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Ed's Booktalk Cafe: That's so overrated (6/14/2012)

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Initial post: Jun 14, 2012 8:56:41 AM PDT
We all have them. Books that we've read because everyone has gushed about them, or books that we've read because we simply "had" to, in order to be a well-read individual.

And then, we finish them and think: that was it? That was the book that they told me that I HAD to read because it was so edgy, so well-written, so necessary to understand humanity?

Let's chat a bit about those books . . . the ones that over just so overrated, in our opinions. And hopefully, someone will jump in a defend their favorites.

I'm going to start with a book that I thoroughly detest, that is constantly held up as some sort of philosophical classic: Atlas Shrugged.

As fiction, it fails completely. Dagny Taggart is the worst sort of wish fulfillment. The entire concept is absurd (rich people start a commune? Come on). The climax of the book is a turgid 40 page lecture masquerading as a manifesto pretending to be a soliloquy.

As philosophy, it also fails completely. It purports to describe a meritocracy, and yet two of the main characters are the possessors of inherited wealth, which is completely befuddling. It contains no nuance, and has the subtlety of a sledgehammer as it bludgeons the reader into submission over more than a thousand pages.

Totally overrated.

Other books that leap to my mind as overrated include The Catcher in the Rye, Gone with the Wind, 75th Anniversary Edition, and The Help Deluxe Edition. All enjoyable, but largely forgettable, in my mind.

Your turn. Go to it.

Posted on Jun 14, 2012 10:23:23 AM PDT
HJ Leonard says:
I'll just jump in and say it. Fifty Shades of Grey: Book One of the Fifty Shades Trilogy. I know that's really what you were thinking, right? Lol!

Okay, I read the trilogy. It was okay. There were many things that I liked, and probably just as many things that had me rolling my eyes and wondering why I was reading it.

This was before the hype. While I sort of enjoyed the books, I totally don't get the hype. Why, why, why?

Posted on Jun 14, 2012 11:10:56 AM PDT
G. says:
My favorite genre is Fantasy. For so many years, my friends, sites I frequented, all made Terry Goodkind out to be the next coming of JRR Tolkien:
Wizard's First Rule (RosettaBooks into Film)

It's a long series full of misogyny, stereotypes, carpy cliches and some of the tiredest darned story lines that have ever been put into a fantasy novel. I read the first 3 books in this series thinking that I am either missing something, or the series was bound to get better; after all, how could so many people say that the books are phenomenal? They sucked.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 14, 2012 11:26:43 AM PDT
HJ Leonard says:
Oh! *raises hand, waving madly* I actually read 7 of the books before I realized that I'd been forcing myself to get through them. Who wants to do that? Wish it hadn't taken me so long. Clearly, it was the romance/love story that I got sidetracked with (see, even when I'm reading other genres, I'm still reading romance).

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 14, 2012 11:31:25 AM PDT
Ms. P. says:
I really wish I understood the HYPE of some books. I read the trilogy. Apparently I liked it enough to fork over ten bucks each for all three books. But still, definitely meh. Worthy of a weekend, but not the insanity that surrounds it.

Twilight, too. A series I'll admit to reading more than once, and seeing the movies, too. But still, there are many better books out there and I don't get the craziness.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 14, 2012 11:36:09 AM PDT
HJ Leonard says:
I have to admit, I really did like the first Twilight book. The others, not as much. But I can't read any of them anymore because the movies totally ruined them for me. I do NOT want to picture Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson as Bella and Edward. They DO NOT look like that.

Actually, the graphic novels of Twilight are pretty much what I had in my head, so I just read those instead, lol.

I could sort of see the hype for Twilight based on its target audience (teenage girls), but not for the rest of the books in the series.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 14, 2012 11:38:34 AM PDT
Ms. P. says:
And see, I could never get into Robert Jordan. I went through a whole epic fantasy phase starting in high school, and so many of my friends told me that he was awesome that I picked up the first three books in the Wheel of Time series (that may have been all that were out at that time; I'm old), and I could never get more than a quarter of the way through the first one.

I never even tried Terry Goodkind... maybe now I won't. :)

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 14, 2012 11:44:13 AM PDT
Ms. P. says:
I really did like it, too, at least the first time I read it. I wasn't interested in them at all -- it was after the first movie had already come out, and the previews for that didn't pique my interest even a little bit. But a friend of mine in the next classroom at work told me I had to. Bugged me for days, and finally brought her copy in and handed it to me.

Before the end of the school day I let her know that I was going to NEED her to bring the second book the next day, lol. Two-day Prime shipping wasn't going to cut it for number two, though I did order three and four that way.

I wasn't big on New Moon. Eclipse I kind of enjoyed, and then Breaking Dawn was ... not what it had the potential to be and then some.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 14, 2012 12:05:41 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 14, 2012 12:06:31 PM PDT
I rather enjoyed Twilight, even if it was extremely silly. New Moon nearly caused me to become catatonic with boredom from the moping, and the whole adrenaline junkie thing was beyond ridiculous. I thought that Eclipse was actually the best of the bunch, although it completely petered out - I thought we were going to get a full scale vamp war (yay!) and we ended up with a brief negotiation followed by a full-scale retreat (boo!).

