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36 minutes ago, Terabith said:

That’s entirely fair.  I think I came to them too late in life and having read too much fantasy.  And while reading it, I felt like his philological concerns really hampered the flow.  Which is totally a preference issue, but he IS a master...


That is totally understandable. I have a similar difficulty in that while I love sci-fi, I'm not really a fan of Jules Verne -- who, along with HG Wells, is one of the "fathers" of the sci-fi genre. I wish I did find his works more interesting, but alas, too much sci-fi under the reading bridge to be able to fully appreciate/enjoy Verne...

36 minutes ago, Terabith said:

...Catcher in the Rye. Even as a teen, I felt like it combined boring with melodrama.  


lol -- That was my reaction, too. I read it in my early 20s. At the time, I thought the problem was that I must have missed the window of opportunity for clicking with it (that it's a book that resonates with teens) -- but it sounds like, no, it's the book. 😉 🤣

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Well, like mumto2, I adore Tolkien's writing. 😄 And I find Lord of the Rings to be incredibly powerful and moving, with so many rich  "life lessons" and spiritual depth about the Christian walk of fai

Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree is a story that absolutely rubs me the wrong way. Regards,  Kareni

Like now, the weird trend is to have a title that says “f*ck” in it. I kid you not, when I was just at B&N they had a “New Release” section and half the books had “f*ck” in the title. I actually l

7 hours ago, MEmama said:

Harry Potter. 

Sorry. I just don’t get the love. 

I loved the books. I get the love. I had a very enjoyable summer reading them. I don’t get making them a religion. I swear the early days of Dianetics must have looked  just like this. 

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15 hours ago, Pawz4me said:

The Goldfinch

Hate both of her books. I can't believe that I read two of them. The worst part is that I can't get parts of them out of my head. 

15 hours ago, happi duck said:

I tried Outlander because of threads here and never could get into it.

I couldn't get beyond two chapters. Hated it. 

14 hours ago, gardenmom5 said:

LotR.  . . . my children' consider it heresy.  I just couldn't' get into them.  They forced me to watch the movies - ok, final credits are rolling, can I leave now?

I've never been able to appreciate Tolkien. 

13 hours ago, hjffkj said:

The Happiness Project. I hated that book so much. They way she spoke about marriage made me just stop reading it. I hated it so much that I refuse to read her other books that people also highly recommend

Can't stand that book!

Other books that may have not been mentioned yet:

Any of the Twilight books

Water for Elephants

The Alchemist -  to me, the idea has been sort of plagiarized/copied from the children's book, "The Treasure", they're both very similar, except "The Treasure" was written first

Watership Down

Picnic at Hanging Rock

The Immotal Life of Henrietta Lacks 

We Have Always Lived in the Castle and The Lottery

The Power of Now

Speak

The Thornbirds

Love You Forever

The Giving Tree

Pretty much anything by Dan Brown

The Hunger Games

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3 hours ago, NorthwestMom said:

I agree with you all on so many of these.

I recently found Where the Crawdads Sing to be full of one-dimensional characters. 

 

 

I loved the setting and the premise, but most of the characters were stereotypes and I found the ending predictable. No spoilers, but did it take you very long to figure out whodunit?

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3 hours ago, Bluegoat said:

I hate some of the ones you guys mentioned, The Kite Runner, and I really dislike the Harry Potter books.

I also hate almost every Margaret Atwood book.  

Re; Stephen King, there seems to have been a period in the 80s/early 90s where they wanted to add a lot of sex to novels, I seem to remember reading that publishers insisted on a few steamy scenes per book.  Though I don't think that explains the bit in It, I think that was supposed to be something else.

Preach it. The reason I absolutely rocked English the year we covered The Stone Angel was because I cared so little about the book I was able to concentrate solely on symbolism and themes.

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Little House - so disappointed and after I used up a bunch of Audible points to get all the books. I was able to refund a few books. 
 

You guys are making me nervous about a LotR year next year. Ds is listening to The Hobbit on his own I I guess that’s a good sign. 
 

Wuthering Heights. That book would have been better if it had stopped halfway through. It was still so creepy. 
 

I stopped reading Stephan King after high school though we really enjoyed Castle Rock on Hulu. It references all of those books I read back then. Yet I still don’t have any interest in rereading them. 
 

I really liked Dean Koontz in high school and a little after. A couple of years ago I was looking for some audiobooks to listen to while doing chores and found Odd Thomas. First book was great, the next was ok and I didn’t finish the rest of the series. 

