Deets999's picture
Deets999 from Connecticut is reading Adjustment Day January 25, 2012 - 11:50am

Ever read a book that was loved critically, commercially and you just didn't see the appeal?  Or read something from an author you like but just didn't connect with.  Ever been afraid to just say out loud "that book was a piece of junk" for fear of alienation or perhaps a good ole tar and feathering?  Or God forbid said to yourself, "I can write something more interesting than THAT!"  Now is your chance to get it off your chest - and I'll be really curious to see what's out there that isn't cutting the mustard with Reactors.

For me, I'm going with "A Visit from the Good Squad" by J. Egan (won the Pulitzer I think).  Sorry, just didn't get what was so groundbreaking about the narrative.  Just a bunch of disconnect stories in my view.  And the PowerPoint stuff didn't work for me.  Great writer, but I just don't get what the fuss was over that book.

Please don't judge me!

Brandon's picture
Brandon from KCMO is reading Made to Break January 25, 2012 - 12:01pm

I had Goon Squad in mind just seeing the thread title.  I read it maybe a month ago and the thing was a goddamn mess.

Another one for me would be House of Leaves.  Sorry, but the typography and footnotes just came off gimmicky and gave the book a cluttered feel.  Yeah, it's got hidden messages or whatever...whoop-dee-fuckin-doo!

Pete's picture
Pete from Detroit is reading Red Dragon January 25, 2012 - 12:18pm

Catch-22

Just couldn't get into it.  I'll probably give it another shot some day.

cosmo's picture
cosmo January 25, 2012 - 11:42pm

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.'s picture
. January 25, 2012 - 1:13pm

Harry Potter

Arden Byrne's picture
Arden Byrne from The Great White Frozen North is reading The Lies of Locke Lamora January 25, 2012 - 2:15pm

I do not get the fuss over the George R.R. Martin books.  I'm reading them, and it's not like they're bad.  But I really don't see why so many people think they're great.

aliensoul77's picture
aliensoul77 from a cold distant star is reading the writing on the wall. January 25, 2012 - 2:21pm

Dakota, I will kick your ass lol

I tried reading the first Dragon Tattoo book but couldnt get past the 75 pages of info dump at the start about banks.

avery of the dead's picture
avery of the dead from Kentucky is reading Cipher Sisters January 25, 2012 - 2:26pm

Same for me on Dragon Tattoo.  I've tried and failed twice on that.  I usually HAVE to finish a book, but I found that one surprisingly easy to put down and forget.

wickedvoodoo's picture
wickedvoodoo from Mansfield, England is reading stuff. January 25, 2012 - 2:30pm

I finished Dragon Tattoo but it wasn't particularly good. Not for the amount of hype it has received.

 

Raelyn's picture
Raelyn from California is reading The Liars' Club January 25, 2012 - 3:07pm

Count me in for Dragon Tattoo. It might be because I started reading it already thinking I wouldn't like it.

postpomo's picture
postpomo from Canada is reading words words words January 25, 2012 - 5:11pm

Lord of the Rings - yes, I blaspheme...

avery of the dead's picture
avery of the dead from Kentucky is reading Cipher Sisters January 25, 2012 - 5:13pm

@postpomo - no, I get it.  I mean, by the end, why didn't Sam just chuck that ungrateful jerk into the volcano?  I would have. 

I liked LOTR, but I didn't love it or anything.

Nighty Nite's picture
Nighty Nite from NJ is reading Grimscribe: His Lives and Works January 25, 2012 - 5:17pm

All the Chronicles of Narnia. Especially the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

 

postpomo's picture
postpomo from Canada is reading words words words January 25, 2012 - 5:20pm

@Averydoll - I've tried 3 times and get lost in the Two Towers somewhere in Mordor. I think I want Sam & Frodo to die with me at their most miserable...

Charles's picture
Charles from Portland is reading Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones January 25, 2012 - 5:32pm

insert david foster wallace title...

insert geoffery eugenides title...

the girl with the bad tattoo and asperger's

the lord of the rings

a visit from the goon a squad. i read the first chapter (which people claim is the best, anyway) yuck.

american pastoral

ragtime

 

Nick's picture
Nick from Toronto is reading Adjustment Day January 25, 2012 - 6:30pm

Oblivion. Its genius was lost on my pedestrian mind.

