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Old 03-21-2006, 09:00 AM
Jenny Haniver is offline
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When the book bests me.


I've been reading the same book for three weeks. I've at last decided that discretion is the better part of valor, and I'm giving up two thirds of the way through.

Storm Constantine, in addition to having an utterly ridiculous name, your books are freaking boring. How can a book about unspeakable love between twins, one of whom is a sea-witch, the other a warlord, be boring? You have managed it. And you made me waste three weeks forcing myself to read on, in the vain hope that eventually something would fucking happen. Arrgh! I give up!


Neil Gaiman must have been on some heavy drugs when he agreed to do a blurb for your book jacket.

I hate it when the book bests me. I even made myself finish I Know This Much is True, but I can't handle any more.

Does anyone else experience actual feelings of resentment toward unfinished books? I feel like the time is more wasted than if I read the whole thing and just didn't like it.
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Old 03-21-2006, 09:02 AM
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Oh yeah. Have you ever tried The Shipping News? It made a better frisbee than a book. It won the Pulitzer, it was lauded to the heavens and I really, really tried.

Frisbee-ing that book at 2/3 of the way through was the act that freed me of feeling the need to read a book I am simply not connecting with. It just ain't worth it...
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Old 03-21-2006, 09:14 AM
Jenny Haniver is offline
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As good as frisbeeing the book sounds, I'm going to have to settle for dropping it into the library book return especially hard. Heh. "Watch your fingers, kids, this bookdrop is going home to Jesus."

(On the upside, I didn't pay money for a book I don't like, which is a comfort.)
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Old 03-21-2006, 09:52 AM
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Bad litterature is dumbening. Give it the boot, I'd say.

I myself am a completist, but that goes to anything from reading books to eating dinner -- I won't finish half-ways due to obsessive compulsions. But that only made me choose books more critically.
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Old 03-21-2006, 09:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenny Haniver
<SNIP>

Does anyone else experience actual feelings of resentment toward unfinished books? I feel like the time is more wasted than if I read the whole thing and just didn't like it.
Yes, you bet. I used to be very poor and buying a book was a big deal, so I would always slog through one, even if it wasn't good. Now I give it about 1/3 of the book and if I'm not liking it I toss it aside, but I still resent it.
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Old 03-21-2006, 10:28 AM
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Prague by Arthur Phillips. By god I finished that book even though it was physically painful. WHAT. WAS. THE. POINT?

Grrrrr.......

The only good thing about finishing the book - is that I am CERTAIN that I did not like it and that it was a waste of time. If I had stopped at 3/4 way through, then I would always wonder.... Maybe the last 50 pages would have redeemed it?????
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Old 03-21-2006, 11:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenny Haniver
I hate it when the book bests me. I even made myself finish I Know This Much is True, but I can't handle any more.
I liked I Know This Much Is True, but I hated the other one he wrote - I can't even remember its title and I care so little, I'm not even going to bother looking it up. (I'll remember it as soon as I hit 'submit,' of course.)

I could not finish The Crimson Petal And The White. It got so many rave reviews here, and from RL friends, when I found it in near-pristine condition at the used book store, I snapped it up. I made it about a third of the way through before finally giving up.

Quote:
Does anyone else experience actual feelings of resentment toward unfinished books? I feel like the time is more wasted than if I read the whole thing and just didn't like it.
A little. I used to force myself to finish them, partly to see if it got any better, and partly because I couldn't let it go unfinished. In the case of something really awful, it's resentment that I wasted time that could have been spent reading something better.
My philosphy now is that life is too short to read bad books.
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Old 03-21-2006, 11:14 AM
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I seem to have come across a lot of folks who attempt Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged and given up one half to two thirds of the way through. The breaking point for a lot of 'em seems to have been John Galt's interminable radio speech.

Jeez, who would have thought that a 1000+ page novel set in teensy-tiny 8-point eyestrain print full of two dimensional cardboard characters spouting long, dull speeches constantly repeating over and over the same points about a simplistic, sophomoric philosophy would be unreadable?
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Old 03-21-2006, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by LonesomePolecat
I seem to have come across a lot of folks who attempt Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged and given up one half to two thirds of the way through. The breaking point for a lot of 'em seems to have been John Galt's interminable radio speech.

