Author Topic: Really bad books you've read  (Read 8181 times)

fd3

Really bad books you've read
« on: December 20, 2020, 11:10:00 pm »
So, currently reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, which combines being derivative with the thing I hate the most in series of books - filling books with a recap from the last novel.  Okay, we don't all remember what happened, but stick that in an introduction beofre the book starts, don't litter the book with what some readers will have read a week ago!

This did lead me to thinking of a series of books that, to me, makes Potter look like high quality literature: Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time Series.  I read a bunch of them greyhounding through america as you could pick the up cheap second hand and they would fill many sleepless nights on the bus.  But they are bad in pretty much every single way, including the wonderful recycling of the same pages of writing every book.

So, instead of sharing good books what you have read, what should be avoided like the plague?
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Cudzoziemiec

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Re: Really bad books you've read
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2020, 12:17:20 am »
Are we allowed kids books? There was a series that was popular among my son's year when they were about 6, called Beast Quest. It only took two of them to realise that, yes, one was a thrilling yarn (for a 6 y.o. – kids fighting dragons and so on) but each one was identical, just the names and beasts changed. I suspect they weren't even written by a human.
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Mr Larrington

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Re: Really bad books you've read
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2020, 12:30:20 am »
In the blue corner: Mr Larrington
In the red corner: London Fields by Martin Amis

Mr Larrington wins by a submission.

I actually read it twice, just to be sure I hadn’t missed some small but vital element that turned it from a turd into a veritable literary gem.

I hadn't.
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citoyen

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Re: Really bad books you've read
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2020, 06:44:40 am »
Death Comes To Pemberley by PD James

Atrocious mash up of bad Jane Austen pastiche and murder mystery. It sounds like a bad idea, and it is.
"The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."

Re: Really bad books you've read
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2020, 06:51:02 am »
If you have a Kindle, try reading some of the free erotic stories.  They are so bad, they're often very funny.  Think of the "stories" in a 70s bongo mag, in harsh black-and-white.
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citoyen

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Re: Really bad books you've read
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2020, 07:55:54 am »
London Fields by Martin Amis

I liked it.

Mind you, I was 16 when I read it, so probably quite easily impressed.

Should try it again some time, see how an older, if not wiser me feels about it.
"The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."

citoyen

  • Occasionally rides a bike
Really bad books you've read
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2020, 07:59:29 am »
Are we allowed kids books?

Seeing as the OP is about Harry Potter, I think we’re assuming they’re fair game.

Besides, there are plenty of kids books that are NOT awful, so I don’t see why the bad ones should be given a pass. If you value your children, spare them mediocrity.

That said, a lot of kids seem to actually like that shit. And if it instils the habit of reading in them, it can’t be all bad.

Just don’t mention Dan Brown...
"The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."

ElyDave

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Re: Really bad books you've read
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2020, 08:01:56 am »
A Suitable Boy, one of the few books I've started and put down unfinished
Also the Gormenghast Trilogy, after about 100 pages of turgid close spaced small font drivel, without even getting past the introduction
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Basil

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Re: Really bad books you've read
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2020, 08:33:36 am »
'Filth' by Irvine Welsh.

Not badly written or anything, but it was only about a third of the way though that I realised that I didn't need this shit and had absolutely no interest in how the story progressed.
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nicknack

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Re: Really bad books you've read
« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2020, 08:34:18 am »
On The Road - Jack Kerouac.
All the cast needed a bloody good smack.
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Mr Larrington

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Re: Really bad books you've read
« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2020, 08:36:09 am »
On The Road - Jack Kerouac.
All the cast needed a bloody good smack.

I quite enjoyed that, with the caveat that I was almost certainly drunk when I read it.  Must try it again.
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T42

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Re: Really bad books you've read
« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2020, 08:41:07 am »
Also the Gormenghast Trilogy, after about 100 pages of turgid close spaced small font drivel, without even getting past the introduction

I reckon that if an introduction is worth reading it's best read after whatever it introduces.  I enjoyed Gormenghast but it's one of the few books I couldn't read twice.

Whatever: At this point I have to confess to having read The Da Vinci Code, which is the most atrocious load of tripe that ever disgraced the NYT best-seller list*. (I did rather like the idea of Opus Dei as a hit squad, though. Who knows?  They certainly wouldn't admit it...) But a book I really despised was Kingsley Amis's drivelogue Jake's Thing, which so enraged me that I tore it down the spine and chucked it in the bath.

* Anent the NYT' best-seller list, back when Happy Rotter was engaging the cerebra of that part of the world that could at least read words in a row, JKR's opera were at the top for so long that they had to split off best-selling children's picture books into a separate list so that something American could have a chance. Minor cackle at that.
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T42

  • *** fool in a hurry
Re: Really bad books you've read
« Reply #12 on: December 21, 2020, 08:41:44 am »
On The Road - Jack Kerouac.
All the cast needed bloody good smack.

FTFY
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citoyen

  • Occasionally rides a bike
Re: Really bad books you've read
« Reply #13 on: December 21, 2020, 09:34:22 am »
On The Road - Jack Kerouac.
All the cast needed a bloody good smack.

When it comes to Kerouac, I'm Team Capote.
"The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."

Re: Really bad books you've read
« Reply #14 on: December 21, 2020, 09:45:06 am »
On The Road - Jack Kerouac.
All the cast needed bloody good smack.

FTFY

Smack or crack?
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ian

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Re: Really bad books you've read
« Reply #15 on: December 21, 2020, 10:30:08 am »
Amis isn't an awful writer, but he's atrociously smug and is cursed by the belief that he's a far better writer than he is. He also mines that seam of middle-class edgy that is characterised by not being edgy at all. Just being annoying.

