Have you read any books which are rated highly but you really didn’t enjoy?Have you read any books which are rated highly but you really didn’t enjoy? Gemma #questionnaire
The metamorphosis by Kafka.
I thought that was OK, though there were other short stories in the book which I found sooo dull and a chore to read.
Disappointing after reading the Trial
I haven’t read his short stories yet. So no comment on ’em. I just don’t get it why the whole world is drooling over The Metamorphosis.
Plenty! For instance, 1984.
@Marie I liked this one just kept comparing to current times as I read. I’m certain there are many who were nit wild about it.
Fahrenheit 451, Catch 22, Moby Dick and Middlemarch
Catch 22 is one of my favourite books ?
Haven’t read Moby Dick or Middlemarch
@Gemma I loved catch 22 too but I get the feeling it’s the kind of book you love or hate
I recently read Closing Time, the sequal. Enjoyed that too. I like Heller’s writing style. Want to read more of his stuff
@Gemma I’ve not managed to pick closing time up yet. I had been put off as I had heard negative reviews so it’s nice to hear something positive about it ?
I don’t know why it’s not well received. I thought it was great 🙂
@Gemma that’s good will
Keep my eye out for it now , thanks
@Leena oh wow thanks!
I loved Catch-22. I thought it one of the greatest books I’d ever read.
@Joan It was brought for me as a Birthday Present. I just didn’t get it. It seemed to end with a bad joke, drum roll, with the phrase “well that’s the catch 22” (insert canned laughter). Wasn’t my cup of tea
@Joan me too!
@James. Im a fan of dark or black humor. ..lol
Has anybody ever liked Moby Dick….lol… I started it a couple of times and stopped.
@Joan Didn’t like Moby Dick lol
Catcher in the Rye
I liked that. I liked Franny and Zooey too
Agreed. It moved slow for me.
Virginia Woolfs books so far , she’s just not for me ?
I have had a mixed reaction to Woolf. Orlando bemused me, Mrs Dalloway was exquisite.
@Helen I’ve not read Mrs Galloway so there’s some hope ?
She’s definitely an acquired taste.
My teacher at university advised me to start with “A Scetch of the Past” to get into the Woolf-Sound and -Imagery. I have the impression that it helped a lot.
@Caroline thanks will look out for this one
Girl on the train, Gone Girl
Many! I get so excited about reading popular books and am often disappointed. I guess my tastes are not the same as everyone else.
You mean rated by critics or popular ?
Either, I guess
Where the Crawdads Sing.
Edgar Sawtell. Hated the ending.
The Great Gatsby
I had to read Great Gatsby as a junior in high school and did not care for it then. Haven’t tried it again.
The Count of Monte Cristo & Catcher in the Rye.
This Side of Paradise
I don’t enjoy unhappy endings so go figure ? I still enjoy the books though
An Untamed State by Roxane Gay didn’t do it for me like it did for the critics. And it seemed like EVERYONE loved The Shack, and I hated it.
Gullivers Travels – I did not enjoy it as much as I thought I would.
Jessie, I liked The Count of Monte Cristo, but I thought The Three Musketeers was lame.
Anything by Thomas Hardy.
The book thief
Elinor Olf..sp! is Fine. just didnt like it. found her more disturbing than funny.
American Psycho by Brett Easton Ellis.
@Bob I love this book, Bateman is one of my favourite characters ever.?
I thought that was highly disturbing.
I started The Shack since it was being passed around at work and had to stop. I could not finish it.
The Great Gatsby (though the last time I read it was in high school), Lord of the flies, the Catcher in the Rye
I don’t like Gatsby either, and I’d call myself basically a Fitzgerald fan as I love Tender is the Night and “Babylon Revisited.”
@Don I still need to read more of him. I think Gatsby is the only one of his works I’ve read yet.
@Crystal Give “Babylon Revisited” a try–it’s a great short story and as it’s not a novel, it won’t eat up as much reading time if you don’t like it as much as I do.
It’s funny how different people’s tastes are. I enjoyed Gatsby but hated Tender is the Night
I was totally fascinated by Lord Of The Flies but I was 19 when I read it. Beelzebub means Lord of the Flies.
@Joan I have a difficult relationship with Lord of the Flies. I would probably call it the most interesting book I’ve ever hated lol Theme and plot were very interesting, but the bad conquering good sucked and I didn’t care for the writer’s writing style- especially when people were talking! The characters would go on and on talking back and forth and it would almost never say who was saying what!