Jeez, who would have thought that a 1000+ page novel set in teensy-tiny 8-point eyestrain print full of two dimensional cardboard characters spouting long, dull speeches constantly repeating over and over the same points about a simplistic, sophomoric philosophy would be unreadable?
Hehe. I came in here to post about that book. I had a friend who raved about it so I gave it a shot. I couldn't make it past the first chapter. Although most of the reason I gave up so quickly was the teensy tiny type and that I was trying to read it on my graveyard shifts.


A book that almost defeated me was Stranger in a Strange Land. Many people rave about this book and Heinlein but I wasn't impressed, I almost gave up half-way through. Still I was determined to finish it and forced myself to read it all. It took me two weeks longer to read than most other books but I finished it. I still wasn't impressed.
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Old 03-21-2006, 11:35 AM
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I used to do the completist thing, but then I started working at a bookstore and could read new release stuff for free without delay. There was no way I could keep up with everything I wanted to read, so the compulsion to finish something I wasn't enjoying got beat out by the urge to move on to something more worthwhile.

"Big Deal" books I've never finished include Salmon Rushdie's Satanic Verses, Ondaatje's The English Patient and Keneally's Schindler's List. I don't blame the books, really. If I was in a bit of a different mood, I might have enjoyed them greatly.

I've made three attempts at Robert Jordan's Wheel Of Time monstrosity, thinking I must be missing something, seeing as how so many people enjoy them. Same with Donaldson's Thomas Covenant series and the Harry Potter books. Multiple attempts, multiple failures.

Even two of my favourite authors have failed to hold my attention on occassion. I love Pratchett, but A Hat Full Of Sky sits unfinished on my shelf. And Guy Gavriel Kay's Sarantine Mosaic fell to pieces early on for me.

Life's too short. Read the good stuff twice rather than force yourself through the bad.

thwartme
  #11  
Old 03-21-2006, 12:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BiblioCat
I liked I Know This Much Is True, but I hated the other one he wrote - I can't even remember its title and I care so little, I'm not even going to bother looking it up. (I'll remember it as soon as I hit 'submit,' of course.)

I could not finish The Crimson Petal And The White. It got so many rave reviews here, and from RL friends, when I found it in near-pristine condition at the used book store, I snapped it up. I made it about a third of the way through before finally giving up.
She's Come Undone , maybe? I think I remember liking both of them OK.

about TCPATW, tho'. That's one of the next ones on my pile, along with Middlesex. Yes, I'm still catching up on the best books of 2004.

As for the OP, I gave up on American Psycho because I was just too skeeved out by the gross parts (altho' I liked the satirical parts fine).

And I recently had to return Prodigal Summer to the library. I didn't dislike it, it just didn't grab me enough to get me to finish it in time; it went back a month late as it was!
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Old 03-21-2006, 12:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wile E
A book that almost defeated me was Stranger in a Strange Land. Many people rave about this book and Heinlein but I wasn't impressed, I almost gave up half-way through. Still I was determined to finish it and forced myself to read it all. It took me two weeks longer to read than most other books but I finished it. I still wasn't impressed.
It beat me. I gave up after he founded his own religion. The book suddenly changed from an interesting study of someone with a totally different and alien viewpoint of us to a stupid parable about free love and a Christ like figure. As soon as I saw him start his religion I knew he'd die probably via violent mob. I'm so certain of that I haven't even bothered to confirm it. It'll be really embarrassing if a doper comes by and tells me different.

As for the OP yeah I gave up on the same book he did. I hated all the characters and just wished they'd all die. I gave up shortly after her brother's lover screwed her against a wall during a party then suggested a threesome.
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Old 03-21-2006, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by gigi
She's Come Undone , maybe? I think I remember liking both of them OK.
That's it! I slogged through it and was pissed off at the end - not so much because it was bad, but because I'd wasted all the time reading it.

Quote:
about TCPATW, tho'. That's one of the next ones on my pile, along with Middlesex.
Good luck!