It took me ages to read Breaking Dawn. It was as awful as I thought it would be, and when [spoiler] Bella named that kid Renesmee, I nearly tossed the book into the wall. Fortunately, that was near the end of the series. But, Renesmee? Seriously? Why not just name her "mockmecruellyforthenexttwentyyears" and be done with it? Yuck.

I have not read Terry Goodkind, although I picked up the Sword of Truth for .99 along with I am Legend, which I have heard good things about & which Mr. Mayhem really enjoyed.

As for the book-that-shall-not-be-named that was previously mentioned by HJ, you might be right . . . that might have been at the forefront of my mind (and every single thread on the RF) at that the time that I posted this topic . . .

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 14, 2012 12:07:42 PM PDT
G. says:
Thank goodness it isn't just me! I actually bought two of the boxed sets (six books) based on all of the rave recs. I gave the unread, second boxed set to another unsuspecting victim.

Posted on Jun 14, 2012 12:53:38 PM PDT
I feel the same way about Game of Thrones. I got through the first book, (well I had bought it in paperback) and found it predictable and cliche ridden.

I gave it away to a charity shop...

Posted on Jun 14, 2012 12:58:31 PM PDT
Eat Pray Love.

What a self-involved mess. I was so annoyed with the author right from the get go with the way she trashed her former husband. I really dislike when people try to feel superior by putting down a former spouse.

I think I got about halfway through, just because of the travel talk, but I finally couldn't stand her moronic nonsense any longer.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 14, 2012 1:05:56 PM PDT
Ms. P. says:
Oooh! I wasn't the only one who made it halfway through that? I could never really get into it. And you're right about how she talked about her former husband.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 14, 2012 1:08:26 PM PDT
Oh, this is a good one! It also gives me a new topic for the future, so thanks . . .

Posted on Jun 14, 2012 1:12:45 PM PDT
twinny says:
You are all probably going to hate me for this, but Outlander....It was OK, I managed to read all the books. It just kind of goes on and on and on endlessly...I wanted to hit Brianna.

@G - do you think the guy who plays Thor would make a good Jamie?

Posted on Jun 14, 2012 1:43:30 PM PDT
A. H. Watson says:
The Art of Racing in the Rain: A Novel
so overrated. predictable plot, tugs at heartstrings, main character makes stupid decisions.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 14, 2012 1:43:37 PM PDT
HJ Leonard says:
Wait, wait! Someone posted a link to an awesome picture for Jamie. And then one of my friends on GR has used it as their avatar.

Gimme a sec, I'll see if I can find it.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 14, 2012 1:45:20 PM PDT
Beckygardens says:
Life of Pi people go on and on about how life changing this book is. Well, that's true, it took 2 hours of my life I won't get back, but I don't think that's what they mean.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 14, 2012 1:52:14 PM PDT
Ms. P. says:
Life-changing? I read Life of Pi, and I did, actually enjoy it, although that was quite a few years ago, and I don't remember much other than that there was a tiger. So, no, not life-changing. :)

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 14, 2012 1:53:01 PM PDT
HJ Leonard says:
Try this link, tell me what you think. It's Halle Berry's ex. Photoshopped with red hair.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 14, 2012 2:00:07 PM PDT
twinny says:
Yeah, he would fit ( he is fit!), but he's quite 'pretty'...but the picture made this middle aged woman smile today! :D

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 14, 2012 2:24:52 PM PDT
G. says:
I disagree Will. When the original book came out in the late 90's, it was almost revolutionary. The typical treatment of Fantasy books during this time and before, was to wrap things up, keep the main characters alive and provide some sort of "ending that the reader would accept". GRRM does not provide the typical "wrapped up", happy ending. Most notably there is no character/script immunity, and this wasn't "typical" in this genre. I think (JMHO), going through the next two books is worthwhile. This author has MAD storytelling and writing skills.

Posted on Jun 14, 2012 2:39:24 PM PDT
I couldn't do it, G.

I can't agree with you on the story telling, I found it too predictible. And many of the characters were unbelievable too, and - worse in my eyes - inconsistent. Whilst I agree that killing off your MC s is unusal, even in fantasy, it has been done and it wasn't enough to make any more of his work attractive.

I went out and spent real money on Fevre Dream to see if it was just my reaction to 1 book, but didn't care for that either.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 14, 2012 2:44:47 PM PDT
G. says:
YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS! I think he would be perfect. I had never thought of him in that role until you pointed it out? ;)

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 14, 2012 2:45:52 PM PDT
G. says:
Holler! I have a "Thor" screen saver on BOTH of my computer screens at work. Sigh.
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Discussion in:  Kindle Book forum
Participants:  25
Total posts:  98
Initial post:  Jun 14, 2012
Latest post:  Jul 12, 2013

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