THE JAMES MASON COMMUNITY BOOK CLUB discussion

Twilight (The Twilight Saga, #1)
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Authors and Their Books > What is the most disappointing, yet commercially successful book you've ever read?

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message 1: by [deleted user] (last edited Jun 11, 2012 09:39AM) (new)

I recently tried to read Twilight and couldn't get passed the first few pages. I think my 13 year-old daughter can write better. At least she understands sentence structure. Has anyone else had this problem with Stephanie Meyer's work?


message 2: by Boyd (new)

Boyd Lemon (goodreadscomboydlemon) | 67 comments Ditto! But she and her promotors know the market.

Boyd Lemon-Author of “Eat, Walk, Write: An American Senior’s Year of Adventure in Paris and Tuscany,” "Digging Deep: A Writer Uncovers His Marriages," the author’s journey to understand his role in the destruction of his three marriages and “Unexpected Love and Other Stories. Information, reviews and excerpts: http://www.BoydLemon-Writer.com.
Travel blog: http://boomertravelblog.com.
Retirement blog: http://FulfillingRetirementAdvice.com


message 3: by KOMET (new)

KOMET | 656 comments Several years ago, I bought Money: A Suicide Note by the celebrated novelist Martin Amis. I came to the realization when I was about 60 pages in that I couldn't relate at all to the main character nor believe the novel's premise. So, I gave up reading the book and returned it to BORDERS for a full refund.

Money A Suicide Note by Martin Amis


message 4: by Anne (new)

Anne (spartandax) | 104 comments Kaamil wrote: "I recently tried to read Twilight and couldn't get passed the first few pages. I think my 13 year-old daughter can write better. At least she understands sentence structure. Has anyone else had thi..."

I have noit had any desire to read the Twilight series. Maybe I unconciously knew they were stupid. But it bothers me that if they are so bad that they are making gazillions of dollars.


message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

Anne wrote: "Kaamil wrote: "I recently tried to read Twilight and couldn't get passed the first few pages. I think my 13 year-old daughter can write better. At least she understands sentence structure. Has anyo..."

I blame the education system, Anne. Kids have no idea what good writing is. The budget cuts are really working, aren't they?


message 6: by Anne (new)

Anne (spartandax) | 104 comments LOL


message 7: by Ruth (new)

Ruth Ferguson (ruthdfw) | 7 comments Anything by Nicholas Sparks


message 8: by Geoff (new)

Geoff Woodland | 41 comments I think I might be on my own with my answer :-o)

HELP - I am not making a pun :-o)


message 9: by Monica (new)

Monica T. Rodriguez (monicatrodriguez) I second Anne's comment. No desire to read Twilight. From what I've heard, would be a huge waste of my time.


message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

Monica wrote: "I second Anne's comment. No desire to read Twilight. From what I've heard, would be a huge waste of my time."

Yes, save yourself the waste!


message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

Geoff (Scouse) wrote: "I think I might be on my own with my answer :-o)

HELP - I am not making a pun :-o)"


LOL I take it you like Twilight?


message 12: by Geoff (new)

Geoff Woodland | 41 comments Kaamil,

LoL I assume that is a joke, but I'll answer No!
Zombies, vampires, walking dead (I voted for a couple in the last election), ghosts etc leave me cold. (another pun?) I find the genre boring.
I don't believe that I'm the only one . . . de de de


message 13: by Marc (new)

Marc (authorguy) | 54 comments I think most of that type of book isn't done well. I've done several paranormal stories, and I don't think they have to be bad, but they are simply because the author was relying on the word 'zombie' to carry too much of the story. No wonder it sounds generic if the author relies on the genre to do the work.


message 14: by Howard (new)

Howard Loring (howardloringgoodreadscom) | 283 comments Interesting exchange, here's my view:

The old adage in writing is 'nothing's ever new' & the formulas have indeed long been set, honed thru history from ancient tales alive before the written word existed.

The trick is employing a new variation on the already polished, established theme, there's the art.

If a book (or narrative of any kind, ie movies or plays, etc.) fails to produce, the creator most likely missed the mark on the basics of the storytelling craft.

Even if well-written, if the storyline is lacking, it holds no interest for me.

Myth is powerful because it's subconscious & affects you in ways that you may not understand, at least at the time.

Often the mythic 'types' (hero, lost child, etc.) are employed incorrectly, that is, the myth involved is misplaced, or at odds with each other.

This is the fatal flaw by my estimation, the switch that shuts off my interest, and it's the most frequent problem with new writers.

Yet if it rides a wave, such works often sell, being the new 'in' thing.

