Books you hate (and others love)

Denver, CO(Zone 6a)

Sometimes I start a book that seems the world loves and when I finish it I am thinking "What was so great about that book?"

Are there some books that you just can't understand why they are so popular?

For example, I have read some John Steinbeck novels and and I don't understand why he is so loved. All I could think of when reading "East of Eden" is "He needs a better editor".

Another book I just couldn't finish because I thought is was SO boring was "the Da Vinci code." Anyone else hate that book?

SE Arky, United States(Zone 8a)

I don't know anyone who read all of Da Vinci and cannot imagine how it went so far, except it cost so much that some hesitated to knock it because they didn't want anyone to know they fell for it, paid so much, and found it so BORING then never finished it. Shoot, I dunno.

Auburn, AL(Zone 8a)

See I liked the Da Vinci Code and th eonly Steinbeck I'll read is East of Eden. LOL

Sultan, WA(Zone 8a)

This is such a great thread! I really identitfy with this. I belong to a bookclub here. I love my friends but question their taste.

I read the Da Vinci Code and thought it was fun the first time through. But near the middle I yellout out loud, "Don't tell me the butler did it!" It was awfull the second time.

We recently read a book called, "Mutant Message Down Under." Which has to be the worst book I have EVER read. The bookclub loved it. So I just kept my mouth shut.

We also read, "Light on Snow". Another book club fave, another flop for me.

But then, really like Terry Goodkind, but my husband deplores it.

I can't really can't figure out what is so great about most best-sellers that I read.

Olympia, WA(Zone 7b)

I don't think I've ever read a book I've hated, but I certainly didn't appreciate The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency book I read (don't know which one though). I was surprised it was a popular book club book. It felt more like a children's book to me, like Harry Potter. I guess it was somewhat entertaining, but there wasn't anything to discuss. I would have enjoyed it more if I read it as a "fun" read rather than a book club selection.

I enjoyed DaVinci Code (also as a "fun" read) and I really appreciate Steinbeck, having read a few of his books. I know a lot of people who didn't like Life of Pi, which has got to be among my all-time very favorites.

Denver, CO(Zone 6a)

I love books, don't get me wrong, I enjoy novels but sometimes I'll read one that is supposed to be great and I feel like I missed the boat.

I couldn't get into Harry Potter. I loved the movies but I just couldn't get interested in the book. I think I like books that have great characters. Ones you love or hate and most of the books I get bored by are not driven by characters. I have started Anna Karenina but, goodness, I don't know if I can keep going. Perhaps I just have the concentration of a gnat and am part of the 30 second commercial generation.

And I thought I was the only one that didn't like the Da Vinci Code.

What was it about Steinbeck that held your interest? I've read Of Mice and Men, Cannery Row (which is one I liked),
tried to read Grapes of Wrath, and read about half of East of Eden before I couldn't do it anymore.
I am going to try Life of Pi - I never know which books I am going to love or hate.

Other authors I just have a hard time reading

Charles Dickens - please shoot me now
Jane Austin ( I love the stories when they are shown as plays or movies but the books are .....)
James Patterson
Anita Shreve - I've read, The Pilot's wife, The Weight of Water, and Fortunes Rocks - sorry if you loved these, I just didn't see the interest.

There are more but I just wanted to know that I am not the only one out there that find some of these books mediocre

SE Arky, United States(Zone 8a)

Mobi, great to have someone on the right boat, lol!! I'm in to audio books these days, love listening while I ride my Bent, and these lovely days are wonderful for books and bikes!!

Denver, CO(Zone 6a)

I've been listening to audiobooks myself.

Are you talking recumbant bikes? If so, how do you like it?

Langley, WA(Zone 7b)

Personally, I liked the Da Vinci Code but I liked his other book, Angels and Demons even better.

Some books I just don't 'get':

To Kill a Mockingbird - am I the only living person who didn't think this was the greatest book ever?

Cold Mountain

The Little Friend (Donna Tart is think is the author)

No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency books

a lot of the Oprah books - I find they are short stories made into novels - the author just keeps saying the same thing over and over. The Pilot's Wife is a great example of a story that would have been a good short story but made a boring novel.