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My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durell. The way the kids spoke to their mom rubbed me SUCH the wrong way that I threw the book across the room. lol

 

(I have set the goal of reading the Harry Potter series, but I'm kind of already floundering in only the second book. Someone encourage me to keep reading...)

 

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Outlander.

Also Outlander.

Oh, and Outlander.

Seriously, that book should have been 100% right up my alley. I even tried the show, thinking maybe it would get me over the hump. But geesh, it was awful.

I'm generally not that picky. I appreciate the classics, even if they aren't the most entertaining things I've ever read, and I can enjoy cotton candy pop fic without needing them to be quality works of literature. But that one, just no.

However, the worse books I've ever read are the Divergent series, hands down. They aren't even worth the paper for kindling. 

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Harry Potter I could at least finish, but definitely didn't and still don't get the hype! 

I can remember being in my teens/early 20's and reading Catcher in the Rye multiple times to try and "get".  I so wanted it to be life changing.  It was not, and I couldn't even understand why it was to others.  I really wanted too.  

I finally gave up once again on Boy's Life.  😕

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The Shack-just really didn't get into it.

Concerning Moby Dick and Pride and Prejudice, I think if I had tried to read the books, I wouldn't have enjoyed them. However, listening to them on audio while driving to work made them a better experience. I really don't think I could have slogged through. Same for Count of Monte Cristo and Great Expectations.

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23 minutes ago, PeachyDoodle said:

Outlander.

Also Outlander.

Oh, and Outlander.

Seriously, that book should have been 100% right up my alley. I even tried the show, thinking maybe it would get me over the hump. But geesh, it was awful.

I'm generally not that picky. I appreciate the classics, even if they aren't the most entertaining things I've ever read, and I can enjoy cotton candy pop fic without needing them to be quality works of literature. But that one, just no.

However, the worse books I've ever read are the Divergent series, hands down. They aren't even worth the paper for kindling. 

That's how I felt about Outlander.  I was so disappointed.  While I generally dislike romance novels, I LOVE timetravel and put up with some romance in most of those types of books.  But, I just really disliked the book.

Oh and totally agree about Divergent. - and The Shack.  Two book that aren't worth the paper they're written on.  

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My great reading nemesis is Tolstoy's War and Peace.  Now that I live in a Balkan country and have that going for me, every attempt doesn't last longer than the first 50 pages; it seems to be a total soap opera with shallow characters...

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1 hour ago, Math teacher said:

The Shack-just really didn't get into it.

Ugh.  Yuck, yuck, yuck.

Quote

Concerning Moby Dick and Pride and Prejudice, I think if I had tried to read the books, I wouldn't have enjoyed them. However, listening to them on audio while driving to work made them a better experience. I really don't think I could have slogged through. 

Reading Jane Austen is not a slog for me, but Moby-Dick - I think I got through the first pages to a chapter a ton of times and just.could.not.  But then I tried again this year with the William Hootkins narration, and loved it.  Knock me over with a feather.  The book is funny, and Ishmael is full of snark.  For that one, I needed the audio, it seems...

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19 hours ago, Lori D. said:

Also not at ALL fond of Katherine Paterson's Jacob Have I Loved or Bridge to Terebithia. (Although, her book The Master Puppeteer was a hit here.)

Until now, I thought I might be the only person in the world to dislike Bridge to Terebithia.

Also hated Catcher in the Rye.

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11 hours ago, arctic_bunny said:

Preach it. The reason I absolutely rocked English the year we covered The Stone Angel was because I cared so little about the book I was able to concentrate solely on symbolism and themes.

 

Ah, es, The Stone Angel is actually Margaret Lawrence who is a slightly older CanLit staple than Atwood.  I like ML a lot, but I really struggled with The Stone Angel in high school, I think it's an inappropriate choice for teenagers.  It's just too difficult to identify or empathise in any way with a rather nasty old woman with no ability to see her own motivations who is facing her own mortality, and even her kids are middle aged and difficult to relate to.

I reread it a few years ago and while I still didn't much like the people I found it far more relatable, a sort of tragedy really.  But in terms of ML novels I think The Diviners is a much better choice for teenagers as it's a coming of age story, at least in part.  I am never sure why anyone would choose TSA for high schoolers instead.

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One thing I will say about classic books that I've struggled with is that unlike pop books that are awful, I have found reading with a good, serious book group can make a huge difference.

