Login   Sign Up 


This 49 message thread spans 4 pages:  < <   1   2  3  4  > >  
  • Re: Worst books ever written
    by Noodles at 19:47 on 15 December 2003
    Having read and enjoyed The Books Of Magic, I too noticed certain similarities between Timothy Hunter and Harry Potter. A few years ago I became aware of the HP phenomenon and studiously ignored it for a long while, under the cynical and arrogant assumption that if ‘everyone’ likes it, it can’t be that good. Eventually, being very bored, I started the first, liked it a lot and gobbled up the next two. I found them concise, exciting and very good indeed. My overall comment was: ‘Not a word is wasted.’ I found it took me back to my childhood (parents and school) – the fear, the anger, the injustice, the power that ‘grown-ups’ had (and still have, damn them all), the sense of ‘specialness’ that is lost when the world has done it’s dirty job (as Janis Ian sings). Started Goblet of Fire, failed, tried again, succeeded, found it a little flabby, but interesting, read Order of the Phoenix, found it even more bloated, but still very readable. I believe that, if anything, JK Rowling cares even more about the story she’s telling. I believed her when she said she cried when she killed off one of her characters. I reckon she may have lost her precision, her tightness, but I still like what she’s doing. Maybe she’s now too involved. And the price of fame is a high one. Personally I found later work by Stephen King to be inferior to his early stuff, but I can tell that he still loves and cares about what he does. Maybe one can become distanced by money, attention, expectation, one’s no longer ‘hungry’, and the edge becomes dulled. I call it Externally Imposed Ivory (dark) Tower Syndrome (almost spells EDITS – which is maybe what’s called for). And as far as Mr. Gaiman goes, I think he is one of our greatest storytellers, in the graphic medium (‘comics’ to the snob) but I find his short stories and novels haven’t enough edge, depth, or character for my tastes. He speaks well of me, though.
  • Re: Worst books ever written
    by Account Closed at 19:56 on 15 December 2003
    Richard, I saw Michel H. on a chatshow a while ago and he put me off reading any of his books. He was dirty-looking, chain smoked didn't look anyone in the eye and just droned on, oblivious to what was going on around him (bito of a Gainsbourg really) I think the programme was about the uproar one of his books had caused in the literary world - maybe it was Platforme - perhaps you should try that one. I once read a book by Danielle Steele that I got in a cornflake packet. It was called "The clone and I"... Need I say more? I think it was the first genetically modified book.
  • Re: Worst books ever written
    by Richardwest at 21:49 on 15 December 2003
    Noodles: Enjoyed the analysis: very thought provoking.

    Speaking of storytelling in the 'graphic medium' (re Gaiman) I've just finished re-reading Art Spiegelman's 'The Complete Maus' (volumes 1 and 2 bound together). Sometimes I have no idea why certain books win certain prizes. Maus took the Pulitzer. But maybe it should take the Nobel, too. I really don't the term 'masterpiece' does it justice: I defy anyone to emerge from it unscathed. (Sorry if I'm banging on about something everyone already knows about).

    Elspeth: ah, how wonderful to have one's prejudices reinforced! (Mine I mean). So The Man From Lanzarote, He Exists. Gawd help us all. 'Platform', I think, was the one which won some kind of major literary prize, and I'm almost, but not quite, tempted into seeing if it is the same calibre as 'Lanzarote' (and especially, if Houellebecq spent more than half an hour writing it, which is all the latter book could've taken).

    Love the idea of the genetically modified book! One wonders if the author in question has been similarly, er, amended -- something's got to account for her output. . . (Hey: how big are those cereal packets you're buying? All I ever got was a frogman in mine. And he sank).

    'Best -- Richard
  • Re: Worst books ever written
    by Ralph at 14:09 on 22 December 2003
    Oh, poor JK. OK, some fair crits, but I also think it's right to say that kids don't read cr*p... and if nothing else, there's a lovely parallel in The Order of the Phoenix to the ghastly goverment error that is OFSTED (no offence to the staff, it's just the whole concept that stinks!) But then I am a bit biased... I'm completely smitten by Minnerva McGonnagal...
    As far as worst books go... yes, subjective. But great fun. I think mine has to be "The Well of Loneliness", just because people keep assuming I love it, and I really don't. Perhaps it would be all right as an argument for transsexuality, but as a lesbian voice I think Margaret Thatcher was probably more liberating... (I'm going to get shot for saying that aren't I?)
  • Re: Worst books ever written
    by Becca at 19:07 on 23 December 2003
    Shot? I don't think so Ralph, glad to see you back.
  • Re: Worst books ever written
    by Ralph at 19:22 on 23 December 2003
    Thanks Becca
    I've really missed everyone here... And I'm glad you're not going to shoot me. I've just realised though - that's probably the nicest thing I ever said about Margaret Thatcher... or ever will!
    Has she ever written an autobiography, come to think of it? I bet that would be a pretty horrific read...
  • Re: Worst books ever written
    by Skippoo at 15:43 on 30 December 2003
    I went to a Creative Writing workshop where we analysed the openings of two novels. One was about to be published and we had to guess which. They were both pretty bad, but one I found absolutely torturous to read and was resolute that this could not be awaiting publication. It turned out to be Jonathon Franzen's The Corrections. And no, the hype is not going to ever make me want to read the rest.

    Sue, a friend also leant me Losing Gemma and I too abandoned it. My friend's excuse? 'It's not supposed to be likeable, but if you got to the end you'd appreciate it.' Hmm....

    I've also avoided Harry Potter due to the hype.

    I probably read most of Enid Blyton's books as a child, but now I think they're bloody awful. [Puts on best jolly hockeysticks voice:] 'Come on, Julian, let's go and explore some caves! Fanny, you can stay at home and bake!' Urgh.

  • Re: Worst books ever written
    by Account Closed at 11:48 on 31 December 2003
    Gosh, and I absolutely loved "Losing Gemma" - couldn't put it down! Have also just finished and thoroughly enjoyed Katy Gardner's follow up novel, "The Mermaid's Purse".

    Just goes to show how different we all are - thank goodness!!

    Anne B

  • Re: Worst books ever written
    by hibernian at 12:45 on 23 January 2004
    Hi everybody, I'm a newbie to this place though I've been reading the site for quite a while. This is my first ever post - I'm all excited!! I know this is an oldish thread, but why all the JK bashing by people who haven't read the books? I think they're great, actually, and while the latest couple are a bit self-indulgently long, they tackle more grown-up themes and characterisation than the earlier books. For example, they look at the integrity, or lack thereof, of the government and the press, they examaine the idea that unlikeable people are not necessarily the bad guys (and vice-versa), the awkwardness of first crushes, and so on. These books remind me of the Laura Ingalls books in the way that, as the character grows in each book, so the language becomes more complex and the themes and plots are more developed... just my tuppence worth...
  • Re: Worst books ever written
    by Ralph at 14:01 on 23 January 2004
    Hi Hibernian, and welcome!
    Glad I'm not the only one who enjoys a bit of Harry Potter - and I think you're right about the development of character and language. I sometimes look at those books and hope I'll be able to read one a year to our kids sometime - they expand in the same way that a young child's imagination and concerns might (maybe this is why the last one was a little indulgent - which adolescent isn't???)
    All the best - and keep posting
  • Re: Worst books ever written
    by hibernian at 15:50 on 23 January 2004
    Exactly! I do know that the "books" that I wrote as an adolescent were UTTERLY self-indulgent! They make me blush like mad to read any of them now, and I think I'd just die on the spot if I thought anybody else was reading them... yet still can't bring myself to throw them away! Anyhow, the nice thing about them was that I was completely absorbed in them and unselfconcious - which I'm not now and I write a lot less as a result. It'd be great to have that self-indulgence back, in a way...
    Thanks a million for the welcome, Ralph, and I do realise I've gone completely off the point of this thread. (Except that my teenage scribblings probably ARE the worst books ever written!)


    and by the way, what a lovely idea, to read one to your kids every year. Hopefully they'd have the patience to wait and wouldn't spend the whole intervening time nagging you!
  • Re: Worst books ever written
    by Ralph at 02:54 on 24 January 2004
    I might have to challenge you on that one Jo. I gave my first novel to a close friend and never heard from them again... it was that bad!
    Good point about the nagging... They'll probably nag me not to read "A Christmas Carol" every year as well, but I doubt that they'll win
    So- if in twenty years or so you hear someone say that Dickens wrote the worst book ever you'll know who's to blame!
    As far as self-consciousness goes, I hope it doesn't stop you writing too much. At least there's a good sense of anonymity here, so hopefully you'll feel better about showing people yoer work. I always think it's easier when you don't have to watch them reading it

    All the best with it
  • Re: Worst books ever written
    by darkstar at 19:12 on 24 January 2004
    I can't actually remember the title of the worst book I ever read; I've managed to excise it from my memory. But it's the sort of thing that gives me hope that I'll get published eventually. It was what purported to be a historical romance, written by an American who fondly imagined she knew anything about Elizabethan England. I do remember early on, the hero and his sidekick struggled north from London through the depths of winter to 'this burg', I believe those were the words used, where they went to the local market. Well stocked market for the middle of winter in 1590 it was too. Sold oranges and tomatoes. The book sort of went downhill from there and I don't think I ever finished it. I get really nitpicky over historical novels since that's what I write myself.

    These days I wonder if it was a parody.

  • Re: Worst books ever written
    by Dee at 19:55 on 24 January 2004
    Oh Cas, that made me laugh! Don’t you just love it when they get it so badly wrong.

    It’s jogging a little memory in the back of my mind… I once saw a picture of a book, written by an American and set in Elizabethan England. I can’t remember the title either but the front cover featured a Beefeater with the emblem E I R on his tunic (presumably so we Brits could distinguish her from the current E II R ?)

    Wonder if it was the same book?


  • Re: Worst books ever written
    by darkstar at 20:17 on 24 January 2004
    the front cover featured a Beefeater with the emblem E I R on his tunic... Wonder if it was the same book?

    Thank you for the splatter of coffee over my monitor.

    It might well have been the same book at that. I wish I knew what had happened to it because it really was a lesson in how not to do it.

    I hate it when things are wrong, because it completely throws me out of the story and I start looking for the next mistake. *sigh*

  • This 49 message thread spans 4 pages:  < <   1   2  3  4  > >