Books I Loathed discussion

Loathed Titles > The Dogs of Babel

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message 1: by Diane (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:51AM) (new)

Diane  (dianedj) I was so excited to read this book, and even more excited when I was able to get a First/First edition on line from Stand Bookstore in NY. It had been a bestseller, I heard lots of great stuff about it....UGH I loathed it, and in addition, there were dogs being used for if it weren't bad enough before that!

message 2: by Kate (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:51AM) (new)

Kate (katiebobus) | 136 comments Mod
Okay, it's like my favorite book. My feelings are mirrored in Sherri's review of it: that the melodrama and ridiculousness of the premise are neutralized beautifully with the honest writing. In fact, I think of it more as slipstream than just fiction. I was horrified with the dog scene (you know the one) because I could envision it so perfectly -- and it worked in the context of the book. I thought it was original and amazing.

message 3: by Diane (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:53AM) (new)

Diane  (dianedj) Hi Sarah, please don't get disheartened by comment. Like so many things, it's up the the individual whether you like something or not, and I'd hate to think my comments may keep you from reading a book that you might really enjoy!

message 4: by Michael (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:53AM) (new)

Michael TDOB is a perfect example of a book that involves a subject some people may be loath to handle. I can see how that would immediately turn someone off. I had a similar reaction to Piers Anthony's _Firefly_ (which involves child abuse); I couldn't finish that book because it repulsed me. Admittedly in retrospect it was probably not a very good book anyhow.

As for TDOB, the story - that is, the parts about the main character's wife - moved me to tears and broke my heart.

message 5: by Xysea (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:53AM) (new)

Xysea  (xysea) Yes, I haven't read TDOB, but it's on my 'to-read' list so I look at these comments as useful...

As for books that have controversial subjects - I don't mind that, with two notable exceptions.

Someone mentioned the Lovely Bones above - graphic rape, abuse and murder of children in any book is very hard for me to swallow. I did like the Lovely Bones, but it was hard for me to get through that.

And any book that deals with abuse of the mentally ill, the elderly and animals. I guess I'm just an old softie.

I mentioned before, one of the books I could never finish was American Psycho. I had read The Stranger Beside Me, stories of Jack the Ripper, and I still felt Bret Easton Ellis may have gone just a tad too far.

message 6: by Diane (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:57AM) (new)

Diane  (dianedj) hey Sarah - I loved Angela's Ashes too!

message 7: by Jammies (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:57AM) (new)

Jammies This book now goes on Jammies' List of Books Never To Be Read. I don't care how phenomenal the writing, if you kill the dog, I don't read your stuff any more.

The only exemption to that is Sharyn McCrumb's Ballad (?) series, because I was already caught up in them when I read the first one.

message 8: by Alex (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:57AM) (new)

Alex (alexinmadison) | 64 comments Brilliantly put, Sherri. :)

message 9: by Xysea (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:57AM) (new)

Xysea  (xysea) I agree, which is why I would never presume to tell anyone how they arrived at the conclusion that a book was either good or bad was wrong. It's clearly subjective and a matter of taste.

I love the Cup-A-Soup metaphor! :)

message 10: by Xysea (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:57AM) (new)

Xysea  (xysea) My mother just asked me about Middlesex the other day...I am waiting for it to come through my queue at the library...

Sarah, I take your Kerouac and raise you a Ginsberg. I don't care for him. Though, people have said that I haven't really tried. I mean, honestly, who's to say? (Someone once said that to me about Warhol and in the intervening years nothing has changed - lol)

Things change over the years. There was a time when I gobbled up any halfway decent horror or occult book out there, but now I don't tend to spend much time on them and am half embarrassed at some of the ones I did read. Our experiences mold us and how we view things - so I am always willing to give a piece of literature another chance unless the author is a repeat offender.

message 11: by Diane (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:57AM) (new)

Diane  (dianedj) I like your thinking about the dogs, Jammies. In addition to that, I just didn't think the book lived up to it's hype. If you like cats as well as dogs, you may want to try to dig up the classic "The Cat Who Came for Christmas" by Cleveland Amory, but now we are getting away from Books I Loathed....

message 12: by Jammies (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:58AM) (new)

Jammies I bet Polar Bear would have loathed TDOB--how's that for back on topic? ;)

message 13: by Kate (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:58AM) (new)

Kate (katiebobus) | 136 comments Mod

To be strictly accurate, the dog is not killed, and ends up safe...


