Books I Loathed discussion

Loathed Authors > authors you keep reading even though you have no idea why

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message 1: by Tracy (new)

Tracy | 12 comments does anyone else do this to themselves?

in my case, it's chuck palahuniuk. it all started with FIGHT CLUB (of course, because i'm a cliche and i love books with movies based on them), which upon reading more of his stuff, certainly appears to be the tamest. so then i read SOLE SURVIVOR, which was good, but really depressing. then there was LULLABY and a couple others, culminating in HAUNTED which, even though i read it 6 months ago, i still can't get out of my head sometimes. he's a great writer, don't get me wrong, i love how conversational and sarcastic he is. but his stories always make me hurt inside. i can't say i've enjoyed anything of his i've ever written, but i also can't say i hated it either, and i keep going back and reading more!

so, please, share some of your personal insanities and make me feel a little better.

message 2: by Nikki (new)

Nikki Boisture I just mentioned this yesterday in another post. I do that with Jodi Picoult. Dear lord, make me stop it with her books already!

message 3: by Poppy (new)

Poppy | 21 comments For a while I felt a compulsion to read books by John Updike even though his books depressed me to no end. I think I'd actually enjoy re-reading A Month of Sundays, but honestly, the Rabbit books left me curled up in a fetal position, and Couples? Ew. How many books can one guy write about suburban adultery?

Another one I used to read was ... blanking here ... that woman who is always writing about weirdos in Baltimore. Movie about walking dogs with Geena Davis. Anne Tyler! I read a bunch of her books on my mother-in-law's recommendation. I finally realized my m-i-l loved Anne Tyler because Tyler made her feel normal. It pretty much boiled down to "Tyler's characters are much weirder than I am." Not exactly "two thumbs up," is it?

message 4: by Meghan (new)

Meghan ooh, the chuck palahuniuk mention reminded me i did this with bret easton ellis. after "less than zero" (or was it "rules of attraction"?) i finally told myself how ridiculous it was and quit reading him.

i can see anne tyler and jodi picoult being problems -- i approach their books very warily, and i'm trying to train myself to quit reading a book if it sucks rather than struggle through. i even have a bookshelf here for books i've quit reading because they suck (although there are only 3 on it right now)

message 5: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Patricia Cornwell and Danielle Steele..

I watch a lot of cop shows, and while none of them are accurate, in none of them have I seen the the medical examiner have as much power and authority as does Patricia Cornwell's medical examiner.

And Danielle Steele? It's all the same plot, even more so than Dan Brown.

message 6: by Lauren (new)

Lauren i see others have the this problem with the same authors that i do...
patricia cornwell
jodi picoult
and two others: robin jones gunn and jon krakauer

message 7: by Lori (new)

Lori (tnbbc) For the longest time I did this with Stephen King, but was finally able to break myself of that bad habit years ago. I would buy anything that was written by him, and more often than not, I was finding myself not involved in the story line, and reading it just to finish it.
I think a big part of that was the fact that I didnt want to give up on him. As the novels got worse and worse (post accident) I think I was hoping eventually they would gradually start to get better....

message 8: by Bree (new)

Bree (coffeebeanbookshelf) Robin Cook! His books always SOUND great, and are for the most part, but his endings are ALWAYS, ALWAYS so dumb! I go into it thinking "well, maybe he's gotten better at ending his books" but then the end comes and I'm left thinking "WTH?!?". It's like he realizes the book is getting too long or his book is due to his publishers, and he just throws some random ending to wrap it up but not solve anything. I'm determined not to get sucked in again...

message 9: by Holly (new)

Holly | 40 comments For me it's Rosamunda Pilcher. "Little old lady books" I call them. Every single one of them has the following characters:
1. Little old lady that everyone loves and usually dies peacefully at the end of the book. She is a widow.
2. Troubled marriage, they are generally fairly wealthy, and they usually figure it all out at the end.
3. Young woman trying to figure herself out.Usually lives in London but is visiting the countryside.
4. Young man who is usually in conflict with young woman until the figure out they are in love. Often, he is the simple country type. Either 3 or 4 will be the grandchild of the little old ladt.
5. Troubled young boy, usually the son of #2 above, whose best friend is the little old lady. Usually runs away thus creating the major conflict of the book. They always find him hiding in the barn with his dog.

