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Seraphina

Book Abuse!!!!

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Inspired by Megustaleer! (see Cloud Atlas Forum and Dinner Party Forum!)

 

Has any book ever annoyed you SO much that you've thrown it across the room, stamped on it, binned it, set fire to it, eaten it, scribbled bits out.....or whatever!

 

I can only think of two....the first one was when I was about 5, and my Rainbow Brite book was about this little baby, and I can't remember exactly what happened, but the baby disappeared (i think it was metaphorical, thus going completely over my 5 year old head).....at any rate I was so upset that the baby had disappeared that I went to the last page, drew in a picture of the baby, and added my own last sentence 'and the baby came back'.

 

The other was Kane and Abel by Jeffrey Archer.....at the end of it I stabbed the offending page with a compass, threw it across the room and stamped on it! (and i'm not a violent person!)

 

Anyone have any similar stories?!

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I was very tempted to remove the last few pages of 'It' by Stephen King to avoid future readers being similarly disappointed by the truly poor ending but refrained. Why should other people escape when I had to suffer?

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When I finished Diary of an Ordinary Woman by Margaret Forster I ripped out the page that said the book is in fact fiction, as I read it believing it was non-fiction. I was so annoyed when I realised it was just a story :(

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There's a Patricia Highsmith book (whose title I can't recall) whose final chapter I pretended I hadn't read, because the murderer is found out in this chapter, and I loathed his wife so much that I wished he'd got away with it.

 

In my version of the book he does!

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The Hobbit, and Lord of the Rings.

 

Tried to read them on a number of occassions and cannot get past the introduction! I really enjoy fantasy too...so I find it frustrating as I know I SHOULD like it!

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The Acid House by Irvine Welsh - took it back to Waterstones and demanded my money back, on the grounds that it was the worst book I'd ever read (the cashier agreed, and obliged).

 

How To Be Good by Nick Hornby - threw the audio version onto the hard shoulder of a major British motorway in a moment of anger that I'm not proud of.

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The Acid House by Irvine Welsh - took it back to Waterstones and demanded my money back, on the grounds that it was the worst book I'd ever read (the cashier agreed, and obliged).

 

That's impressive!!! :D

 

Lord of the Rings is my big let down, I have tried to read it a million times, but i just can't get into it, have fired it across the room many times in my frustration!

 

Ulysses, by James Joyce is another one, now i've gotten a good bit into it and then I just get lost, I was told by someone (Can't remember who, but I liked his idea) that after every page you read rip it out so that you can't go back, apparently it will all make sence in the end!! Might give a go this summer!!

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I have a few ont his list, although I must admit I have never let them get to me to the point I become destructive! LOL

 

The Correctioners drove me batty. To the point that I was almost all of the way done and then just gave up! Someone on BookCrossing was desperate to read it, so I mailed it off with a nice little disclaimer attached.

 

Wild Animus was...umm...horrible! I always like to give it 50 pages, but this was so full of nonsense and pompous thinkings that I gave up after 4 pages. Muttering under my breath is not a good way to enjoy a book!

 

And the one that may or may not get me stoned for my opinion was.....A Handmaid's Tale. I had heard many great things about this book, and so I had put it on my wishlist. I ended up reading it through a bookring, and was sent two additional copies. I swear, this book was trying to haunt me!

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3 books immediately spring to mind (in no particualr order)

 

DBC Pierre's Vernon God Little ... actually liked the book but just got SO frustrated (stopping mid sentence and exclaiming out loud "WHAT?!") about the so called 'justice' system. It didn't help that after finishing said book I discussed with a friend (retired lawyer from US) and she advised that in fact those people/situations do exist/happen ... grrrr!!! Still have the book though.

 

Jostein Gaarder's (sp??) Sophie's World ... was riveted for about 150 pages then it felt as though I was wading through treacle wearing lead-lined boots ... eugghh ...eventually my mum (who I discuss books with regularly) just told me to stop reading it! Now, why didn't I think of that? Gave the book away complete with my bookmark of where I managed to get up to!

 

Bret Easton Ellis' American Psycho has got to have been the most tedious book I have ever subjected myself to! I was reading it as a favour to a friend who found it too scary (??) as she needed to write about it for a thesis. If it hadn't been her book I would have torn it page from page, screwed it up into tiny little balls and launched it into the bin but instead my friend had to listen to my verbal destruction ... :D

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And the one that may or may not get me stoned for my opinion was.....A Handmaid's Tale. I had heard many great things about this book, and so I had put it on my wishlist. I ended up reading it through a bookring, and was sent two additional copies. I swear, this book was trying to haunt me!

 

Yes! I really laboured through this and wondered what I was missing. Didn't hate it enough to hurt it, but still found it totally uninvolving.

 

Ditto with Vernon God Little. What was all the fuss about? Did people just get excited because of the "authentic" voice of white trash American youth? I presume so, because there certainly didn't seem to be any story there. It's amazing how scared the highbrow upper middle-class Booker crowd get to slag off a book that chronicles people less well-off and well-educated. Also: what an unimaginative cash-in on the Columbine aftermath! Forget DBC. Daniel Woodrell is the true imaginative chronicler of America's equivalent to the much-maligned British chav.

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Aside from general wear in tear during the course of reading books (and I do have to admit, I am probably a bit rougher than most people), I have never really had a burning desire to do injury to a book except for once.

 

Normally, if I REALLY dislike a book for whatever reason - not my thing, poorly written, too many typose, etc. - I will just dump it in the next box slated for donation along the theory that just because I don't like it doesn't necessarily mean no one else will.