I read Tom Jones for a book group about five years ago and while I got through it I struggled, it was dense and long but I also disliked all the people in the book.  But the whole story became much more interesting to me in light of the discussion we had.  Similarly with Mansfield Park, while I like a lot of Austen I didn't like that because I really wanted to slap Fanny Price around, but getting more deeply into the book changed my feelings about her and the story generally.  I find I miss a lot of Austen's humour as well reading alone.

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2 hours ago, PrincessMommy said:

That's how I felt about Outlander.  I was so disappointed.  While I generally dislike romance novels, I LOVE timetravel and put up with some romance in most of those types of books.  But, I just really disliked the book.

Oh and totally agree about Divergent. - and The Shack.  Two book that aren't worth the paper they're written on.  

 

I’ll jump on the no-love-for-Outlander bus. I really *wanted* to like it, but found the amount of sexual content way beyond my comfort level - I had to stop reading, I think in the third book. I tried watching the series once it came out on DVD, but IMO, it is downright pornographic. 

I didn’t mention 50 Shades, Twilight and the like because I thought the thread was about actual quality literature that we just didn’t care for. There’s a lot of ink on paper that doesn’t fit that category!

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52 minutes ago, Bluegoat said:

 

Ah, es, The Stone Angel is actually Margaret Lawrence who is a slightly older CanLit staple than Atwood.  I like ML a lot, but I really struggled with The Stone Angel in high school, I think it's an inappropriate choice for teenagers.  It's just too difficult to identify or empathise in any way with a rather nasty old woman with no ability to see her own motivations who is facing her own mortality, and even her kids are middle aged and difficult to relate to.

I reread it a few years ago and while I still didn't much like the people I found it far more relatable, a sort of tragedy really.  But in terms of ML novels I think The Diviners is a much better choice for teenagers as it's a coming of age story, at least in part.  I am never sure why anyone would choose TSA for high schoolers instead.

 

I love both Margaret Atwood and Margaret Lawrence - I think I've read every book they've ever published.

But, I also didn't appreciate The Stone Angel in high school.  I liked it much better when I re-read it in my 40's.  I think it's on the high school lists because it's short.  I also read The Diviners in high school and loved it.  It's a much longer book, with a lot more risque sexual content, exposure to the seedier/grittier side of life,  and some language - another reason it wasn't on my high school list, I think.

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15 hours ago, Bluegoat said:

 

 there seems to have been a period in the 80s/early 90s where they wanted to add a lot of sex to novels, I seem to remember reading that publishers insisted on a few steamy scenes per book.  Though I don't think that explains the bit in It, I think that was supposed to be something else.

My friend's BIL is a successful thriller author.  His publisher wanted him to add s3x . . . . he was quite devious.  He found a source for very . . . . . over the top .  . .  graphic . . . lets just say, the publisher was blushing red when they told him to "never mind".

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1 minute ago, gardenmom5 said:

My friend's BIL is a successful thriller author.  His publisher wanted him to add s3x . . . . he was quite devious.  He found a source for very . . . . . over the top .  . .  graphic . . . lets just say, the publisher was blushing red when they told him to "never mind".

Tell him thank you from me. I really don't appreciate that in  a book.

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15 hours ago, Tanaqui said:

 

Fifty Shades of Gray, which I think was originally Twilight fanfic or something of the sort.

And seriously, if you want to read kinky dubcon, have fun! But don't pretend that it's healthy when it's not (what's described in the book is not safe, nor sane, and don't get me started on the consent issues) and don't pretend the writing is all that when, again, it's not. You're not reading that book for the literary value anyway, and everybody knows it.

I never had any interest in it, but did read one review . . . 

the reviewer pointed out if you weren't told this girl was an adult, you'd think she was a kid/teen.  the reviewer likened it to kiddie p*rn.

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15 hours ago, KungFuPanda said:

I loved the books. I get the love. I had a very enjoyable summer reading them. I don’t get making them a religion. I swear the early days of Dianetics must have looked  just like this. 

My 13 year old was looking for something to read. I suggested the Harry Potter books because we have them and I thought she'd enjoy them. She not only enjoyed them, but she's obsessed. Everything is about Harry Potter these days. I'm so sorry I suggested them. I may never suggest another book to her as long as I live. I enjoyed the Harry Potter books when I read them, but now I just want Harry and his friends to go away!