I actually haven't read anything by her in a very long time, but for a while it was a compulsion. Maeve Binchy is similar, but a lot less formulaic. Once I moved on to her, I felt a little better, but not much. I just can't help it. I'm a sucker for a happy ending and a mindless read.

Jessica (thebluestocking) (jessicaesq) I have this problem with John Grisham. Same plots. Same characters. Fun reads, though.

*I've only read one Rosamund Pilcher book, September, but it exactly follows the above description. :o)

message 11: by Dianna (new)

Dianna Ott | 3 comments Oh I totally agree about Updike. And John Irving -- omg -- he tries to make incest sound okay. Give me a break.

message 12: by Dianna (new)

Dianna Ott | 3 comments Awww, I love Krakauer.

message 13: by Lori (new)

Lori Anderson (lorianderson) I used to read everything by James Patterson but I got sick of them and finally broke that habit!

message 14: by Andrea (new)

Andrea | 2 comments Hated Ann Tyler for years -- all her stories were about blue collar Baltimore families with loser lives. But then I got Digging to America this summer at the library because everyone kept raving about it, and it was actually better than most of her recent books. About 2 families whose adopted daughters arrive from China on the same flight and who end up linked by that coincidence.

message 15: by Kate (last edited Jan 20, 2008 07:42PM) (new)

Kate (kay8jay) | 16 comments re: John Irving

I wanted to like him SO much! I really got a kick out of the movie, "The World According to Garp," despite its weirdness. But I really like Glenn Close. But I stayed far away from the "Hotel New Hampshire" which I heard was pretty sick (incest) and made me wary of Irving.

I finally sat down and tried to read, "A Prayer for Owen Meany." I liked the title, actually. BUT I just felt like it was perverse for the sake of being perverse, and annoying. I actually threw the book across the room when a line comes up about Marilyn Monroe dying and the narrator says something like (in reference to Monroe): "Always a little fat, she..."

That was it for me!

But my ultimate why-am-I-reading-this author is STEPHEN KING! I have a kind of fascination with horror, and when I saw "The Shining" (Stanley Kubrick version) I was really drawn in. I did think the book was pretty good. And I think some of his work can be quite compelling.

However, my point is that I read the books DESPITE of him. Which is not to say he's a bad writer: I think he's good, though not great. But he does this thing, I have no idea why, but he always throws in lots of random... I don't know the word for it... the best word is "vulgarity"? I mean, I'm not a prude, but for some reason he'll put in weird sex stuff that doesn't have to do with horror or the plot or anything like that. Sort of like he's trying to sneak in these gross parts along with the rest of the book - like at a garage sale where if you want one nice thing that's in a box you have to buy the whole box and the rest of the junk in that box in order to get what you really want.

The most flagrant example I found of misogynistic disgustingness was "Rose Madder." SO terrible! I wonder if anyone else knows what I'm saying. I mean, OF COURSE Stephen King is gross, right? Of course he's sort of perverse, right? That's part of the point. But then there's this other stuff he sneaks in just because he can. Whatever. I can only blame myself if I keep on reading. Which, when I do, I constantly remember in the back of my head I am using up valuable reading time that I could be using to read, say, the whole of Dickens! :)

message 16: by Phillip (new)

Phillip I think its you.

message 17: by Clare (new)

Clare | 53 comments I love all these discussions because everyone's point of view is so different. I love Anne Tyler. Her characters are certainly quirky but they are extremely interesting to me. In most of her books there is some change that occurs that makes the weird character change in some way. It is reading about the change that intrigues me.

message 18: by peg (new)

peg (mcicutti) | 15 comments I agree with you Clare, Anne Tyler's characters are a bit quirky and I love that about her stories. However,it seems to me that her men are pathetically weak and needy in all of the Anne Tyler books that I have read. Have you noticed that?

message 19: by Tina (new)

Tina With me it is Laurell K. Hamilton. I liked her first couple of books and then they became nothing but long descriptions of combat sex in black leather. But somehow I continue to read them. I really don't like them, and yet, I keep hope alive that she'll turn the corner and interest me again. Go figure

message 20: by Clare (new)

