Page 13 of 28 FirstFirst ... 38910111213141516171823 ... LastLast
Results 181 to 195 of 409

Thread: The Worst Book You've Ever Read?

  1. #181
    Registered User Fowles27's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Seoul
    Posts
    18
    Quote Originally Posted by Petrarch's Love View Post
    As I pondered, though, I realized that part of the problem with naming the worst book you've read is that it is generally also an incredibly forgettable book.
    Totally agree. I think when they mention works that are deemed masterpieces as the worst book, what they really mean is either

    A. Why is this book so critically acclaimed? I've read better.
    or
    B. I didn't care for the author's message.

    BTW, one of the worst books I've read is The Devil Wears Prada. A friend gave it to me to read on the plane. It was a hell of a flight. Didn't know she hated me that much.
    Last edited by Fowles27; 12-03-2007 at 06:09 AM.

  2. #182
    Registered User PanzaFan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    40

    Talking

    As I pondered, though, I realized that part of the problem with naming the worst book you've read is that it is generally also an incredibly forgettable book.
    This is dead on. I neither remember nor care to remember the worst books I never read. There are few memorable books that fall into the perscribed catergory for this topic and since the whole idea is that you never finished the book, your creditablity as a critic is less than desirable.
    Having said all that I very much enjoyed reading these posts simply because I like to investigate opinions. A recurring theme appears to be that when forced to read a piece of literature (if you wish to classify all mentioned in this manner) "for school", many find the result disagreeable. Along this vein, I hated being forced to read The Great Gatsby and did not therefore appreciate the book. In like manner I was disgusted by The Lord of the Flies. Only much later have I reconciled myself to their worth. I place total blame on my high school English teacher. Will I be burned at the stake for wishing students had the ability and the inclination to choose to read good literature on their own, thereby avoiding this phenomenon?

    Keeping with the spirit of the topic, I never finished The Birth of Venus and have no intention of doing so.

  3. #183
    in angulo cum libro Petrarch's Love's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    2,333
    Blog Entries
    24
    Quote Originally Posted by stlukesguild View Post
    Petrarch's Love... I'll excuse you in this instance... but if you tell me that you had any similar "problems" with the Purgatorio or Paradiso after having read the Inferno... well then all bets are off!
    Nope, no falling asleep going through Purgatory, though I seem to recall being frustrated during my first read of the Paradiso, simply because I had to keep whipping out my language dictionary (I was in Italy at the time, so English translation wasn't an option, and my Italian wasn't as good as it is now).


    Quote Originally Posted by PanzaFan
    I place total blame on my high school English teacher. Will I be burned at the stake for wishing students had the ability and the inclination to choose to read good literature on their own, thereby avoiding this phenomenon?
    While I recognize the validity of your observation--that forced reading breeds malcontent--I must take the opportunity to stand up for the poor maligned High School English Teacher. The problem is that the vast majority of students will not read good literature on their own. Rare is the student who resents being forced to read a book for school because it means they're forced to read Steinbeck when they would rather be reading Tolstoy. In most cases the resentment of being made to read the book stems from the resentment that they are being made to read anything at all, or that they are being made to read something with a challenging style or subject matter. Even if students are bored and resistant at the time, assigning classics in high school at least forces some people who might literally never pick up a book in their life on their own to be familiar with a few things. As someone who teaches Renaissance literature at the college level, I can attest to the importance of that familiarity. When I talk to people about what I do, they feel moderately comfortable and interested in talking about Shakespeare because they've all read Romeo and Juliet in high school. That familiarity is a place to start later in life when people might have matured a bit and become more interested in learning about literature and history, going to plays etc. I don't blame the teachers at all. I blame youth. Youth is bored with a lot, but if young people are made to read a few things in high school, they at least have a base of exposure to literature that they can go back to later when they may, perhaps, be more interested in the idea of reading and learning.

    By the way, I'm guessing from your user name that you share the opinion of those of us who are outraged at the suggestion that Don Quixote belongs on the "worst" list.
    Last edited by Petrarch's Love; 12-03-2007 at 03:22 PM.

    "In rime sparse il suono/ di quei sospiri ond' io nudriva 'l core/ in sul mio primo giovenile errore"~ Francesco Petrarca
    "Follies and nonsense, whims and inconsistencies do divert me, I own, and I laugh at them whenever I can."~ Jane Austen

  4. #184
    The Poetic Warrior Dark Muse's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Within the winds
    Posts
    8,858
    Blog Entries
    957
    I find this intresting, for though I can understand people not liking to being forced to read certain books, I always enjoyed the assigned reading I had for school, I saw it as a way of exposing me to books I might not have thought of or picked up on my own and getting me to read things I preivously might have just discounted. Though I did not nessciarly enjoy all the books, most them I rather did like.

    Though I personaly found The Great Gastby to be one of the most pointless things I have read, I still thought it was a good story and I still enjoyed it.