Quote:
And I recently had to return Prodigal Summer to the library. I didn't dislike it, it just didn't grab me enough to get me to finish it in time; it went back a month late as it was!
The Barbara Kingsolver book? I have that in my To-Be-Read pile. I've loved all her other books, so I hope it's good.
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Old 03-21-2006, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by http://members.aol.com/Malaktawus/Storm.htm
Storm Constantine is one of the UK's premier fantasy writers. She has had twenty two books published to date, and numerous short stories. Her interests lie in the dark side of the genre, with all things gothic and bizarre. Storm is best known for her innovative and exotic vision exemplified in her first trilogy which introduced the hermaphroditic race of the Wraeththu. The books were steeped in occult lore and forbidden sexuality. These are themes that have continued through her other works.

Storm's later works explore the themes of dualism and its archetypes. To accomplish this, she has derived her fiction from numerous historical stories that go back to the origins of civilised humanity. Mesopotamia, Kurdistan and Sumeria, the so-called 'cradle of civilisation' share many commonalities which illustrate archetypal figures and events in pre-biblical history. Lost and hidden races buried within society have featured in many of her books. The Wraeththu, the Eloim and, most notably, the Grigori all stem from the same mythological root. In the Grigori Trilogy, Storm explored legends of the Lost Race which are now at the forefront of popular millennial anthropology. Her reinterpretation and reinvention of these darkest creations have brought an unequaled originality to the current fantasy genre.
I attempted to read some of her "short" work available on her site (quoted above) and the only word that comes to mind is "Turgid"

But thanks to http://thesaurus.reference.com

I can add:

aureate, balderdash, big-talking, bullshitting, declamatory, euphuistic, flowery, fustian, grandiloquent, grandiose, high-flown, highfalutin, histrionic, inflated, loudmouth, magniloquent, orotund, ostentatious, overblown, ranting, rhapsodic, rhetorical, sonorous, swollen, tumid, turgid, verbose, windbag, windy, wordy

and begin to scratch the surface of how bad her writing is.

Is there such a dearth of Gothic writers that she has ascended to the level of "great?"

"It's shake and bake!" Cried Gimlet, raising his axe.
"And I helped!" shouted Legolam, following to do battle with the mighty Thesaurus.
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Old 03-21-2006, 01:18 PM
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Gravity's Rainbow. Just too many 100-word sentences for me.
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Old 03-21-2006, 01:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LonesomePolecat
I seem to have come across a lot of folks who attempt Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged and given up one half to two thirds of the way through.
That'd be me, except I can't for the life of me remember whether it was Atlas Shrugged or The Fountainhead. One or the other, I got at least halfway through before giving up on.
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Old 03-21-2006, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by ddgryphon
Is there such a dearth of Gothic writers that she has ascended to the level of "great?"
As near as I can tell "dark gothic" is book-jacketese for "ZOMG, they have teh sexxx!"


....and even that part sucks. I actually cringed during the first sex scene,
SPOILER:
which is happening on a beach, when the main female character can feel sand on the male's hand as he cups her cheek, but makes no protest when he proceeds to put that gritty sand-covered hand someplace sand should never ever go.
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Old 03-21-2006, 02:35 PM
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Gravity's Rainbow. Just too many 100-word sentences for me.

That is the book I came here to mention. I read it when I was a college student, and I tried much harder to finish it than I would today. For one thing, I was rather poor and it was an investment. I bought it from the college bookstore at the same time I bought my texts, and it was my little treat to myself (hah). Too, I had friends who loved it and discussed it, and I wanted to be seen to be equally smart and literate.

I sweated blood trying to get through that thing. I even skipped to the end and read the last chapter, but still had absolutely no clue what was going on.
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Old 03-21-2006, 02:49 PM
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I forced myself to finish Look Homeward, Angel. As soon as my eyes took in the last word, I tossed it across the room, then picked it up and stomped on it. It is now my goal to go to Asheville and kick Thomas Wolfe's grave as hard as I possibly can.