I understand how some people would not like it. I found it interesting by recognizing it as good against evil. Beelzebub is another name for the Devil or Satan and Beelzebub means Lord of the Flies. Simon is Christ like. I like the theme of the book which is the conflict between the human impulse for savagery and the rules of civilization designed to contain it. Ralph and Jack represent savagery and civilization. It’s hard to say if there were no laws or rules how savage society would become. Would we by our own morals maintain civilization. I liked the ending, that they were rescued just as another disaster was about to happen, and realized what they had done. They would never be the same. It gave me something to think about at 19 and growing up with a lot of boys.
Catcher in the Rye, Fifty Shades of Grey, The Scarlet Letter, (and don’t hate me) To Kill a Mokingbird.
I have tried reading it theee times and can never finish it. It just doesn’t keep my attention long enough. I should try it again lol
Oh no! I love classics and history. I read Dickens and Tolkien when I was nine. Hawthorne’s descriptions of people and scenery is well written it just didn’t hold my interest.
I had young kids at the time I really should try again.
Try a copy that has notes in the back of the book.
Loved The Scarlet Letter and Mockingbird .. I will not read Fifty Shades..lol
Skip the first chapter in Scarlet Letter that tells how the narrator came to have the diary or whatever. Read this in high school and my English teacher told us to skip it. I loved the Scarlet Letter and think how much poor Hester Prynne needed DNA testing and a good lawyer!
I tried reading 50 Shades of Gray. The most stupid book I’ve ever tried to read. Porn written at a 4th grade reading level! Some people absolutely fell in love with it…as well as the sequels and the movie. I just don’t get it.
I can’t figure out Hemingway’s obsession with bulls! It may have been a “man” thing or “macho” thing but then, I never pegged Hemingway as a Macho man.
I never liked anything by him.
I love Hemingway! Hemingway and Steinbeck read like spreading warm butter to me. I always feel I know them and we would have the best conversations.
@Carol Agree with John Steinbeck.
Come off it. Their conversations are drunken droll, chap! ?
I have NEVER been able to get into Hemingway, and I’ve tried many times in my life. I am really relieved to know that I’m not the only one, because I was feeling like how could I not like the great Hemingway???
Hemingway very often wrote very long sentences>>>
I have never been able to get into Hemingway or Fitzgerald. Steinbeck is a mixed bag for me. I loved East of Eden and Cannery Row, but The Grapes of Wrath bored me to tears. (Love the movie, oddly enough.)
@Karen Can’t stand his writing and I have tried reading him many times.
Catcher in the rye
Of Mice and Men
@Rachel oh yes withering heights. So damn boring, couldn’t go beyond 50 pages
Wuthering Heights my favorite love story. One of my most prized possessions is a leather bound copy of Wuthering Heights I found at a thrift store .. Loved Of Mice and Men. I read the first Outlander and did not like it.
It would seem Catcher in the Rye is rather unpopular
@Gemma I liked it a lot ?
Me too! Adored Franny and Zooey too
@Gemma I liked franny too, preferred catchers , holdens a memorable Character
I thought the way it was written was brilliant, the character, the descriptions, but the plot totally sucked lol it was like his life was going nowhere and at the end… his life was still not great ?♀️?
@Crystal I get that , the writing was excellent, the plots a bit thin ?
The writing was brilliant. The main character memorable. The plot was flat.
The plot in Catcher is very deep and intense. Thus , the understanding of this
book will and should require deep thinking and nothing remotely superficial will suffice.
I personally loved it, I read it when I was quite young, but I know it seems very unpopular these days. I’m not sure why. I’d be curious to know what it was about it that turns some off. I wonder if it was just the times it was written in and about. Some older books just don’t “age” well.
The Things They Carried is another excellent book, that seems to have been forgotten.
Times do change, and a major change in the USA fairly recently is the cancellation of the Draft requirement.
The Last of the Mohicans. James Fenimore Cooper. I guess I need to re read before I sware on it but…..didn’t like it that well in high school.
I sometimes wonder if I would like some of the classics I read when I was too young for them.
