Goodreads Ireland discussion

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

This discussion thread is inspired by the the BookRiot article, What Not to Read, shared by our long-standing member, Sara.

Maybe you have a much-hated novel you'd like to warn other unsuspecting readers away from, or maybe you disliked a book that the general reader enjoyed and hope to get to the bottom of why it's so popular. Either way, you should share it here.

I can't wait to see what you all choose. I'll probably be chipping in pretty soon, myself.


message 2: by I-like-to-read (new)

I-like-to-read (akakate) Wolf Hall I never got what all the fuss was about, I tried reading it twice and I only got to about page 100.

message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

Hi Declan,

Sorry but I have to add to this list,

The Other Boleyn Girl.

I read this when it was first published in about 2003 and thought it was fabulous. I now have it on my mp3 player and every night I listen to it so that I can fall asleep. It is incredibly cliched, the mother, Elizabeth Boleyn, when she is speaking states too often for my liking, 'she said shortly' and it drives me nuts. Why couldn't Phillipa Gregory have used a different word to describe the mothers tone?

That's my feedback, still listening to it in the small wee hours :) I get to sleep so quickly these days.

Ruby :)

message 4: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (bdegar) | 4626 comments Here's the only book I only gave 1 star to on Goodreads - I would have give 1/2 or 0 - I absolutely hated it:
The Lacemakers Of Glenmara by Heather Barbieri
I know I'd written a review and can't find it here or on another forum. Can reviews be removed on GR?
Why was this book so awful. It's by an American author trying to captitalize on American's fascination with Ireland and the large market of mostly women who like to read books about knitting, and other crafts.
This stupid book has a community of lacemakers living somewhere on the west coast of Ireland in a fishing village - apparently it is an "ancient" tradition in this place. The people row around in coracles - maybe St. Brendan lost them on his voyages west. This women couldn't even bothered to google her subjects - she just made up a lot of #@$@ - on top of everything, there was an insipid romance thread. What a pile of sh-te. I keep seeing rave reviews of it, including from people I know on GR.

and I could start a second rant about The Likeness by Tana French. I wanted so much to like her books that the first time I read it I "liked" it. Then I listened to the audio because it was a book club read. It was soooooooo drawn out - full of needless fill - and an absolutely ridiculous premise, I listened to at a double speed. I then decided I hadn't liked Broken Harbor after all - too long, and implausible. But I liked Faithful Place so much I read it twice.

message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

@Kate. What was it about the book that made you quit? I just checked out the page and there's a very mixed bag of reviews from my friends.

@Ruby. I recently read H.G. Wells' The Sleeper Awakes and every time something loud or violent happens he uses the world tumult. Towards the end of the book I'd groan every time it was used.

@Barbara. Paddywhackery and cheesy romance!? It sounds like the kind of thing that would make me physically sick. Thanks for the warning.

message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

The first one that comes to mind is Tana French's Broken Harbour. I had a lot of hope for this and I was very disappointed. I found the characters two-dimensional, the story weak and full of plot holes, and the whole thing reeked of class snobbery. The only working-class family lived in a dirty house full of crisps with a kid permanently plonked in front if the telly, the were rude and confrontational and Detective Richie Curran, who had passed out as a Garda at Templemore and got promoted to detective, was too dense to realise that detectives don't wear track-suits to work.

While thinking about this I wondered why I gave the book a 2* rating. I went back and amended it.

message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

@Jamielynn. That's pretty cheesy. Falling in love with a ghost!? Seriously?

@LMM. Cathleen hadn't quite convinced me to avoid, but you just managed to push me over the line. ;)

message 8: by Serf (new)

Serf Angela's ashes!! Oh my god. My disdain for this book grows everytime I think about it.