I didn't finish Pillar of Salt by Alfred (Albert?) Memmi for a class last year. That was the first time I ever did not finish a class book. I only got to the nineteenth chapter of him whining about how uncultured his family was before I gave up and kicked it down the hall.
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Old 03-21-2006, 02:54 PM
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I long ago came to the conclusion that if I don't give a damn what's happening by page 140, I should call it a loss and move on. I have since been informed that Tad Williams' The Dragonbone Chair gets really good on page 161, but I can't bring myself to care. Life is too short and there are too many truly great books out there to waste time reading something that sucks.

Of course, there have been many books in recent years that I didn't realize I hated until after I was finished.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thwartme
I've made three attempts at Robert Jordan's Wheel Of Time monstrosity, thinking I must be missing something, seeing as how so many people enjoy them.
If you don't care by halfway through the first book, then just walk away. There are those of us who know they're damned, and cannot leave. Just one more book, we say. One more, and he'll be finished.
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Old 03-21-2006, 02:56 PM
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Put me down for Gravity's Rainbow, too. Halfway through the first page, I coudl tell that it and I weren't going to get along.

But the first book I didn't finish was Friday, by Heinlein during his Senile Period. What a liberating feeling to put it down and decide that I was never going to pick it up again!
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Old 03-21-2006, 04:29 PM
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The Barbara Kingsolver book? I have that in my To-Be-Read pile. I've loved all her other books, so I hope it's good.
It was definitely good for the first third I got through. I think I am staying up too late with TDS/Colbert and not getting to reading the way I should. This is why I can never trust myself with library books; they're inevitably late as I wait to get really engrossed and power through the book, and sometimes that takes too long.
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Old 03-21-2006, 04:35 PM
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Back in the early 1970s, I bought a paperback by a science fiction author whose work I had enjoyed before. And let me also say that science fiction runs in my veins, it is my #1 favorite genre.

The book was "Beyond Apollo" by Barry Malzberg. It was praised to high heaven, won, I think, the John Campbell award, and so on.

I got through about 50 pages. It was, to this date, the only book I ever tossed into the trash can.
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Old 03-21-2006, 10:26 PM
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Others have mentioned Stranger In A Strange Land. As a major fan of Heinlein I'll say I like parts of it, but as a whole I'm lukewarm.

But there is one small part that is among my favorite scenes in all his work. That's the scene where Jubal is teaching Ben Caxton how to look at art, especially his description of the symbolism in Rodin's statues.

As for books I couldn't finish, Moby Dick is one. And I would have tossed The Pearl, by Steinbeck, if it hadn't been part of a required school assignment. I hated that story so much I still haven't read anything else by Steinbeck.
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Old 03-21-2006, 10:48 PM
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I tried, I really tried with A Tale of Two Cities. It started out so well. I"t was the best of times; it was the worst of times. [yadda yadda yadda]" Sadly, I found from the first two pages it was only the worst of times trying to finish that book. I got about 50 pages into it on several different occasions over the span of a couple of years. Finally, I accepted that I was never going to make my way through it, and I gave up.

I've accepted my inner Dickens-disliker, and I'm okay with it now. I did finish The Mystery of Edwin Drood, but I think that's only because itwas unfinished.
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Old 03-21-2006, 11:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Draelin
I long ago came to the conclusion that if I don't give a damn what's happening by page 140, I should call it a loss and move on. I have since been informed that Tad Williams' The Dragonbone Chair gets really good on page 161, but I can't bring myself to care. Life is too short and there are too many truly great books out there to waste time reading something that sucks.

Of course, there have been many books in recent years that I didn't realize I hated until after I was finished.


If you don't care by halfway through the first book, then just walk away. There are those of us who know they're damned, and cannot leave. Just one more book, we say. One more, and he'll be finished.
I highly suggest slogging through another 25 pages of "The Dragonbone Chair". It is a good book and a good series. He is a pretty good writer. The only complaint I have is that he does get long winded sometimes. If I am in the right mood that can be cool but sometimes I like a little quicker read.

