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Most overrated novel of all time?

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Showing 1-25 of 431 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 5, 2012 9:15:46 AM PDT
gtucker7848 says:
I've enjoyed the recent discussion on the top five books of all time, but it's also got me thinking...What is the most overrated novel of all time? You know, that one book that the broader literary community labels indispensable, but you just don't get.

For me, it would be Bram Stoker's "Dracula"

This novel contains whole 100 page sections that seem to me to be completely irrelevant to the story line. While it might have worked as a more focused novella, as a full length novel I just didn't get it. It's no wonder that Stoker never managed to write anything else note worthy.

Now that I've offended the masses, it's your turn. Whats the most over rated novel of all time?

Posted on May 5, 2012 3:23:39 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on May 5, 2012 3:23:52 PM PDT]

Posted on May 5, 2012 4:03:32 PM PDT
M2 says:
"The Catcher in the Rye," or as my high-school-aged son, who is currently reading it for class, calls it: "Why the Hell Hasn't the Emperor Got any Damn Clothes?"

In reply to an earlier post on May 5, 2012 7:21:50 PM PDT
Ellen Fisher says:
Pilgrim's Progress

Posted on May 5, 2012 7:24:46 PM PDT
Thomas Kloza says:
Freedom, by Jonathan Franzen. Elegant prose, but a long pretentious whine.

Posted on May 5, 2012 7:27:08 PM PDT
Amy says:
The Bible

Posted on May 5, 2012 7:59:03 PM PDT
Shannon M. says:

Posted on May 5, 2012 8:44:50 PM PDT
HardyBoy64 says:
I'm going to get beaten down, but I have to say it: "Pride and Prejudice". Mostly because Austen has better novels.

In reply to an earlier post on May 5, 2012 10:20:23 PM PDT
P. Kemper says:
ANYTHING by Ernest Hemingway.

Posted on May 6, 2012 12:59:59 AM PDT
Larsson's Millenium Trilogy. Lisbeth was vaguely interesting (but obviously written by a man), but Mikael read like a nerdy James Bond (his irresistible magnetism completely baffles me).

I also felt that Harry Potter came off like a whiny brat...perhaps because I was spoiled by other kids like L'Engle's Charles Wallace (aka A Wrinkle in Time), Card's Ender Wiggins or Colfer's Artemis Fowl.

In reply to an earlier post on May 6, 2012 7:25:59 AM PDT
Have you read it? More importantly, did you understand what you read?

In reply to an earlier post on May 6, 2012 7:43:24 AM PDT
gtucker7848 says:
I have to disagree with you. As a NOVEL, the bible is actually quite good. It's just a shame that people waste time reading it as nonfiction!!!

In reply to an earlier post on May 6, 2012 7:51:17 AM PDT
It is non fiction and never a waste of time reading it. The key is understanding what you read

Posted on May 6, 2012 7:56:36 AM PDT
I see this just as a "books you don't" like and authors you don't care for post, not what was intended by the original question. Shame on some of you for not reading the question in a post about books. In my option, the book that has racism, murder, sexual violence, court drama and childhood discovery in it but still delivers all of that in boring prose and uninspired dialoge wins my vote. Teaching this novel for 15 years, and believing its only worth is the content and not the writing, makes me sad every time I see the embossed gold ribbons on the cover. Controversy sells, and this book is just about that. Too bad the bird sings an old, boring song which was poorly written ...

Posted on May 6, 2012 9:41:13 AM PDT
Any thing by Faulkner.

In reply to an earlier post on May 6, 2012 10:19:00 AM PDT
Much of it is fiction. The key is not "understanding what you read" but why it was written and, in some cases, faked (e.g. the gospels were not written by the four guys they're named after).

In reply to an earlier post on May 6, 2012 10:25:01 AM PDT
Respectfully... I'm not sure what issue you take with this thread. People have chosen books/authors that are either members of the "canon" or who are populist favorites. The original poster chose a book that has an indelible mark on fiction yet says that the book itself is pretty dry (from what i remember, I'd agree); the mythos surrounding the story has superceded the original story which may be why history has given it a pass. I'm a little worried that discussion about the Bible will devolve into an argument about religion and not about the book itself, but so far Honey Bunny is staying Fonzie-cool.

Posted on May 6, 2012 10:44:38 AM PDT
Herfjötur says:
I vote for Hunger Games. Yuck. Flat, poorly executed, unlikeable characters, plot is a rehash, more than obvious symbolism. Totally overblown in my opinion. Should have died a quiet death after a year in the bargain bins at Big Lots.

Posted on May 6, 2012 12:07:33 PM PDT
The Return of the Native

In reply to an earlier post on May 6, 2012 4:32:52 PM PDT
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In reply to an earlier post on May 6, 2012 7:23:26 PM PDT
Draquul says:
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In reply to an earlier post on May 6, 2012 7:32:15 PM PDT
Atlas Shrugged.

Posted on May 7, 2012 12:18:31 AM PDT
Larry says:
Huckleberry Finn

In reply to an earlier post on May 7, 2012 6:13:00 AM PDT
B. Clark says:
Atlas Shrugged also.

Posted on May 7, 2012 7:32:46 AM PDT
D. Colman says:
What is interesting about this thread to me is that in some cases, it really seems like the penny hasn't dropped for some people, which is totally natural. Two great examples are Catcher in the Rye and Huckleberry Finn. Though I really enjoyed reading these books, neither reads like "literature," and so both mystified me for years as to why they were so revered. The issue with both is you have to put them in historical context. Mark Twain was one of the greatest minds in the history of literature, and Huckleberry Finn is a remarkably modern book that anticipates the 20th century novel better than any other -- very readable for 1884, when most writers' language seems far, far more stilted (SOW, Twain's essay taking James Fenimore Cooper is very apt and funny, too). It is also, like Ellison's brilliant "Invisible Man," a canny retelling of another literary gem, Voltaire's Candide, a fact that is seldom discussed for whatever reason, though it seems hugely important to me (and to a certain extent helps to explain the controversial ending.) Similarly, The Catcher in the Rye reads like some teenager whining today (albeit quite humorously). But that was hardly the case when it was published: the idea of a first-person narrative in which the narrator appears to be a spoiled rich kid who swears a lot and in which nothing of "note" happens was ground-breaking. Both books remains readable and funny today, but remembering the historical context is key towards understanding the books' reputation. I agree with the person above on Faulkner -- and I would add Joyce's Ulysses to that, too -- but that is A) because I find both unreadable, and B) because I just don't see or understand the revolution they sparked -- the penny hasn't dropped. And BTW, come on -- I think we can all agree that Harry Potter, Twilight, and The Hunger Games are not overrated, when they are not even really rated!
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Discussion in:  Book forum
Participants:  255
Total posts:  431
Initial post:  May 5, 2012
Latest post:  Jan 29, 2014

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