Book Unrecommendations - Books To Avoid

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  • I was FUCKING furious as the monstrosity that was Her Fearful Symmetry. 
    Monstrosity is a perfect word for it!
  • The American Heiress was a book club read and I just couldn't get into it.  I really didn't care about any of the characters.  I never finished it, and I am sort of glad that I didn't because I later heard that it had an ambiguous ending.  Normally I wouldn't mind that, but it would have made me throw the book if I had trudged my way through it to have no real sense of closure.

    Some what related, all the people discussing The Corrections made me think of one of my favorite podcasts-Read It and Weep-which did an episode on the book.
  • Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner.  I disliked that book so much I gave it to a neighbor and told her I didn't want it back.  I didn't even want it on my shelves.
  • There's a book published local to me called Freshers about 1st year university students and it is the WORST thing i've ever read. It's published by a women's publisher and it is just horrendous from page to page. Women calling each other bitches, appallingly bad sex scenes and so much inconsistency that I went into it in detail on my own blog. Be glad that they are too small a publisher for that book to ever trouble anyone! http://eurotrashfreaks.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/chapter-by-chapter-review-of-freshers.html

    Also The Secret Scripture, by Sebastian Barry, which was just so cliched in just over a chapter it that I [spoiler] skipped to the end to find out if the old woman who was recounting her cliched catholic childhood in Ireland was going to turn out to be the mother of the doctor who narrates every other chapter of the story. I was not wrong. I cursed the friend that introduced me to it. They're making a film of it now.

    Also, Resistance by Owen Sheers, which was a forgettable film a few years ago. I actually forgot on one occasion that i was speaking to the author's publisher when saying how much i hated it, so i had to turn around and be like 'sorry, i just really hated it.'
  • @alyssa, @pennymac - Because I'm a Swedophile, I found the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo kind of interesting (wtf, you can be jailed for slander?), but when I got to the end and the answer was [spoiler alert] Nazism, I said you've got to kidding and didn't bother with the rest of the trilogy.
  • edited February 2015

    @PoptartK while I personally love and adore Time Traveler's Wife (not because it was so very well done, but because it haunted me, infected my dreams, and breaks me every time I read it.)

    This is how I felt about TTW. I fully recognized the problems with it, but it hit me in the feels any way.

    I am curious if my then emotional and mental state was why I could not get into The Midnight Circus. Everyone loved it, I started it, but it is collecting dust on a shelf, somewhere.  Is it boring or was it me?

    Do you mean The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern? I
    liked it although I didn't love it the way a lot of people, including
    the person who recommended it to me, do. If the mood of it didn't grab you then I imagine it would be boring because there's not a lot of action in the traditional sense. I can see it being a very mood-dependent book.
  • Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole.  Yuck!
  • Another book I hated was You've Been Warned by James Patterson. It is the one and only book of his I've read, which I got on a clearance bin at B&N. I hated it so much I threw it away when I finished, because I didn't want to subject anyone else to the horribleness of that book by my hand. 
  • I hated, hated, hated, Gone Girl.  The two main characters were so thoroughly unlikeable.  When I was finished, I gave the book to my daughter saying I didn't want it back and she was free to throw it out if she wanted to.  I hated it that much.
  • Yes, @Lori, thank you. 

    When I was a train commuter I plowed through books, but now I can barely find the time to get lost in them long enough to become invested. 

    Another save yourself from the pain is The Road. Unless you want to fall into a pit of depression and worry, then go right ahead. 
  • Munchkn said:
    I hated, hated, hated, Gone Girl.  The two main characters were so thoroughly unlikeable.  When I was finished, I gave the book to my daughter saying I didn't want it back and she was free to throw it out if she wanted to.  I hated it that much.

    ME TOO! Thank you. I was sure I was the only one.
  • edited February 2015
    I've had The Corrections on my shelf for years because I'm just so apprehensive about it.  People either love it or hate it, and I have a bad feeling I will be in the 'hate it' group.  Gone Girl is also in that category but hasn't collected quite as much dust.  