Tish77's picture
Tish77 from Central Qld, Australia is reading something different everytime I log in... Currently The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank January 25, 2012 - 6:51pm

I hate the Great Gatsby!!! That felt good! Z

cosmo's picture
cosmo January 25, 2012 - 11:42pm

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PopeyeDoyle's picture
PopeyeDoyle from Rio Grande Valley, TX is reading Chronology of Water January 25, 2012 - 7:37pm

Recognizing that it's all subjective....I really disliked Beloved, On The Road, What is the What, and The Ones That Got Away.

Limbless K9's picture
Limbless K9 from Oregon is reading Wraeththu January 25, 2012 - 11:02pm

I can't finish The Lord of the Rings. I freaking love The Hobbit though.

R.Moon's picture
R.Moon from The City of Champions is reading The Last Thing He Wanted by Joan Didion; Story Structure Architect by Victoria Lynn Schimdt PH.D; Creating Characters by the editors of Writer's Digest January 26, 2012 - 1:10am

Cormac McCarthy... I can't finish a fucking thing he wrote...

R.Moon's picture
R.Moon from The City of Champions is reading The Last Thing He Wanted by Joan Didion; Story Structure Architect by Victoria Lynn Schimdt PH.D; Creating Characters by the editors of Writer's Digest January 26, 2012 - 1:12am

@Popeye: It took me ahwile to get through On the Road, but after finishing it... I don't know, I just felt better. Like I had accomplished something, as insginficant as it is... 

R.Moon's picture
R.Moon from The City of Champions is reading The Last Thing He Wanted by Joan Didion; Story Structure Architect by Victoria Lynn Schimdt PH.D; Creating Characters by the editors of Writer's Digest January 26, 2012 - 1:15am

I hate the Great Gatsby!!! That felt good! Z

- Thank you... That's probably the most boring book I've ever read. But, This Side of Paradise was fucking great...

Uggh... The classics... They bore the hell out of me... 

Christopher Jaramillo's picture
Christopher Jar... from New Mexico is reading On the Road January 26, 2012 - 1:26am

the hunger game series.... a friend suggested it to me, and yes I like some parts, but I felt I was missing out on alot of the bigger things it built up to, which in turned, annoyed the shit out of me.

R.Moon's picture
R.Moon from The City of Champions is reading The Last Thing He Wanted by Joan Didion; Story Structure Architect by Victoria Lynn Schimdt PH.D; Creating Characters by the editors of Writer's Digest January 26, 2012 - 1:30am

A book, to me, is like a movie. I want to be entertained. Fuck all that 'I have something to say' shit. Entertain me! I'll remember an Elmore Leonard novel way before I remember some Hemingway bullshit... Why? Because Leonard's shit was entertaining. Held my attention. Maybe I should read Hemingway? Maybe I should care, as a writer. But, really I don't.

Shit, Hemingway, he's got a statue in Havana awarding Fidel Castro a fishing prize. I rest my case...

I only pick Hemingway out of the bunch because he's what comes to mind first...

Man... I'll probably catch a lot of shit for this... Avery, I'm looking at you... 

R.Moon's picture
R.Moon from The City of Champions is reading The Last Thing He Wanted by Joan Didion; Story Structure Architect by Victoria Lynn Schimdt PH.D; Creating Characters by the editors of Writer's Digest January 26, 2012 - 1:31am

Anybody read Girl with the Dragon tattoo? Thinking about getting it before I see the movie. Any thoughts?

 

wickedvoodoo's picture
wickedvoodoo from Mansfield, England is reading stuff. January 26, 2012 - 1:35am

@ Rian.

Five seperate people have already mentioned that one in this thread dude. It ain't getting a great rep round these parts so far.

It's pretty boring.

Fylh's picture
Fylh from from from is reading is from is reading is reading is reading reading is reading January 26, 2012 - 1:37am

@ R. Moon

Hemingway is pretty accessible, though. He's not the best example of the kind of books you're decrying — although "books with something to say" is such a uselessly broad category that I can't really be sure what it is you're against.

