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Thread: Read anything atrociously bad recently?

  1. #1
    Sexy evil genius Paulie's Avatar
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    Read anything atrociously bad recently?

    I'm thinking of this as a public service thread. You can spare people all sorts of grief by sharing the books that were absolutely horrible in this thread.

    I'll start.

    Timeline by Michael Crichton. What a complete failure of writing that piece of trash was. You can tell the guy is too entrenched in screenplays because many of the scenes in the book were obvious sight gags that would probably work on film but were tediously (and ineffectively) described in prose. His characters were, as usual, bland and interchangeable, but even the action was artificially generated this time. Three times he had characters say something along the lines of, "We're trapped and there's nothing we can do about it!" And several other times, he just wrote a sentence which was supposed to raise the stakes but really didn't. Example: "They were gone, and she was all alone." :rolleyes Oh, and the "surprises"? The "twists"? Every one of them was telegraphed at least 100 pages before they were "revealed". Oh, except for the completely out-of-character murder of a guy who was apparently supposed to be a horrible villain but came across as merely an ass. The punishment definitely didn't fit the crime. That scene alone would've broken the book if it had been perfect all the way to that point. But, as I've mentioned, it was faaaaaar from perfect.

    For the love of all you hold dear, do not read this book.
    When you're ten years old and a car drives by and splashes a puddle of water all over you, it's hard to decide if you should go to school like that or try to go home and change and probably be late. So while he was trying to decide, I drove by and splashed him again. - Jack Handey

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  2. #2
    Yoffy lifts a finger... fluff's Avatar
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    We Were The Mulvaney's by Joyce Carol Oates.

    Damn you Oprah and your stupid book club.

    I had heard nothing but good reviews about this book and was eager to read it.

    The novel may well have morphed into a work f literary genius in the second half, I was not prepared to stick with it long enough to find out.

    Tedious, expressionless, stilted writing lead me to have no concern for the characters.

    The subject matter, the rape of a young girl and subsequent breakdown of her family life, should not make for pleasant reading, Oates was not even able to shock me or get me to care.
    "That's Numberwang!"

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    Jonesing for Ben pink_princess's Avatar
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    Blowfly by Patricia Cornwell. RIP Scarpetta. Cornwell sucks harder and harder with each new book. She should just retire and live off her royalties.

    Not one but TWO James Patterson novels (1st to Die and 2nd Chance - think that's what that one was called) - why didn't I learn from the first? Now I know why I NEVER read books about female detectives/protagonists written by men. No offense, but they just don't get it - at least Patterson doesn't. What horribly-written characters, stilted plotlines and atrocious pacing. He tosses in the occasional male character, I guess as texture or something, because they have no purpose other than to be killed, screwed or to annoy the females. Bleh.

    I hate reading bad books, it makes me not want to read for a long time again and ticks me off because usually I've spent money on them rather than getting them at the library.

    The jury is still out on The DaVinci Code. I know everyone else loves it, but it is so freaking boring to me at the moment that I put it away and will read it during a blizzard one of these days.
    Last edited by pink_princess; 01-09-2004 at 02:00 PM.

  4. #4
    Yoffy lifts a finger... fluff's Avatar
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    I read a couple of "Scarpetta's" years ago, so long ago in fact that I can't even remember the names of them.

    I rather enjoyed them but from reading your post wonder if Cornwell has just stuck with this character for too long. She become too familiar with her, which makes for unexciting reading.
    "That's Numberwang!"

  5. #5
    Jonesing for Ben pink_princess's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fluff
    I read a couple of "Scarpetta's" years ago, so long ago in fact that I can't even remember the names of them.

    I rather enjoyed them but from reading your post wonder if Cornwell has just stuck with this character for too long. She become too familiar with her, which makes for unexciting reading.
    Scarpetta used to be the best female detective/forensic doc character out there, hands down. Of course, she was pretty much the first that had mainstream success.