@Philippa very good question, I read at such an early age, by the time I got out of high school, most of Camus, Kafka, Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Thomas Wolfe, Faulkner…..what did I know actually, just the love of words and how they resonated off the page. I have re read several classics but that initial reaction from a wide eyed child is often lost later in years when we search then for the mistakes in the characters and the jaded journey that parts of life take us.. .. a real classic though is for always and doesn’t change.
Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. Read them both in high school, so maybe that affected my opinion.
I did not like Atlas Shrugged. I have The Fountainhead but have not read it.
@Joan I read it too and only liked it a hair more than Atlas Shrugged
The Old Man and the Sea for me
That’s one of my favorites! What didn’t you like about it? My husband isn’t much of a reader and so was going to recommend him reading it.
@Carol I read it at the start of this year for Book club. It’s a novella (and I am not fussed on short stories) and is a very simple story and easy to follow but I just did not like it. The old man was supposed to very experienced but he went too far out to sea and was completely unprepared for this fishing trip, no food, no water, no equipment. His pride got the better of him, and then after all that the sharks eat the fish. I have no idea why this book is so well liked, but am happy that it is and that you liked it so much .. There is nothing like a good book?
Interesting, I didn’t see it that way at all. Great to see a completely different view and I can totally see the relevance. I took it much more romantically and poetically. Thanks for sharing!
This was a book I was obliged to teach (for many years) to 9th graders. I always warned them that NOTHING would happen for a very, very long time … but it was exactly like fishing, and life, for which it makes the perfect metaphor
@Cynthia all of dickens ?
@Sean Except for A Christmas Carol- too much social commentary.
Cynthia Lippstreu a Christmas carol is good , I’m a big David coppperfield fan
@Sean, I’ll have to give it a read. It’s in my library.
I not a fan of Dickens either. Had to read it in high school haven’t picked him up since then.
@Rudette I was like that with Shakespeare, school ruined his work but it i re-read his work last year and now I’m a big Shakespeare fan ?
I like Dickens. David Copperfield was the first of his I read. Great Expectations is up there too. Haven’t read much of him yet though
Dickens is my all time favorite. I savor every word. Maybe try Oliver Twist? I think that would be the easiest and most likeable read.
Mine too. I think I actually smile while reading his books. It takes me a long time to get through them because I’ll go back to reread paragraphs just because I love the way they’re written ???
A Tale of Two Cities
My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante, Possession by A.S. Byatt and Wolf Hall by Hillary Mantel
Myrthe, Wolf Hall is one of my favourite Tudor period novels and highlights the life of Thomas Cromwell and what made him tick! I loved it and enjoyed the different perspective it gives to the fall of Anne Boleyn. What did you not like about it? Did you read the sequel, Bring up the Bodies, it was even better.
Don’t judge me for not liking your favorite, please. ? I couldn’t get into the story. It didn’t get to life, didn’t care about the characters. Also, I just don’t get along with Mantel’s writing. This was the third of her books that I tried and didn’t like a lot.
Myrthe Korf fair enough, we all like different books and you gave her a fair go! What is your favourite book?
Lincoln in the Bardo and The Finkler Question were both Man Booker prize winners but both disappointed me.
@Bernadette I agree on Lincoln
Darn. I just bought Lincoln in the Bardo for kindle.
To Kill a Mocking. Bird
There’s two of us!
I triybut I just can’t get it)
Have you seen the.movie?
“The Sun Also Rises” by Ernest Hemingway
A Death in tbe Afternoon is also well written and much loved.
Again, Hemingway and his love for bulls!
There’s many here I haven’t read. Interesting, too, how you can read one book that will make you love the author then read another of theirs which totally puts you off
Catcher In The Rye
sense and sensibility
I wasn’t really impressed with it. Pride and Prejudice was ok, but nothing I’d want to read again.
Sense and Sensibility is probably the weakest of Austen. Pride is OK, but Emma, Persuasion and Northanger Abbey are much more interesting
Heart of Darkness ?
@Tracy me too, forgot about this one
@Tracy me too, forgot about this one
Yea. Couldn’t bloody stand it. No idea why people seem to think it’s good
The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger.
The Red Badge of Courage. :0/
Independence Day by Richard Ford. Won the Pulitzer and is the most boring book I’ve ever seen. I hated it.. I kept hoping it would get better but it got worse. It’s a story about a fourth of July weekend for the protagonist and how he spends his weekend. He’s a realtor and spends most of it trying to sell a house…lol.. This book has a four star rating on Goodreads.