You mean books that don't entertain you, or books that feel like they're avoiding being entertanining, or what?

wickedvoodoo's picture
wickedvoodoo from Mansfield, England is reading stuff. January 26, 2012 - 1:41am

Also, another one for this thread.

I read Interview With The Vampire a while back and thought that overall, it was rather pedestrian and stuffy. Had a couple of good moments but overall it was bland.

Several of my friend keep insisting the series gets better though, and urging me to read on. Can anybody here back them up? Or are they all as slow as the first book?

Nighty Nite's picture
Nighty Nite from NJ is reading Grimscribe: His Lives and Works January 26, 2012 - 1:46am

I don't like 1984. There. I said it.

Also, Moby Dick is boring. Also, A Tale of Two Cities. 

wickedvoodoo's picture
wickedvoodoo from Mansfield, England is reading stuff. January 26, 2012 - 1:51am

I don't like 1984.

Now there's something you don't see often. Out of curiosity, why don't you like it?

Whirlie's picture
Whirlie from Denmark is reading Et Eventyr - Jonas T. Bengtsson January 26, 2012 - 2:02am

Interesting debate.

Personally I was looking forward to read Lolita by Nabokov, but couldn't get past the first 20 - ish pages. 

And when I read, To kill a mockingbird, I was like meh - didn't love it, didn't hate it.

aliensoul77's picture
aliensoul77 from a cold distant star is reading the writing on the wall. January 26, 2012 - 3:10am

@voodoo--The first book was the only good one, then the series just gets worse and worse to me personally.  Anne Rice has this flowery purple prose that can make pedophilia, necrophilia and incest sound romantic but it's still wrong.

What classics actually live up to their rep because I really wanted to buy a bunch of books that are considered "classics"?  I was going to get some Steinbeck, Toni Morrison, Faulkner, etc.  Anything I should avoid.

R.Moon's picture
R.Moon from The City of Champions is reading The Last Thing He Wanted by Joan Didion; Story Structure Architect by Victoria Lynn Schimdt PH.D; Creating Characters by the editors of Writer's Digest January 26, 2012 - 3:20am

You mean books that don't entertain you, or books that feel like they're avoiding being entertanining, or what?

- Here's what I mean, and nothing against you or anyone else. But, everytime I come across a list of 'must read authors', especially the one's that would help a writer in anyway, it's filled with the classic authors. Now, I have no problem with this. I've read a lot of them. I've enjoyed some of them. Disliked most. Why? Because I'm ADD and they didn't hold my attention. Grab me at the beginning. Punch me in the fucking throat, then grab me by the shoulders and pull me into your story. 

'Call me Ishmael' does nothing for me... I read that and was like, 'so the fuck what?'

Okay, here is five of my top five opening sentences from a novel. These were plucked from my shelf without concern. In random order:

1.' Can I explain why I wanted to jump off the top of a tower block?'

- Nick Hornby: A Long Way Down... Would you continue reading, posed this question?

2. 'I, Lucifer, Fallen Angel, Prince of Darkness, Bringer of Light, Ruler of Hell, Lord of the Flies, Father of Lies, Apostate Supreme, Tempter of Mankind, Old Serpent, Prince of This World, Seducer, Accuser, tormentor, Blashemer, and without a doubt Best Fuck in the Seen and Unseen Universe (ask Eve, that minx)have decided - oo-la-l! - to tell all.

- i, Lucifer: Glen Duncan

3. 'Tyler gets me  a job as a waiter, after that Tyler's pushing a gun into my mouth and saying, the first step to eternal life is you have to die.'

- Chuck Palahnuik: Fight Club

4. 'Nobody was really surprised when it happened, not really, not at a subconscious level where savage things grow.'

- Stephen King: Carrie

5. ""Why won't you find yourelf  a new wife, Pops?"'

-Ryu Muakami: Audition

All these novels ask a quesion. 'What happens next...'