As mentioned, I've never tried Harry Potter and don't really understand why vast numbers of adults (one of whom I'm married to) read them all and go on about it. It might be great stuff (though I'm inclined to doubt it) but I have no idea why I'd want to read it. Whoo teenage wizards. How thrilling.

Trying to think of recent additions to the canon of irredeemably awful. I've been threatening to do you a live-action review of Inferno – maybe Christmas is the time (I only got through the first couple of chapters). Dan Brown is fish-in-a-barrel territory, but fish are du jour at the moment, so we should take all we can get.

The Martian, utterly dire, yet implausibly popular. No one can explain it to me.

The Corrections, never really got far. I've no doubt Franzen is a talented writer, but everyone character was some flavour of unpleasant, and it was basically a survey of the entitled and odious, and I just couldn't read another chapter that didn't promise to feature the words 'enormous explosion' and the 'the end.' It might have had something to say if the characters had some genuine struggle, but they were all rich, upper-middle-class Americans acting out their tedious self-involved issues.

That sort of middle-class book club literature on both sides of the Atlantic normally defeats me, they're filled with people I don't care about.
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FifeingEejit

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Re: Really bad books you've read
« Reply #16 on: December 21, 2020, 11:01:12 am »
On The Road - Jack Kerouac.
All the cast needed a bloody good smack.

I quite enjoyed that, with the caveat that I was almost certainly drunk when I read it.  Must try it again.

I also enjoyed it, however nicknacks observation rings true, they did.


I struggled through Moby Dick.
The story itself was actually fine if predictable, it was the outdated science in every 2nd chapter that messed it up.


Re: Really bad books you've read
« Reply #17 on: December 21, 2020, 11:09:34 am »
On The Road - Jack Kerouac.
All the cast needed a bloody good smack.

I quite enjoyed that, with the caveat that I was almost certainly drunk when I read it.  Must try it again.

And me. Not drunk, but 16, so not much different. 

fboab

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Re: Really bad books you've read
« Reply #18 on: December 21, 2020, 11:15:58 am »
I went through a voracious Amis (pere and fils) phase in my very early 20s. Then I grew up.
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citoyen

  • Occasionally rides a bike
Re: Really bad books you've read
« Reply #19 on: December 21, 2020, 11:32:39 am »
The Corrections, never really got far. I've no doubt Franzen is a talented writer, but everyone character was some flavour of unpleasant, and it was basically a survey of the entitled and odious, and I just couldn't read another chapter that didn't promise to feature the words 'enormous explosion' and the 'the end.' It might have had something to say if the characters had some genuine struggle, but they were all rich, upper-middle-class Americans acting out their tedious self-involved issues.

That sort of middle-class book club literature on both sides of the Atlantic normally defeats me, they're filled with people I don't care about.

I enjoyed The Corrections. Despite every character being irredeemably awful.

More recently, I read Rabbit, Run and it became abundantly clear that Frantzen owes a big debt to Updike. But I found Rabbit Angstrom even less sympathetic than any of Frantzen's characters. But maybe that's just because his awfulness is manifested in more obvious ways.
"The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."

citoyen

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Re: Really bad books you've read
« Reply #20 on: December 21, 2020, 11:37:11 am »
I struggled through Moby Dick.

I've not read Moby Dick but you mentioning it reminds me of Chad Harbach's The Art Of Fielding, which is a bizarre campus novel about baseball mashed up with a Herman Melville obsession. And it is truly dire. The worst kind of modern American literature.

Honestly, anyone who thinks The Corrections is unbearable should definitely steer well clear of this one, which is considerably worse.
"The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."

TheLurker

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Re: Really bad books you've read
« Reply #21 on: December 21, 2020, 12:28:12 pm »
Are we allowed to nominate an "author's" entire output?  If so anything and everything by E. E. Smith.  Even a sci. fi. obsessed 14 yo could tell they were dreadful. I'm still trying to work out why I bothered reading more than one*.  Thinking they couldn't *all* be that bad I flicked through a few others as I came across them.  They were.


*I read two.  It may be because I'd read every other sci. fi. book the library had, some several times.  Remember libraries? Wonderful invention, wonder what became of them?
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Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: Really bad books you've read
« Reply #22 on: December 21, 2020, 12:29:16 pm »
On The Road - Jack Kerouac.
All the cast needed a bloody good smack.
I haven't read that but what I have read of his, some was good (about being a fire warden in a national park for instance) and some was stream of consciousness at its most meaningless. Unfortunately I can't remember all the titles. I looked up my library account to check, but they no longer show past loans, chiz!
Faster than a walk, slower than a train, often slightly higher than a person. (David Byrne)

Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: Really bad books you've read
« Reply #23 on: December 21, 2020, 12:31:02 pm »
I'd also nominate Midnight's Children and American Psycho. Perhaps I'd enjoy MC if I read it now, I was a teenager at the time and I think there was just too much of it.
Faster than a walk, slower than a train, often slightly higher than a person. (David Byrne)

ian

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Re: Really bad books you've read
« Reply #24 on: December 21, 2020, 12:31:37 pm »
I struggled through Moby Dick.

I've not read Moby Dick but you mentioning it reminds me of Chad Harbach's The Art Of Fielding, which is a bizarre campus novel about baseball mashed up with a Herman Melville obsession. And it is truly dire. The worst kind of modern American literature.

Honestly, anyone who thinks The Corrections is unbearable should definitely steer well clear of this one, which is considerably worse.

I read Moby Dick many, many years ago. I don't remember it being especially bad, a creature of its era certainly.

Reminds me, I never finished Finnegans Wake – I'm sure it's technically good, but honestly, a trudge that even my younger mind couldn't be bothered with.
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