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On 12/31/2019 at 6:35 AM, Plum said:

You guys are making me nervous about a LotR year next year. Ds is listening to The Hobbit on his own I I guess that’s a good sign. 


Don't panic! (lol) What you're hearing on this "disliked ___ book" thread is those who disliked LotR -- you're not hearing from those who liked or loved the trilogy, because that would go in the "loved ____ book" thread. (Except me, since it is one of all all-time faves -- see my post up-thread in defense of Tolkien's writing. 😉 )

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3 hours ago, Bluegoat said:

 

Ah, es, The Stone Angel is actually Margaret Lawrence who is a slightly older CanLit staple than Atwood.  I like ML a lot, but I really struggled with The Stone Angel in high school, I think it's an inappropriate choice for teenagers.  It's just too difficult to identify or empathise in any way with a rather nasty old woman with no ability to see her own motivations who is facing her own mortality, and even her kids are middle aged and difficult to relate to.

I reread it a few years ago and while I still didn't much like the people I found it far more relatable, a sort of tragedy really.  But in terms of ML novels I think The Diviners is a much better choice for teenagers as it's a coming of age story, at least in part.  I am never sure why anyone would choose TSA for high schoolers instead.

My apologies. I felt like I had the wrong Margaret, but was too lazy to google. I am officially not a fan of either.

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I agree about Outlander.  I read the first two or three and just stopped there.  Really not that good.

Divergent I was doing find until the ending.  What a crap ending that was.  I feel the same way about a lot of Jodi Picoult.  My Sister's Keeper had the worst ending ever.  I hate when authors do something just for the sake of shock value.  Totally ruins the book/series for me.

I read Twilight way back when oldest dd was into it.  I've read worse.

I read two pages of Fifty Shades and just said no.  The writing was awful.  And I read a lot of cheap mass-market romance novels.  Just awful.

I read the Handmaid's Tale when I was in my early 20's and found it very disturbing.  I keep meaning to reread it and see if I get more out of it now that I'm older.

I stopped reading Stephen King years ago after reading pretty much everything he wrote.  I think I reread The Stand once in the past ten years and nothing else of his.

I so still like (some) Dean Koontz.  

Never attempted Moby Dick, had to read Siddhartha in high school and don't remember much about it (so definitely not life-changing).   I love Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers.  

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19 hours ago, Bluegoat said:

I hate some of the ones you guys mentioned, The Kite Runner, and I really dislike the Harry Potter books.

I also hate almost every Margaret Atwood book.  

Re; Stephen King, there seems to have been a period in the 80s/early 90s where they wanted to add a lot of sex to novels, I seem to remember reading that publishers insisted on a few steamy scenes per book.  Though I don't think that explains the bit in It, I think that was supposed to be something else.

Like now, the weird trend is to have a title that says “f*ck” in it. I kid you not, when I was just at B&N they had a “New Release” section and half the books had “f*ck” in the title. I actually looked up at the ceiling, wondering if there was a banner that said, “Cussy-Titled New Releases!” 

I’m so tempted to ask, “WTF, publishers?” 😏

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3 minutes ago, Quill said:

Like now, the weird trend is to have a title that says “f*ck” in it. I kid you not, when I was just at B&N they had a “New Release” section and half the books had “f*ck” in the title. I actually looked up at the ceiling, wondering if there was a banner that said, “Cussy-Titled New Releases!” 

I’m so tempted to ask, “WTF, publishers?” 😏

Yes, I noticed that too at B&N! Yuck. It seems so juvenile.

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1 hour ago, StellaM said:

 

I loved The Stone Angel (sorry) but I read it as a 45 yr old.

 

Oh, I like it now as well, I think it's a really good book.  It's interesting having read it long ago, my perspective on some of the charachters changed so completely. It's almost a bit creepy as if I am not the same person.

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Anne of Green gables....at least as an adult.  I loved the movies.  I tried to read the books recently and the girl would just not stop talking😏

Could be that I had a daughter just like that who talked and talked and talked....and I needed a break from that...even in my books.

 

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1 hour ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

YES!!!!! I cannot believe she got left out! I guess we saved her for ya Quill! 🤣😂

 

I was replying with the basic assumption that her titles were a given (along with Twilight and the shades).