The Handmaid’s Tale
@Debora I know the gist of the story and I was weighing whether I wanted to read it or not. What did you not like about it?
@Crystal I can’t really explain why I don’t like it, I just don’t. Some authors just click with me and others do not. I’d read it years ago on my sister’s recommendation and did not enjoy it. And figured once was enough. A year or so ago my book club picked it and I gamely read it again and same conclusion. If you haven’t read it yet I’d suggest giving it a go, especially since it’s dystopian and many have embraced it as a cautionary tale in today’s political clime, and if you haven’t watched the mini-series yet.It is well-written and all that, I just didn’t enjoy it, but I can see why others rave about it.
Debora K. Ohnishi I haven’t watched the show since I figured it might show some graphic stuff, but I figured the book would be the easier route. Is the book pretty graphic too?
@Crystal I haven’t seen the show, but the book contains a scene or two that are pretty disturbing. Some authors just have a way with words that leave a more lasting impression than others though maybe not as graphic, (as was Little Bee). If you are easily disturbed or triggered for whatever reason, then I’d pass, sorry I can’t explain better.
Thanks for your explanation! I really appreciate it.
I found Sweetness in the Belly quite disturbing as well with honest ceremonial description. Writing/book was very good.
The Bell Jar. Made me want to put my head in the oven, too.
@Lynne that’s a shame. I very much enjoyed it ?
Anything by Ayn Rand. Her books were on an assignment list and put me to sleep. Talked the course instructor to let me read Alexander Solzhenitsyn.
@Accalia I’ve only read We, the Living by her so far. However it’s one of my favourite books. I’ve read a day in the life of Ivan by Solzhenitsyn
Spoiler Alert: Moby Dick with endless pages of Melville describing the different colors of white on the ocean put me over the edge. As well, Anna Karenina couldn’t throw herself under that train soon enough for me and then the novel still continued another 100 pages!
@Erica I agree about Ayn Rand but I liked Moby Dick and Anna Karenina is one of my all time favorites
Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry by Mildred. D. Taylor
The Catcher in the Rye seems to be a repeat offender!
I just finished reading Lolita. This book has beautiful prose, but made me feel dirty and disgusted. That poor little Dolly, abused by the despicable Humbert. It’s part of the 1001 books you should read before you die, which is why I picked it up (I knew a bit of the subject matter from the Kubrick film, but it is very sensored compared to the novel).
@Laura thank you, you certainly expressed my feelings exactly when I read Lolita and saw the movie.
Lolita is basically a tale of child abuse.
@Kristen I agree.
I found it a hard read due to the subject matter
I literally (no pun intended) stopped reading after about 25 pages…made me sick to my stomach. Felt the author was just a pedophile hiding his sickness under the guise of art.
Middlemarch and Gulliver’s Travels.
Well I have not been able to finish The Book Thief and I don’t know anyone who has actually read Ulysses
I loved the book thief and managed to read Ulysses in college when my brain was fresh ? I think it prepared me for William Faulkner my favorite.
@Evelyn I can read and enjoy Faulkner.
@Audrey Faulkner can be a bit difficult but I do know what you mean, Ulysses is confusing. There are so many great books and authors makes it nice that we can pick and choose!
@Audrey also I love your photo, I love horses. ?
@Evelyn. So do I! Books, baseball, horses, and the Lord!
Wow, me too!!! I am also an artist, love art and the Lord! The Red Sox, lived in Ohio so followed the Cinn. Reds, saw a lot of the greats. Loved Ted Williams!!
Well I loved the Reds because When all my friends had crushes on movie stars and rock stars mine was on Johnny Bench! Then. cheered for the Red Sox because I like Kimbrel, who used to be a Brave, my home team whom I have been following since the 90’s. I have a degree in literature and read and write and ride whenever I can. Devoutly Catholic
@Audrey how interesting!!! I have seen Johnny Bench many times in fact he use to come into a quaint little restaurant my cousin worked at for years. Love the Sox gone to many games. Wonderful that you have a literature degree, I so admire that and of course the writing and horses. I dont have horses now but did for years, my best friend has at least 30…miss the days we rode. Bet you have read a lot of “horse books” as a child National Velvet and of course Black Beauty.
