All Things Dan Brown, regardless of one's views on religion or secrets, one thing is clear: he's the potato chips of pop lit -- a lousy writer with a singular and undeniable talent for crafting page-turning momentum. Has anyone actually stopped reading "Da Vinci" before the end? You're lying.