McNeese State University LIBS 210: Technical Services in Libraries discussion

Falll 2010 > Best, Worst, and Longest

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message 1: by Kim (new)

Kim (kbowman100) | 2 comments I looked up novel lengths on the “longest novel” Wikipedia site (not documented) and one other site and found I have read several, but there is no clear agreement on exact lengths. Because I interpreted “book” here to mean a cohesive work by one author, even if written in several volumes, the longest I have read would probably be Proust’s A la recherché du temps perdu or Samuel Richardson’s Clarissa or the Harry Potter series (which didn’t appear in the lists I found, but would probably be longer than the first two).

Note - Besides the Wikipedia site see also English novel lengths at

The worst book I ever read was Hubert Selby’s Last Exit to Brooklyn. I finished it because it was assigned reading in a modern world lit class, but its portrayal of the seamy (and horrific) side of life in Brooklyn seemed like a deliberate attempt to shock more than an attempt either at a realistic portrayal or a meaningful social criticism.

It is always a futile undertaking to try to determine what the best book is. If alone on a desert island I’d take the best encyclopedia I could find at the time, but for information, not for quality. It seems that the idea of “best book” should always have sub-categories (genre, topic, etc.). If forced to choose one I might pick Catch 22 by Joseph Heller, for its realism, its ironies, and its bizarre humor, both of situation and language, as well as for its vivid presentation of the concept of how institutions can thwart our attempts to move on, to achieve, to reason, to enjoy. (Better than Kafka’s Der Schloβ or Das Urteil, because it is not written from a psychologically damaged point of view, and because of the humor that accompanies the irony.)

message 2: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Vidrine | 1 comments Greetings classmates!

The longest book I have read or attempted to read is Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind. I absolutely loved the movie as an adolescent and received the book as a gift. I did like the book, and appreciated the differences between the book and the movie.

The absolute worst book I have read would be Old Man and the Sea (and I am an avid outdoorswoman!). I simply hated that it took soooo long to reel in that big fish. I had to read it for my 9th grade English class. Then I had to read another Hemmingway novel for AP English III (For Whom the Bell Tolls). I then discovered that I am not a Hemmingway fan. Perhaps I should give him another chance since it's been 15 years since I first met him.

The best book I have read is a difficult choice. I teach To Kill a Mockingbird every year, and I enjoy it more with every reading. I love this book for the historical element and the loss of innocence of the children, but also the many moral lessons it teaches. I also really appreciate The Great Gatsby for its portrayal of the American dream and dispelling the belief that the rich are always happy.

message 3: by Jeanie (new)

Jeanie | 1 comments The longest book I have read recently is probably the Twilight Series, which I dearly loved. I picked up the series at the encouragement of my daughter, but really did not expect to like it. It was a great combination of fantasy, romance and drama.

The worst book I have read is The Catcher in the Rye. It was one of the few books that I did not finish reading. I was so bored with the content. The reason I picked it up to read in the first place is that it is a required reading for our freshmen students. No wonder students don't like to read! Maybe if we offered books that were interesting, they would be more inclined to read.

The best book I have read is Blood Memory by Greg Iles. It is the only book that I have read by that author so far, but I loved his writing style and content.

message 4: by Gretchen (new)

Gretchen Donham (davidswife) | 1 comments It is so difficult to only come up with one book in each of these categories. I've found that my taste in books changes as I age and have more life experiences.
The longest single book I've ever read is probably Victor Hugo's Les Miserables. I read it in high school, and it was dark enough to satisfy the teenage ansgt period I was going through. I remember wrestling with the portrayal of justice in this book. As for a series, I've read the Twilight series the Harry Potter series,the Left Behind Series, and Frank Herbert's Dune series. I'm not sure which was the longest, but I enjoyed all of them. I also began Twilight under duress, as my students begged me to read it so we could talk about it. I did, and was hooked by the end of the second page!
The worst book I've ever read was Stephen King's It. (Actually, I never completed the book.) I HATE scary movies, so why I ever picked up this book is beyond me. I had seen the movie, and it didn't seem so horrific, so I decided to give it a try. I still get scared thinking about reading this book. I have never been so terrified in my life! I decided to stop reading when the nightmares started, and I do not regret that decision.
There is no way that I can list only one book for the best book I've ever read. Let's back up a few years, shall we?
When I was a small child, my absolute favorite book was The Pokey Little Puppy. My mom read this book to me every night, and if she'd try to speed things up by skipping a page or two I'd catch her because I had most of it memorized.
In elementary school, I was a Laura Ingalls Wilder junkie. I loved Little House on the Prairie. In fact, Laura was my imaginary friend, and I used to explain all the modern conveniences in my house to her as I was completing chores like washing dishes or loading the washing machine. I still have the complete set, and I still get lonesome for her and reread it every year or so. Yes, I'm aware this makes me sound like a lunatic, but really, I'm okay with that.
In high school I discovered To Kill a Mockingbird. I adore this book. If Atticus were a real man I'd marry him. His wisdom and bravery and integrity still inspire me. Most of my recent students are not readers. It's so important to me that they absorb the lessons of this novel that I read the entire novel out loud to my classes every year. I have entire passages of this book memorized, and I do the character voices when I read. My students have said when they go back and think about the book, they still hear my voice.
Another one of my absolute favorite books is Night, by Elie Wiesel. I've read this book countless times, and have taught it for years. There is such power in its brevity. I've read many other Holocaust books, but Night remains my favorite.
My favorite fantasy/science fiction book would either by Connie Willis's Doomsday Book, or Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game series.
I become emotionally involved in the books that I read, so much so that I often picture myself as the main character and experience life through their eyes. Because of this, I often reread books to reexperience events. I enjoy the feeling of knowing the characters on a personal level, and I love authors with the ability to get me personally involved in their stories.