Clare | 53 comments Yes, Peg, one could not read Anne Tyler's books without noticing that her male characters are weak but they are also steady and good hearted. They amble around without any true path and yet they somehow end up all right. It drives me a little crazy because they don't make an effort to change things when their lives are messed up but there is a part of me that envies that also. I struggle to be in the moment and not to veer quickly to the right or left when the path is not clear. I bet we all bring some of our own "stuff" to our reading. What do you think? Maybe that's why I like weird books and quirky characters...because I identify with being on the outside in some ways.

message 21: by Recynd (new)

Recynd Haahaa, Nikki (message 3)!!! I'm reading "Perfect Match" as I write this, after swearing that I'd never read Picoult again.

It's just (brace yourself for the onslaught of rationalizations) that her books are so EASY; they require virtually NO effort to get into...her characters are nice and one-dimensional, so there's no complexities to distract me or muddle my tiny brain.

I can't stand her (Picoult, that is), though. After reading the "Get To Know The Author" bit at the back of one of the P.S. editions I have, I wanted to whack her over the head with something blunt (like whichever one of her books I had just finished reading)...she's so...insufferably earnest, taking herself so seriously. She really does suffer for her craft.


message 22: by Christina (new)

Christina | 17 comments I have weaned myself off he Stephen King habit. Right now, though, John Saul has got me. I lay in wait for Half Price Books to have a copy of his latest novels.

It is sad, I know. I need help. But it could always be worse. I could be on a V.C. Andrews kick.

message 23: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Ponti | 12 comments Mimi your comment about reading Danielle Steele at 12 made me laugh and remembering reading Sidney Sheldon as a high school freshman. He was an author I always read, but mercifully broke my habit of by the time I got out of college.

Overall though I find that with certain authors I will always peruse what they have come out (King, Wolfe, Irving come to mind among others I'm sure) but I'm much more particular in what I actually purchase.

message 24: by Shannon (last edited Jan 24, 2008 09:51AM) (new)

Shannon  (shannoncb) I'm hesitant to even own up to this one, but it's no worse than Danielle Steele!

I keep reading Christine Feehan. I've read the first five, and they're all the same! Neither are they very good. I've never read anything so corny! I think I liked the premise, and kept reading just one more to see if her writing improved. It didn't. She needs to take a writing class or two, or switch editors. Ouch, now I'm just being mean...

There's nothing worse than cheesy romance, though. Ugh. I've stopped reading them now, but I think that's mostly because I can't find the 6th in the series. If I ever do come across it, I'm going to have to shout at myself: THEY'RE CRAP! Hopefully that'll work ;)

On the Stephen King discussion, I've only read two of his books, and I noticed in The Shining that he has no idea how gravity works. I won't spell it out, but there's a sex scene at the beginning that made me wonder, due to one tiny little detail, if he'd ever had sex.

message 25: by Tracy (new)

Tracy | 12 comments haha, it's true about stephen king, but i started reading him back when i had no idea how sex worked, so i guess i kind of glossed over that flaw. except for even my 11 year old self found it kind of weird in IT, when that one girl had sex with all her friends and it somehow saved them all? maybe i read it wrong, and obviously haven't gone back to reread it, but it just struck me as odd. although, at the same time i was reading every book dean koontz was putting out, and he also seems to like the sex, although for him it's almost always sweet and loving (with a noted exception in DARK RIVERS OF THE HEART) and he spends more time describing the way they look naked than actually describing what's going on. i guess it's hard to write decent sex scenes without either skipping over the whole thing completely like a prime time sitcom, or delving to the depths of sordid detail like cheesy bodice rippers.

i think i need to read a romance novel. apparently i'm missing out on some great guilty pleasures here.

message 26: by Tina (new)

Tina Tracy-
I'd caution you on the cheesy bodice rippers when it comes to sex scenes. In their own way, they can be dysfunctional. They try so hard to make sex romantic that they end up making it comical. In some books you really have to have a high tolerance for purple prose. Words like "his throbbing tumescence" and "her honeyed cove" can really take you out of the story.