To me, one of the great things about GOOD books that deal with the mortality of beloved pets, e.g., Old Yeller and A Dog Called Kitty, is that they make us so aware of both our power as the most highly evolved animals, and simultaneously of our emotional complexity. I can watch horror movies without blinking, but I sob at the IAMS commercials because dogs have such loyalty, such unquestioning obediance and love for us that it kills me. I want to protect them and make them happy. Books in which they are hurt have traumatized me but also stuck with me in a deep emotional place. I would never want to read about such things in a context where it is unnecessary for the plot or, god forbid, celebrated, but I have (luckily) never actually encountered such a book. I think many writers have very sensitively tackled this topic for the purpose of hitting that nerve that makes us look deeply at humanity and our place on earth as animals.

Sorry, hope that wasn't too cheesy!

message 14: by Diane (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:59AM) (new)

Diane  (dianedj) *SPOILER ALERT**** Ok, Kate, so technically the "main character" dog wasn't killed, rather saved, at the end, but what about the other dogs used for research? UGH.

message 15: by Diane (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:59AM) (new)

Diane  (dianedj) Good ole' Polar Bear - not only loathed would have, but would have asked Cleveland to Throw it Against the Wall!

message 16: by Kate (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:59AM) (new)

Kate (katiebobus) | 136 comments Mod

I know, I was kind of fudging there.. :)

message 17: by David (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:59AM) (new)

David (david_giltinan) | 58 comments I just want to make it clear that there is no truth to the rumor that Diane and I are the same person, despite what our pictures might suggest :)

For one thing, we appear to differ in our views on "Angela's Ashes".

absurdly frivolous post>

message 18: by Diane (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:00PM) (new)

Diane  (dianedj) Hey David, too funny!

message 19: by Ann M (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:03PM) (new)

Ann M | 39 comments I agree. No killing the dog. This was one of the worst books I ever read, though. Lives of the Monster Dogs was much, much better.

message 20: by Jammies (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:03PM) (new)

Jammies You're not a nut, it's just that our brain cell agrees with me on fuzzy critter death.

message 21: by Diane (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:03PM) (new)

Diane  (dianedj) Sherri - first off, your photo is awfully cute...I am a sucker for black and white kitties, and obviously tabbies, but I can't get the two of them together to snap a photo. regarding DOB, there were dogs used for research....the main character discovers this later in the book, so although it is not the entire topic, I was disliking the book anyway, and then when I got to that part towards the end, that was enough to send me over the edge to loathing. And can animals used for research ever be handled with particular care and grace?

message 22: by John (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:39PM) (new)

John | 8 comments I'd call this book more "over-rated" than hated (it).

message 23: by Andrew (new)

Andrew (limecrete) I didn't hate it, but the wife should have been the surviving spouse. It can be tricky to write a novel from the opposite sex's point of view, and Parkhurst couldn't quite pull it off.

message 24: by Lorena (last edited Apr 10, 2008 05:21PM) (new)

Lorena (lorenalilian) It wasn't my favorite book of all time and I did suffer a lot for the dog and the perils the dude puts her through, but the redeeming quality I found on it was the exploration of bipolar disorder, or how it must look to a spouse who had no medical background.

message 25: by Summer (new)

Summer | 28 comments Spoilers below

I liked this book. I don't think it's destined to become classic literature but it had more substance than some other best sellers. I felt the characters seemed believable. Humans can be capable of great madness when railing against the loss of a loved one. I enjoyed the attention to descriptive detail. Cubed boiled eggs, anyone? Also, Lorena makes a valid point about the layperson's close up view of of a major mental illness. That could be easy to sensationalize, but it was well done here.

Andrew, I didn't have any problems with the voice not striking me as male. I have noticed that with other writing though. (Lahiri's Namesake is an example.) Can you relate specifically what you found that missed the mark?

I read Lost & Found as well and liked that too.

message 26: by Andrew (new)

Andrew (limecrete) Hmm. It's been a while since I read it, so I'm afraid I can't remember specific examples. When the husband was alone, everything was fine. I think the problem was mostly in scenes when the couple was talking, and it occurred to me more than once that it sounded like their dialog should be switched.

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