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Speaking of 50 Shades of Gray, I did come across this...not exactly review, but I thought it was hilarious:  

"So, I tried to read 50 Shades of Grey this weekend, but every time Anastasia said, "Oh My," (which was like, 2-3 times PER PAGE), I couldn't help but imagine George Takei saying, "Oh Myyyy."  By page 12, I imagined everything Anastasia said was said in George Takei's voice.  By page 15, I just imagined George Takei WAS Anastasia.  I had to give up somewhere around page 17, because Christian has started to sound and look like William Shatner/ Captain Kirk circa ST:  TOS, and after that, I imagined everyone wearing Enterprise uniforms, and there was no way the story was going to come back from that.  

I didn't even make it to any of the sex scenes." 

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Re: Anne of Green Gables

L.M. Montgomery is one of my favorite authors but I read her stuff with a good dose of "skim" because I can't get through the pages of description. I do think she has much better characters than Anne. I find books 6, & 8 to be the ones I prefer as an adult - the ones when she's an adult with a family (and doesn't talk as much). If you forced me to listen to the audio book or read every word, I'd hate all her books with a passion.

Emily of New Moon was my favorite for a long time, but I reread Pat of Silver Bush / Mistress Pat the most. I hate change/ growing up and empathize with that part of her character. 

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47 minutes ago, Terabith said:

Speaking of 50 Shades of Gray, I did come across this...not exactly review, but I thought it was hilarious:  

"So, I tried to read 50 Shades of Grey this weekend, but every time Anastasia said, "Oh My," (which was like, 2-3 times PER PAGE), I couldn't help but imagine George Takei saying, "Oh Myyyy."  By page 12, I imagined everything Anastasia said was said in George Takei's voice.  By page 15, I just imagined George Takei WAS Anastasia.  I had to give up somewhere around page 17, because Christian has started to sound and look like William Shatner/ Captain Kirk circa ST:  TOS, and after that, I imagined everyone wearing Enterprise uniforms, and there was no way the story was going to come back from that.  

I didn't even make it to any of the sex scenes." 

This is priceless.   I never read or had any inclination to read 50 Shades.  But I have loved all the negative reviews.  This is the most hilarious one yet.  

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On 12/30/2019 at 7:21 PM, StellaM said:

Whats-her-name Ferrante. Cannot understand the love at all.

Stella, I can't believe that I read them all. I'm annoyed that I wasted my time and money on those. 

15 hours ago, Math teacher said:

The Shack-just really didn't get into it.

Another one that I forgot to mention. 

16 hours ago, PeachyDoodle said:

Outlander.

Also Outlander.

Oh, and Outlander.

Seriously, that book should have been 100% right up my alley. I even tried the show, thinking maybe it would get me over the hump. But geesh, it was awful.

 

Yep. I didn't make it past the first chapter or two. I didn't even have the heart to give it away to anyone. Threw it in the trash. 

12 hours ago, Arctic Mama said:

OH I THOUGHT OF ONE!  Eat Pray Love has always struck me as such a vapid piece of work, I’m amazed it has such enduring popularity in the last two generations of women (my mom’s and my own).  

I didn't get beyond a few pages of that one. Hated it. 

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10 minutes ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

He's like the Lord of Depressing Books. I know if I were living in The Great Depression those were totally the books I'd need to pull me out of it. 🙄Stuff like his is what makes me think modern literary "classics" are as rigged as The Oscars or anything else. 

 

But doesn’t it make you cringe at least a bit to imagine what two generations beyond us will consider “modern literary classics”? Shudder. 

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15 hours ago, Ottakee said:

Anne of Green gables....at least as an adult.  I loved the movies.  I tried to read the books recently and the girl would just not stop talking😏

Could be that I had a daughter just like that who talked and talked and talked....and I needed a break from that...even in my books.

 

 

14 hours ago, RootAnn said:

Re: Anne of Green Gables

L.M. Montgomery is one of my favorite authors but I read her stuff with a good dose of "skim" because I can't get through the pages of description. I do think she has much better characters than Anne. I find books 6, & 8 to be the ones I prefer as an adult - the ones when she's an adult with a family (and doesn't talk as much). If you forced me to listen to the audio book or read every word, I'd hate all her books with a passion.

Emily of New Moon was my favorite for a long time, but I reread Pat of Silver Bush / Mistress Pat the most. I hate change/ growing up and empathize with that part of her character. 

But see, the first few chapters of Anne are written with the intent of allowing you to experience the torrent of Anne's descriptive thoughts! The author writes as if she were Anne. That's why, as Anne becomes happier and more mature, the nature of the writing actually changes--less verbose descriptions,  more succinct vocabulary.  