    I would have to say one of the least enjoyable books for me, that I was required to read was Of Mice and Men.

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. ~ Edgar Allan Poe

  5. #185
    Registered User PanzaFan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    40

    Smile

    By the way, I'm guessing from your user name that you share the opinion of those of us who are outraged at the suggestion that Don Quixote belongs on the "worst" list.
    Of course you are right, and not just about Don Quixote. I have great admiration for English teachers, actually all teachers with the exception of a few narrow minded college professors I had the misfortune to encounter. Namely those that discouraged my efforts to obtain a degree due to my gender. Please excuse my wandering. My point is, I understand and readily acknowledge the often misdirected attention of youth and appreciate the determination of educators to redirect them. Had it not been for my quilty English teacher (May God Bless Her) I would have missed many works that I did enjoy. It was unfair of me not to present the other side of the coin. However, I still hate required reading.

  6. #186
    Registered User FacialFracture's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    56
    Of the books I've been "required to read," I still hold a grudge against Lord of the Flies. Yes, it was in tenth grade (a long time ago now,) and yes, I know, it's an important book...but I hated it then and I hate it now. Its ideas seemed obvious, its symbols didn't interest me, and I resented having to spend an entire term writing papers about it...although, I'm not sure I ever did actually write any of those papers...It doesn't matter; I still hate Piggy, and the conch shell, and that horrible bleeding hog's head that was on the front cover.

    That's a book I hate, but not the worst book I've ever read; that (dubious) honour goes to Erica Jong's Fear of Flying. It was alternately self-congratulatory and self-pitying; it convinced me that all feminists were hypocrites; it employs the word "which" in about a thousand places where "that" should be used...and some of the "earthy" descriptions of sexual things in the novel just grossed me out.

    ETA: Like many others, I can understand not loving Don Quixote, but if it is the worst book a person has read, I can only say that I envy their extremely refined reading lists.
    Last edited by FacialFracture; 12-03-2007 at 04:33 PM.

  7. #187
    Registered User Etienne's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    967
    Lord of the Flies, an important book? I don't know... I've read it once because I had found it and didn't really know about it (therefore making me free of any preconceived ideas about it) and I thought it was good, but nothing so special. I mean I don't see any reason why this book should be considered important. The only reason I can see is that, like Orwell's 1984, for example, it's a great bargain literature/accessibility.

  8. #188
    Registered User FacialFracture's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    56
    Etienne, I do not base my idea of "importance" on anything academic or intellectual: I figure once The Simpsons have done an entire episode satirizing something, it becomes important...hence, Lord of the Flies is "important."

  9. #189
    Registered User Etienne's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    967
    Yes, yes, I was not criticizing it as your opinion, but the very fact that it was considered important. It was just an observation, if you want.

    I'd like to add the translation of Aristotle's De Anima I have. It's simply horrible. Already that Aristotle was a very bad writer, what I have in my hands is partly undecipherable. To understand I had to get some other translations, honestly...

    Take this example:
    "We must note also that, if the soul moves itself, it must be the mover itself that is moved, so that it follows that if movement is in every case a displacement of that which is in movement, in that respect in which it is said to be moved, the movement of the soul must be a departure from its essential nature, at least if its self-movement is essential to it, not incidental."

    This translation allowed me to understand what my translation said (it's in french however, so not much use posting it here) as the syntax is absolutely horrible... but note that in the context this sentence is even more mind-boggling then taken separately.
    Last edited by Etienne; 12-03-2007 at 05:39 PM.

  10. #190
    in angulo cum libro Petrarch's Love's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    2,333
    Blog Entries
    24
    Quote Originally Posted by PanzaFan View Post
    Of course you are right, and not just about Don Quixote. I have great admiration for English teachers, actually all teachers with the exception of a few narrow minded college professors I had the misfortune to encounter. Namely those that discouraged my efforts to obtain a degree due to my gender. Please excuse my wandering. My point is, I understand and readily acknowledge the often misdirected attention of youth and appreciate the determination of educators to redirect them. Had it not been for my quilty English teacher (May God Bless Her) I would have missed many works that I did enjoy. It was unfair of me not to present the other side of the coin. However, I still hate required reading.
    Glad to hear you don't actually have it out for high school teachers. Just had to make sure the other side got out there before all the young students on these boards started running around making teachers the scapegoats for their dislike of Cervantes. I'm actually with Dark Muse. I've never resented any required reading (except a few choice works of literary theory required in my first year of grad. school, but that's because they really were pretentious and nonsensical). It does, however, seem to be a common opinion that required reading is more boring. Maybe people just don't like being told to do anything, even if it is reading a great book.

    By the by, welcome to the forums, since I think you're fairly new around here. Look forward to having some good conversations with you. In fact you've already inspired me. I'm looking for the next read and I may go dig up Don Quixote. Haven't read it in ages, and it sounds like just the thing about now, especially since I've just finished an intensive reading list of the epics and romances that inspired the Don.