"Times were tough and we were on the dole. Me father drank and came home late at night waking us up and making us swear we'd die for Ireland. Me mother and me father fought and he shaped up. Got a job, but nobody liked him because he was from the dirty north. So he drank his first Friday's paycheck, was late to work on Saturday, and the boss fired him. So we was back on the dole. Times were tough"

And so the author rambles on and on about how miserable his life is and the overall general theme is woah is me and how miserable ireland is. All he was missing was a few dancing leprechauns standing at the end of a rainbow with a pot of gold in America to greet him.

message 9: by Serf (new)

Serf It was so inaccurate it was ridiculous. No Limerick person talks like that. "me da and me ma". It was a very depressing, badly written book.

message 10: by Serf (new)

Serf It might explain why the dad drank so much lol

message 11: by Allan (new)

Allan Seraphina, I've never read Angela's Ashes, but listened to the audiobooks of 'Tis and Teacher Man, the second and third in the memoir series, and really enjoyed both of them, even with the droll delivery of Frank McCourt, which actually added to them for me. I've listened to 'Tis at least 3 times over the years. Both books are mainly set in NYC though-perhaps had I read the cliched first book, I'd have avoided these ones.

If Susan comes on to this thread, I've no doubt she'll be telling people to avoid Ian Sansom, whose final 'Bad Book Affair' really didn't go down too well with her. I really enjoyed reading her review.

Personally, I have to say that I found the Roddy Doyle novel, 'Oh, Play That Thing' so annoying, it's put me off reading any more of his work. There's a couple of others that I bought and really didn't enjoy, but thankfully, by doing a bit of research and reading reviews etc, I manage to avoid too many turkeys!

message 12: by Serf (new)

Serf Alan I enjoyed 'Tis a bit more than Angela's ashes but I think the damage was done at that stage.

message 13: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (bdegar) | 4626 comments Declan wrote: "@Kate. What was it about the book that made you quit? I just checked out the page and there's a very mixed bag of reviews from my friends.

@Ruby. I recently read H.G. Wells' The Sleeper Awakes and..."

Declan - I have no worries that you would EVER be tempted to pick up The Lacemakers of Glenmara:)

message 14: by Cathleen (new)

Cathleen | 2409 comments Barbara wrote: "Here's the only book I only gave 1 star to on Goodreads - I would have give 1/2 or 0 - I absolutely hated it:
The Lacemakers Of Glenmara by Heather Barbieri
I know I'd written a review and can't f..."

Barbara, I didn't even finish reading your review of The Lacemakers book and it had me laughing out loud. I've seen the book, wondered about it, but it looked a little too cheesy and sweet for my taste. After reading your comments, I'll give it a pass. But thanks for such a good laugh :)

message 15: by Cathleen (new)

Cathleen | 2409 comments The literati of the US would shun me for saying this, but I really disliked Jonathan Franzen's Freedom. Maybe it was because it was so hyped, but I struggled to finish it, thinking it would get better, but it only got me more and more annoyed. The novel seemed forced; the people were, for the most part, tedious and self-absorbed, and the author seemed to throw in every contemporary political, social, and environmental issue that he could think of...I read somewhere that he thought it would be better than Middlemarch. It wasn't.

message 16: by Cathleen (new)

Cathleen | 2409 comments Littlemissmuffet wrote: "He's the person that wrote that ridiculous article casting aspersions on the looks and writing of Edith Wharton. I wouldn't read his work in a million years!!"

Ha! Yet another reason to avoid him :)

message 17: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (bdegar) | 4626 comments Cathleen and Jamie Lynn - it was the horrible "Lacemakers of Glenmara" that pushed me to decide NOT to read several books I had on my shelves by Americans with Irish themes. Different people look for different things in books. I want an authentic voice, something that gives me insights into a culture and a people. And honest-to-God, where she got the notion that Irish fishermen used coracles????
Even in the west of Ireland, curraghs are not much used. Perhaps Bernie can enlighten us.

Declan - I thought of your love (not) for leprechauns last night. I was visiting friends who have a shelf of leprechauns figurines in their bathroom. But it is next to the "pub" in their basement, and is surely intended to be kitchy. And I am a person who's favorite animals are sloths and hedgehogs, thus I actually have a collection on stuffed toys of both. Pleezzz. I suppose it's better than having 30 cats.

message 18: by [deleted user] (new)

@Barbara. That sounds fair enough. What annoys me most is when people joke with me about Leprechauns being real or saying things like 'I thought Irish people were supposed to be short.?' Ugh!

@Jamielynn. Lacy underpants in Catholic Ireland? I'm sure there are dead bishops turning over in their graves.

message 19: by [deleted user] (last edited Feb 09, 2014 02:45AM) (new)

Sorry, I thought bishops only wore leather chaps!