More culture than literature there, I believe.


message 15: by Andrew (last edited Jun 12, 2012 09:25AM) (new)

Andrew Montooth (andrewmontooth) | 5 comments Hey people, Twilight is not about the kinds of things reading-snobs like us look for. Twilight is a "concept" book like Da Vinci Code or 50 Shades.

My wife took Twilight out of my hands when I got to page 30 and said, "men are not allowed to read this book, it's a love fantasy and bringing reality into blows the whole thing."

Which could easily be said about Da Vinci and Shades, no?


message 16: by Howard (new)

Howard Loring (howardloringgoodreadscom) | 283 comments Andrew, nothing has to be real, just plausable.

The old sayings are, by & large, all too true, what's why they're still quoted.

Good Science Fiction is good fiction, not the other way around.

Horror must have a truthful element or it's not scary.

Even Fantasy must be judged against reality, as a framwork, or the distorted view is lost.

New concepts are all well & good, but ill served if the basics are not employed.

Now, utilizing the language with flair in order to present something new is indeed the point, but the point is lost if these basics are lacking.

Brown's work worked not only because of the 'concept' but because it was presented well, by tried & true methods.

Otherwise it's just a culture shock, a passing fad, as I said & therefore won't pass the test of time.


message 17: by Anne (new)

Anne (spartandax) | 104 comments Geoff (Scouse) wrote: "Kaamil,

LoL I assume that is a joke, but I'll answer No!
Zombies, vampires, walking dead (I voted for a couple in the last election), ghosts etc leave me cold. (another pun?) I find the genre bori..."


I just have no desire to read anything about Zombies, Vampires and that ilk. Nor do i really like time travel books. I guess I am more of a realist. I have read a few, and they weren't bad, but could have been good without the time travel element. It seems like I am way behind the times however, as those type of books are everywhere.


message 18: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl Landmark (clandmark) | 131 comments Todd McCaffrey's Dragongirl had time travel in it and I nearly suffered whiplash just trying to follow all the twists and turns of the "timing"! Aside from numerous other faults I found in the book, this one was definitely a major disrupter of enjoyment for me.


message 19: by [deleted user] (new)

Anne wrote: "Geoff (Scouse) wrote: "Kaamil,

LoL I assume that is a joke, but I'll answer No!
Zombies, vampires, walking dead (I voted for a couple in the last election), ghosts etc leave me cold. (another pun?..."


I'm the same way, Anne. Some of my buddies are so obsessed with a zombie apocalypse. They read all the books, watch all the movies, and take notes. I just don't get it!


message 20: by [deleted user] (new)

Cheryl wrote: "Todd McCaffrey's Dragongirl had time travel in it and I nearly suffered whiplash just trying to follow all the twists and turns of the "timing"! Aside from numerous other faults I found in the boo..."

I think using time travel in a story is a lot like using flashbacks. It can work, but it's a slippery slope and if it's not done right, you lose the reader.


message 21: by Howard (new)

Howard Loring (howardloringgoodreadscom) | 283 comments Not so Anne, for my Time Travel books are Epic Fables that defy the usual literary genres.

Both are redemptive tales, but also adventurous sagas & historic mysteries & each contain an endearing story of lost & found love, often more than one.

As the term implies, my Epic Fables are simply told but hold larger universal themes unique to the human condition.

Yet Time Travel is used as a vehicle only, a subtle twist that, in my books at least, add to instead of pile on the plot, so to speak.

I do agree that Zombies & Vampires don't interest me, but they could be used to good effect if the ultimate point were engaging.


message 22: by Ken (new)

Ken Consaul | 307 comments Kaamil wrote: "Some of my buddies are so obsessed with a zombie apocalypse."

Not just books and movies and your buds. Hornady, an ammuntion manufacturer makes a line of bullets called 'Zombie Max'. They even made a you tube video but I won't link.


message 23: by Merrill (new)

Merrill Heath | 28 comments There have been quite a lot of commercially successful books that I found disappointing. For example, The Bridges of Madison County. I threw up on page 23.

Merrill Heath


message 24: by Howard (new)

Howard Loring (howardloringgoodreadscom) | 283 comments Good for you merrill, that it was a thin book.