message 5: by Lbrignac (new)

Lbrignac | 1 comments The longest book I’ve ever read is also the best book I’ve ever read. It is The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale. Even though it is a lengthy one, I thought this novel was a real page turner from beginning to end. The author keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout the entire book. The characters, the events, the entire book, had a sense of realism to it. It’s a book that one can easily use to escape the world around them. I had a hard time putting this book down. I would definitely read other books by this author.

The worst book I have ever read is The Minister’s Daughter by Julie Hearn. I found it somewhat challenging to read and difficult to understand. With the structure of the book transitioning between the confession of one of the Minister’s daughters and dated chapters in third person, I never could get a grasp on what was happening in the story. I did finish the book, but I never really did develop a like for it.

message 6: by Hollyg (new)

Hollyg | 1 comments A. The longest book I've read would be any of the Lord of the Ring books. I read them in middle school because I didn't want to wait to see the movie to see what happened after the first one.

B. The worst book I've read was Slaughter House 5. I also read this in middle school, and it's probably because of that. Though, I recently saw the movie playing on TV and still had no idea what was going on in the plot.. I love fantasy, but that was just too much weirdness.

C. I have so many books I like. I'd like to shout out the Dragon Champion series and the Touched by Venom trilogy. The strongest adoration I ever had for a book was for the Animorphs series by K.A. Applegate which got me reading at a 5th grade level in second grade. I'd say that would have to be my favorite since I've never felt as strongly for any book after that. Harry Potter was nice, but the later books seemed to have lost something that the earlier ones had.

message 7: by Celeste (last edited Dec 03, 2010 07:05PM) (new)

Celeste Aubry | 1 comments The longest book I started to read but never finished is War and Peace. When I was about 21 years old yes I attempted to read this book because it is one of the most talked about books. But wew it was just a bit too much and I never completed. Maybe now I am older I might try to challenge myself and read it.

The worse book I've read was The Unbearables. Indeed it was an unbearable book to read.

There are many books I have enjoyed reading. I will say that the best of them have been the Mrs. Jeffries series of books. Out of the series of these books Mrs. Jefferies Stalks the Hunter is the best one that I have read. I enjoy a good mystery.

message 8: by Pamela (last edited Dec 04, 2010 05:18PM) (new)

Pamela | 1 comments The longest book that I read was The Stand by Stephen King (1153 pages). I chose this book because is a great suspense, and an exciting book to read. It is your basic battle of good against evil. A killer virus is unleashed in the U.S. and the trauma divides the few hundred remaining survivors into two camps. I love sience fiction. Great book and a good movie. I loved it.

The worst book that I read was Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health by L. Ron Hubbard. This book is the best seller of all times. I was curious. I wanted to see what all the hype was about. Why so many people read it. I didn’t like it. It took over a month to raed it. This is the worst book ever.

The best book I read is The Color Purple by Alice Walker. I loved the movie. I watched it numerous times. I read to book to see what was left out in the movie and to get more details. This is the best book I have ever read.

message 9: by Maria (last edited Dec 05, 2010 04:38PM) (new)

Maria Bertrand | 1 comments Hi!

The longest book I've ever read is Moby Dick. I read it as an assignment in a college English class. It was hard to read because I didn't feel any connection to Ahab. Also, I didn't really like all of the interaction with other ships. The best part of the book was, of course, when the crew finally encountered the whale. If the beginning had been as action-packed as the last part of the novel, then I probably would have enjoyed it more.

The worst book I've ever read is Emma. I like Jane Austen, so I was expecting to enjoy Emma. It was so confusing! I struggled to keep up with all of the names of the many characters. Also, it was difficult to keep the pairings straight.

What a coincidence! A couple of weeks ago, I was thinking about what I would select as the best book I've ever read. To Kill A Mockingbird really stands out in my mind. It was such a magical book on several different levels. I enjoyed the children's interaction with Boo, as well as with the housekeeper and her friends. It was touching that the court case was portrayed with such honesty, especially considering the time period of the setting. The actions of Atticus and some of the other people in town reinforced the fact that there are many unknown heroes in our history. Atticus showed that he wasn't perfect; he was just an extraordinary man who followed his conscience regardless of the consequences. I appreciate this book more and more as the years pass; it could serve as a guide for living our lives.

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