 

However, at one point I recall being given a book called the Tailor of Panama. I do not remember who the author was and cannot be bothered to look it up, but it was the single worst book I have ever crossed paths with. At first I just kept reading under the misguided assumption that it would HAVE to get better. It didn't.

 

So, I decided that I had to protect the rest of the world from at least THAT copy of the mind-dulling dribble that was the Tailor of Panama: I tore out each and every single page, crumpled them into balls and used them as kindly for the next bonfire we had at the beach. I can't help thinking that may have been too glorious a demise for it... :rolleyes:

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Hmm! I wonder if we have any Le Carre fans in BGO?

 

Here is a review From Amazon, by Brian Morton in Times Educational Supplement:

 

'Arguably his best book since The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. A masterful portrayal of human weaknesses'

 

Several of the 'Readers'Reviews' argued otherwise!!

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Normally, if I REALLY dislike a book for whatever reason - not my thing, poorly written, too many typose, etc. - I will just dump it in the next box slated for donation along the theory that just because I don't like it doesn't necessarily mean no one else will.

 

 

Very true - isn't it interesting how one book can be one man's poison but another man's gold? Take Annabellalot's post about American Psycho - I love that book, I have read it countless times, even had it signed by the author at a reading - yet Anna hates it!

 

I find it quite common for Richard and Judy book choices to be a huge let down, yet the amount of people that go on and rave about them is remarkable!

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‘The Quantity Theory of Insanity’ by Will Self. I guess I bought it because I liked the title and when Martin Amis described it on the, cover, as even better than a manic J.G. Ballard and a depressive David Lodge getting together, I was sold.

 

I loved it and still do.

 

The book only had 6 chapters and I was a little perplexed after the first few, as they did not follow on or even relate to each other. So as I progressed, I worked out weird and wonderful ways of how they were going to come together in some complex weave or how they were to begin to run parallel and so on. It didn’t happen, but I trusted it would, right up to the last chapter………………. And only then did I admit that it was a collection of short stories.

 

Nowhere on the cover or in the book is this mentioned, but then why should it be with that title.

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Originally posted by Hazel

I find it quite common for Richard and Judy book choices to be a huge let down, yet the amount of people that go on and rave about them is remarkable!

 

I've been really impressed with the R&J list. Its made me read books I wouldn't normally pick up, and I've enjoyed most of them (see Current Reading board for my opinions about "Toast" though!). Its also made lots of people who wouldn't normally read ANYthing read which has to be good, surely? I also like the way the latest list has been more literary - clever choices.

 

Sorry - a bit off topic for books that annoyed you!

 

I did think of another one of those though - Clarissa by Samuel Richardson. I read over half of it, and it took 2 weeks non-stop reading a few years ago. A great storyline (and good BBC dramatisation!) but it doesn't half go on....!

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According to Google, there are more replies to this thread but it's not letting me access them for some reason. :mad:

 

I wanted to do some real damage to Shadow of the Wind last year. It made me so angry, grr.

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... was frankly so bad that I committed the unpardonable sin of scrawling all over it in red ink comments such as: 'Overplays the adjectives - and how!' and 'This is all too cosy for the girls,with Richard as straw man' and 'We've got the point; don't keep on!' and 'Too much! Do people really go on like this - talking so eloquently when angered?' and 'Don't keep on! Tell the story!' and 'THAT'S no way to do it! You always explain, never show.' and 'Why not read Amis [K]? He knows how to handle these family conflict issues, does it with style and wit, and in one tenth of the space.'

 

If you really want to see bad novel writing just try a few pages of TGN. Now don't tell me I've not given it a chance; it doesn't deserve one.

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The post above was copied from nonsuch's comments posted on The Golden Notebook in Novels of 20th Century, as I thought such vandalism ( ;) )deserved a mention in this thread.

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Yep, FirelightSpirit, someone gave me Shadow of the Wind as a gift and if I ever find them I'll hurl it back at them grenade-style, together with The Golden Notebook. Talk about the Battle of the Books! Now I know (anachronistically) what Larkin was reading with his 'Books are a load of crap.'

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Guest Broos

Nelson Algren's The Man with the Golden Arm was one I heaved across the room. If I remember right, the only remotely sympathetic character was a beer-drinking dog with chronic flatulence.

 

Some guy on Amazon said my first novel, No Quarter, was "unreadable." He went on to suggest a few other authors in the same genre, apparently unaware that two of them had written enthusiastic cover blurbs for it.

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I cannot believe how anyone can vandalize a book. If I don't like a book, somebody else will. I have always passed on the books I didn't want to keep and always found grateful recipients. Only because I dislike a book doesn't mean it's bad overall. So, no book deserves vandalism. (I belong to those people whose school books looked just as new at the end of the year as at the beginning.)

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(I belong to those people whose school books looked just as new at the end of the year as at the beginning.)
Or maybe if they were from the school stock, it would be more accurate to say that they looked no older at the end of the year than they started it!

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Vandalising books. It probably begins with putting a tentative dot in the pristine margins of a book that for some reason has impressed you, or to which you may later wish to refer. Soon you are putting a line opposite important passages. Later you underline, and some enthusiasts even use coloured inks to highlight whole paragraphs. I knew a teacher whose whole copy of - I think Gatsby - was laced with rainbow colours. Many of my students crowd the margins of their set texts with comment.

 

Once you get into the habit (or should I say 'get the hang of it'?) you become quite fearless, careless of the depreciating retail value of the thing. In the end you end up so angry that you invite your friends to a ritual burning of the monster, uttering curses upon the author, symbolically drinking his or her blood and chuckling over their damnation in the fiery pit.

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