Books I Loathed discussion

Those Book Club Books

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message 1: by Kate (new)

Kate (kay8jay) | 16 comments Let me first say, this is NOT knocking book clubs: book clubs are great! :)

BUT... I'm thinking to back when I worked at bookstore(s) and there would always be these books that no one seemed to have read but everyone "heard" were good. Thus, all of these book groups would start to read a book and we couldn't keep it in stock and later on lots of people felt it was only so-so. Here are a few of the books I'm talking about (some of them might be and probably are quite good, but my point is how all of a sudden every single book club will be reading a certain book based on "buzz" from I don't know where):

The Secret Life of Bees
Bee Season
A Curious Thing.. (that little orange book with the dog on front! :)
Life of Pi
The Lovely Bones
The Kite Runner
The Beach
Girl with a Pearl Earring
Lady in Hyacinth Blue
White Teeth
White Oleander

that's just a partial list...

message 2: by Kate (new)

Kate (kay8jay) | 16 comments Just for my own peace of mind, I realized I got the title wrong for two of the aforementioned books... I MEANT to say,

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night
Girl in Hyacinth Blue

No big deal - but now I can sleep at night :)

message 3: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth I could not get into Lovely Bones, even though everyone around me raved about how could it was.

message 4: by Bree (new)

Bree (coffeebeanbookshelf) I've got a couple of those listed on my own to-read list...but I agree with you! So many times these books get recommended and then they're not really all that great - makes me insane that I wasted my time!

I find this happens a LOT with Oprah's book club...not that SHE actually picks the books, she just puts her stamp on them. I've stopped reading them JUST because they have her name on them - if I come across a book by chance that is from her book club AND I like the sound of it, I'll read it. Hence the reason I have hardly read any of the books she touts. And my point was just sealed when I read The Road by Cormac McCarthy - WHERE does she find these books?!

Luckily in the one bookclub I'm in, we're not reading all of the same old stuff - the books list we've got for the year sounds pretty interesting. There are a couple I don't intend on reading, and a couple that are read by bookclubs everywhere...but overall the selections look great. :)

message 5: by Christy (new)

Christy I liked a lot of those books, even the Oprah books, but didn't LOVE them the way I thought I would. I LOATHED The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night and I still don't understand why everyone around me was yammering on about how great it was.

message 6: by Shannon (new)

Shannon  (shannoncb) I avoid Oprah books too. And I agree with your point, though not all bookclubs are so conservative. I'm in two, and the bigger one is a fairly good mix. There are one or two people who always want to read Carol Shields etc., but no one votes for them thankfully.

I read The Lovely Bones for a bookclub meeting and thought it was awful. But I love the opportunity of reading books I wouldn't normally pick up, because it means my reading list is varied and I appreciate the good books more! Besides, I've read some gems only because they were bookclub books.

Same for The Kite Runner; I thought the story was quite good, for a debut. I have to read A Curious Incident... in a couple of months for a bookclub. I didn't vote for it, but I'll still read it. Some of the others on your list I've read on my own or have on my shelf to read. But they definitely have a "fad" feel to them.

I read Middlesex years ago - long before Oprah got her sticky fingers on it - and absolutely loved it. I really recommend it. But I would never have said it was an Oprah book. I don't think her books take into consideration the type of people who love and listen to her. They're generally older women, and more conservative. I couldn't imagine a single one of them liking Middlesex, and it doesn't do the book any favours.

message 7: by Rachel (new)

Rachel i agree that most oprah books aren't great, but a lot of the books on that list are actually really good. my book club only meets once every other month so that we have the opportunity to read non-book club books for the very reason that we like to read different stuff.

message 8: by Liz (last edited Jan 24, 2008 03:33PM) (new)

Liz (liosaidh) | 9 comments She's Come Undone.

I hate it. HATE it. I have never had such a negative, violent reaction to a book before, ever. Gah. I think of all the things I could have done other than read that book...

