Books I Loathed discussion

Worst Known Series

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message 1: by Kate (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:47AM) (new)

Kate (katiebobus) | 136 comments Mod
Fascinated by the direction the Shameful Passions thread is taking, now I'm deeply curious about what series you find most offensive. Did Sweet Valley High turn your stomach? Has anyone tried and trashed the new pop vampire teen books, or the new vampire bodice-rippers all over the Romance section at Barnes & Noble? This "Casca" series sounds like winner here.

message 2: by Alex (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:47AM) (new)

Alex (alexinmadison) | 64 comments I was too old for Sweet Valley High but remember being appalled by it when I saw it at the book store.

For me, anything "Romance" is pretty much offensive.

message 3: by Laura (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:47AM) (new)

Laura (kaparual) I second the Sweet Valley High vote

message 4: by Laura (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:47AM) (new)

Laura (kaparual) Actually I think anything by the FAKE VC Andrews is awful. The real VC Andrews died after only her third series (Dawn.. which actually was kind of crappy too), and her family paid another writer to take up her pen name and write books based on the real VC Andrews' "ideas". Why anyone would PAY this person to generate that shit is beyond me.

message 5: by Vanessa (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:47AM) (new)

Vanessa | 42 comments I read a fantsy series years ago called "The Belgariad" which was quite entertaining, and so picked up the sequel series, "The Mallorean". What a waste of time, paper, and space in my brain. It was just a weak re-tread of its predecessor and since the author had run out of things to say, there were endless scenes of camping out in the forest while Polgara, the wizardess stirs the porridge, humming to herself, or winking, smirking sexual banter between characters, and the same goddamn description of almost every female in every one of the books: "Her lush, overripe figure" "Her lush calves" "Her overripe curves" "Her lush breasts, almost overripe, was spilling from her bodice"...Basically, every one of the female characters is lush and overripe in some way (though "overripe" makes me think of fruit on the verge of rotting).

message 6: by Christina (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:47AM) (new)

Christina | 17 comments OK, the Mayfair Witches should never have been written. Really, Anne, go back to vampires please and leave other genres alone. For the love of god!

I have to also second the Sweet Valley High phenomenon. Yeah, lets put even more pressure on pre-teen girls to be popular. Sure, who thought this was a good idea?

message 7: by Anna (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:47AM) (new)

Anna Hosea | 1 comments There was also The Babysitter's Club, which was a Sweet Valley High-esque series.

message 8: by Kate (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:47AM) (new)

Kate (katiebobus) | 136 comments Mod
Ha, Babysitter's Club was a guilty pleasure of my preteen years. But I couldn't hang with the Sweet Valley twins.

message 9: by Kate (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:48AM) (new)

Kate (katiebobus) | 136 comments Mod
Sherri, your so-bad-it's-good post resonated with me because -- forgive me, Sarah -- I secretly want to read just one of the Left Behind books. I think it sounds like the most ridiculous, funniest s#@% in the world. Just to SEE how bad it really is.

message 10: by Christen (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:48AM) (new)

Christen | 61 comments I bought this one romance novel because of the cover - it was a hologram! Because see it was a romance between the new owner of the castle and the castle's ghost! It's called Everlastin' (no "g" because the ghost is Irish or something and the author writes in brogue) and I fully expected it to be awful. However, it was so laughably bad that I started having fun and ended up giggling with glee at every sex scene (just how does one have sex with a ghost???) and bad bit of dialogue. So funny.

I can't find that book now though and maybe I should try to track it down.

Also POP! by Aury Wallington. Great teen trash novel. I thought it would be horrible but it was so trashy it was good.

message 11: by Christen (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:48AM) (new)

Christen | 61 comments Oh oh and those teen romance time period novels with the girls' names as titles - "Laura" "Catherine" "Christine". So formulaic it was funny:

- girl is in some historic time period (Civil War, Great Depression, on the Titanic)
- girl hangs out with nice sweet boy from her neighborhood
- girl meets bad boy from some other neighborhood
- girl swoons for bad boy and nice sweet boy is upset
- girl chooses bad boy and nice sweet boy somehow gets in danger
- bad boy is mean to girl or is in some way insensitive or cruel and girl dumps him
- girl realizes she loved nice sweet boy all along
- nice sweet boy comes back from danger and love reigns supreme

message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

Christen: you nailed it! A favorite past time in high school was reading the back covers of romance novels and guessing in advance who would "win" the girl. It was always the "good" boy and always after the trials you mentioned. Too funny!

message 13: by Skylar (new)

Skylar Burris (skylarburris) | 32 comments I rather enjoyed Sweet Valley High as a lass.

Who can argue with Left Behind, though?

message 14: by Jason (new)

Jason (gireesh42) Perhaps I am opening a can of worms I cannot hope to contain, but what about the Sword of Shannarah (or however you spell it..): "Let's see...I bet no one will notice if I steal Tolkein's plot but use a sword instead!"

Bah! I guess I can't really complain about the whole series, as the first pissed me off enough on its own.

message 15: by Lori (new)

Lori Anderson (lorianderson) I can't say I LOATHED them, but it seemed that I only liked about half of Anne Rice's vampire books. But the ones I liked, I loved.

message 16: by Kate (new)

Kate (katiebobus) | 136 comments Mod
Shoshanapnw, I want to hear about Charlie Bone. Can I get you started? My young cousin enjoyed them but I haven't read any.

message 17: by Bronwyn (new)

Bronwyn | 29 comments I have to agree with Natalie, "Fear Street" or "Goosebumps" both travesties written by R.L. Stine.

message 18: by Grace (new)

Grace | 22 comments Haha, I read a few of the Charlie Bone books. Can you say Harry Potter ripoff?

Anyway, about the Spiderwick books. I actually read all of them. I read them when they first came out, (what was that, two years ago? Three?) Anyway, I got hooked, I knew they weren't great. But they were fun and an extremely fast read. I read each one in at most three days. Plus I could really identify with the girl. And they had there funny moments.

Personally I have to admire the authors (yes there are two) because they sure took advantage of the uprise in the popularity of y/a fantasy series. They were practically written to be made into a movie, lol.

message 19: by Summer Rae (new)

Summer Rae Garcia | 45 comments I agree that the Sweet Valley High was horrible, but growing up my father got me a box set with 4 of the skinny little books in it every year, I didn't have the heart to tell him not too. I was the pudgy olive-skinned little girl with Kool-aid all over her face and I had to read about those perfect frikkin twins and their "issues". I hated it, but years afterwards when I was a jaded psuedo goth chick bookseller I cam across the big fat Sweet Valley Books when they were older, and even some weird Mystery ones, I have to admit I almost read them for old times sake.

message 20: by Ani (new)

Ani | 3 comments I loved the Babysitters' Club! They were much better than Sweet Valley High, and promoted things like entrepreneurship, diversity, etc., while SVH was all about hooking up with guys.

message 21: by Dianna (new)

Dianna | 55 comments I agree that the goosebumps series is horrible. I almost hate to see the kids reading them because of their demonic content. Some would say, well at least they are reading, and my son did read a couple of them, but, thankfully, he thought they were pretty lame.

I don't really care for VC Andrews' books either because of the content and I only read one of her books. I like strangeness but that one was creapy to me.

message 22: by Poppy (new)

Poppy | 21 comments I liked the first Dune book, but the series went on a long, slow slide that accelerated into absolute tripe.

message 23: by Richard (new)

Richard | 3 comments When I met my wife, she was a big Anne Rice fan. She encouraged me to start reading the Vampire/Mayfair Witches novels. Around the time I was reading Memnoch The Devil, she was struggling with Armand. She had such a horrible time reading Armand that I didn't attempt any more. Subsequently, she got so upset about the turn in the quality of her writing that she has sold all of her Anne Rice books and refuses to read any more. So I would say the early Anne Rice Vampire and Mayfair Witches was okay. After that Anne was persona non grata in my house.

message 24: by Grace (new)

Grace | 22 comments My mom would never even let me near a Goosebumps book, lol. The only thing related to it I ever saw was an episode from the show that was completely awful.

What do people think about the Boxcar children? The only one I ever read was the first one which was what my mom used to teach me how to read when I was five. I still vividly remember hating it and when my younger brother learned to read with the same book and he hated it I was sympathetic (which was pretty remarkable considering I was eight at the time and helping my little brother) I've seen a few of the hundred sequels and read a couple pages just for kicks, but never actually read an entire one besides the first one.

message 25: by Summer (new)

Summer | 28 comments Roger Lea MacBride wrote a series about Laura Ingalls Wilder's daughter Rose that is pretty awful. At least it was over quickly, so it wasn't too much of a waste of time.

message 26: by Nikki (new)

Nikki Boisture I don't know if anyone watches The Simpsons, but in one episode we find out that Moe the bartender loves to read Sweet Valley High.
Funny stuff.

message 27: by Jammies (new)

Jammies Grace, I devoured all of the Boxcar Children series in middle school. Recently, I bought the first one, intending to give it to my nephew, and started to skim through it for nostalgia's sake. Ewwwwwww! I wound up reading the whole thing, trying to find out what the 7 year old me saw in this, and then donating it to Goodwill.

I read most (I think) of the first VC Andrews series, the one with all the gore and incest, and never read another one.

I loved the Belgariad, was disappointed in the Mallorean, and even more disappointed when Eddings recycled the characters & plot for two new three-book series in another world. Umm. I'll re-read the ones I already have from time to time, but I won't be buying anything "new" from him.

message 28: by Nicole (new)

Nicole (nlojeda) | 2 comments Baby Sitters Club, Sweet Valley, VC's books, Little House, etc. I loved all of those books! I was waaay too young for VC's books so they scared me as a young girl, but I still thought they were fun. Now as an adult I read Janet's Stephanie Plum series, Sue Grafton's series and right now I'm plowing through Charlaine's Harris' Sookie Stackhouse "dead" series. Luv luv luv them! Total trashy cheese, but so entertaining.
Why would someone read an entire series that is crappy? What a waste of time!

message 29: by Jenn (new)

Jenn | 1 comments I LOVED The Boxcar Children, although I can really only remember the first one. I used to fantasize about living in a boxcar with a bunch of children and no adults. I also liked the Babysitters Club books too, but my all time fav as a kid were the Little House on the Prairie series. I read all of them multiple times as a kid.

message 30: by Julie (new)

Julie | 2 comments I started reading the Wheel of Time trilogy by Robert Jordan which then expanded to six books and then eight and I think he was on book eleven just before he died. Needless to say, I gave up after about book four! Totally tediuous.

message 31: by Misty (new)

Misty How about the Miss Julia series by Ann Ross? A friend gave me the whole box set one year, so I felt obligated to read them. But, oh my, I should not have read them one right after the other! uuuugh
- Misty

message 32: by Mouse (new)

Mouse | 18 comments Those of us who read the Babysitters series might want to check out this site:

It's fun and hilarious.

message 33: by Nikki (new)

Nikki Boisture Holy god, that bsc blog is hilarious!

message 34: by Linda (new)

Linda Regarding Boxcar Children and Goosebumps...
I never read either of these as a child, and I still can't bear to read Goosebumps for myself. However, many children love both these series. I've read aloud the first in the Boxcar Children to my students, and the orphanhood theme speaks powerfully to them. I found the heavy gender stereotypes to be annoying and the prose to be a bit sickly sweet, but the kids really got into the story of children living on their own.
As for Goosebumps, I give away books to students at my school, and they always beg for Goosebumps. I don't really get it, but I pretty much think kids should read by the pound, and so I'l scrounge up Goosebumps for them. I cannot bear, however, to get Sweet Valley High or Babysitter's Club-- too gendered and too white at the same time. I just can't do it.

message 35: by Dianna (new)

Dianna | 55 comments You cannot really compare the boxcar children to the goosebumps series because they are from two different eras. I grew up with the boxcar children and I loved them, but I loved any books where the children had to live on their own. A book called Under the Haystack was one of my favorites. (The parents leave them at home alone...) I also loved reading books where the kids went to boarding school and/or camp. I wanted to go to boarding school when I was a kid lol. Camp was my most favorite time of year and I started packing for it 2 months in advance. It was the only time I ever got away from my parents. My parents were way over protective and a part of me thought it would be cool if I could just have them back off a bit. I think that's why I liked reading about kids that didn't have parental controls.