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I had to bypass Girl, Wash Your Face. 

I loved Girl of the Limberlost. 

I am a huge fan of Stephen King, but admit a lot of his stuff is just dumb. I did like The Shining, It (except the sex scene🙄😳) and a few others. His sequel to the Shining was very interesting to me, because it includes a main character going thru recovery (alcoholic)--I didn't know how bad things had gotten for him (he definitely put his own life into the story) and I could really relate w my son's recovery process. I think he must have been whacked out drunk or high when writing the IT scene. 

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For me, what makes it difficult is when someone states "you have to read this...it will change your life."  It makes me automatically NOT want to read it.  Just a quirk, I guess.  I purposely did not read the Harry Potter series when it came out because of this.  I eventually discovered/loved it in my own time.

My co-teachers rave about Bless Me, Ultima and its examples of magic realism.  I have tried ten different ways from Sunday to read this book.  I can't do it.  I've tried. I just can't do it.

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55 minutes ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

Definitely.

I usually try and read several of the Booker Mann nominees and what have you books each year, but the last couple of years I've been :blink: over most. I think once they opened up who can submit they've been more worried about diversity of authors (and I don't just mean race or Country) than quality of books. I decided this year I'm over it. Anymore it seems like if they put a book on their nominee list I'm guaranteed to despise it. 

 

Oh my goodness. I  just finished the one I was given for Christmas by an author who has had all kinds of literary awards.  It was ok, but the writing is really lacking, and it just doesn't have much depth in terms of content.  It reminds me of something written by a talented but not unusual first year university student.  

My experience of award winning or "literary" modern books has been really negative over the last few years. It's come to a point where if I want modern books I stick to genre fiction, there is a better chance of finding something really compelling (though still a lot of crappy books of course.)

 

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A couple others I tried that came highly recommended were The Miniaturist - it started ok but seemed to fizzle out with no point and characters who didn't really make sense. And The Watchmaker of Filagree Street, which was similar.  Both had some interesting ideas but were really unable to make them work. My strong sense wasn't of a story that had a lie of its own, but something an author was labouring to make some kind of point, without making it. They also both reminded me of elements from other books kind of slapped together.

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15 hours ago, RootAnn said:

Re: Anne of Green Gables

L.M. Montgomery is one of my favorite authors but I read her stuff with a good dose of "skim" because I can't get through the pages of description. I do think she has much better characters than Anne. I find books 6, & 8 to be the ones I prefer as an adult - the ones when she's an adult with a family (and doesn't talk as much). If you forced me to listen to the audio book or read every word, I'd hate all her books with a passion.

Emily of New Moon was my favorite for a long time, but I reread Pat of Silver Bush / Mistress Pat the most. I hate change/ growing up and empathize with that part of her character. 

 

Rilla is my fav out of them all...the scene where she plops the baby in the soup tureen down in front of Susan Baker is one of my favorite book scenes of all time!  And I really enjoyed seeing Anne through her daughter's eyes.  I have read the Pat books more times than probably any other books I own, though.  I so empathize with her fierce love for her home.  I was shocked when I read recently that the Pat books are considered the worst of all Montgomery's novels.  Many critical reviews say things like, she was in a bad place in her life at that time and could only write terrible, one-dimensional stuff as a result.  I can't fathom this at all.  Pat's emotional struggles seem so real to me.

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10 minutes ago, Bluegoat said:

Oh my goodness. I  just finished the one I was given for Christmas by an author who has had all kinds of literary awards.  It was ok, but the writing is really lacking, and it just doesn't have much depth in terms of content.  It reminds me of something written by a talented but not unusual first year university student.  

My experience of award winning or "literary" modern books has been really negative over the last few years. It's come to a point where if I want modern books I stick to genre fiction, there is a better chance of finding something really compelling (though still a lot of crappy books of course.)

I think this is very hit or miss.  I have loved some recent award winning or highly critically praised books - Milkman (on audio - the audio of this is fantastic), Circe, and The Overstory are ones that immediately spring to mind.  But then others... I kind of hated Lincoln in the Bardo, and every one else loves it.  And there are definitely some other award-winners that I've purposely stayed away from.  I've done a lot better choosing which books I've liked since joining the BaW thread and reading Goodreads reviews very closely.  I can often tell by reading between the lines and paying attention to the negative reviews if it's something I'll like or be annoyed with, lol...

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