Okay, I suppose I should modify my comment. Yes, I hate the book but what I hate even more is how everyone exclaimed, "Wally Lamb writes like a woman! So convincing!" Uh. No.

message 9: by Diane (new)

Diane  (dianedj) Rachel-
Your book club meetings sound like mine. We meet every 6 to 8 weeks so we too have time to read something on our own if we'd like. I do not think it would work for me to meet once every month like some book clubs do. In addition to loving all the women in my group (our name is "Smart Women Read Between the Lines") I also love the books we read. We don't tend to read the "buzz" books of the day; in fact, I've read many books and authors that I otherwise would never have read if it weren't for my bookclub. (Margaret Atwood for one!) And given your review of Tar Baby, Rachel, I am going to suggest that at our next meeting - or Jazz, also by Toni Morrison.

message 10: by Kate (new)

Kate (kay8jay) | 16 comments Funny! I forgot about "She's Come Undone." That's a perfect example. And then the one he did that came out afterwards ("This I Know Is True" - something like that) rode high on the first one's wave.

I have a love/hate relationship with the Oprah books. I think her book club idea was/is? a good thing -- but it was so eerie at first how people were so robotic about buying whatever title escaped her lips. Did anyone read, "A Million Little Pieces" or "A Thousand Little Pieces" or whatever the title is?" I was on the verge, right before the scandal came out!

At some point, then, there was a complete Oprah Book backlash. When I worked at the bookstore, I would shake my head when the publishers would PRINT ON THE BOOK, "An Oprah Book Club Pick" because first of all - don't deface my book- and second of all, it such a stamp became like customer kryptonite. I wanted to write in and say, "One word: stickers" (not stamps).

One book that I did really like - it's one of my favorite books, in fact, is "Ellen Foster." Oprah eventually went totally overboard with selecting little girl stories from the South, though! I felt like a bad person for it, but I HATED, "Bastard Out of Carolina."

But Oprah also did well, I think, with picking "The Poisonwood Bible." That was one of the few books I could recommend to everyone -- but it cool how it was popular before she snagged it.

message 11: by Nikki (new)

Nikki Boisture Kate-I have the same love/hate feeling towards Oprah's book club. I have a hard time describing it as well as you did though. I love anything that gets people reading. I remember when she first started her book club, some women on her show said that they hadn't read a book since high school! (That is just unbelievable to me!) So I'm glad she maybe turned non-readers into readers.

I cheered when Jonathan Franzen refused to have Oprah's label on his novel The Corrections, one of my very favorite books.

She has chosen some books that I like, including ones that I read before she chose them, like Middlesex and The Poiston Wood Bibile. Middlesex REALLY surprised me as her pick.

So I have really ambivalent feelings about her bookclub. I don't want anyone to buy it just because it was chosen by Oprah. I never would, and I hesitate to admit when I like one of her club picks.

I'm sorry this post was soooo rambling and came to no good point....

message 12: by Randi (new)

Randi (The Artist Formerly known as Guitar Chick) (guitarchick) | 79 comments I'm not in any book clubs. So I don't know.

message 13: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth (fireborn) | 5 comments I tried to read Eat, Pray, Love and I really could not get into it. I kept hearing all these women say that they LOVED it and I really could not get through it. I felt like i was having a conversation with someone who was talking all about themselves and trying to be funny.

message 14: by Karen B. (new)

Karen B. (raggedy11) I hate it when everyone else likes a book and I don't and I ask myself "What's wrong with me?" I ordered Room from my BOMC2 bookclub and felt like I wasted my money. Hoping I will pick it up later and find it better. Well that's not the same as an Oprah book club; but anymore there are so many lists, and groups to join it can be overwhelming.

message 15: by Ren (new)

Ren (lestatsoul) Eat,Pray,Love a bunch of bull crap.

message 16: by Maggie (new)

Maggie | 32 comments The Time Travellers Wife - all that hype and it was rubbish. Did no-one think it a bit 'icky' with a naked man appearing all over the place in front of a little girl? Rubbish!

message 17: by Maria (new)

Maria Elmvang (kiwiria) | 72 comments Maggie wrote: "The Time Travellers Wife - all that hype and it was rubbish. Did no-one think it a bit 'icky' with a naked man appearing all over the place in front of a little girl? Rubbish!"

No, not really. Nakedness doesn't have to have any sexual connotations and I certainly didn't sense that any were meant here.

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