As a teacher, (I only sub now but if I were a full-time teacher) I would allow the children to read goosebumps books if that was all they had but I would not encourage them. I would not give them to the children. That's just my opinion though and I don't judge other teachers' motives to try to get a student to like reading, which is one of the most important things a teacher can do.

message 36: by [deleted user] (new)

Having been a bookseller for many years, I cannot begin to describe the behind the counter amusement generated by the legions of the sub literate who would come in asking for either Anne Rice's Sleeping Beauty series or the Left Behind books (although rarely at the same time).

message 37: by [deleted user] (new)

Mother's Day is coming up Sarah, don't rule out the sleeping beauty series as a possible gift idea!

message 38: by Anne (new)

Anne So, I HATED the Norah Roberts series: The Circle Trilogy. It was predictable and mind-numbing. By the end, I kept thinking that if I had to read one more of her recycled sex scenes where everything is perfect with white satin and candlelight, I was going to puke. Anyone else?

message 39: by Lori (new)

Lori Anderson (lorianderson) About Nora Roberts -- I tried the first of that series and couldn't get past the first few pages. I tried again a week later, no dice.

message 40: by Tracy (new)

Tracy | 12 comments ooh! i was going to say the vampire chronicles! even though i LOVED the movie interview with the vampire, anne rice couldn't write her way out of a box (she'd get lost in all her own florid prose). and i really REALLY tried to like them, i mean, i've always loved vampire stories, and what teenaged goth chick DIDN'T read anne rice? but then i grew out of my fishnets and realized that i just HATED her writing style. mostly becuase it got so damned hard to actually follow what the heck was going on.

message 41: by k (last edited Jan 16, 2008 04:39AM) (new)

k | 9 comments I had no idea Robert Jordan was dead. After reading the earlier post, I googled and then called a friend who had also given up on the series; we both agree this should be a warning to Terri Goodkind, "finish the story before it's too late!"

I have a sort of sick compulsion to find out what happens next even when the book is terrible. I actually read book 11 and it had been so long since I'd read book 10 that I couldn't remember the story line or even some of the "major" characters. By major I mean the 20 or so he introduced at the last minute. Turns out, for the last 3 books, nothing really happened. Even I couldn't support that.

I predict that some sad soul will take up the call and write the ending as a tribute to Jordan's memeory. We could start a pool to guess how long it will take, like the tootsie pop commercial... How many books //does// it take to get to the end of a fantasy series?

message 42: by Mary Ann (new)

Mary Ann | 19 comments Did you ever notice how these men in those sex scenes (ala Nora Roberts, Rosemary Rogers, etc.) all are named Brent or Dirk?

message 43: by Susan (new)

Susan (bookishtype202) They were from different eras sure, but I think they have a lot in common. I don't know for sure if BC was one of those Stratemeyer-esque syndicate books, but they sure read like them, and all of those books fed the popular taste of kids at the time. As formulaic as the Goosebumps books can be, I still think those churned-out Hardy Boys, Nancy Drews, Trixie Beldens, etc. were more so, and overall I wouldn't say they were any beter in quality. I like what you said though about allowing the kids to read them--people get an attitude about series books but honestly, reading Goosebumps is a hell of a lot better than reading nothing--and those books can really hook those reluctant readers and be their "gateway books". As a children's librarian, I wouldn't recommend them either (to kids who are already reading) just because kids know about them already--better spend your time telling them about books they haven't heard of yet, try challenging them a little more w/ crossovers with a little more depth. But yes--you can't judge. I read BSC and Sweet Valley for years and years to the exclusion of books of much better quality I'm sorry to say, but I loved reading so much I did get to the classics eventually--and a lot more. Kids who read a lot will be more confident and better readers--and that includes Goosebumps fans, and that's the important thing to remember.

message 44: by Carrie (new)

Carrie Anne Rice... I used to love her stuff, but it's a little over-the-top for me now.

Goosebumps... I read some this summer because my stepdaughter was reading it. It just reminded me of the ghost stories I used to read as a kid. I thought it was decent.

Left Behind... I read the first one to see what the fuss was about. I find the Christianity advertisement kind of irritating, but I am a sucker for end-of-the-world fantasies!