    The first books were excellent because they were about the crime, the process, the case and a little bit about the relationships. Then all of a sudden, Cornwell kills of a major character and every book since then has been weirder and weirder. Chasing a werewolf/man? Instead of being about the crime, now the books are all about how Scarpetta is wronged by her peers and bosses, how she's lonely and disliked, how she fights with her family..you get the picture. They're therapy for Cornwell, who's rumored to be very much the model for Scarpetta.

    There was a big scandal several years ago when Cornwell got involved with the wife of an FBI agent - it was almost exactly after that that her books got awful and just kept getting more awful. She seems like she's on this weird manic bender lately - did you catch any of that Jack the Ripper stuff she did? On paper, it sounded interesting, but she was completely and utterly obsessed and really strange about it.

    The Scarpetta series was absolutely my favorite for the longest time. When one of the main characters got killed, it stunned me, but I still kept reading. Now, I just don't know why I bother. With this last one, I didn't buy it, my sister-in-law did - the routine used to be, I'd buy the Cornwell and Grafton books and loan them to her when I was done, but I told her after the last one that if she wanted to read it, she was buying.

  6. #6
    Yoffy lifts a finger... fluff's Avatar
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    That's a real shame.

    I hate the "woman in a "man's world" glass ceiling, not accepted by her peers, hated by everyone, have to be a bitch to climb the ladder" angle writers take when they create a strong female character.

    The private lives of character's rarely interests me anyway, I want to know how they go about solving crimes, not how they go to bed lonely.

    I didn't read the Jack the Ripper stuff.
    After reading your post I have to say I'm rather glad I didn't.

    Cornwell needs to re-evaluate her writing career by the sounds of it.
    Seems as though she's lost direction.
    "That's Numberwang!"

  7. #7
    Sexy evil genius Paulie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fluff
    Cornwell needs to re-evaluate her writing career by the sounds of it.
    Seems as though she's lost direction.
    That's kind of what I feel about Crichton. His writing was never that great to begin with, but at least it felt like he cared before. Just seems like all his current stuff is being tossed off in record time to satisfy some sort of contract. He's also envisioning the movie deal as he writes, which is annoying.
    When you're ten years old and a car drives by and splashes a puddle of water all over you, it's hard to decide if you should go to school like that or try to go home and change and probably be late. So while he was trying to decide, I drove by and splashed him again. - Jack Handey

    Read Paulie's Precaps for Survivor:Vanuatu: 1-2-3-4-5

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    Plotting spegs's Avatar
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    Are there any exceptions to this rule? I'm finding the same thing with Maeve Binchy (though Quentins was better than Scarlet Feather--ugh--that one is something like 700 pages long and NOTHING HAPPENS), and Janet Evanovich, and even J.K. Rowlings (don't hurt me). The ending to the last one really was a let down. Does anyone ever quit when they're ahead? Besides Harper Lee.
    "Look, you love me, and I love you. Maybe in a different time, a different place, this would work out. But we both know that only one of us is leaving this room alive, and I'm the one holding the flame thrower." - Film Fakers

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    Anarchist AJane's Avatar
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    I'm gonna get it for this, but - anything by John Grisham, with the sole exception of The Firm. Maybe it's just because I don't like the thriller genre, but I find the stories boring and the writing mediocre. Plus what Paulie said about Crichton. Could these guys please just go write screenplays and stop suckering us into paying $40+ for subpar novels?

    As far as spegs' Binchy comment - I actually preferred Scarlet Feather to Quentins. I like Binchy as a gentle, relaxing read (a girl I used to work with called them "bathtub books") and Quentins was a little too cloak-and-dagger for me. I don't want her heroines to be edgy blonde beauties on the run from their criminal lovers, I want the down-to-earth Rias and Cathys.

    JMO...
    All my life, I have felt destiny tugging at my sleeve.~ Thursday Next
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  10. #10
    Ready? haejin's Avatar
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    The Lost Boy by Dave Pelzer or however you spell it. Please don't hurt me. A lot of my friends loved it, so I was hoping that it'd be great. And as always, I was wrong.

    I'm sorry, but I don't find the story "good" in the least. It certainly wasn't "inspirational", nor did it touch me in any way. I didn't feel sorry for the boy in the story at all (I know it was an autobiographical account of the writers's childhood). To me, he was evil.

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