    Also, may I add, a pox on misogynistic narrow minded college professors. Hope you showed them by getting your degree with high honors!

    "In rime sparse il suono/ di quei sospiri ond' io nudriva 'l core/ in sul mio primo giovenile errore"~ Francesco Petrarca
    "Follies and nonsense, whims and inconsistencies do divert me, I own, and I laugh at them whenever I can."~ Jane Austen

  11. #191
    Registered User PanzaFan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    40
    By the by, welcome to the forums, since I think you're fairly new around here. Look forward to having some good conversations with you. In fact you've already inspired me. I'm looking for the next read and I may go dig up Don Quixote. Haven't read it in ages, and it sounds like just the thing about now, especially since I've just finished an intensive reading list of the epics and romances that inspired the Don.

    Also, may I add, a pox on misogynistic narrow minded college professors. Hope you showed them by getting your degree with high honors!
    Thank you for the "welcome aboard". I am stupidly crazy about Don Quixote right now, so of course I would recommend it to you as I have to all my friends. The majority of them think I am a bore and prefer lighter reading, mostly the type of stuff you find in a magazine rack in a bathroom.

    FYI
    I did get the degree. I wish I could claim high honors but I am terrible with math and since I majored in electrical engineering I had alot of math. I did receive some honors despite that but mostly for English. Go figure

  12. #192
    I *asked* for my account to be "deleted"
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Manila
    Posts
    589
    Blog Entries
    26
    Tuesdays with Morrie. Ugh!

  13. #193
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    10
    [QUOTE=Etienne;489874]
    I'd like to add the translation of Aristotle's De Anima I have. It's simply horrible. Already that Aristotle was a very bad writer, what I have in my hands is partly undecipherable. To understand I had to get some other translations, honestly...

    Take this example:
    "We must note also that, if the soul moves itself, it must be the mover itself that is moved, so that it follows that if movement is in every case a displacement of that which is in movement, in that respect in which it is said to be moved, the movement of the soul must be a departure from its essential nature, at least if its self-movement is essential to it, not incidental." [QUOTE]

    LOL... that's philosophy for you. Sadly when you get complex ideas you tend to get complex (cough) writing. Then again isn't there some debate as to whether what we have of Aristotle's work was actually written by him? I could've sworn that in one of my A Level textbooks they said that there was a chance that some of the texts were in fact taken from his students' lecture notes, which might explain the above!!!

    I think the problem with 'required reading' is that often students are required to proceed at a set pace rather than going through the book at their own pace and thus enjoying it more. I also found it very boring to have to listen to my teacher at GCSE read "Of Mice and Men" all the way through with a slightly dubious American accent. That said, I'm sure I'd have enjoyed the book much more if I'd have simply read it for fun, but reading a book with the pressure of a looming exam on it does tend to take the enjoyment out of it!

    I really like "Emma", though, which we're doing for AS Level, so I guess its a swings-and-roundabouts sort of situation. And it really does depend on the teacher, of course. But we mustn't forget that if it wasn't for the original "required reading" back in our primary school days none of us would be here discussing books!!!

    Hmm... the worst book I've ever read? It was free with a magazine, absolute chick lit, had to throw it away. Can't remember the title - as someone has already said, the bad books are the ones we try to forget! I found "Bleak House" a bit of a struggle but appreciated it on certain levels and am glad I read it, though I think there are other 'classic' writers I would choose over Dickens.

    I'd say I'm fairly lucky in that there are very few books I have disliked reading.

  14. #194
    Registered User Etienne's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    967
    Quote Originally Posted by HoVis View Post
    LOL... that's philosophy for you. Sadly when you get complex ideas you tend to get complex (cough) writing. Then again isn't there some debate as to whether what we have of Aristotle's work was actually written by him? I could've sworn that in one of my A Level textbooks they said that there was a chance that some of the texts were in fact taken from his students' lecture notes, which might explain the above!!!
    Indeed, the only writing of his own hand that survived (only partly) was the Protreptics. What we have now is not what he "published" but more lectures given to his classes, in fact. But nonetheless, the extract I have written was translated by myself from French, but I had to get three different translations (both French and English) to be able to get a good idea of what was meant.

    The sad thing is that medieval philosophical literature was mostly through commentaries of Aristotle and they did keep this bastardized form which leads to what is now considered "typical" philosophical literature (although the mold has been broken since a while). But philosophy's destiny and perhaps even human destiny could have been totally different had Aristotle works survived in it's literary form...
    Et l'unique cordeau des trompettes marines

    Apollinaire, Le chantre

  15. #195
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    7
    Eragon. I might still be bearing a grudge against it though, having paid twelve pound upon its release and then never managing to read past the first few chapters. That's the only book that really comes to my mind as 'bad'.

Similar Threads

  1. Albert Goldbarth: "Library" part 2
    By amuse in forum Poems, Poets, and Poetry
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 03-05-2004, 07:27 PM

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •