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Everything posted by Keenomanjaro

  1. Bad Reviews Quiz

    Things seem to have gone a bit quiet down in this part of the forum, so I thought I'd post a new quiz to get things going again. Can you identify the books as described in their unflattering Amazon reviews? Give-aways like title, author, main characters etc... have been removed. Edit: at the very end of this post there is a list of all the books that have been used for "Bad Reviews" by other members, following this first one 1) Nice book - for a grade ten research project! The first part of [title] reads like a science project on animals with random religious facts dispersed throughout (minus the true wonder of religion - FAITH, BELIEF, LOVE). There is no symbolism, no poetic language (his metaphors are really cliched), no commentary on contemporary society (India's or Canada's). . The only interesting aspect of this book is that it reveals how humans and animals are alike... [Author] has the literary capacity of the latter, that's for sure. The best thing about this book is its cover - Five stars to the Graphic designer! 2) I have just been looking at the reviws for this book and am amazed...The main character, [name], is a child who is so deviod of a brain it made me want to scream while Joe, the only good character in the book, no-matter how many times let down by [main character] still worships the ground he walks on. [Author] does set the atmosphere well but time and again comes back to the same type of atmosphere for every geographical location. If you want to read something from last century read 'The Picture Of Dorian Gray' by Oscar Wilde, don't worry it is classed as a classic, and enjoy every chapter with a large mog of coffee! 3) Do not read this book unless you feel that you will be entertained by 274 pages of tedious, self-loathing and pointless pop-psychology. At times this book reads like a straightforward transcript from some imagined psychiatrists couch, although most self respecting psychiatrists would have told [main character] to get a life by the end of chapter one! Overall a passingly useful insight into a very caricatured view of Jewish life, with quite a few Yiddish words that I didn't know, most of them scatological. As a book it doesn't seem to try hard to do anything other than dump the authors problems on the reader; it isn't funny, it certainly isn't erotic, and overall I can't really recommend it! 4) i read the other reviews & saw that people loved it but i'm sorry anyone wanting to read this book for some light entertainment do not read! its a very heavy book to read due to the language (formal) & nothing actually happens, no plot or structure, simply a man questioning what actually is dignity, very boring indeed. 5) Join up here for the paranoid's rose tinted view of the nasty old world. Wishy washy new age nonsense, far too wordy and the book is way too long....this seems to be an exam essay or, at best, a newspaper article that has regurgitated itself again and again on page after page after boring page, only to explode into nothing like the sole of a poorly made Nike trainer. Every chapter makes the same sad, elitist point: Consumers Are Stupid and we shouldn't be allowed to think for themselves. I know best, I know what's best for you. Enjoy your ivory tower, [author], I'm off to Mcdonald's. 6) I was really looking forward to reading [title] but it was Oh So Disappointing! It is a very complex book - but although the individual parts are not difficult to comprehend (and some could actually be stand-alone books) they do not add up to a coherent whole. Within the book there are lots of interesting bits. The despair of the members of the Communist Party in the 1950s and the differing ways of coping was certainly worth exploring. [Main character] also mentions meeting desperate women living in council estates while she is out canvassing for the elections. But then we hear no more of them. The narrative set in Rhodesia had some interesting aspects on colonialism, racism and the relationship of communists with African nationalists. But this episode did not seem to mesh with the rest of the book. And the inclusion of a novel within the novel about a woman like [main character] was just plain irritating. 7) Nervy, hand wringing account of his lack of ideas on a huge range of subjects, the exception being his knowledge of street gangs in Jakarta. Well meaning Jimmy Carter'ish intelligence dribble. Hardly awe inspiring and Messers Iraq, Iran and Terry Taliban are going to eat this pilgrim for breakfast. 8) [Author's] first-person narration details the trials and tribulations of thirty something [main character], who has been abandoned by his girlfriend. Sadly, [main character] defines his entire existence on his success with women, and his whinging, immature self-pity grates horribly. [Author] attempts to create a new man style character so beloved by trendy gender analysts. However, [main character's] narcissism merely reinforces the stereotype of the pathetic man who is unsure of his identity and moulds himself at the behest of others. If this novel had been written by a woman with a female character it would have been (rightly) attacked for its subservience to the opposite sex. Instead, [author] is praised for his insight and understanding of the male condition. 9) I saw it in Tesco for £4 and I bought the first three books. I'd just like to say that was a complete waste of my money and time. I haven't even finished the first book and I already absolutely LOATHE the main characters, I just want to stab the book and burn it. [Female character] is just a bimbo airhead who needs to get her life examined. No independence what-so-ever, no self-confidence, very clumbsy (probably the most annoying thing about her) and she gets dizzy just looking into [male character's] eyes (also extremely annoying). This book lacks in plot and, frankly, intelligence. It's annoying but now that I have bought the books, I feel that I have to put myself through this torture of reading them. 10) This is not good; cliche after cliche, endless cheap tugs at the heartstrings, a plodding obvious plot and awful two dimensional characters. And making the villain a Nazi, paedophile and Taleban leader all rolled into one?! If this book had been written this year he'd probably have been an greedy banker too. Evil just isn't like this and portraying it this way makes the story totally unbelievable and quite offensive. edit:The following titles have been the subjects of Bad Reviews used in further questions in this thread - currently up to January 13th 2014 1984 2666 A Clockwork Orange A Prayer for Owen Meany A Short history of tractors in the Ukraine (The) Alchemist Angel Angle of repose Anna Karenina Any Human heart Atonement (The) Audacity of hope Bel Canto Birdsong Bonfire of the vanities Brideshead Revisited Brighton Rock Captain Correlli's mandolin Catcher in the rye Cold mountain (The) Constant Gardener Crime and Punishment (The )Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime Deception Point (The) Diary of a nobody Emma Fingersmith (The) Finkler question Flowers for Algernon Fugitive Pieces (The) Golden notebook (The) Goldfinch (The)Grapes of wrath Gravity's Rainbow Great Expectations (The) Great Gatsby (The) Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (The) Handmaids Tale (The) Hare with Amber Eyes Harry Potter and the deathly hallows High Fidelity (The) Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (The) Hotel New Hampshire How to paint a dead man I know this much is true Infinite jest Jack Reacher Jerrard: My autobiography (The) Kite Runner Labyrinths (The) Little Stranger London Fields Lord Jim Lord of the flies Love in the time of cholera Madame Bovary Me Before You (The) Mists of Avalon Moby Dick Never Go Back Night Circus No Logo (The) Old Man and the Sea (The) Old Wives’ Tale Oliver Twist (The) Once and Future King (The) Other Boleyn Girl (The) Poisonwood Bible Portnoy's Complaint Possession Pride and Prejudice Prison Diaries Rebecca (The) Remains of The Day Restoration (The) Road Robinson Crusoe (The) Room (The) Sea Skegness Candy Floss Their Eyes were watching God This much I know is true This Thing of Darkness (The) Time Traveller’s wife To Kill a Mockingbird Tricks of the Mind Tropic of Cancer (The) True History of the Kelly Gang Twilight Umbrella Vanity Fair We need to talk about Kevin Wuthering Heights
  2. Naked Lunch

    I bought this book back in 1996 and had several failed attempts to read it, before replacing it in the bookcase, from which it has been taunting me ever since. This year, a good decade since my last attempt, I decided to give it one last try and I was surprised to make it through from start to finish. It's easy to see why I had previously struggled. Just a couple of chapters into the book it becomes clear that there is no storyline to follow. In fact, it is said that Burroughs randomly mixed up the chapters of his manuscript in the publisher's office, claiming that it would create as good an order as any. Each chapter is essentially a short sketch based on Burroughs' experiences as a junkie, with some of these sketches involving recurring themes and characters and occasional glimpses of social commentary and satire. There are some seemingly never ending graphic sex scenes in the middle of the book, which were pretty off-putting and many of the chapters rambled along without grabbing my attention, but every now and again a fantastic bit of imagary or an amusing set-piece would spring out of nowhere and drag you back into the seedy, grimy world Burroughs has created. Given how much effort I had to make to get through the book, I didn't feel I got enough from it to merit my perseverance. It's cited as a 'Beat Generation' classic, but I didn't see much of a link to other novels I've read from that genre. It reminded me more of a drug-fuelled version of Miller's 'Tropic of Cancer'. I'd be interested to know if anyone's managed to fare better with this book than I have.
  3. This book follows a South African student from Cape Town who dreams of moving to Europe and becoming a poet. He obsesses with the idea of living life to its full intensity, so that these experiences can then be translated into his art. Having saved enough money to leave a homeland on the verge of a race-war, he moves to London to follow in the footsteps of some of his favourite poets, but rather than finding inspiration he instead ends up becoming an outsider, unable to communicate with those around him and stuck in a monotonous job. Frustrations mount as he is unable to sustain a relationship as the women he meets fail to notice the 'fire inside' him. Ultimately, he continually falls short in terms of his lifestyle, writing and relationships. I think the book is partly auto-biographical, in which case, Coetzee has given a frank and sometimes brutal, assessment of his younger self. I'm sure plenty of people will recognise the conflict between youthful idealism and the reality of the daily grind, and I suppose the book's greatest strength is the way the main character's hopes and dreams are gradually crushed until the ideals have been replaced with something akin to an acceptance of mediocrity.
  4. Book Lists 2011

    2011 1. The Castle in the Forset - Norman Mailer (currently reading)
  5. Live Music Plans?

    Didn't make it unfortunately. Thank you Southern trains. This follows from the last gig I went to (Manic Street Preachers, Brixton Academy) which was cancelled due to the singer losing his voice. I'm not having much luck.
  6. Live Music Plans?

    I'm hoping to see Vampire Weekend and Janelle Monae at Alexandra Palace tomorrow, but I'm not sure I'll be able to get there after work given the travel chaos seen today.
  7. could an under 18 buy non alcholic beer?

    That's interesting - I thought it was some sort of cynical marketing gimmick by the bar rather than a genuine serving suggestion (although adding orange to something that already tastes of orange seems a bit odd).
  8. could an under 18 buy non alcholic beer?

    Yes, I also drink alcohol for the taste. The diversity of wine also applies to the diversity of ale as well. In years gone by the ale drinker would often have to settle for a pint of best bitter or nothing, but now the booming ale industry is putting out beers of every conceivable variety - bitters, stouts, milds, Indian pale ales, fruit beers, porters, ruby beers, pale beers and so on... all with their own distinctive flavours and aromas. Ale drinking has a bit of a poor image, but there are a lot of innovative brewers in the UK creating excellent beer to suit all tastes. Check out Dark Star, Thornbridge, Marble, Crouch Vale and Triple fff, to name but a few. I'm also a fan of Belgian and German beer, especially the German wheat beers, although as you point out, they don't come cheap. I had a pint of Blue Moon in a bar in Clapham recently and having forked out £4.30, I was shocked to find they had put a slice of orange in it.
  9. Music Quiz

    Number 8 is Suggs
  10. Music Quiz

    I think I know this one - at least three of the people on your list (Dors, Whitelaw, Shaw) have appeared on the cover of records by The Smiths. Elvis and Billy Fury fit the mould of a typical Smiths' cover star (although I can't recall them being on a specific record cover) and despite having no idea who Pat Phoenix is, I would like to think he/she also made it onto one of their record sleeves too.
  11. Music Quiz

    1989 Poison - Alice Cooper
  12. Music Quiz

    1985 Everybody Wants To Rule The World - Tears for Fears
  13. Music Quiz

    1992 Barcelona - Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballé.
  14. derogatory comments about reading/books

    The title of this thread reminded me of this... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uvs2g5Nj0NI (Link contains strong language)
  15. I Write Like

    Almost everything I tried came out as David Foster Wallace. I can't say I'm familiar with his work, but Wikipedia offered the following bit of insight: "Wallace's novels often combine various writing modes or voices, and incorporate jargon and vocabulary (sometimes invented) from a wide variety of fields. His writing featured self-generated abbreviations and acronyms, long multi-clause sentences, and a notable use of explanatory footnotes and endnotes—often nearly as expansive as the text proper." I think I'd be flattering myself to think that I write in such a way.
  16. Help Me Find Find That Song...

    I think it's pronounced 'The ex-ex', although I'm not 100% sure. Maybe it's a double kissing sound!!!?
  17. Help Me Find Find That Song...

    I think I know the trailer you mean and if I'm right, the song you are after is 'Crystalised' by the xx. Their debut album, also called 'xx' was one of my favourites of last year.
  18. Music Quiz

    Here's the Stiltskin advert: Whilst I'm here, another one was 'Should I stay or should I go' - a shameful sell-out from the Clash.
  19. Music Quiz

    In the mid '90's when grunge was at its peak, Levi's were keen on using the song 'Today' by the Smashing Pumpkins, but the band refused. So Levi's found a relatively unknown band called Stiltskin whose song 'Inside' (a bland rip-off of 'Today') was used instead.
  20. Mental illness in fiction/Books set in Asylums

    The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann is set in an asylum. There are a few scenes from 'The Shadow of the Wind' by Carlos Ruiz Zafon where he visits someone in a sort of asylum, although these scenes only comprise a chapter or two of the book. For non-fiction, try The Silent Twins, (http://www.bookgrouponline.com/forum/showthread.html?t=6669&highlight=silent+twins) most of which deals with the twins time in Broadmoor psychiatric hospital. Or perhaps Awakenings by Oliver Sacks.
  21. Vuvuzelas

    When I was a kid and we still had terraces at Dean Court, I remember one old bloke who used to stand near us always had one of those rattles. They were pretty loud, but they were also quite heavy, so they only got used in short, energetic bursts - as opposed to the vuvuzelas, which are played throughout the match. I fully expect to see loads of kids brining vuvuzelas to games in the UK next season, but I'm also fairly sure that they will have all been consigned to the dustbin of history before the year is out.
  22. Music Quiz

    14. On The Road - Traffic
  23. World Cup 2010

    On a similar theme, fans of fantasy football games can now play Fantasy Cheaters where points are awarded to players based on how often they dive, feign injury, time waste etc... 60% of the people registered to the site have put Ronaldo in their team! http://www.fantasycheatersleague.com/rules/
  24. Music Quiz

    19. No Sleep Til Hammersmith - Motorhead <img src="http://www2.hornfans.com/wwwthreads/images/icons/hookem.gif" class="bbcode" border="0" />
  25. Live Music Plans?

    Nice! I saw them at the Royal Albert Hall a few years ago and they were outstanding. I meant to catch the footage of their IOW festival performance, but I missed it thanks to my inability to channel hop during the football. I'm going to see the Hold Steady next Tuesday. I'm not too fond of their new album, but as long as they play a few of their classics, I'll be happy.