Slee
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Old 03-21-2006, 11:24 PM
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Originally Posted by thwartme
Even two of my favourite authors have failed to hold my attention on occassion. I love Pratchett, but A Hat Full Of Sky sits unfinished on my shelf.
I actually couldn't put that one down--I thought it was one of his better ones. (The Dark Side of the Sun, now...)

For me, it's War and Peace. 800 pages and absolutely nothing happens, ever.
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Old 03-22-2006, 12:24 AM
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I tried, I really tried with A Tale of Two Cities.
That's okay, A Tale of Two Cities is minor Dickens. Try Oliver Twist, it's "dense."

The only books I recall really wanting to read and giving up on are The Satanic Verses and American Psycho.

I tried to read Exit to Eden in one of those awkward situations where a SO says you simply must read it. I just couldn't. Fecking boring, and writing at a Harlequin level. Eesh.
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Old 03-22-2006, 12:37 AM
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And Guy Gavriel Kay's Sarantine Mosaic fell to pieces early on for me.
That's my absolute favorite of his books. But one of the very few books I've ever started and failed to finish was the first book in his early trilogy - The something-or-other Tapestry. I was never able to sink into it because every other page jolted me into thinking, "Hey, that's like Tolkein".

I'm perversely proud to say I read all ten volumes of L. Ron Hubbard's Mission Earth dungheap. Actually, as I've said before, calling it a dungheap is a horribly uncalled for insult of all the fine upstanding dungheaps out there working to provide us with useful, nutritious fertilizer. If dungheaps could excrete, the stuff that came up would be repulsed by Mission Earth. But I made it all the way through, largely motivated by self-hatred and the desire to prove to myself that, yes, it's THAT bad from the first page to the last.
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Old 03-22-2006, 12:53 AM
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I'm perversely proud to say I read all ten volumes of L. Ron Hubbard's Mission Earth dungheap.
Me too.

I also like to read the scribblings of random schizophrenics, though.

"Oh my god, the villain's name is Hisssssst! John D. Rockecenter's eeeevil conspiracy. Hee hee hee!"
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Old 03-22-2006, 12:55 AM
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Originally Posted by LonesomePolecat
I seem to have come across a lot of folks who attempt Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged and given up one half to two thirds of the way through. The breaking point for a lot of 'em seems to have been John Galt's interminable radio speech.

Jeez, who would have thought that a 1000+ page novel set in teensy-tiny 8-point eyestrain print full of two dimensional cardboard characters spouting long, dull speeches constantly repeating over and over the same points about a simplistic, sophomoric philosophy would be unreadable?
I actually liked a lot of the intrigue/adventure/business machination parts of AS, but I couldn't make it through the radio speech. I started reading it, got about two pages in, looked ahead to see it ran on for-fucking-ever and skipped it. Since I wasn't reading it for the Objectivist philosophy lessons (I read it because it only cost me $5 from a book club and I wanted to see if it was as swoony as The Fountainhead) I didn't really miss it.

I forced myself to finish the first Wheel of Time book because it was a gift from my brother and he'd bugged me for a couple years after he gave it to me to see if I'd read it. But I was bitter and resentful about the time I spent slogging through it and told him in no uncertain terms that I hated it. I felt kinda bad because apparently he really enjoys the series, but I knew it was either speak up or get another fucking volume of it every Christmas for the next ten years.

One that I just couldn't get through was Susan Faludi's Stiffed. I'd read the other one of hers about How Bad Things Are For Women (Backlash?) and got the companion piece to find out How Bad Things Are For Men but I just couldn't stand it. So boring! It's still sitting at the bottom of a pile of books next to my bed, where it's been for something like four years.
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Old 03-22-2006, 06:43 AM
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The Barbara Kingsolver book? I have that in my To-Be-Read pile. I've loved all her other books, so I hope it's good.
Give it a shot - Mr. singular and I loved it, and have both read it twice. However ,we both collect butterflies (or did in our healthier days) and are amateur naturalists, and he is a knifemaker, so we have a personal investment in the book a little stronger than many others might. But my other friends that have read it (and share none of those interests) enjoyed it immensely. I just love her writing.