Honestly, I'd go with some of the erotic romances that seem to be popping up lately in trade size paperback. They can be just as bad in the description of the act (not all writers of bedroom scenes are created equal) but I kinda like the honestly of the language. I don't know one person who, as they are in the throes and are looking at the sexual parts of their partner is thinking "Oh my goodness, what a wonderful turgid member!" or "I need to invade that venus mound!"

message 27: by Bree (new)

Bree could be because you'd have to look tumenescnece and turgid up in the dictionary before actually using that phrase...and that would ruin the moment wouldn't it? :P

message 28: by T.K. (new)

T.K. Kenyon | 15 comments Daniel Silva.

He writes spy novels, and his first 8 or so books were fantastic. Great characterization, an excellent intersection of characters and society coupled to motivations. Really phenomenal.

However, his last two books, The Messenger and The Secret Servant, were just extended car chases. They seems about half the length of the previous books, and he seems to have cut out all the characterization. These characters just move; they don't think or feel.

I'm actually rereading one of his previous books to make sure I wasn't imagining it.

I wrote glowing recommendations of the first bunch of his books on Amazon, but I don't want to go on there and write "Don't bother. Silva's lost it." It's tough to write a book, and I don't want to hurt the man's feelings.

I really think that the problem is that he has mined out Gabriel Allon, his protag. He's trying to show Gabriel getting on with his life, but happiness and good mental hygiene are boring to read about, especially when it's written about so shallowly, like watching a tv rather than reading a book. Strife, insanity, and emo writhing are just more interesting.

TK Kenyon
Author of RABID and CALLOUS, two novels which I hope are never discussed in this particular group.

message 29: by peg (new)

peg (mcicutti) | 15 comments Clare,you are right.I love eccentric characters.I sometimes think that I enjoy living vicariously through characters who act on impulse and have the courage to defy social convention as well as those who seem to enjoy their own insanity.

message 30: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) I love Irving. Have only read one or two Stephen Kings.

I am ashamed to admit I have read five or six Meg Cabot books despite not liking any of them. I don't know why I keep reading them, except I have this OCD thing where I have to read a whole series once I've started it, even if I didn't like it.

message 31: by Colleen (new)

Colleen | 7 comments Ditto, Laurell K. Hamilton - mindless, silly, fun, sexy. I admit it, I read them like candy.

message 32: by Melissa (new)

Melissa I quit Stephen King a long time ago, too. I'm glad it's not just me.

I'm embarrassed to say that one author I can't seem to force myself away from is Diane Mott Davidson. I really hate her books after reading too many in a row. Then what happens is a new one is released and all my neighbors read it and won't quit asking me about it until I've read it.

I'm weird about reading the whole series once I've started it as well. Usually, in any series, there are a few duds, but in the end most are worth reading.

message 33: by John (last edited Jan 28, 2008 09:42PM) (new)

John | 8 comments Melissa - I'm with you on Diane Mott Davidson. Grim, grim, grim even after The Jerk is dead.

I'd liked most of Ann Tyler (exception: A Slipping Down Life ) until I tried Digging to America , which I just couldn't get into.

Giving up on Cornwell was pretty easy: the first few pages of Blow Fly left me in shock at how horribly the Scarpetta series had degenerated - 90 degrees straight down! No way I could ever consider reading anything else by her ... which is a crying shame as the pre-werewolf Scarpetta series was rather well written.

message 34: by Sara (new)

Sara (oopsreads) | 1 comments I am echoing here - but Diane Mott Davidson and Picoult. I am with Melissa I feel like I have to finish a series. But it is such an obvious story line each time.

message 35: by Mary Ellen (new)

Mary Ellen (mesiegford) Lauren Willig...I keep reading despite saying "this is so bad" over and over. If she is going to write about a period in time one could at least try to use dialouge that might have been spoken then. Maybe something more like Jane Austin? But no.
Over all the books are pretty ridiculous and yet I have read all of them. Why?

message 36: by Ken (new)

Ken Diane "Bon" Mott Davidson? Lauren Willig and able? Never heard of these writers. I expected to see griping here about classical gases readers keep trying and trying and failing to finish (but they think they MUST keep trying and trying).