Kathy Davie (kathydavie) | 45 comments Anything by Todd McCaffrey is intensely disappointing. I think his mother only puts her name on them so they will sell; she certainly isn't including her own writing. Once you read enough of them, you discover it's all his hack work.


message 26: by George (new)

George King (kinggeorge) | 31 comments Love Story, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, The Bridges of Madison County, and the biggest piece of crap ever--The DaVinci Code


message 27: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) | 19 comments Hunters of Dune by KJA and Brian Herbert. I was already unhappy with their Legends of Dune series, but this was Dune 7! I waited years for the conclusion and was absolutely crestfallen to see them end the whole thing with the same cliche-ridden, uninspired robots that characterized the Legends books.


message 28: by [deleted user] (new)

Kathy wrote: "Anything by Todd McCaffrey is intensely disappointing. I think his mother only puts her name on them so they will sell; she certainly isn't including her own writing. Once you read enough of them, ..."

Nothing like someone finding success by hanging onto the coattails of a family member!


message 29: by [deleted user] (new)

George wrote: "Love Story, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, The Bridges of Madison County, and the biggest piece of crap ever--The DaVinci Code"

Wow, George. You're the second person who's said something about the Da Vinchi Code today. I better steer clear of that one!


message 30: by [deleted user] (new)

Merrill wrote: "There have been quite a lot of commercially successful books that I found disappointing. For example, The Bridges of Madison County. I threw up on page 23.

Merrill Heath"


George seems to agree with you on Madison County!


message 31: by [deleted user] (new)

Ken wrote: "Kaamil wrote: "Some of my buddies are so obsessed with a zombie apocalypse."

Not just books and movies and your buds. Hornady, an ammuntion manufacturer makes a line of bullets called 'Zombie Max..."


I tried to join my wife and give zombie movies and books a chance, but I gave up on them!


message 32: by Geoff (new)

Geoff Woodland | 41 comments George wrote: "Love Story, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, The Bridges of Madison County, and the biggest piece of crap ever--The DaVinci Code"

George, I second The Da Vinci Code - I forced myself to finish it, as I thought because it was such a hit, it must be good, then I found out that I was out of step with the general view - or was I?
I also watch the film and the sequel (was the next one a sequel to DVC), I was a captive audience on a bus, so it was these two or a Chinese film - had little choice :-o)


message 33: by Merrill (new)

Merrill Heath | 28 comments George, I'm right there with you on the Da Vinci Code, also. I quit after about 50 pages. It read like a tour guide.

Merrill Heath


Caron Rider | 31 comments Didn't the religious community get in an uproar because of the Da Vinci Code? I think that's what made it so successful. Everyone wanted to know what the fuss was about.

As for zombies, vampires and Meyer, to each their own and thankfully we have room for all. ;)

I personally have never been able to get into Stephen King's Dark Tower series.


message 35: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl Landmark (clandmark) | 131 comments Kathy wrote: "Anything by Todd McCaffrey is intensely disappointing. I think his mother only puts her name on them so they will sell; she certainly isn't including her own writing. Once you read enough of them, ..."

Todd might be a good writer in his own right, but not for the Pern series. He seems to be taking my beloved dragon world into an entirely different direction than I like.


message 36: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Montooth (andrewmontooth) | 5 comments Howard wrote: "& therefore won't pass the test of time."

I would not mind failing the test of time with her royalty check :)

Liked that one about good science fiction!


message 37: by Howard (new)

Howard Loring (howardloringgoodreadscom) | 283 comments Yes Andrew, the old sayings are still around for a reason.

They're usually all too true, and are in my case.

My books have been called the weirdest things ever written & that follows another well-used adage.

Write what you know.


message 38: by Ken (new)

Ken Consaul | 307 comments Caron wrote: "I personally have never been able to get into Stephen King's Dark Tower series."

What made the series interesting was the tie ins to characters and scenes in his earlier work. Who would have imagined a character from 'Salem's Lot turning up in a book thirty years later. I liked the concept of 'thinnies' joining parallel existences (The Mist, Insomnia). I imagine King walking around with his hand in front of him looking for holes in reality.


message 39: by George (new)

George King (kinggeorge) | 31 comments Here's my review of The DaVinci Code:

"The DaVinci Code" undoubtedly deserves its place high on the list of the worst books ever written. Its short chapters insult the intelligence of the reader much like the work (I shudder to use the word) of James Patterson. Clunky dialogue, poorly realized characters, and shoddy research undermine whatever effect the author was attempting to produce. I believe that this book was aggressively promoted into best-sellerdom and then the lemming phenomenon took over. I read it because a friend raved about it, and I watched the DVD later, hoping that it might be an improvement. I was sorely disappointed on all accounts. The most aggravating feature of this book is that the author wasted a golden opportunity to undermine Christianity, but instead undermined his own credibility with the phony research and stilted writing. If you want to read a book that seriously exposes the inadequacies of Christianity, try MISQUOTING JESUS by Bart Ehrman. He's a scholar, but his book is accessible to the average reader.(less)


message 40: by Howard (new)

Howard Loring (howardloringgoodreadscom) | 283 comments King's great strenght (and staying power) is seeing the possible reality in unreal, previously unthought of circumstance, he's the master there.

Not so much that he thinks outside the box, but that he has no box, no need of other's viewpoint at all, for his is twisted enough.

Early in his career he wrote a short story about a man shipwrecked on an outcropping in a vast ocean.

The man is forced, to stay alive, to eat parts of himself & he undertakes this gruesome action only after thinking the process through with great care, to make the most of the only menu left to him.

Using a shell, he cuts off, piece by piece & only when he must, the fingers on one hand, then the nub, then the arm.

Next he slowly, by degrees, eats a foot, toes first, of course & then the leg, next the other leg (employing the same process), leaving his other, working arm for last, which he then slowly just nibbles away.

Now, not only is this a unique premise, to say the least, but King has been doing this kind of avuncular thinking for decades, not a slight thing even if he isn't your normal cup of tea.

I wouldn't dismiss him so casually, even if you rightly think he's sometimes missed the mark.


message 41: by E. (new)

E. Milan (EMilan) | 18 comments George, great post.

I read Angels and Demons and have never read Dan Brown again, and I never will. I have to agree that he and James Patterson make me cringe. I read Misquoting Jesus and found it great. I also read other, similar, books. But aside from that aspect of Dan Brown's work I also found it predictable and poorly written. All in all one of the worst I've read.


message 42: by E. (new)

E. Milan (EMilan) | 18 comments Caron wrote: "I personally have never been able to get into Stephen King's Dark Tower series."

I love Stephen King, however, I couldn't get past Wizard and Glass. There's something about the Dark Tower series that I can't get into. Drawing of the Three was the only book in the series that I enjoyed.


message 43: by Anne (last edited Jun 13, 2012 01:40PM) (new)

Anne (spartandax) | 104 comments I had to laugh at Dan Brown' efforts to undermine the story of Jesus Christ. It is a well known fact he hates the Roman Catholic Church and the main purpose of TDC was to demean the Church. And no, I am not Catholic. Some parts made me laugh. I did like the thriller element, but the writing was not that great. But is is another case of Dan Brown laughing all the way to the bank.
The book I could not get into was It by Stephen King I still an not a fan of Stephen King.


message 44: by E. (new)

E. Milan (EMilan) | 18 comments ahh, IT, now that was one of my all time favorites and one of the reasons I write today.


message 45: by Ken (new)

Ken Consaul | 307 comments E. wrote: "ahh, IT, now that was one of my all time favorites and one of the reasons I write today."

It was OK until they got to the end. A lot of King's work seems to build towards a great ending then winds up with "A spider, let's kill it with an asthma inhaler."

It was such a great runup and then we get an evil being used in every Republic Horror movie since 1950.

meh...


message 46: by E. (new)

E. Milan (EMilan) | 18 comments I can't argue with you there. I felt that the end to Under the Dome was quite lacking as well. I think it was when I read It and how the whole book affected me that made it so special to me.


Kathy Davie (kathydavie) | 45 comments Cheryl wrote: "Kathy wrote: "Anything by Todd McCaffrey is intensely disappointing. I think his mother only puts her name on them so they will sell; she certainly isn't including her own writing. Once you read en..."

Maybe his mother pressured him into writing for the Dragons of Pern because the only direction he seems to be going in is circles. His books seem to rehash the same thing over and over just from a different character's perspective. I am so off McCaffrey that I don't even want to check anything else he may have written to discover if he can write...


message 48: by Tory (new)

Tory Michaels (torymichaels) | 4 comments George, I second The Da Vinci Code - I forced myself to..."

DaVinci was the sequel book to Angels and Demons, but the movies reversed them. I liked both (preferred A&D though). I read them for fun, not history/reality. At least they were better than The Lost Symbol.


message 49: by [deleted user] (new)

Caron wrote: "Didn't the religious community get in an uproar because of the Da Vinci Code? I think that's what made it so successful. Everyone wanted to know what the fuss was about.

As for zombies, vampires a..."


I love Stephen King, but the Dark Tower series I haven't read. I think someone else mentioned something similar about that series. What's wrong with it?


message 50: by [deleted user] (new)

Howard wrote: "Yes Andrew, the old sayings are still around for a reason.

They're usually all too true, and are in my case.

My books have been called the weirdest things ever written & that follows another well..."


I'v come to love "weird" books. They give me the impression that the author looks at life through a different lens. Nothing wrong wit that!


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