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Most overrated book

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  • Registered Users Posts: 514 ✭✭✭ Mules


    I didnt like Ulysses either. Although tbf I didnt really understand it. I stopped reading when he starting giving a description of someone having a s.h.i.t. I was eating at the time and thought ah for feck sake, that's enough of that now


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,298 ✭✭✭ ShamNNspace


    Mules wrote: »
    I didnt like Ulysses either. Although tbf I didnt really understand it. I stopped reading when he starting giving a description of someone having a s.h.i.t. I was eating at the time and thought ah for feck sake, that's enough of that now

    You'd wonder about people who put Ulysses as their favourite book in those questionnaires around Christmas, have they really read it? I remember Bertie putting it as his favourite book in one such questionnaire in the sindo in the boomtime, ya right he might have read the cover that'd be the height of it


  • Registered Users Posts: 12,835 ✭✭✭✭ Joe_ Public


    Had to read Ulysses back in college, struggled with it and was resentful towards it for a long time. But it never dawned on me to deem it overrated or anything short of an incredible literary achievement. Just the sheer labour that went into it, the craft and effort he put in to every image, every sentence, leaves me in awe. Overall i still struggle with it, would never list it my favourite book, but some pasages and particularly the dialogue are fantastic. There are so many lush and beautiful sentences in it that i think grappling with it is more than worth the effort. Finnegans Wake, on the other hand...


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,789 ✭✭✭ fvp4


    You'd wonder about people who put Ulysses as their favourite book in those questionnaires around Christmas, have they really read it? I remember Bertie putting it as his favourite book in one such questionnaire in the sindo in the boomtime, ya right he might have read the cover that'd be the height of it

    Even worse Finnegans wake. There’s no actual way to read it as a normal book anyway. You need to both study and translate it. He’s using his own language and grammar.


  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]


    Madame Bovary.

    This is a very disappointing book. The main problem is that it isn't sufficiently bad to give up halfway through — there are flashes of brilliance in the character construction, and it is occasionally very funny (the chapter set at the agricultural show is is a masterpiece). So you keep going, more out of hope than genuine enjoyment, plodding and trudging through a swamp of extraneous language and florid prose.

    Not since I was forced to read Barbara Cartland in a bookless air bnb on a wet holiday in Donegal have I been so bored by a novel.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,005 ✭✭✭ storker


    Is there anybody who thinks Catch 22 was...merely ok. It's one of my all time favourites but seems a kind of ultimate marmite book. Love or hate.

    I read it years ago as a teenager and it was a struggle to get to the end - I think it took me a couple of months and I didn't find it very amusing. A couple of years later I read it again finished in inside a week and enjoyed it so much I've read it at least another three times over the years since.
    Something Happened is a guy talking about how much he hates everything in his very mundane life for an entire book. Then at the end something happens. It's an extraordinarily bleak book. I feel a little depressed just thinking of it.

    So it has literary merit but is also a horrible read.

    Sounds about right. The irony is that that if I remember correctly *thing that happened* is the only thing that happened in the whole book. It's a very depressing read and unlike Catch-22, I've never considered it worth a revisit.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,005 ✭✭✭ storker


    It probably doesn't count as literature but I read Peter Straub's "Ghost Story" last year, mainly because Stephen King mentions it quite a bit in his non-fiction work, "Danse Macabre". Straub may be a friend of King's but he certainly doesn't write like him. Too much unconnected stuff going on without any real explanation. In fact, it isn't really a ghost story at all. It's one of those cases where the filmmakers were right to dump a large amount of the book. If Straub's story had been similar to the movie version it would have been a much better read.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,868 ✭✭✭ Conall Cernach


    sydthebeat wrote: »
    Tried to read gormengast years ago after rave recommendations from friends only to be very bored with its dense language and depressing narrative.

    I'm going to give it another go this summer to see if it has gotten more relatable as I've got older
    Gormenghast is a sequel to Titus Groan which is so slow and dense that it makes Gormenghast seem like a PG Wodehouse farce. I read them almost 30 years ago and thought them great but they're still sitting on my shelf unread since.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,789 ✭✭✭ fvp4


    Funny enough I am reading Barbara Pym, right now. Not the tweeter, the writer herself.the book is “Excellent women”.