Ruby :)

message 20: by [deleted user] (new)

@Ruby. Who knows what goes on under those long albs and cassocks? They might wear petticoats for all we know. :)

@Jamielynn. Curtains won't save our economy, though. Lol! We might have a chance with knickers on the market.

message 21: by Susan (new)

Susan | 4707 comments Well, I just found this thread and love it.
First of all, I totally agree with Barbara and the book Lacemakers. Awful. Awful. Awful. I think it was supposed to be a romance story but they threw in every cliché.
@Declan, you and I both know for a fact that there are leprechauns. There's even a museum which you have promised to visit with no results. I have never heard that the Irish were supposed to be short. I say what about Liam Neeson?
@LMM, I agree with you. I liked the Other Boleyn Girl. I think she did her best work on the Tudors. Now her War of the Roses series is not as good.
@Cathleen, I think Jonathon Franzen is over-rated period. Remember when he had his book picked for Oprah's book club and then made a fuss? I tried that book and thought it was so pretentious. I was reading a page and the whole page was one sentence. Please. He's so in love with semi colons and how smart he is that I put the book down. I would put any of his books on Declan's Wipe Your Arse with it shelf.
@Allan, yes the book by Ian Sansom was no match for any by CJ Sansom.

message 22: by [deleted user] (new)

@Susan. How ironic would it be if it turned out that Luam Neeson was a leprechaun?

And there's plenty of room on my wipe-your-arse shelf for Franzen. :)

message 24: by Cphe (new)

Cphe | 0 comments Oh No!

I was considering reading Wolf Hall,
Think I'll give it a big miss now.

message 25: by Susan (new)

Susan | 4707 comments Serephina, LOL. That was so perfect. I am sure he is in the Leprechaun Museum in Dublin. I love the reference to Vanilla Ice. I just saw him on a "celebrity" cooking show. It turns out he's stupid too. Hershel Walker (a famous football player) was running rings around him if that tells you anything.
LMM, thank you. He's been promising me for months now and even hints he'll take his niece with him. She is probably sitting in her room looking at her Justin Bieber poster and wondering why Uncle Declan never takes her to see the leprechauns. Then she wonders if Uncle Declan will take her to Germany to see Justin's confiscated monkey. Poor girl.
Cphe, I read the book after Wolf Hall (the name escapes me now) and loved it. It was really interesting. I have Wolf Hall on my shelf and will eventually dig into it. I did a review for the other one, that's why I read it first.

message 26: by [deleted user] (new)

If I ever happen to meet an actual leprechaun, I'm going to beat the hell out of him.

message 27: by Susan (new)

Susan | 4707 comments What? You would do that to Liam Neeson? LOL.

message 28: by [deleted user] (new)

Maybe not ten years ago, but I have the advantage of youth, Susan. :)

message 29: by Susan (new)

Susan | 4707 comments He has very special skills though.

message 30: by [deleted user] (last edited Feb 10, 2014 07:28PM) (new)

Yeah, but it's not like I'm dating his daughter. ;)

message 31: by Susan (new)

Susan | 4707 comments Good for you since he has none.

message 32: by [deleted user] (new)

Well, you can never be two safe, Susan. I'll be sure not to date his sons, either.

message 33: by Susan (new)

Susan | 4707 comments LOL.

message 34: by [deleted user] (new)

I'd show him no mercy, that's for sure.

He's one of the more uncomfortably racist leprechauns I've encountered.

message 35: by [deleted user] (new)

You introduced me to the Irish Spring ads. I almost lost the will to carry on.

message 36: by Serf (new)

Serf Oh my god! I just looked up those ads. How were they not done for rascism? Lol or at least a crime against the Irish accent

message 37: by Susan (new)

Susan | 4707 comments What? Is there no leprechaun fun to be had? Should I give up my Irish Spring soap? Life is just so complicated.

message 38: by Steve (new)

Steve Downes (stevedownes) | 39 comments spent the last five minutes trying to think of the worst book I've read but I think I may have expunged it from my mind cause I can't think of one

message 39: by Susan (new)

Susan | 4707 comments LMM- What is champ?

message 40: by Susan (new)

Susan | 4707 comments So it's mashed potatoes with onions. It sounds good. If you wanted a little fun you could garlic to Declan's serving. Just saying that he loves the garlic. Ha. Ha.

message 41: by [deleted user] (new)

On Paddy's day (never 'Patty's' Day) I'll wear a green top if I'm going out. Most people also wear shamrock's or badges, or both, but I'd feel stupid. Most are like best-in-show ribbons you'd pin on a pure-breed dog or thorough bred horse.

