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Old 10-22-2019, 10:46 AM   #16
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I'm afraid I disagree on Moby Dick. It's a while since I read it but skip the tedious facts at the beginning and start at the Inn. Wonderful book.
This is exactly what I mean. The first part, the part you suggest skipping, is part of the book. The book as a whole cannot be wonderful as you describe because that not-wonderful part exists.
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Old 10-22-2019, 12:50 PM   #17
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This is exactly what I mean. The first part, the part you suggest skipping, is part of the book. The book as a whole cannot be wonderful as you describe because that not-wonderful part exists.
I guess it depends on how you define a wonderful book. Is it one with wonderful parts, or one where no parts are not wonderful? I'm a "glass half full" guy and like the first definition, but I can see that the "glass half empty" people may disagree.
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Old 10-22-2019, 01:19 PM   #18
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Battlefield Earth was bad enough. There was no way I was going to ever read anything bu Hubbard again.
Oh man, I read Fear by Hubbard. Twice. I didn't like it the first time, but it receives praise from people I admire, so I tried again. I can only assume those authors are being kind.

I read the first hundred or so pages of The Invaders Plan (the first Mission Earth book) before deciding that it was garbage.

I don't care how much damn praise Battlefield Earth gets. I've learned my lesson, thank you.
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Old 10-22-2019, 02:23 PM   #19
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I guess it depends on how you define a wonderful book. Is it one with wonderful parts, or one where no parts are not wonderful? I'm a "glass half full" guy and like the first definition, but I can see that the "glass half empty" people may disagree.
By my reckoning, a good book (film, TV show, whatever) delivers on what it promises. A bad one fails to deliver. And an exceptional one delivers and goes beond in some unique or interesting way.

Or, half full vs. half empty doesn't matter when the milk is sour.
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Old 10-22-2019, 08:46 PM   #20
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I didn't mean to start arguments over Moby Dick. I know that some people like it, it just didn't work for me ... at all.

And I can understand the distinction darryl was making about skipping the introductory materials - but this, to me, should also include the many chapters interspersed through this book that follow the same non-fiction - well, not-intentionally-fiction - mode of the "Extracts" at the start. They certainly didn't help; by the time you've waded through them you've lost contact with the story.
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Old 10-22-2019, 09:01 PM   #21
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I was forced to read Tess of the d'Urbervilles at college, which I found to be over-long, over-descriptive (going on endlessly about fields, etc), and led by a character who did nothing to fight back. Yay! It didn't help that I was the only male in a class of females taught by a strident feminist. I took the wise choice of not actually reading Tess, but skimming it and finding some notes.
We read this book when I was in Junior High School (probably 6th or 7th grade). I remember telling the teacher I couldn't understand why she was such an utter dish rag and let people treat her like they did.

I've always wondered if I'd feel more for her as an adult with better understanding of the the societal mores of the time the book is set in.
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Old 10-24-2019, 01:21 AM   #22
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I've learned that a book (or film or TV show) almost never gets better. If it's bad at the start then it's bad for a reason, and that reason taints everything it touches. And I've realized that anyone who insists it does get better is rationalizing their time spent slogging through it.
There is some truth to this, but it doesn't fit universally. For example, I really did not like the first part of Lucifer's Hammer by Larry Niven. I almost gave up on it. But after the comet hit, I really enjoyed the rest of the book tremendously.

Back to the "wish I hadn't read it" original topic of this thread, for me that would be Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke. I read it because it's supposed to be a classic in SciFi. But I certainly didn't like it - boring all the way through to me - and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. But to each his/her own, I don't mean to disparage people who actually liked this book.
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Old 11-06-2019, 12:46 AM   #23
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I don't generally dislike books, but that's because I almost always pick up something only if it really interests me. Even if I do find certain sections of a book not to my liking, I wouldn't say I dislike the book. I read both fiction and non-fiction simultaneously, and I've noticed that I tend to be more disappointed with the latter. Nonetheless, here's a list (if just two items could ever count as a list):
1. Theories of Personality by Schultz and Schultz - I was expecting more than an exposition of theories derived from the behavioralist perspective. I am not a big fan of behavioral psychology in the first place, so perhaps I shouldn't complain.
2. The Anthologist by Nicholson Baker - This is one of my favorite books, and I only wish I hadn't read this so I can have the joy of reading it for the first time again.
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Old 11-06-2019, 01:45 PM   #24
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Too many to list. A few standouts:

Heirs of Empire by David Weber. The third in the Dahak series. Just awful.
Warship by Joshua Dalzelle. Poor self-publishing effort.
Invasion by Platt and Truant. Another poor self-publishing effort.
The Siren Depths by Martha Wells. Strangely poor after two good earlier books.
Inherit the Stars by James Hogan. One star review. Sometimes the author needs to shut up.
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Old 11-06-2019, 04:25 PM   #25
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I regret picking up The Last of the Mohicans. And will preach to my dying breath that there is no reason for any person in the 21st Century to try reading this abomination.
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Old 11-06-2019, 04:56 PM   #26
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A Passage to India by E. M. Forster was a total waste of my time.
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Old 11-08-2019, 01:16 PM   #27
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In no particular order:
  • GRR Martin - silly violent and just about as awful to female characters as the horrid TV adaptation was
  • The Three Musketeers (and the other Dumas I've encountered)
  • Gone Girl

Many more could apply, but I don't want to suffer anyone with my 1star list from Goodreads.
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Old 11-10-2019, 08:35 AM   #28
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Oh man, I read Fear by Hubbard. Twice. I didn't like it the first time, but it receives praise from people I admire, so I tried again. I can only assume those authors are being kind.

I read the first hundred or so pages of The Invaders Plan (the first Mission Earth book) before deciding that it was garbage.

I don't care how much damn praise Battlefield Earth gets. I've learned my lesson, thank you.

I agree totally with your assessment.

I once had 2 ARCS (or maybe they were Uncorrected Galleys; can't remember; both mint condition) of 'Battlefield Earth' and sold them for $100 each. This is back when the book was first published. I wish I had them now so I could burn them and then call upon Cthulhu to cast them into another waste area so humankind need not suffer needlessly.

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Old 11-10-2019, 08:42 AM   #29
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A few years ago, at the age of sixty-plus, I got around to reading Jack Kerouac's "On the Road". Penguin edition, described as a novel. I'd heard about it most of my life.

To my disappointment, the legendary novel of the beat generation turned out to be a rather dull travel book, and so far as I could deduce after researching the book, non-fiction. I gathered that Kerouac didn't even change the names of the real people involved until the publishers leaned heavily on him to do so.

I haven't read anything else by Kerouac since.
I think he's one of those authors that - if one discovers at the right age - becomes a fond remembrance of one's youth. Like Thomas Wolfe.
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Old 11-11-2019, 12:54 PM   #30
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I think he's one of those authors that - if one discovers at the right age - becomes a fond remembrance of one's youth.
I feel that way about Ayn Rand. I read The Fountainhead in my late teens. I disagreed with her philosophy, but felt like the book was IMPORTANT.

Then, a few years later I attempted Atlas Shrugged. It didn't go well.

The golden age of science fiction might be thirteen. But I'd say Ayn Rand isn't too far distant from that.

Quote:
Like Thomas Wolfe.
Look Homeward, Angel has been on my to read list for a long time.

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