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Author Topic: What is the most frustrating book that ypu've read and why?  (Read 1818 times)
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fnord33
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« on: February 22, 2010, 06:47:54 AM »

I hate Charles Dickens. He came up with interesting story lines, but ruined his stories with his writing style. The man could take up three pages just saying that a character was going out to get the mail. I would sooner jump into a grain thresher than read another sentence written by that man, but that's not what I'm talking about.   

I'm currently reading Dream House by Alison Habens and I can't decide if I love it or hate it. I started reading it because a comment on the back said that it was like Alice in Wonderland on acid. I expected something weird but not in the way that this is weird. Every sentence is so exaggerated that it almost seems like the book is screeching past my head like an old train with a jet engine on the back. It honestly reminds me of some of my old stuff only with boring subject matter and about fifty times more embellished. It has more puns in one page than a whole episode of Batman. The thing is that it doesn't usually work. There are some great lines, but I get the impression that the author did so many rewrites trying to make it better that she stopped being able to tell what works and what doesn't. I keep telling myself that I'm going to give it one more chance and then pick another book if it doesn't get interesting, but then I keep reading it anyway. That must mean something. I normally like over the top stuff. I've never seen anything else that went beyond my enjoyment of camp. I think that a good editor could have helped craft it into something really spectacular. Anyway, it has me extremely frustrated.

Have any of you had a similar experience with a book? Have you heard of this author? I highly suggest tracking down a snippet. For better or worse, it's highly unlikely that you'll find anything else like it. Please forgive whatever typos you see in this. I took a bunch of Codeine to help with a toothache and my head's on sideways at the moment.         
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Life is an entanglement of lies to hide it's basic mechanisms. - William Burroughs
delph_ambi
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« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2010, 08:22:01 AM »

I'm glad I'm not the only person who can't stand Dickens. Thomas Hardy has much the same effect on me, but for different reasons. With him, it's the misogyny. If he manages (unusually) to create a sassy heroine (I'm thinking Eustacia Vye from 'Return of the Native', for example) he can't cope with her has her commit suicide. Infuriating! 'Anna Karenina' annoys me for similar reasons, though I love 'War and Peace', so Tolstoy could get it right sometimes.

In more contemporary writing, I couldn't bear AS Byatt's 'Possession'. I read it because it was a birthday present, so I forced myself through it. Boring, boring, boring. And then, what is it with Peter Ackroyd? 'Hawksmoor' and 'First Light' are so brilliant, but everything else is TEDIOUS.

I also get annoyed by writers who write the same characters over and over again and make them all remedially middle class. I'm thinking Anne MacCaffrey here, with those tedious dragons of Pern. I read the lot of them, because her writing style is so easy to read you just do, but at the end of it I was left thinking, so what? I'm not interested in these dragonriders from Tunbridge Wells, with their nauseatingly comfortable values. I want to punch all their silly dragons on the nose and tell them to get a life.
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jingold
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« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2010, 09:22:44 AM »

I read Dreamhouse a few years ago, because I heard it was Wonderland-themed.  I don't remember much about it, to be honest.  I think the main character (Celia?) is drugged throughout her party.  I thought it suited the subject, and I enjoyed the Wonderland references, but I didn't find the novel itself all that great.

LOL.  I loved Possession.  It ranks among my favorites, although you definitely have to be in the mood for reading all those semi-boring letters and poems that go along with the story.  Usually, I hate stories that interrupt narrative for that, but in this case, I thought it worked because it made me feel like I was investigating the literary mystery with them.

The Count of Monte Cristo is one that frustrates me.  The first half is so engaging and interesting, and then the second half (when Cristo is insinuating himself into their lives and setting everyone up) just takes too freaking long.  It's one of those cases where I'll bet the abridged version makes a better read.
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Rook
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« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2010, 09:34:39 AM »

I agree about MacCaffrey, but I only made it through one before rejecting her!

I vaguely recall liking a series by her and Andre Norton, but I was a teenager, and wouldn't put much stock in my taste at that time. I was reading the 'Wheel of Time' (Robert Jordan) series with glee, and Mercedes Lackey... you know, teen girls and pretty horses... Was dead bored the last time I picked up either of those writers.

I liked 'Anna Karenina', though.

I was annoyed by 'Gravity's Rainbow'. I found the amount of sex gratuitous. I got his point long before he got to the end. (Do you know how difficult it is is to make that statement without it sounding dirty?!)
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fnord33
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« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2010, 04:44:20 AM »

I still haven't finished the book, but it turned into a pretty good read once it got going. It seems that Ms. Habens is a highly talented writer when she is writing in acid speak. I think the problem with the beginning was that she was attempting to write about mundane things in an outlandish fashion and it just came out awful. I find this interesting because I'm in a similar predicament with one of my novels. In my second book I tried out a more gritty realistic style instead of the usual fast paced camp. I introduced a bunch of different story lines involving a lot of sad, lonely, boring people who later connect in what I hope is an interesting clusterfuck. The people who have read it have told me that the first 40 pages are slow and that the voice is wrong. I'm going to have to rewrite it yet again, but I'm afraid that my normal style will clash with with the subject matter. I'm sure I'll make it work some day, but I'll probably end up writing the second and third installments of the Chakra Kong trilogy first. Maybe that will be a good thing. It just sucks when you think you're finished with a project and then you have to go back and start over from scratch.  bangh Sorry, that got a little morose. Maybe this will lighten things up.  dance dance There we go.
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Life is an entanglement of lies to hide it's basic mechanisms. - William Burroughs
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