Maybe it's just me, but I want, as a reader, to be hooked from that first sentence. I've found the classics to be, frankly boring. Too much bullshit to get to the story. Gimme the story, up front and personal. No pussy-footing. But, I  have also found, if I can push through it, a classic can be just as much entertaining as the contemporary titles, although I've not come across a lot. I'm just saying that I'd rather be entertained before a 'theme' is pushed on me. I just feel like the classics all had a 'theme'. And that 'theme' was pushed... Really, I could give a fuck about your childhood, or your parents and how they represent modern day America, or wherever you're from. Give me a hit-man, cold and calculated, with a stamp collecting hobby, and I'm perfectly happy. Throw in a secretary whose beautiful, yet hard-nosed and an unnamed boss... I'm hooked. Call me shallow. Call me simple, but that's what I'm into. If I got to dig deep for an answer to a story, then, for me, it's too much. It is, afterall, just a story, right? So, why not entertain? Why make it more than what's it worth? If you've got something to say, fucking say it... but don't pussy-foot around it and make it a big fucking deal. If you don't like abortion... Then fucking say it... and move the fuck on. If you don't like Obama, great, me niether, but fucking make your point and move on to the story. 

Hey, all I want is a fucking entertaining story. A 'to the point' story. A story that's 'no hold barred'. I could give a fuck about 'changing the world'. I could give a fuck about writing the 'next great American novel'. That ain't gonna happen. I've come to terms with that. I just want to write something that, a week later, the reader is still telling people to read my shit. Like I said in a PM to someone here, all I want to do is write books like Tarantino makes moves. They, of course, blasted me (you know who you are :))... because really, does Tarantino have anything important to say? No. But, the fuck you weren't all entertained by his movies... Read a Get Shorty... I bet you don't put it down.

So, in the end whether it's getting a great rep or not, I simply do not care. Nothing against the those contributing to this thread. I respect your opinoins, and more so I respect your reviews. Isn't that why we're here? I mean, this is a 'writers workshop'. Hey, I'm just saying...

I appreciate y'all reading, and commenting... 

 

 

Christopher Jaramillo's picture
Christopher Jar... from New Mexico is reading On the Road January 26, 2012 - 4:28am

to each his own.

The internet, giving the freedom to say whatever the fuck you want without any serious consequence

PandaMask's picture
PandaMask from Los Angeles is reading More Than Human January 26, 2012 - 4:34am

R. Moon you blew my mind. I've ben thinking the same thing since I saw Pulp Fiction.

R.Moon's picture
R.Moon from The City of Champions is reading The Last Thing He Wanted by Joan Didion; Story Structure Architect by Victoria Lynn Schimdt PH.D; Creating Characters by the editors of Writer's Digest January 26, 2012 - 4:35am

@ Chris: Thank you...

@ Panda: Thank you...

 

JamieH's picture
JamieH from Manitoba is reading Sapiens January 26, 2012 - 4:39am

Given the company, I'm still a little embarrased to admit that I didn't like Stephen King's On Writing.  It was divided into two halves, an all too brief essay about his life and his path to becoming a writer, and a essay on writing.  The biography bit was an interesting read, but it wasn't believable; it was just too obvious that he'd stitched a few disconnected events together to make a clean narrative on his path to writing.  The second part, the essay, gave virtually no advice that wasn't obvious.

Edit

Oh, and World War Z was shit.  Trying to make a realistic war documentary style novel doesn't work for me if it's filled with slow moving zombies that, somehow, managed to defeat the militarys of the world.  

avery of the dead's picture
avery of the dead from Kentucky is reading Cipher Sisters January 26, 2012 - 5:07am

"Fuck all that 'I have something to say' shit."

Wow - just wow. 

Brandon's picture
Brandon from KCMO is reading Made to Break January 26, 2012 - 5:24am

Yeah, World War Z pretty much bored me to tears.

PopeyeDoyle's picture
PopeyeDoyle from Rio Grande Valley, TX is reading Chronology of Water January 26, 2012 - 6:21am

A book, to me, is like a movie. I want to be entertained. Fuck all that 'I have something to say' shit. Entertain me! I'll remember an Elmore Leonard novel way before I remember some Hemingway bullshit...