The Catcher in the Rye. I kept expecting it to get better, but I got to the end of the book wondering what all the fuss was about…haha
A book chosen by my book club years ago was just too depressing to me to read more than maybe the first chapter, The Lovely Bones.
Book club also read Bridget Jones’ Diary. I felt brain cells dying and stopped reading it too. Love, love, love the movies though.
Alice Sebold was raped in a tunnel her freshman year at college. She reported it to the police but they could not find her attacker. Later she was walking down the street and saw him. She reported it to the police and the man was picked up and went to prison. The police officer handling her case told her that she was lucky to be alive since another young woman had been raped, killed and dismembered in the same tunnel. What she experienced in the rapes is written into the novel.
Infinite Torture. I mean Jest. I despised it.
One Last Thing Before I Go. Very highly rated. I didn’t like it.
The Slap, hated the characters and forced myself to get through it, Catch 22, and Tara Moss books which are too creepy. There are others of course that I struggled with but gave up on sadly, like Vanity Fair.
Marlon James- A History of Seven Killings
George Saunder’s Lincoln in the Bardo.
@Yassi definitely agreed
Any by Faulkner.
I always struggled with Patrick White’s books as well as Catch 22. I hated The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, but there is no way that it could be referred to as a classic.
I loved catch 22. Been recommended Girl with a dragon tattoo but I refuse to read it ?
Agree with you on White and Catch 22 Bernadette.
Henry James is a masterful writer in terms of sentences, but I find his stories more boring than dry oatmeal. I love Conrad, Hardy, Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, but not James.
I have a hard time with Faulkner and Virginia Woolf. Also Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. These were required reading in a college class and perhaps that is the reason that I was soured on them, although other required readings were very enjoyable and thought provoking. Could be that I didn’t like the professor in the class! I have also tried Ayn Rand and just can’t do it.
@Suzzy ~ I taught high school for more than 30 years and required book reports. I warned students about Heart of Darkness: it’s relatively short, easy to read, but very difficult to understand due to its many themes. Nonetheless, it’s a great piece of literature
Thanks @Peter. I will try it again as an adult and maybe think differently of it. I think it is available as a free kindle book. Nothing ventured, nothing gained………….
@Suzzy – it is worth looking at SparkNote or Cliffs for the discussions on themes and historical context
Heart of darkness was sooo boring!
De gustibus non est disputandum
Suzzy Thomas definitely agree with this one
If you ever do audiobooks, there’s one out there of Heart of Darkness read by Kenneth Branagh. I highly recommend it.
Heart of Darkness and Beowulf
Don’t shoot me: To Kill a Mockingbird. Also cannot bear James Joyce or Virginia Woolf. Give me a Charles Dickens any day!
@Jennie Have you read any other of the Victorian writers such as Anthony Trollope?
I have read quite a few other 19th century writers -Hardy, Eliot, Thoreau, all the Bronte sisters (I love them all!) etc but haven’t read any Trollope. I think I have a copy of Barchester Towers somewhere and I am hoping to have lots of time for reading, once my degree is finished in June!
The book thief
and here I was the only one who felt this way: a friend recommended it to me – “It is the BEST BOOK I HAVE EVER READ.” When I finished, I wondered what I had missed.
Peter Kalnin Was recommended to me also. I thought the book was overly long could’ve been cut by about 150 pages. I also saw the film and didn’t like that much either. I guess to safe to say I am not a book thief fan.
@Lynne ~ I love Paul Bowles The Sheltering Sky, and that is a book that is eclipsed by the magnificent film (directed by B Bertolucci) [by the way, I LOVE the voice-over narrator on this trailer] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8GMo0i49fg
One of my reading groups read Book Thief a couple of years ago. Out of 10 people, 9 were fans (including me) and 1 person absolutely HATED it. Said she didn’t feel any emotion, no connections with the characters…….
Pride and Prejudice
That’s a shame, I love this, it’s very funny!
Same! I couldn’t finish it
Woolf, Borges, Proust, Dickens, Joyce, Mann
Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. Rambling, repetitive prose that was badly in need of a good editor.
First Person, by Richard Flanagan – no idea how it managed to get so many awards, its probably the most awful book i’ve wasted my time on ever.
Catcher in the Rye was highly disappointing. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. And Nathanael West’s Miss Lonelyhearts was a real letdown.
@Chinelo by Bulgakov.
Totally hated that book! 😉
One of John Sanford’s Golden Prey books.