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Topic: Books/series you like IN SPITE OF the main character?

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Subject: Books/series you like IN SPITE OF the main character?
Date Posted: 8/7/2007 8:55 AM ET
Member Since: 7/4/2006
Posts: 2,329
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I recently read two books from my local library back-to-back.  They were both the latest in a series, Agatha Raisin by M.C. Beaton and Miss Zukas by Jo Dereske.  I was left feeling vaguely unsatisfied and couldn't figure it out for a while, but then I realized what the problem was.  I don't really care for either of the main characters!  Now I'm trying to decide why I have always continued to follow the series with this being the case.  Anyone else do the same thing?  I'm usually pretty quick to stick any author on my mental "Don't try that one again" list, so I guess I really like the writing/plot/secondary characters or something to stick by these series.  Weird.....

Date Posted: 8/7/2007 9:38 PM ET
Member Since: 4/6/2007
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Last Edited on: 6/5/11 11:07 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 8/8/2007 8:24 AM ET
Member Since: 4/22/2005
Posts: 6,537
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I agree that Agatha and Helma are fairly unlikeable but I, too, continue to read the books. Another series I continue to read is the Magdalena Yoder Pennsylvania Dutch series. When I first started reading them, they were hilarious. After the first couple, I noticed the author recycles entire paragraphs from one book to the other. The same old lame jokes are used time after time. I can't figure out why I keep reading the darn things.

Date Posted: 8/8/2007 8:03 PM ET
Member Since: 4/2/2007
Posts: 180
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I keep reading about Magdalena Yoder even though the books are silly. I started them because I live in the Pa.Dutch country and some of the customs and saying were familiar. The newer ones are not as much fun but its like visiting old friends to read about familiar characters and they are a quick read. Although I finish the book with a groan,I will surely buy the next one!

Date Posted: 8/9/2007 10:52 AM ET
Member Since: 2/25/2007
Posts: 13,991
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"A Confederacy of Dunces," was a huge best-seller about 20 years ago, set in New Orleans. It's one of those books that was rejected by publishers for years (in part because the main chracter was so gross, although some people thought he was funny). The author committed suicide, but his mom kept sending the book out. When a publisher finally took it, it was huge, both with the public and the critics.

Date Posted: 8/9/2007 10:02 PM ET
Member Since: 9/30/2006
Posts: 7,345
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I agree with you on the Magdalena Yoder series, except that I had one book I just couldn't make myself finish.  I have another one thinking that she cannot be so obnoxious in all of them, but maybe she can.  I find it a bit tiring reading the books.  The first 1-2 chapters are hilarious, then it just gets so repetitive.  There is too much funny in a book and I think this is one.  Kind of makes me feel like I have to wade through all the funny to get to the story and I geuss I am not that patient.

Jullie, I so agree with you about The Cat Who...series!  Did you read her last one?  What was up with that!  I thought the book was basically filled with nothing except exclamation points!  And then the end just kept you hanging and I did not understand it at all!  It seems like every book gets filled with more an more exclamation points that are not needed and quite frankly, I get tired of them!  But I still love Koko and Yum Yum, so I'll probably still read them!  The first books were really, really good but the past few years not so much!  Maybe someone else is writing them for her......hmmmmm.......maybe we should get Koko and Yum Yum to investigate?  

Have a good weekend!!!!!   This is a great idea for a thread!!!!!!!!!!     :)


Last Edited on: 8/9/07 10:04 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/10/2007 9:43 PM ET
Member Since: 3/13/2006
Posts: 2,024
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Magdalena Yoder -- argghhh!  Although I can't list her as a response to this thread because I honestly could not finish the one book I tried featuring her.  I actually wanted to throw the book across the room.  Instead I just reposted and it went to a more appreciative audience.

I have to say that although I enjoy the Coffeehouse series by Cleo Coyle there are times when I really get annoyed by the main character, Clare.  I get even more annoyed, however, by Clare's 20-y.o. daughter, Joy.  There was a point when Clare found Joy engaged in some self-destructive behavior (I won't spoil it by going into any more details), and I was actually rooting for Joy to continue down that path because I disliked her so much.  Somehow I don't think that was the reaction the author intended!  (I will admit, however, that I felt like a pretty crummy human being for having that reaction.)

I do think that sometimes authors try so hard to create a "funny" or "quirky" character that they wind up creating an incredibly annoying character instead.

Date Posted: 8/12/2007 4:12 PM ET
Member Since: 2/6/2006
Posts: 1,186
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I'm glad I'm not the only one who dislikes Helma of the Jo Dereske Miss Zukas series. And I can't for the life of me figure out why I continue reading the series when there are so many more with likable characters out there.

Date Posted: 8/13/2007 4:38 AM ET
Member Since: 1/29/2007
Posts: 131
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I am so glad to find out that I am not the only one who would not have the main character as a friend but continue reading the books.

Agatha Raisin is really a pill and I couldn't care less if she gets her ex?-husband back.  I can't stand her friend [he's got a noble title] but I'm pulling a blank pn his name.