I've not been able to get through an of the Flashman series, although hubby adores them. I just found him to be a right bastard, and didn't care for the prose. It's not that I can't enjoy reading about bastards - I loved Confederacy of Dunces, which I expect to show up in this thread soon, and there's few main characters more obnoxious and repulsive as Ignatious.
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Old 03-22-2006, 07:09 AM
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For me it was Heinlein's Time Enough for Love. I like some of Heinlein's works, especially the older stuff. But this just went on and on. Then it just seemed to bog down into page after page of cloying sexual banter, who was going to sleep with who, and how he could get into a hot tub with two little girls (sisters) or something. I may have that part confused--it's been a while. I kept coming back to the book with dread rather than anticipation and I finally asked myself "why bother." (But it did bother me because it was the first book I ever quit on, whether I liked it or not).

The funny thing is I thought Stranger in a Strange Land was worse (a bunch of New Age hippy-dippy crapola), but at least it was short. So I finished it.
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Old 03-22-2006, 08:05 AM
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As for books I couldn't finish, Moby Dick is one. And I would have tossed The Pearl, by Steinbeck, if it hadn't been part of a required school assignment. I hated that story so much I still haven't read anything else by Steinbeck.
I'll see your The Pearl and raise you a Red Pony.
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Old 03-22-2006, 11:51 AM
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I'm perversely proud to say I read all ten volumes of L. Ron Hubbard's Mission Earth dungheap. Actually, as I've said before, calling it a dungheap is a horribly uncalled for insult of all the fine upstanding dungheaps out there working to provide us with useful, nutritious fertilizer. If dungheaps could excrete, the stuff that came up would be repulsed by Mission Earth. But I made it all the way through, largely motivated by self-hatred and the desire to prove to myself that, yes, it's THAT bad from the first page to the last.
I read, I think, three of those. Again, they were free for me at the bookstore. Egad. I only read as much as I did out of a sort-of train-wreck-fascination.

I was also given a free copy of Battlefield Earth, (from whence sprang the infamous film). I didn't bother attempting the actual novel, but Hubbards introduction, in which he details precisely what good science-fiction is, was one of the greatest pieces of unintentional comedy ever written.

Kythereia - I'm reading Dark Side Of The Sun now, for the second time. Not because I thought it was so awesome the first time, but because I realized I couldn't recall even the vaguest detail. We'll see if I make it all the way through again...

Draelin When the Jordan books were new, I followed along right up until book 4, reading as they were released. When Book 5 came out, I got an advance reading copy from the publisher about three months before it actually hit shelves. After that other things occupied my time and I didn't get around to book six until long after it had been out in paperback. IIRC, that was more than a two year gap between installments. Turned out I just didn't care anymore. I have since made it as far as book three twice, once reading and once on Audio. I think I shall no longer attempt.

thwartme
  #36  
Old 03-22-2006, 04:43 PM
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That's my absolute favorite of his books. But one of the very few books I've ever started and failed to finish was the first book in his early trilogy - The something-or-other Tapestry. I was never able to sink into it because every other page jolted me into thinking, "Hey, that's like Tolkein".
The Fionavar Tapestry. I usually really like GGK, but I had to force myself to get through this trilogy. I hated the characters. I like his one-shot fantastic alternate versions of European history best though, esp. The Lions of Al-Rassan.

I've pretty much given up on Robert Jordan. Although, okay, I admit it, if I ever wandered past the newest one in the library, I'd probably check it out. After eleven years and nine (?) books, I've put in a lot of energy towards those goddamned books and I do still have the littlest bit of curiosity to see what happens next.

Draelin, Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn is actually very good. I do remember the beginning as being awfully slow, but I recommend giving it another shot.
  #37  
Old 03-22-2006, 08:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpazCat
I'll see your The Pearl and raise you a Red Pony.
My dad made me read all of Steinbeck's short stories before I started high school. (I've mentioned before he thought LOTR and The Bastard by John Jakes would be great reading for a 1st grader). Though I didn't love any of them, I didn't actively dislike any of them but The Pearl, either. I think Cannery Row was my favorite of the bunch. OTOH, that was around the age when I read things like When Rabbit Howls by Truddi Chase for fun...