I also do not care for the new craze of 'chick lit.' I find it to be a lot of male bashing. If I read one more story of the 40-50yo wife (mostly they seem to be menopausla women) who leaves her husband (they always paint these husbands out to be terrible people) to find themselves, I may throw up. And I fear they are encouraging a lot of women to do just that - leave their husbands, and even children, to go off and seek something better instead of staying and trying to work out their problems.


SE Arky, United States(Zone 8a)

OMG!! You listen to audios, I thought I was the only person in the world. If you are ever interested in a trade, do tell. I'm not to that point yet but I hope I soon will be.

Yes, the Bent is a recumbent and I love it. I broke my ankle a year ago and the specialist said I should not jog or walk on asphalt, cement, hard ground, but I should ride a recumbent and I thought he meant inside the house. Finally I realized he was talking about a bike and I immediately bought one and I was totally rehabilitated in one ride, 2 hours, and I've been riding it ever since and love it even more with the audios. I highly recommend recumbents, as well as reading via ear...

Denver, CO(Zone 6a)

I did enjoy To Kill a Mockingbird, though truthfully, I can see parts of it where one might not like it.

I agree with you on Cold Mountain. I tried reading it twice and by the fifth chapter I couldn't make myself go on. I figure if I don't like a book by chapter five then I have better books to read.

'chick lit' - LOL - I have to be in the mood for it. I like reading about women who make a new life for themselves but I keep wondering why they married the terrible husband in the first place. I also get tired of the same story over and over. Unless there is real substance to the plot and characters, I don't like them that much either. I need a story where I care about the people in the book, and most of these don't give me that.

I have heard Angels and Demons was better. I might try that one.

I get my tapes or discs from the library as I hate paying those prices for audio books. I also find there isn't much of a waiting list for audiotapes for the newest books. I just finished, on audiotape, Never Let Me Go and Birth of Venus. I am currently listening to Pretty Birds but am not sure I like it all that much. I love just letting the words wash over me. I've thought of getting a recumbant, as I've heard they are much better than other bikes. I need to find some excersize that I like, and I would like to lose weight, are they easy to learn to ride?

SE Arky, United States(Zone 8a)

Mobi, my library is very small and there is no interest in audio tapes, but I may try again, the librarian was ill the day I stopped by. Four of my audios were gifts, and I bought one from eBay, $7 including postage, Six Wives, The Queens of Henry III, David Starkey, which promises new info, recently discovered, so I took a chance, have not listened to it yet, waiting for better weather, longer rides. I check eBay frequently, and currently have a request in for Stormy Weather, but no luck yet. I love using paypal and have them delivered to my barn, I've always loved you use an iPod?? I have a Nano and I don't know how I got along without it. Now all I need is a basket for the Bent and a clip for the Nano....I'm going to check eBay for Angels & Demons, you are the third to mention it....

Langley, WA(Zone 7b)

Sherry, does your library do the interlibrary loan thing? I go to our library's website and have all the stuff I want transferred to my branch, which is very tiny and has never in the four years I've lived here ever carried a book I wanted to rea.


SE Arky, United States(Zone 8a)

The regional library is here but I did check their www and located no audiobooks but they are bound to have them some place, like one of you said and I could order what I'd like. I'm going by there tomorrow and see what I can do. Thanks all for the info!! As long as the books I want are inexpensive, I don't mind buying them, maybe I will sell them back on eBay if I cannot find someone to trade...

Langley, WA(Zone 7b)

Sherry, you might also try Are you familiar with that?


Gulfport, MS

I can't understand why The Red Tent got 1000 plus rave reviews on Amazon. Someone recommended it to me and based on the A. reviews I read it and was appalled (sic). Did anyone else read it and feel as I did?

Langley, WA(Zone 7b)

Oh, dear, I recently bought this at a library book sale. Not good? :(


SE Arky, United States(Zone 8a)

I haven't read it. Appalled at the cost, content, other??

Gulfport, MS

Gwendalou--I'm interested in what you think of it. I seem to be the only one that is offended by it. Please post after you read it. I hope this is not considered controversial.

Nichols, IA(Zone 5a)

I love ''To Kill a Mockingbird''! I also love the movie. I hope no-one ever gets the idea to remake it with modern day actors. You can't replace the originals!

I'm odd man out. Give me Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Johnathon Kellerman and John Saul. Yes, I've always been interested in these kinds of book. I think it all started with Bewitched.( I loved Samantha.)

Langley, WA(Zone 7b)

Billy, I loved Koontz's book Watcher, the one about the dog. Am wondering if he ever wrote a sequel to that one. Do you know?

Catlover, I have no idea when I'll get around to reading that! (Esp after your review lol).

Right now I'm reading Philip Dick's Dr. Futurity and loving it. I love time travel books.


Santa Barbara County, CA(Zone 9a)

Lots of people have liked The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, but I was disappointed in it. Very good writing in places, but some of the characters were either too sketchy or too broadly written, and some of the plot turns were unbelievable. Too bad -- this was almost a good book. Sometimes the near misses are more disappointing than the books that are pure trash.

I didn't expect much out of The DaVinci Code, but my niece loaned me a copy so I read it. It was incredibly easy to predict "the bad guy" and is a not-particularly-good example of the historical/religious/secret-fraternity type books that are so popular these days. It's an okay "airport book," but that's about all. (The first book of this type I ever read -- The Eight, by Katherine Neville -- was much more fun and engrossing.)

A previous poster mentioned Dickens -- I find most of his books difficult to mind tends to wander. The only exception to this is A Tale of Two Cities, which I love. So romantic and tragic! I just watched Bleak House on Masterpiece Theater and loved it, so I think I'll give the book a try.

Instead of disliking books that others like, I generally find myself loving books that I can't get any of my friends to read.

Mystic, CT(Zone 6b)

I don't tend to read best sellers, and that is because of The World according to Garp. I hated that book. I think about every person I knew at the time it came out recommended it to me. The funny thing is, I like his other books!

I personally love Dickens and Austen. The thing with Dickens is, his books were the mini-series of their time. That means he had to drag it all out into like 36 installments. That is why about 2/3 of the way through you just get so sick of it all.

I also hated The Last of the Mohicans. I know I am coming from a modern sensibility, but if the women in that story got into trouble one more time and had to be rescued... I threw it across the room.

Morpeth, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

Oh thank goodness someone else mentioned The Lovely Bones. I hated it!

I found Shadow of The Wind over-rated too. And I hated Zadie Smith's White Teeth even though everyone seemed to go ga-ga over her.

I wish some of this publicity these books get would go to some of the novelists that are really worth reading!

BTW I liked Life of Pi

Fallbrook, CA(Zone 10b)

Okay, gotta throw this in....I just retired from San Diego County Library 2 years ago, dream job for me, I read a lot!
Two favorite books of all time....A Prayer For Owen Meany by John Irving, Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley...I once ran into someone who said those were her two favorite books also. She was moving out of the area which was too bad because we MUST have had some other things in common! Also re-read Tolkien about every five years. I also find that so many books that others rave about are not interesting to me. My aunt used to tell my uncle..."if we all liked the same thing, everyone would want you, Leon"
Sherry (as in gypsy, not SherryLike)

SE Arky, United States(Zone 8a)

Funny, wcgypsy! Mine is SherryLikeTheWine...I like gypsies too, I've always wanted a gypsy horse...

Fallbrook, CA(Zone 10b)

Sherry, how funny, when it came time to do the birth certificate thing, my Mom was out of it and the only way my Dad thought of spelling Sherry was like the wine, so when people ask me for the spelling, I also say,"like the wine"! I've never been all that happy with my name, I may be older, I'm 59, but to me my name always evoked images of someone who'd most likely be wearing white go-go boots. And there was the "Sherry" character on TV's "Frasier" for awhile and her name was Sherry, and I thought, "uh huh, there you go"!

This message was edited Jun 16, 2006 8:24 PM

Denver, CO(Zone 6a)

I know what you mean about your name. My name is Tina. I'll be this eighty year old grandmother type named TINA. Not a sophisticated name at all!

Mystic, CT(Zone 6b)

I'm a Wendy. All the time growing up everyone said " Oh, how cute, like Peter Pan". Now I'm 45 and only 5' tall. Not so cute anymore, huh?

I always wanted to be Gwen. I pictured being 5'9, willowy, and extending my hand for people to kiss.

Langley, WA(Zone 7b)

I HATE my name! Maybe if I was 5'9" and willowy I wouldn't mind it so much.


Mystic, CT(Zone 6b)

LOL... I guess that teaches me something....Even Gwens don't like their name.

Fallbrook, CA(Zone 10b)

If I were 5' 9" and willowy, they could call me anything they wanted>


This message was edited Jun 1, 2006 1:31 PM

Auburn, AL(Zone 8a)

lol I'm with you on that one Sherry I'd answer to Hey You! for that

Tyler, TX(Zone 8b)

I did not love The Lovely Bones and had to make myself finish The Kite Runner.My sister passed it along and raved about it.I have read To Kill A Mockingbird several times and loved the movie.Even did a paper on it in college English course.Hard to believe some of you don't share my enthusiasm for it.That's what makes life interesting!

Fenton, MO(Zone 5b)

I really enjoyed the book Sybil. I hated The Horse Whisperer, threw it across the room when I finished reading it.

Mystic, CT(Zone 6b)

I'm glad I'm not the only book thrower.....

Schroon Lake, NY(Zone 4a)

Hey there! Just found this thread. I hated The Horse Whisperer and wouldn't go see the movie. It seemed like a happily ever after because one horse got better and the mother got a new baby = forget the affair, the divorce, the daughter whose friend was killed and leg amputated, it just was ridiculous in my opinion. The characters had the emotional range of Disneyworld Automatons.

Agreed The Pilots Wife was an interesting story that was stretched way too long.

Refused to read the Red Tent. I dislike taking history and trivializing it into a novel for "modern tastes".

Parts of The Kite Runner were good, and I thought it was interesting to write about a part of the world that we know so little about, and try to capture the culture before and after the war. I wouldn't discourage people from reading it, I'm interested in others' opinions. I thought it tied everything up way too neatly, again, trying to make a sort-of-happy ending, at least for the American.

Along similar lines I read The Darling by Russell Banks, an American who ends up caught up in the war in Liberia. I thought it was much more forceful and realistic, while still being a fascinating glimpse into another little known part of the world.

Also the recent novel by Amy Tan, Saving Fish From Drowning, about an American tour group in Burma that disappears. Again, it attempts to explore the way of life of people trapped in a nasty political regime by sending Americans into the area. I was fascinated by her storytelling and loved how she wrapped the story up.

Is this a new genre? I'm glad there are glimpses into the awful chaos of life in other countries, and I suppose we wouldn't read them if the Americans didn't come out fine in the end - like the old cowboys and Indians.

Of the three, I thought Amy Tan managed to end her book on a perfect note, with a touch of irony. The Darling was my second favorite, and the Kite Runner somewhat disappointing.

I'm VERY interested in any other opinions on these books (or type of books).

I too often find the Oprah books more like stretched out short stories.

Morpeth, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

I'm also very interested in reading novels about other parts of the world.

Some I'd recommend highly are

The Angry Tide by Amitav Ghosh
My Name Is Red by Orhan Pamuk
The Harmony Silk Factory by Tash Aw
Crazed by Ha Jin
The Map of Love by Ahdaf Soueif

Schroon Lake, NY(Zone 4a)

Thanks for some recommendations!! I haven't read any of those.

Merrimac, WI(Zone 4b)

Books I liked:
'Drowning Ruth'
'Secret Life of Bees - one of my favorites
'The Wonder Years' by Jonathan Kellerman (recommended by danak)
'My Sisters Keeper’ by Jodi Picoult - LOVED it!
'The Red Tent'
'Memoirs of a Geisha'
'Cane River' by Lalita Tademy
'Follow the River' by James Alexander Thom

Books I didn't like:
'Life of Pi' - HATED IT! It is the kind of book I would only be interested in if it were based on a true story. I tried to like it, but ...
'The Virgin Suicides' - I found the book to be very bizarre and pointless.

Check the thread for Suggested Reading:

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