    It's interesting to read this list because some I agreed with some - Life of Pi and the first 50 pages of The Shipping News  as well as the second half of The Signature of All Things (although I frickin' loved the first half) - but others like Watership Down, A Confederacy of Dunces, and Angle of Repose are ones I enjoyed.  Books are so personal. I lent my copy of Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast to a friend because her mother also has Alzheimer's and she found it utterly depressing while I found the dark humor to be exactly what I needed.  We decided that it might be because my mother's Alzheimer's was more advanced and I'd finally come to the point where I had to see the humor in the situation or it would destroy me.  But it made me a little gun shy about recommendations because the last few I've made have turned out to be flops.  
  • Yes, it's definitely a personal thing.  For example, I like THE ROAD, but I can surely see how someone would hate it.  Depressing in the extreme, particularly because I felt it was well written.  You've got to be in the right mood for it.

    I tried to read THE BEDWETTER by Sarah Silverman and I have to say, I just don't get her.  I have never laughed at her even once but I was really willing to give it a try.  Nope.
  • altalinda said:
    @alyssa, @pennymac - Because I'm a Swedophile, I found the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo kind of interesting (wtf, you can be jailed for slander?), but when I got to the end and the answer was [spoiler alert] Nazism, I said you've got to kidding and didn't bother with the rest of the trilogy.
    I love a good Nordic noir! But I had the same experience with that series. Read the first one, thought it was a little too much of a stretch. Then tried to read the second one and YIKES. Scene after scene of misogynistic torture, broken up by implausible acts of heroics. Hmmm. No thanks.
  • Yes, it's definitely a personal thing.  For example, I like THE ROAD, but I can surely see how someone would hate it.  Depressing in the extreme, particularly because I felt it was well written.  You've got to be in the right mood for it.

    I tried to read THE BEDWETTER by Sarah Silverman and I have to say, I just don't get her.  I have never laughed at her even once but I was really willing to give it a try.  Nope.
    I thought I was the only non-Silverman fan in the world! I find her mean and awkward and just... not funny. I don't like Jimmy Kimmel either.
  • And while I'm serial posting, my un-recommendations:

    - The recent Patricia Cornwell books. The early ones were SO GOOD but the recent ones are so gawd-awful that it makes me wonder if someone else is writing them. Wooden, clunky, predictable prose, outlandish and implausible situations... ugh.

    - I don't know if it counts and an un-recommendation if you haven't read it, but I couldn't make it past the first two pages of Wolf Hall.
  • @rainwood ; Since I'm the one who dinged Confederacy of Dunces, I'm agreeing with everyone who says it's a personal thing.  I normally love books with quirky characters and situations, but for some reason this book rubbed me the wrong way.  I know a lot of people loved that book.
  • Ohmygod, as soon as I saw this thread, it made me think of the one book I've ever read that made me want to burn it: The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon. Enragingly stupid drivel and I've enjoyed my fare share of drivel. :)

    On the topic of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, I had a conversation with a friend after we had read the trilogy and he brought up the point that, because the author had died right after turning them in, they weren't able to do the extensive editing and tightening up they would have otherwise. I thought that was an interesting observation that made a lot of sense. Can you imagine how much better they would have been after a few rounds with a good editor? *sigh*
  • Zoeg said:
    @rainwood ; Since I'm the one who dinged Confederacy of Dunces, I'm agreeing with everyone who says it's a personal thing.  I normally love books with quirky characters and situations, but for some reason this book rubbed me the wrong way.  I know a lot of people loved that book.
    The first time I read this book, I absolutely loved it. Laughed out loud on the Muni Metro train. Garnered sidelong glances. The accents were spot on, and I thought the situations were hilarious even as they were ridiculous.

    A few years later, I read it again... liked it fine, but Ignatius grated on me. Still, I would have recommended it as a good read at that point.

    Then a few years after THAT, I was in a reading group that decided to tackle it. I was so excited, because I had enjoyed it so much on previous reads. Well, that was when the suck fairy decided to pay a visit. I simply could not STAND Ignatius on third reading, and that tarnished the whole thing for me. Which makes me sad, because I remember how I loved it at first.

    Metaphor for life? Heh.
  • edited February 2015
    @Zoeg: I'm with you. I have a pretty high tolerance for quirky, but I hated Dunces. The only reason I finished it was because I was reading it for the book group I was in at the time.

    Speaking of book group books I hated and would unrecommend---The Sportswriter by Richard Ford. This was the book that ended that book group. We split so sharply over it that whatever interest we still had in spending time together talking about books was used up.

    I know a lot of people loved it, not just half of that book group, enough that it became a series, but you'd have to pay me serious money to read one more word about Frank Bascombe. Not because he's an asshole. He is, but I've enjoyed plenty of books about assholes. The problem is that the book seems to think he's a good man who's just going through a bad time, and that ish got old long before the book was over. 
  • @Lori ; I disliked The Sportswriter too.  But not strongly enough to hate, just a boring read.

    @poptartk ; Thanks for the back story.  In a way, that's what I love about books...the reading experience is as much about what you put into it as what you get from the author.  Does that make sense?  From what you say, maybe I should try rereading Confederacy since it was many years ago that I first read it.  But since I have a large pile of books waiting to be read, and a list of books to put on that pile, I doubt I will.
  • It took me at least 3 good tries to stick with Confederacy of Dunces and finish it, despite the fact that I have lived in New Orleans all of my life, but I was glad that I did. I think that parts of it are brilliant and other parts were slow. 
  • I had to read The Goldfinch for book club, and thought it was the worst!  I liked the premise, but the story moved so slowly that it was like torture to read it.
  • @PoptartK while I personally love and adore Time Traveler's Wife (not because it was so very well done, but because it haunted me, infected my dreams, and breaks me every time I read it.) I was FUCKING furious as the monstrosity that was Her Fearful Symmetry. I never pay for hardbacks, but that's how excited I was to read another by her.


    Ugh, I also LOVED Time Traveler's Wife and HATED Her Fearful Symmetry so much I didn't even want it in my house when I finished it.  I started off intrigued but as soon as I saw where she was going with it all I could think as I read it was "no no no no no...." 
  • When I was seven years old, I loved reading so much that I begged my parents to buy me "Little House On The Prairie" as my first 'real' book.  It bored me to tears and (in between reading other stuff) took me over two years to finish.  
  • I really liked The Goldfinch BUT I listened to it on Audiobook.  It might have been a bit difficult to get through all the relatively repetitive stuff without it.  The narrator was great too by the way.

    Karen, I think I read Little House On The Prairie in one day, but then I was 12, not 7.  And I read the whole series in order a few times.  I was weird.
  • @lunchcoma With you on Life of Pi. Just didn't get it. And now we have meerkats forever.
     
    @ whoever said 'Tess of the D'Urbervilles'. I totally get that. Thanks to some sort of curriculum oversight, I had Thomas Hardy as a set author about five times during high school. The writing is wonderful, but many of the social themes haven't worn well, unlike Dickens, for example, where they do. Tess is almost impossible for a modern reader to get behind as it's supposed to be sympathetic to women but without a female protagonist we can actually sympathise with.
    I would advise anyone against reading Jude the Obscure, for any reason. 
  • @CarolynMo. How did you read S? I read different ways read it. Some suggest reading the orginal story all through, then the sets of margin notes and inserts and so forth? Others say to read it all together once through.
  • Maybe it's because I read it for school, but I hated Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms. The main woman character in it is so flat and uninteresting, and I just could not. 

    Also, in another class, with an otherwise excellent syllabus, I discovered that I think Milan Kundera is a misogynistic asshole, based on reading The Book of Laughter and Forgetting. I've got a copy of The Unbearable Lightness of Being sitting around because I feel like I should give him another chance, but I also feel like a lot of hipsters just like the poetic sound of the title without ever really thinking about what Kundera's really saying. But on the upside, I did find that The Book of Laughter and Forgetting really helped me figure out what was toxic about my relationship with my college boyfriend (though I think Kundera's ideas about love only really describe toxic emotionally-abusive love and totalitarianism, and should NOT be considered universalities). 
  • edited February 2015
    @BitingPanda, if you mean The Night Circus, it is not just you. I finished it, because I kept expecting something to happen, and that it would pay off, but it never did.

    @allysaj and @DaveinHollywood, I am so happy to see other people didn't like Dragon Tatoo. When I tell people I didn't like it, they react as if I'm nuts.

    I am also currently stalled in All the Light You Cannot See. I am about 40% in and although I like the writing, I can't decide if I want to go on.
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