But the series that really sucked and nobody has mentioned yet would have to be the Series of Unfortunate Events. A friend recommended them to me and I went and bought several all at once, then realized it was really written for people with no vocabulary. It was bad enough having all the words explained to me, but some of the plot twists were incredibly lame. I remember one part where the bad guy was wearing a disguise but the kids identified him by his ankle tattoo "because you can't hide that." Seriously? He couldn't wear socks?

message 45: by k (new)

k | 9 comments //The Series of Unfortunate Events// was written for children with no vocabulary, the plot twists are absurd and clever becaus the kids are so much smarter than most of the adults, and I think the man didn't wear socks because he didn't do laundry or wasn't a "proper" adult, or something equally absurd and entertaining.

I liked it for what it was.

In terms of YA books, it's a lot better than RL Stine or Christopher Pike, which were absurd without being clever.

message 46: by Deborah (new)

Deborah | 3 comments LOL! How horrible - I'm laughing because somebody is dead. I gave up around book 6 realizing I was reading the same thing over and over again, but no longer enjoying it. I do feel sorry for the fans who kept up with it.

I've read fans tease about not living long enough to read the end of Gabaldon's series - and that was probably close to a decade ago. She'd best get moving!

You too, George Martin!

Can you imagine what would have happened if Rowling had died before she finished Harry? Wow.

I'm going to have fun in between going crazy today now - looking for Jordan fan groups and reading up on how they're handling the news. (Which I still haven't even looked to see how long ago he passed away....)

message 47: by Gmork (new)

Gmork | 1 comments Laurell K. Hamilton is the worst writer in the history of the world. It is so bad it fails even as fun-bad. The narrative reads like it was squeezed out of a tube, the characters go beyond "stock" to some variant of mass manufacturing and to spice things up we've got the same sex scene in a different bedroom every 37 pages or so. Possibly the only works of fiction I've ever read likely to induce violent flashbacks.

Honorable mention: Anne McCaffrey's Acorna "the Unicorn Girl" books. I was stuck with the first book of this series on an airplane as my only reading material, else I'd not have finished it. Some of her writing I've liked, some not, but this left everything else in the dust. Truly beyond belief awful. And I was staggered to find there is more to this than just one book. Somebody please kill it before it multiplies. And, yes, I'm forming my opinion from the first book alone. It was that brutal. A recital of Vogon poetry would be a ray of sunshine in comparison.

Servius  Heiner  | 8 comments The children of chaos... I don't recall the author... but it read like an anime cartoon... childish sexual antics and what not... not to mention the climax at the end was the last book. It was ridiculous... Eh I need to find a brilo pad or a .45 to clear it from my mind.... Why, did I read all three... Sniffle...

message 49: by Melissa (new)

Melissa I really disliked the Series of Unfortunate Events books, too. I read the first six or so and couldn't take it anymore. I was forcing myself through them because my then fifth grader was reading them at school and I was curious. I actually felt sorry for my son having to be tortured by the screwy plots (I should say plot because each book has the same plot). He actually liked the books a lot, but I told him to just wait until he reads all the good books out there and he'd understand my dislike for them. I was disturbed by how little any of the authority figures in the books did to try to help these poor kids. What kind of message is that to put in a book? I am truly shocked that these books were such a huge hit.

message 50: by T.K. (new)

T.K. Kenyon | 15 comments I must add my $.02 about the Eregon, Etc., series. I occasionally indulge in kid lit. Good kid lit is just as interesting and well-written as adult good lit, and often about much more frightening topics.

I picked up Eregon in a bookstore and leafed through it. I read one horrible, shallow, prosaic, amateur paragraph, put it back on the shelf, and scrubbed my brain with some Shakespeare to get the taste out.

TK Kenyon

Author of RABID: A Novel "RABID is a solid good read by first time novelist TK Kenyon, a gifted writer who has crafted a book of such mystery that you find yourself, at midnight, on the edge of your seat, asking, 'What's next? What's next?'" -- Thom Jones, Award-Winning author of: The Pugilist at Rest, Cold Snap, Sonny Liston was a Friend of Mine

And CALLOUS: A Novel, coming in May, 2008

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