I do like champ.

@Jamielynn. My family has corned beef every couple of weeks. We'd eat collar of bacon more often but we'd inter change them quite happily.

@Steve. I bet you'll be sitting at home one of these days and it'll come to you; some piece of lousy drivel that was too bad to line the bottom of a budgie cage.

message 42: by [deleted user] (new)

Oh, and to add to the original discussion, I'm throwing in The Forgotten Walt into the ring.

This book was so irritating it actually motivated me to write a review.

message 43: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (bdegar) | 4626 comments Jamie Lynn wrote: "Declan wrote: "If I ever happen to meet an actual leprechaun, I'm going to beat the hell out of him."

OH that is soooooooooo funny!!! If you met the Lucky Charms leprechaun it's a given that you w..."

I must confess. The supermarket had GREEN Lucky Charms on special and I bought two son likes them.

message 44: by [deleted user] (new)

I want to be angry at that statement, Barbara, but kids need their fun cereals every now and again.

message 45: by Serf (new)

Serf We usually on paddy's day go to the city Market which has lovely food stalls and try a few things and then go watch the parade which usually involves alot of trucks advertising companies and tractors and boy scouts that go on for miles.
Then we go to the park and home after that to warm up cause it's normally freezing.
It seems to be nearly more celebrated abroad now than at home

message 46: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (bdegar) | 4626 comments Declan wrote: "I want to be angry at that statement, Barbara, but kids need their fun cereals every now and again."

Declan - my son is over the age of 21 so....and I must confess, I tried a bowl and they left my milk green.

I do detest the drunkeness of certain holidays like St. Patrick's Day and Cinco de Mayo. I don't mind doing other things. For example, the local Irish Arts organization Solas Nua gives away free Irish lit on March 17th:
Lst year 2013 due to logistical issues, Irish Book Day was in September (: This year "we" (more we than them as I participate in loads of their activities) will be printing a book of collected new writings from Irish authors in collaboration with The Stinging Fly magazine and Declan Meade.

message 47: by [deleted user] (new)

The weather on Paddy's day is usually quite good. Although, in saying that February isn't usually anywhere near this bad.

Town will be full of drunks. If you walk down Templebar that evening, people will be standing around the street drinking. It'll be busier than a popular nightclub out on the street. A lot of tourists come over just for for that. I'm not a fan of that, I have to say.

@Barbara. That's a great idea. I wish we had something like that over hear for the day. It would be great to organize an event for literary minded people and then reward their attendance with novels, etc.

message 48: by John (new)

John Braine (trontsephore) I-like-to-read wrote: "Wolf Hall I never got what all the fuss was about, I tried reading it twice and I only got to about page 100."

[I'm late to this thread] - yes I hated Wolf Hall.

message 49: by John (last edited Feb 19, 2014 04:33AM) (new)

John Braine (trontsephore) Ok I'm going to nominate The House of Sleep.

There are a lot of books that I just think aren't for me. I can appreciate that they are well written etc but just really not for me. Wolf Hall is one.

Occasionally I just think a book is shit. House of Sleep was one.

But more than that, I was slightly mislead, and I think expectation can ruin a book more than the book itself. I read a review that said the characters were authentically three dimensional. Oh my god no; there was cartoon mad scientist FFS! And the most cliched journalist ever put on paper.

And the reviewer also revealed plot point that turned out to be a MAJOR spoiler if you had half a brain. It was also described as Darkly comic. There was nothing dark about it, it was simply and inanely comic.

So it was a bad book further ruined by a terrible review. Should I add a link to the review blog post? hmm maybe not.

message 50: by John (last edited Feb 19, 2014 04:35AM) (new)

John Braine (trontsephore) Other books that I thought weren't great to start with but really damaged by being overhyped:

Skippy Dies
One Day
The Interestings
The Finkler Question

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