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Books you didn't "get". (1 Viewer)

kenewbie

Senior Member
So, the idea is to list famous and praised books that you have read but never understood what all the hype was about.

Maybe we can get some discussions going when someone list someone elses favorite book.


My nominees are:

Salman Rushdie - The Satanic Verses
I read this after the big controversy where it was banned in muslim countries. I never understood why it was banned, and I never quite got why it was so acclaimed among critics. It is not the worst book I have ever read (Clive Cussler's Atlantis Found reigns supreme in that respect) but i got nothing from reading it. The fact that fatwas has been issued, ten people have been killed and many hundred wounded over this book baffles me.

Fyodor Dostoevsky - The Idiot
One of the books you "have" to read, I just dont know why. I found it slow and contentless. Maybe there are things in the russian culture that doesn't translate well to others, but then I dont see why critics are so favorable elsewhere. The protagonist, if you can even call him that, is mostly passive throughout the book. Aspiring writers are often warned about that today, make the characters drive the story - not the other way around. Maybe this book is why.

Franz Kafka - The Trial
400 pages about nothing. People always claim that by removing all the specifics you are left with the timeless issues of man vs himself, but I found very little of it in the book. The specifics was indeed removed, but I found no more insight into the characters psyche because of it. Rather the oposite, I felt that never knowing what was happening made it harder to understand the main character. "Kafkaesque" works in small doses in various situations, an entire novel is too much.
 

riversource

Senior Member
Unfortunately i can't comment on those, having yet to read any of them, though at least i don't have to feel bad about it now! For me, i'm going to have to say;

1984
I read it expecting to be amazed. It was boring. I'm not saying that i didn't understand it but i can't see whateveryone gets soooooooo excited about! I found it impossible to identify with any of the protagonists and it became one of those reads where you finish it to have reached the end, not to find out what happens next. Uggh.
 
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Peejaydee

I have to say I did 'get' Orwell's 1984, albeit I was quite young at the time and I would probably get a much different message from it now (political awareness, family now, etc...).

The one I never ever 'got', and have read it twice just to check I wasn't a complete twit, was Catch 22 by Joseph Heller. One of the most bizarre and unfunny 'comic' reads I have ever had the misfortune to pick up.
 

huntingtonb

Senior Member
I didn't really get the mass appeal of Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles (interview -w-the Vampire, The Vampire Lestat, etc.). I was very excited about the premise of the books because the subject matter sounded intriguing. I just found the books to be devoid of emotion to the point where I got bored. Perhaps it was the author's intention in order to convey the coldness of the vampire's existence, I dunno. I also thought they dragged on and went into way to much detail about dry stuff.
Can someone who loves these books help me understand why they are so incredibly popular? I just got back from New Orleans and am thinking maybe I'll read one of the books now that I'm older and see if I feel differently.
 

riversource

Senior Member
Peejaydee said:
The one I never ever 'got', and have read it twice just to check I wasn't a complete twit, was Catch 22 by Joseph Heller. One of the most bizarre and unfunny 'comic' reads I have ever had the misfortune to pick up.

How can you not find Catch-22 to be absolutely fantastic! I'll admit to having to read it a couple of times before i could keep track of all the Majors but, in my humble opinion, it's a brilliant book!!
 

Anarkos

Senior Member
huntingtonb said:
I didn't really get the mass appeal of Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles (interview -w-the Vampire, The Vampire Lestat, etc.). I was very excited about the premise of the books because the subject matter sounded intriguing. I just found the books to be devoid of emotion to the point where I got bored. Perhaps it was the author's intention in order to convey the coldness of the vampire's existence, I dunno. I also thought they dragged on and went into way to much detail about dry stuff.
Can someone who loves these books help me understand why they are so incredibly popular? I just got back from New Orleans and am thinking maybe I'll read one of the books now that I'm older and see if I feel differently.