    Worthy but dull is my synopsis.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,789 ✭✭✭ fvp4


    This is a very disappointing book. The main problem is that it isn't sufficiently bad to give up halfway through — there are flashes of brilliance in the character construction, and it is occasionally very funny (the chapter set at the agricultural show is is a masterpiece). So you keep going, more out of hope than genuine enjoyment, plodding and trudging through a swamp of extraneous language and florid prose.

    Not since I was forced to read Barbara Cartland in a bookless air bnb on a wet holiday in Donegal have I been so bored by a novel.

    “This” isn’t linked.


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  • Moderators, Arts Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators Posts: 71,224 Mod ✭✭✭✭ New Home


    No, but the title of the post is "Madame Bovary".

    I agree, one of the most infuriatingly boring things ever. I remember thinking during the suicide scene "Would you die already and put us all out of our misery?!".


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,544 ✭✭✭✭ siblers


    Ready Player One is awful


  • Registered Users, Subscribers Posts: 47,071 ✭✭✭✭ Zaph


    siblers wrote: »
    Ready Player One is awful

    I quite enjoyed it. Not the best book I've ever read, but far from the worst. The film, on the other hand, really was awful.


  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]


    New Home wrote: »
    No, but the title of the post is "Madame Bovary".

    I agree, one of the most infuriatingly boring things ever. I remember thinking during the suicide scene "Would you die already and put us all out of our misery?!".
    Every thought that Flaubert had for the story was pure genius, until he settled on his word count. If ever any novel should have been a short story...


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,566 ✭✭✭ Need a Username


    Madame Bovary.

    This is a very disappointing book. The main problem is that it isn't sufficiently bad to give up halfway through — there are flashes of brilliance in the character construction, and it is occasionally very funny (the chapter set at the agricultural show is is a masterpiece). So you keep going, more out of hope than genuine enjoyment, plodding and trudging through a swamp of extraneous language and florid prose.

    Not since I was forced to read Barbara Cartland in a bookless air bnb on a wet holiday in Donegal have I been so bored by a novel.

    Who forced you to read it?


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,677 ✭✭✭ TomTomTim


    There's a general policy of over rating Irish authors in Ireland. Kevin Barry, Joseph O'Connor, Colum McCann, John Boyne, that lad from Wexford, have all written some terribly self indulgent muck, but not one critic will ever, ever criticise these sacred cows. Which is unfortunate.

    The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas was simply massively overrated.
    Everything by Joseph O'Connor is terrible. Kevin Barry similarly way overrated.

    I know that this is very old post, but I've just tried to read Kevin Barry for the first time and was searching for mentions. I couldn't get past the first 10 pages of City of Bohane. When glancing at some of the writing it looked like an extreme variant of colloquialisms from Cork or Limerick, which I didn't get. Colloquialisms can cause trouble as they are naturally, so why bother trying an extreme variant? When I actually got down to reading it properly it was worse than I thought; it was a mix of South Western and African American slang, which resulted in a bizarre hybrid that was genuinely tough to read. The kind of writing the forces you to read a sentence several times to try and understand what is being said. While I truly think that people should write how they want to write, writing like his is the least attractive to me. If something takes great effort from sentence to sentence, it's very hard to view it with any sort of favorability.

    The only lesson learned from this experience, is to not take book recommendations from Irish literary elite, as anytime I do I'm nearly always left underwhelmed.

    “The man who lies to himself can be more easily offended than anyone else. You know it is sometimes very pleasant to take offense, isn't it? A man may know that nobody has insulted him, but that he has invented the insult for himself, has lied and exaggerated to make it picturesque, has caught at a word and made a mountain out of a molehill--he knows that himself, yet he will be the first to take offense, and will revel in his resentment till he feels great pleasure in it.”- ― Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov




  • Registered Users Posts: 12,835 ✭✭✭✭ Joe_ Public


    In relation to irish authors, I'm often struck by the number of interviews i read or hear which reference a "golden age" for Irish writing, when i think what is more accurate is that it is a golden age for publishing. In that, i don't believe quantity should ever be mistaken for quality. That said, i personally hold Colum McCann to be a very underrated writer, Let the Great World Spin remains one of the best novels I've read over the past 15-20 years. I think he's one of the best we've ever had.


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