I gotta disagree with you here.  I think good writing and an entertaining story is enough for a short story.  But for a novel, I really want something more.  I want good writing and a good story, but I also want it to make me think.  I want it to be something I have to sit back and ponder for a while.  It's the difference between a novel like Fight Club and a novel like Snuff.  It's also one of the problems I'm having with The Devil All The Time.  While I love the story and the writing is fantastic, I'm just not as immersed as I should be because, at least where I am now, there seems to be no greater point.  There's nothing I put the book down for to think.  That's something I think differentiates a great novel from an ok or a bad novel.  You enjoy a book that's good.  But with a story that's engaging and that has something to say, you're completely immersed and that's a great thing.

It's interesting that, of the authors you could have chosen to say "fuck all" to, you chose Hemingway.  Of the great authors, he really wrote some of the best pure stories of all of them.  If you don't read Hemingway, you're missing out on The Old Man and the Sea and For Whom The Bell Tolls, two of the most entertaining stories about tough men doing the things tough men do, and that's a real shame.  If I were going to make your point, I'd single out Proust...

 

R.Moon's picture
R.Moon from The City of Champions is reading The Last Thing He Wanted by Joan Didion; Story Structure Architect by Victoria Lynn Schimdt PH.D; Creating Characters by the editors of Writer's Digest January 26, 2012 - 6:43am

 There's nothing I put the book down for to think.

- This is what I am talking about. I referenced Hemingway because he was the first to come to my mind. If I have to put a book down, for whatever reason, and think about it... already, I am out of the story. An enjoyble book to me is a 250 page novel I can blow through in a day or two. Is it the next great American novel? Hell no! Not by a long shot! Is it going to win awards? Probably not. WIll the author be as famous as Hemingway? No... But, for those 250 pages, they held MY attention. MY attention. That's what matters TO ME. For Whom the Bell Tolls may hold the attentions of the majority of the people here, and maybe not mine. Maybe I think Max Allan Collins is master of his craft. Maybe you don't. Maybe you don't even know who he is, and probably you could name off some authors I don't know. But, isn't that the point? To find one's own niche? To say I dislike this or that author, it's of my own opinion. 

  It's the difference between a novel like Fight Club and a novel like Snuff.

- What's wrong with Snuff? I loved it. Thought it was one of Chuck's better novels. This, of course, is my opinion. Maybe you liked Pygmy... Who knows... It's your opinion.

 

Jack's picture
Jack from England is reading texts of rejection from pretty ladies January 26, 2012 - 6:50am

@R.Moon: You say you want to write books like Tarantino writes movies. Do you really think that there's nothing going on in his films beyond the immediate plot? If it was as simple as him just telling a ripping yarn, I don't think his films would resonate with a generation as much as they have. Plus, you have an antagonistic attitude towards people who, y'know, don't want to write about "a hit-man, cold and calculated, with a stamp collecting hobby" (which, incidentally, already sounds like the epitome of something that would bore the shit out of me). Refusing to straightforwardly entertain, or tell an A--->B narrative, is not because someone is "pussyfooting". Whether they're failing or not, they're trying to elevate a text to something more than just storytelling, to engage with ideas and emotions. It's always struck me as more cowardly for authors to churn out a book that refuses to even attempt some real thought and emotion. Like a man refusing to cry at a funeral in case his friends are watching.

As for my book... I'll go with Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, because the humour just grates with me, and everyone I know finds it hilarious. 42. Hahahaha. No, stop, please.

PandaMask's picture
PandaMask from Los Angeles is reading More Than Human January 26, 2012 - 7:03am

I can't say much, but I do agree with what R. Moon says. I think any novel or story should be entertaining and should engage your interest the whole way through. I've read classics that mostly hammer ideas into your head that just become irritating. It's not that they're bad, it's just who wants to be lectured?

There's a fine line between a book making you reflect on the text and being entertaining. I think both those elements should be put it.

I read Farenheit 451, which is one of my favorite books. It had a great plot and it made you really think. Not only that but it wasn't a long novel. I got the point of the story, and to this day I still think about it.

If there is one book I think is overrated, which isn't a bad book either, it's To Kill A Mockingbird. It didn't really impact me at all.

As with opinions I think they should be respected and you should try to at least understand what that person is saying. It doesn't mean you have to agree.