You know, guys like James Joyce and Miguel the Cervantes and gals like Isak Dinesen and "Who's Afraid of" Virginia Wolff (answer: me).

Stephen King: I read one long, long ago, but I don't keep reading him (and I have an idea why).

Anne Tyler: bleh. Like putting your hand in fire, you learn quickly and all it takes is one time...

message 37: by Valerie (new)

Valerie (hunter_rose) Alice Hoffmann, I always love the premise of the books and they always have this great potential but... they continually let me down. I swear I won't do it but each time a new one comes out, I go oh it has to get better it just has to. So far I've been wrong but I can't stop myself.

message 38: by Jamie (new)

Jamie (verydressypants) | 11 comments Jonathan Lethem.

I like the idea of him. He develops such interesting framework for his books (location, concepts, plots, characters) but somehow, none of it ever comes together well enough for me. I have never finished a novel or short story of his without feeling frustrated and annoyed. Its like, time and time again, these books with such great potential just fall short. And I keep reading his works. I suppose its just me being hopeful.

message 39: by Lisa (last edited Mar 06, 2008 11:07PM) (new)

Lisa | 27 comments I used to read everything King wrote. And I don't like horror that much, he just managed to put together a compelling story. But after a while it's become just that one compelling story which we've read many, many times before, and it's been a few years since I've picked up one of his books.

Side note: Does anyone else find it as disturbing as I do that the only thing of Irving's I've read, Hotel New Hampshire, was lent to me by a friend of my dad's when I was 16? Our families were on a ski vacation together. "Here, you'll like this." Ew! (That 'ew' is more re: the situation than Hotel New Hampshire itself.)

And Jamie, I wholeheartedly agree about Lethem. The urban-superhero one was a mess despite all its grandeur, and the stuttering-mob-lackey one was tight but somehow lacking. Yet I keep hoping the next one I read will somehow work.

Oh, and Umberto Eco. Maybe, just maybe, he'll remember how good The Name Of The Rose was, and this time he won't suspend the story 3/4 of the way through to go on some obvious and unnecessary philosophical rant. Okay, not this time. Next time? I've got The Mysterious Flame Of Queen Loana on my bookshelf, and it's been just waiting and staring at me for months.

message 40: by Nikki (new)

Nikki Boisture Lisa-yes I like Hotel New Hampshire. And yes, it's creepy that your dad's friend gave it to you when you were 16.

message 41: by Nancy (new)

Nancy | 7 comments I just finished Run by Ann Patchett. I'd been disappointed in Bel Canto, but still got in line at the library to read her new book after hearing an interview on NPR's Morning Edition. I just went back to listen to the interview which was mostly on the process of writing. The interview is worth listening to. The book is not worth reading.

message 42: by Judy (last edited Mar 07, 2008 11:43AM) (new)

Judy (judy5cents) | 26 comments I would have to say Jonathan Kellerman is the author who fits this category for me. I haven't read all the Alex Delaware novels, but I'm pretty sure I've read most of them, and it's gotten to the point that all the plots have merged together. I can't tell one from another.

I've read a few King novels, but only the better known ones ("Misery," "The Shining," "Needful Things" and "It") Now I was well into my thirties when I read "It" and nearly threw the book across the room when I got to the part where the boys gang bang the girl. I could see no logic in that scene at all. "We're lost, what do we do now? Hey kids, I know. Let's have group sex!" And they were all, like 11 or 12? I suspect Stephen King was indulging in a lurid school boy fantasy and his publisher let him do it.

message 43: by ScottK (last edited Mar 07, 2008 10:49AM) (new)

ScottK OK so I agree with alot of you. John Grisham , Stephen King even David Baldacci ( even though I love most of the ones I have read by him ) A couple of others I would like to add are Jonathan Kellerman (Alex Delaware series), Jeffery Deaver (The Bone Collector). I think,at least for me, I find one of their books and it really draws me in. In JK's case it was the Murder Book, in the case of JD it was The Stone Monkey, and ever the optimist I keep thinking that surely when one spews forth words in an overabundance that they can not just grasp the brass ring once. In other words if one of their books was awesome and meaningful then maybe .....just maybe there will be others. However, this has not been the case with some of them, and I am not saying that all the other books these authors haved penned have been terrible just not as good as the one that got me hooked . Quite the let down yeah ?