There's something I don't understand about reading: now in my late 20s, my attention span for "boring" writing has sharply decreased compared to what I was able to endure as a teen and in college. Aren't grown ups supposed to be able to see the worth of reading something despite its wordy prose much more easily than children are? Not me! I should have tried The Wheel of Time or the Dalemark Quartet as a kid, because I probably would have liked them then. Now I don't consider it worth the time to unravel the thick, self-indulgent, strands of prose that each scene is wound in. Shakespeare was right: brevity is the soul of wit.

Surprisingly, I haven't abandoned anything I've tried to read this year. Over the past five years or so, however, I've chucked about 20-25% of books I've attempted. There are too many books that might be better and too little time to read.

Examples of things I couldn't force myself to read:
- The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (I couldn't get past the idea that "futuristic" speech would ditch nearly all the articles and pronouns. It vaguely offends)
- Infinite Jest
- Atlas Shrugged
- His Dark Materials trilogy (1/2 way through. I hate the main character)
- Neverwhere (I was completely bemused, and it didn't seem like answers were forthcoming)
- Otherworld by Tad Williams
- Sabriel by Garth Nix
- Julian's House by Judith Hawkes (perhaps the world's most boring ghost story)
- Freddy's Book by John Gardner (and I like Gardner, too)
- Cold Mountain (in the first 200 pages there were 15 pages of plot/character development and 185 pages of adjectives that described the setting)
  #38  
Old 03-22-2006, 09:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Kyla
The Fionavar Tapestry. I usually really like GGK, but I had to force myself to get through this trilogy. I hated the characters. I like his one-shot fantastic alternate versions of European history best though, esp. The Lions of Al-Rassan.
Couldn't stand the first one, got through the second one alright, third was so-so. It really is a cheap LOTR knockoff in a lot of places, but it has its moments. I loved Tigana and A Song For Arbonne.

elfkin, which books do you like reading? Most of the ones you mentioned are on my favourites list.
  #39  
Old 03-22-2006, 11:55 PM
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Well, singular1, here is A Confederacy of Dunces . Ignatius's arrogance was actually the best thing about the book. I couldn't finish it because the plot was so incoherent.

A couple of years ago I tried to read Gormenghast and got bored. I recently gave up on English Passengers but will probably try it again. It was starting to get interesting, but was a couple of weeks overdue.
  #40  
Old 03-22-2006, 11:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thwartme
I was also given a free copy of Battlefield Earth, (from whence sprang the infamous film). I didn't bother attempting the actual novel, but Hubbards introduction, in which he details precisely what good science-fiction is, was one of the greatest pieces of unintentional comedy ever written.
I actually liked Battlefield Earth, in a pulp sci-fi kind of way. I read it (twice) in high school when I used to read a lot of science fiction, long before I knew anything about Scientology or Hubbard's connection with the cult.

In fact, I liked it enough to try that ten-book series Hubbard wrote (I can't even remember the title now). Those I gave up on. Got halfway through the first book and never had the slightest inclination to finish it. It was horrible.
  #41  
Old 03-23-2006, 12:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Dervish Jones
A couple of years ago I tried to read Gormenghast and got bored. I recently gave up on English Passengers but will probably try it again. It was starting to get interesting, but was a couple of weeks overdue.
Gormenghast was a weird experience for me. I felt like I wanted to get fed up and disgusted with it, but I didn't. I just kept going, even though nothing was happening. I wouldn't read it again, but I'm glad I did. I've never had that kind of reaction to any other book.
  #42  
Old 03-23-2006, 01:47 AM
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Isaac Asimov's Foundation Trilogy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wikipedia
The focus of the books are certainly the trends through which a civilization might progress, specifically seeking to analyze how they might progress over time using history as a precedent. Although many science fiction novels such as Nineteen Eighty-Four or Fahrenheit 451 do this, they typically do so by how current trends in society might come to fruition, and act as a moral allegory on the modern world. The Foundation series, on the other hand, typically looks at the trends in a wider scope, not necessarily looking at what the societies change into, but how they change and adapt.
Sound dry and lifeless? You're right!
  #43  
Old 03-23-2006, 05:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ddgryphon
I can add:

aureate, balderdash, big-talking, bullshitting, declamatory, euphuistic, flowery, fustian, grandiloquent, grandiose, high-flown, highfalutin, histrionic, inflated, loudmouth, magniloquent, orotund, ostentatious, overblown, ranting, rhapsodic, rhetorical, sonorous, swollen, tumid, turgid, verbose, windbag, windy, wordy
You missed "prolix". And "bombastic". "Purple" would probably go in there, too. Aw, hell: redundant, diffuse, repetitious, circumlocutory, pleonastic.
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Detrimento malignitas; victoria ultio
  #44  
Old 03-23-2006, 05:43 AM
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Middlemarch. I've tried I don't know how many times to read it, but I just can't get any further than Dorothea's engagement to Casabamelon or whatever his name is. My Big-Ass Books by Dead White Men (aka Five Great Novels) professor said it was an original soap opera, which it is, but I don't like soap operas.
  #45  
Old 03-23-2006, 06:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kythereia
Couldn't stand the first one, got through the second one alright, third was so-so. It really is a cheap LOTR knockoff in a lot of places, but it has its moments. I loved Tigana and A Song For Arbonne.
I happen to like the Fionavar Tapestry a lot, although I've never managed to get anyone else to (my wife, after reading it, refused to touch anything else by GGK for years; now he's one of her favoritre writers). I love its kitchen-sink, take-no-prisoners attitude towards fantasy tropes and mythology (Norse myth? Celtic myth? Arthurian myth? Christian allegory? Tolkien? Sure, we've got it all!). It's like Bullfinch on crystal meth.

But I admit it's not nearly as good as his subsequent stuff.

As to the Sarantine Mosaic you have to understand that it is what it says it is: a mosaic, a collection of smaller interlocking stories with more of an emphasis on character than on plot. It's not an epic like his earlier works, and that can throw people off.
  #46  
Old 03-23-2006, 07:18 AM
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Augh! I thought of another one!
The Shelters of Stone (Earth's Children, Book 5)
by Jean M. Auel
What horrific dreck! I see you can but it at Amazon for 43. That's 43 more than it's worth.
  #47  
Old 03-23-2006, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by singular1
Augh! I thought of another one!
The Shelters of Stone (Earth's Children, Book 5)
by Jean M. Auel
What horrific dreck! I see you can but it at Amazon for 43. That's 43 more than it's worth.
That is one of the great unintentional comedies ever written. (I was not aware that Wicca existed 10,000 years ago!) Although, I can understand where you would get frustrated. I started yelling the third time she stuck in the entire song of the Earth Mother "because Ayla loved it."
  #48  
Old 03-23-2006, 11:02 AM
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I've pretty much given up on Robert Jordan. Although, okay, I admit it, if I ever wandered past the newest one in the library, I'd probably check it out. After eleven years and nine (?) books, I've put in a lot of energy towards those goddamned books and I do still have the littlest bit of curiosity to see what happens next.
There's eleven books now. Wait for 12, when it's supposed to finally be over.

Quote:
Draelin, Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn is actually very good. I do remember the beginning as being awfully slow, but I recommend giving it another shot.
I tried twice, and gave up both times. Then I gave the books away. Maybe someday I'll have the energy to pick them up again, but MS&T is how I learned my "don't buy the whole series until you're sure you like it" lesson.
  #49  
Old 03-23-2006, 11:23 AM
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It is almost impossible to get me to quit reading a book, but last year while casting about the house for something I hadn't read 40 times I came upon a copy of Wicked, the story about the Wicked Witch of the West.

I understand that the musical is quite enjoyable, but that book bested me. It started off so-so, but then devolved into an author's caprice-laden journey into nowhere. I stopped reading about 2/3 through, it was such a relief to realize that I didn't have to finish it!
  #50  
Old 03-23-2006, 11:25 AM
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Most recently, Tropic of Cancer. I got twenty pages in and decided that I wouldn't get anything else out of by reading farther. It's obscene--okie doke. Next book.
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