Because people are stupid.
 

strangedaze

Senior Member
bahahaha.

i LOVED both the satanic verses AND the trial. you were confused by the trial? satanic verses is pretty tough to wade through, but i thought the trial wasnt really dense. just fucked and weird.
 

lisajane

Senior Member
There's not many books that I remember that I just didn't 'get', there were more books that I understood but bored me (ie, Pride and Prejudice; Great Expectations; Animal Farm). There are books that I tried to read as a child, and while at the time I didn't 'get' them, I'm trying them again with the knowledge and understanding I've gained as an adult (ie, now re-reading Anna Karenina).
 

kenewbie

Senior Member
strangedaze said:
bahahaha.

i LOVED both the satanic verses AND the trial. you were confused by the trial? satanic verses is pretty tough to wade through, but i thought the trial wasnt really dense. just fucked and weird.
I understood the trial on an intellectual (dear god, please let me spell that word correctly now and forever and ever, amen) level so to speak. I realize what he was doing (probably because you cannot avoid having heard about the book in advance) but I didn't get why everyone made such a big deal about it.

Once I realized I was never going to get any real information about what was going on, I got really bored and just made myself finish the book as soon as possible so I could read something else. I know the absence of information was the entire point of the book, but why everyone likes it is still a mystery to me.

Satanic verses however I really didnt get on any level. I dont understand what all the controversy was about. He writes good, thats all I ever got from it :)

k
 

red lantern

Senior Member
As others have said everyone's tastes are different but I never got Wuthering Heights. Pehaps because it was forced upon me at school. I don't which was worse the movie or the book. I don't know who suffered more poor Heathcliff or the women in his life.
 
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Peejaydee

I suppose it was the fact that I'd heard so much about Cathc 22 being one of the most satirical novels ever written, ete, etc, that made me so disappointed by it. I actually found it bizarre and more like a protest novel than anything funny. Now that I'm older, I look back and I know that is, and was meant to be, all of those things.
 
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kenbob

Garden of Kadesh said:
Dune, by...Frank Herbert? Something like that.

I didn't really give it much of a chance though.

you have GOT to re-read Dune! an absolute scifi classic! the style of writing and the huge scope of the novel tower above azimov and clarke. (in my opinion)
 

playstation60

Senior Member
I couldn't make it through Dune. I got bored. SO many times. I would give it shot after shot, and after making it half way and still being entirely bored it has been placed on my bookshelf to spend the rest of eternity. Same goes for Battlefield Earth. For a novel with over 1000 pages, you would think that the man could put something interesting in it!
 

mswietek

Senior Member
One book I did not get, but hope to try again was Donald Barthelme's Snow White. I really enjoyed The Dead Father, but Snow White was just impenetrable to me.

Michael
 

quarterscot

Senior Member
This may be a blindingly obvious comment to which everyone responds "Well, duh." But I've just finished reading The Da Vinci Code. And by God, is that not the biggest pile of poo ever? Like being trapped in an elevator for 10 hours while the most boring, pedantic nerd in Christendom lectures at you without pause.
 
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kenbob

quarterscot said:
This may be a blindingly obvious comment to which everyone responds "Well, duh." But I've just finished reading The Da Vinci Code. And by God, is that not the biggest pile of poo ever? Like being trapped in an elevator for 10 hours while the most boring, pedantic nerd in Christendom lectures at you without pause.

agreed
 

mswietek

Senior Member
I agree as well. The problem is that I "get" the book, I just didn't care for it. If not for the fact that it's portrayal of Christianity is controversial, I doubt we would have sold at all. The problem is that most people who love the book, don't think I "get" it when they hear my criticism. Or they think I am just disturbed by its message.

Michael
 

Raging_Hopeful

Senior Member
This may be a blindingly obvious comment to which everyone responds "Well, duh." But I've just finished reading The Da Vinci Code. And by God, is that not the biggest pile of poo ever? Like being trapped in an elevator for 10 hours while the most boring, pedantic nerd in Christendom lectures at you without pause.
*laughs hysterically, clutching the ground for dear life*
 
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