Magdelena Yoder can be quite obnoxious and this new love of hers is a jerk with mamma problems.  Actually Myers other character Abigail ? [the antique store owner] is no better in her own way.  The books featuring the antique store has many obnoxious characters also.

The Cat..........Books have really boring, unfeeling and if it wasn't for Ko Ko and Yum Yum I'd ignore them all.  Qwillan has become a bore with no feelings.  I wonder if Braun is bothering to try to get a good plot or is now in it just for the money.

Now that I've vented my spleen I will continue to buy them and read them but have no reason why.  Once I've read a number of books in a series I just keep buying them and reading them.


Date Posted: 8/13/2007 10:03 PM ET
Member Since: 7/14/2007
Posts: 8,942
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I've gotten really tired of Stuart Woods Stone Barrington.  Not just the character, but that one of his series in general.  The guy's a ho - even when in a relationship, and if they have even one more meal at "Elaine's" I'll scream! 

That said, I do like some of Wood's other books, but not the New York based name dropping ones!  I accidently bought a re-released version of "Dirt" by him, and read it on the plane today - Stone Barrington again, and his improbably named girlfirend "Arrington".

Date Posted: 8/14/2007 9:37 PM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2007
Posts: 11
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I'll join in on the Agatha Raisin and Magdalena Yoder series.  I kept on reading them even though I was annoyed with the lead characters in each, but I finally decided NO MORE.  There are too many books out there to keep reading ones that leave me feeling annoyed.

Date Posted: 8/18/2007 10:44 PM ET
Member Since: 3/13/2006
Posts: 2,024
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Life is too short to read annoying books!  ;->

Date Posted: 8/19/2007 4:37 PM ET
Member Since: 7/9/2005
Posts: 14
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That's the way I feel about Patricia Corwell's Kay Scarpetta series. I really do not like any of the characters in the series. All the characters seem to have such unhappiness and just continue to maon about it. Lucy is the worst.  Then the stories started getting bad. Blow Fly was terrible. But I still get them (not buy) and have swapped out the early ones I bought.

A popular series that I STOPPED reading is the Alex Delaware series by Jonathan Kellerman. IMHO Alex Delaware is a boring character and the stories are slow and tedious. And I'm surprised by this because I first read his book Billy Straight and loved it.


Date Posted: 8/19/2007 4:45 PM ET
Member Since: 4/2/2007
Posts: 180
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You are so right about the Kay Scarpetta series.Not only are the stories no longer interesting but the characters are becoming less likable.Why read a book in which you dislike all the people and  nothing is enjoyable?

Date Posted: 9/8/2007 2:37 PM ET
Member Since: 8/30/2007
Posts: 3,237
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Most of the series that I stopped reading, I stopped because the character(s) were becoming unlikable or tedious.

I agree that Alex Delaware is basically a cardboard cutout at this point! And I stopped reading the Goldy the caterer books several books ago when she did something so blatantly stupid that I held the book out in front of me and yelled at it, LOL.

I read the next-to-latest Stephanie Plum book a couple months ago, and that whole love triangle thing is beyond tedious by now.

I think the danger with all of these successful multi-multi-book series is that eventually there's only so far you can take most characters before you're basically just phoning it in. Even Kinsey Millhone and Sharon McCone are geting tired, although Marcia Muller does keep throwing curveballs at McCone to keep her changing and growing.

Date Posted: 9/23/2007 10:59 PM ET
Member Since: 2/11/2007
Posts: 808
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I think the Yoder series should've been wrapped up a couple of books back - there was a logical point to do so, but they just keep a-comin'! There's a new one due out soon, which I confess I'll read. The other series (Abigail) is stuck in a Groundhog Day loop, with the secondary characters' names the only variables.

Agatha Raisin is "warming up" as a character, soirt of like Helma Zukas. I can't stand James, and wish he'd disappeared when he was supposed to a few books ago. Her noble friend, Sir Charles Fraith, is rather a jerk, but Agatha admits that.

I find the "Goldy the Caterer" series grim. She was a battered wife, and now that The Jerk is dead she works so hard, but doesn't seem very happy. Marla's shallowness is getting to me as well.

I grew tired of Sharon McCone a while back when she turned into a Corpo-Cog; I don't care for Ricky the singer and Rae.


Enough crankiness!






Last Edited on: 9/23/07 11:01 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Ellie (EllieW) - ,
Date Posted: 9/23/2007 11:15 PM ET
Member Since: 3/5/2007
Posts: 1,479
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I couldn't agree more about the Agatha Raisin series. I have come to loathe James. I thought he was gone for good and then he had to go and reappear. I like the series and will continue to read them but if I had my way James would disappear to that monastery or whatever it was, and never darken Agatha's door again.

I'm also a bit tired of Magdalena but here I am reading one of the recent books, Hell Hath No Curry. I'm such a creature of habit.

I gave up on the Alex Delaware series a while ago. I never did warm up to him.