message 44: by Heather (new)

Heather (bubblefaerie) | 6 comments I agree with the few others that said Laurell K. Hamilton. Her books used to be amusing, interesting books that may have had some mistakes but were good enough to ignore them. They have since become mindless bad porn with flat character and unrealistic dialog. I still read them, hoping she will turn the series back around and make the characters ones I like again. I shouldn't... especially considering the first chapter she posted of her newest book is the most poorly written piece of crap I've read in forever.

message 45: by Sean (new)

Sean Little (seanpatricklittle) R.A. Salvatore...his early Forgotten Realms stuff set the standard for fantasy and I still get his stuff out of loyalty, I think. I haven't been impressed with his work for years.

I also keep reading the Dragonlance series (no author in particular) out of loyalty. The early Weis & Hickman novels were really, really influential on my childhood, my love for fantasy novels today, and my desire to be a writer. But, there hasn't been a good Dragonlance book (in my most humble opinion) in ages.

Lillian Jackson Braun...I loved the "Cat Who..." novels for years...but, the last ten have been utter trash. The woman lost it years ago and no one has been able to tell her so...I keep reading them, though, hoping to get a flash of the old genius. Maybe I hope she'll sell the series to a ghostwriter with more talent. If she reads this: I'm available to take it on.

message 46: by Nancy (new)

Nancy | 7 comments Sean (msg 43) is right about Lillian Jackson Braun. I read one "Cat Who..." book a few years ago. I can't remember the title but I got it from the "New" section of the Mapleton Library. The librarian said a lot of people really love this series so I was hoping to find a good author who had already written a lot of books. It was terrible. It didn't even seem publishable. Maybe I should try some earlier ones, but I think I'll just pass.

message 47: by Gwyn (new)

Gwyn Lewis | 4 comments Diana Gibaldon.

Time travel, handsome men in kilts, pirates, wars, what's not to hate? I have most of the series and find myself returning again and again to them, ignoring the stack of books already on my nightstand. Its so tempting to read a hundred pages of historical fiction romance fun versus slogging through another fifty pages of The Satanic Verses.

message 48: by Theresa (new)

Theresa  (tsorrels) Laurell K. Hamilton

You pretty much summarized it perfectly, Heather. I used to love her books and then something happened. Namely, Anita Blake had to have sex with everything that moved in order to survive. *gag* I had hoped she would be cured after a couple of books, but that doesn't appear to be the case.

Why, oh why, do I continue to read her books?! I keep hoping that Ms. Hamilton will go back to writing books for plot, not for sex scenes that last 10+ pages.

I told myself that after that last one (The Harlequin) that I was going to stop wasting my time, money, and brain cells on her books. Then I read that the next book, Blood Noir, is about Jason and he used to be one of my favorite characters so I went ahead and preordered it. I am going to try to quit subjecting myself to her books if it turns out as badly as the last five books or so.

message 49: by Ali (last edited Jan 31, 2009 05:33PM) (new)

Ali (alike) ..

message 50: by Kevin (last edited Mar 18, 2008 06:13AM) (new)

Kevin (bluemagoo) | 1 comments For the longest time I did this with Stephen King, but was finally able to break myself of that bad habit years ago. I would buy anything that was written by him, and more often than not, I was finding myself not involved in the story line, and reading it just to finish it.
I think a big part of that was the fact that I didnt want to give up on him. As the novels got worse and worse (post accident) I think I was hoping eventually they would gradually start to get better....

I was a big SK fanboi but I feel just about the same as you do as I would start reading most of his recent novels but almost always winding up not finishing them. When I find that I start flipping ahead while reading that tells be I am bored with the story and wish it would end. This most recently happened with Lisey's Story as I gave up on it about 1/2 way through. I now have Duma Key sitting in my nightstand, as it was a gift, but I'm not looking forward to starting it but one can always hope that he finally found his groove once again.

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