People said that Harry Potter, the Great Gatsby, and the George R.R. Martin books were overrated, I love those books. But everyone has their own opinion.

R.Moon's picture
R.Moon from The City of Champions is reading The Last Thing He Wanted by Joan Didion; Story Structure Architect by Victoria Lynn Schimdt PH.D; Creating Characters by the editors of Writer's Digest January 26, 2012 - 7:14am

You're all missing my point here...

MY OPINION...

 Frankly, I wrote this to do exactly what everyone is doing...

There's much more going on beyond any and every book I've ever read. And every story I've ever written. I get it! 

Plus, you have an antagonistic attitude towards people who, y'know, don't want to write about "a hit-man, cold and calculated, with a stamp collecting hobby" (which, incidentally, already sounds like the epitome of something that would bore the shit out of me)

-  See... Your opinion... That shit would bore the shit out of you... But, not me... To each his/her own...

Fylh's picture
Fylh from from from is reading is from is reading is reading is reading reading is reading January 26, 2012 - 7:15am

Sometimes I get the impression that classics-bashers haven't actually sat down to think about what a "classic" is.

So, your friendly local antagonist Phil is going to ask some pedagogical rhetorical questions!

What is a classic?

Under what conditions does a book typically become known as a classic?

How many "classics" have you actually read outside of the classroom — read well enough that you can actually say what was going on in them, apart from the bore-factor?

Why do classics upset you so, if classics upset you?

If I buy a girl a flower and ask her on a date, and she says no, and I kill myself, and someone writes a story about it, what qualities would that story need, in your view, in order to become, maybe, someday, a classic?

Has anyone ever sat down to show you how many books we now call "classics" were critical failures, and how many books we used to call "classics" are now just kind, I dunno, there, just because they're pretty decent but no longer particularly relevant, or they are deemed simplistic, or whatever?

Did you know that bashing the classics (instead of the idea of a "canon" for instance), reveals a lack of understanding of literary history?

Go.

Jack's picture
Jack from England is reading texts of rejection from pretty ladies January 26, 2012 - 7:18am

@PandaMask: Sure, but what books just sit you there and lecture at you? Certainly, Hemingway may have a slower pace than Elmore Leonard but is that a fault? Don't get me wrong: I love and would staunchly defend thrillers, horror (shlocky horror too) and other fast-paced gripping reads, but I don't think its the only device that a writer should rely on. 

For example, Samuel Beckett is often a fucking trawl. But, I would argue, worthy of that trawl. Ditto Henry James. Ditto Joyce. There are plenty of writers unworthy of that trawl, but they're not de facto wrong because they refuse to make things accessible. 

Fylh's picture
Fylh from from from is reading is from is reading is reading is reading reading is reading January 26, 2012 - 7:17am

Also, it may be an opinion, but your opinion is not going to be spared just because it's an opinion. Opinions do not have immunity from prosecution.

Brandon's picture
Brandon from KCMO is reading Made to Break January 26, 2012 - 7:20am

See, this is where Lidia Yuknavitch and I disagreed on the purpose of the novel.  She said the point is to deform and change the reader (I'm paraphrasing that) and I've always viewed it as something for entertainment value.  That's ultimately what I'm looking for when I read and what I attempt to do in my writing.  I've never been the type to jam a 'philosophy' or 'deep thoughts' down the reader's proverbial throat, and so when it's done to me it tends to ring false.

Perhaps that's why people say "Write what you like to read."

I suppose it's a matter of taste when you get right down to it.

R.Moon's picture
R.Moon from The City of Champions is reading The Last Thing He Wanted by Joan Didion; Story Structure Architect by Victoria Lynn Schimdt PH.D; Creating Characters by the editors of Writer's Digest January 26, 2012 - 7:23am

 

I suppose it's a matter of taste when you get right down to it.

- And, thank you...

R.Moon's picture
R.Moon from The City of Champions is reading The Last Thing He Wanted by Joan Didion; Story Structure Architect by Victoria Lynn Schimdt PH.D; Creating Characters by the editors of Writer's Digest January 26, 2012 - 7:24am

Opinions do not have immunity from prosecution.

- Jesus... Am I being prosecuted?