Author Topic: well, THAT was the worst book ever!  (Read 128787 times)

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Winterlight

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Re: well, THAT was the worst book ever!
« Reply #1650 on: February 07, 2012, 11:21:42 AM »
Susan Wittig Albert's Beatrix Potter mysteries. I like her other series but this one is terrible. She continuously repeats information from previous books- whole pages of it! We don't actually need half a chapter on the badgers that you wrote three books ago and have put into every book since.

She repeatedly interjects the omniscent narrator, who takes up even more pages moralizing and prosing and explaining everything. I don't need you to tell me why two characters aren't necking on the front porch- I already know it's 1911 and that was highly inappropriate. Show, don't tell!

And she sucks at continuity. If you're going to make a point of mentioning a character's violet water perfume twice in one chapter, don't switch it to lilac ten pages later. If a character's name is Felicia in one book, turning it to Felicity in the next is irritating.

At this point I'm only reading them for the recipes.
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lollylegs

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Re: well, THAT was the worst book ever!
« Reply #1651 on: February 07, 2012, 06:06:33 PM »
Stephen Donaldson is rather prone to this, at least in the Thomas Covenant series. The Mordant's Need books are better. I didn't get into the sci-fi series at all, so I don't know about those!

I believe the late John D. MacDonald once referred to it as the "look Ma, I'm writing!" syndrome.

I might be thinking of someone else, but wasn't it, "Look how pretty I'm writing?"

lollylegs

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Re: well, THAT was the worst book ever!
« Reply #1652 on: February 07, 2012, 06:13:43 PM »
The Beverly Hills Diet (1981) by Judy Mazel. Basically its Mazel's raging eating disorder trying to pass itself off as a diet. There were actually papers posted in medical journals about this book and one paper said it was the first time an eating disorder -- anorexia nervosa -- was marketed as a cure for obesity.

 :o

Oh, if we're doing non-fiction, the Skinny B**** Book for pregnancy. I made it through the horrible descriptions of the dairy and cattle industry, but I threw the book across the room when, after several chapters of explaining why you're an *expletive deleted* if you drink soda and you shouldn't eat anything non-vegan even if your doctor says it's okay (the actual line they used was, "You believe him just because he's wearing a white coat?" No, actually, I believe him because he studied for at least six years), they tell you to switch to soy, even though there's some controversy about the industry, because they say it's okay.

To paraphrase: don't listen to your doctor, but listen to us, two random nutritionists.

BB-VA

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Re: well, THAT was the worst book ever!
« Reply #1653 on: February 07, 2012, 09:34:28 PM »
I'm enough of a geek to immediately think, "Did he mean 'sesquipedalian' ?"

It's not just me?

Me too.  But I got it from a Mary Stolz book - "To Tell Your Love".  It isn't as sappy as the title sounds.
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Re: well, THAT was the worst book ever!
« Reply #1654 on: February 09, 2012, 12:01:38 PM »
I just finished A Girl Named Zippy.  It wasn't the worst book ever but it was described as funny and heartwarming and I found it depressing.  It's a memoir and I thought the main character was unpleasant and sometimes downright mean (with a few nice moments).  I give credit for the author for letting readers view her that way though.

So I can't say I liked it, and yet it interested me enough that I am going to read the follow-up and then give the books away.

Maybe I should start a thread titled "How was it?...Well, I didn't hate it."  :P

Twik

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Re: well, THAT was the worst book ever!
« Reply #1655 on: February 09, 2012, 12:20:18 PM »
Me too! I went and read "Eye of Argon". Laughed my butt off, then read the Mystery Science Theatre 3000 style commentary version and laughed even harder. The sad thing about it is that underneath all the overwrought prose, there's a decent story in there somewhere. I did have a few quibbles though- If the ruler of that land is such a vicious tyrant who kills anyone who opposes him, then why do peasants throw things at him when he's out in public, according to one of the characters in that story? Wouldn't he have his soldiers kill them? And at one point in the story, the main character gets into a scuffle in the throne  room, and the king's advisor takes what sounds like a serious wound. But later, we see the king and his advisor again, and the guy is just fine, no sign given of his earlier injury. Hello, continuity error!
Continuity errors, even major ones, can sneak into all sorts of writing.  I'm thinking about MZB's Two to Conquer.  In one scene, a man and a woman are cuddled up in bed; she is specifically described as sleeping with her head on his shoulder.  Another man enters the room; the first man wakes up, leaps out of bed, and has an entire conversation with the intruder before the woman wakes up.

I don't know about you, but if my shoulder-pillow jerks out from under me, I'm going to wake up immediately!

IT's so easy to do. I remember writing a scene where characters A, B and C have a long conversation. B ends it by saying, "Good plan, let's go tell it to C, who's in the other room".

I didn't catch it until my third read-through. It wasn't as if I hadn't been writing dialogue for C through the whole scene.
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."

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Re: well, THAT was the worst book ever!
« Reply #1656 on: February 09, 2012, 12:27:03 PM »
Me too! I went and read "Eye of Argon". Laughed my butt off, then read the Mystery Science Theatre 3000 style commentary version and laughed even harder. The sad thing about it is that underneath all the overwrought prose, there's a decent story in there somewhere. I did have a few quibbles though- If the ruler of that land is such a vicious tyrant who kills anyone who opposes him, then why do peasants throw things at him when he's out in public, according to one of the characters in that story? Wouldn't he have his soldiers kill them? And at one point in the story, the main character gets into a scuffle in the throne  room, and the king's advisor takes what sounds like a serious wound. But later, we see the king and his advisor again, and the guy is just fine, no sign given of his earlier injury. Hello, continuity error!
Continuity errors, even major ones, can sneak into all sorts of writing.  I'm thinking about MZB's Two to Conquer.  In one scene, a man and a woman are cuddled up in bed; she is specifically described as sleeping with her head on his shoulder.  Another man enters the room; the first man wakes up, leaps out of bed, and has an entire conversation with the intruder before the woman wakes up.

I don't know about you, but if my shoulder-pillow jerks out from under me, I'm going to wake up immediately!

IT's so easy to do. I remember writing a scene where characters A, B and C have a long conversation. B ends it by saying, "Good plan, let's go tell it to C, who's in the other room".

I didn't catch it until my third read-through. It wasn't as if I hadn't been writing dialogue for C through the whole scene.

I write my own stuff (for fun, not publication) and have for years been terrified of love scenes, because I am not the best at physical logistics. Then, a few years ago, I read a novel (maybe by Katie MacAlister?) in which someone in a love scene did, however briefly, have three hands.

It was a paranormal romance, but not one in which anyone could reasonably be expected to have extra appendages  :P.

That made me feel both better (everybody does it, I guess!) and worse (there's no guarantee even a trained editor will catch it!  :-[).
I don't kill threads, but I do seem to stun 'em pretty good. :-)

wonderfullyanonymous

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Re: well, THAT was the worst book ever!
« Reply #1657 on: February 09, 2012, 01:19:18 PM »
I came across one recently. I have a Nook, and because of lack of funds, I have been looking on the free books list. The first couple of books I read from this author were AMAZING to say  the least. I went through and downloaded a bunch more, either free or really discounted. All in all, I have downloaded 12 books, and they are really good, and I recommend them to everyone, except this one. I tried reading it, I swear, but I found it really not to my taste.

C.L. Bevill "The Life and Death of Bayou Billy"

goldilocks

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Re: well, THAT was the worst book ever!
« Reply #1658 on: February 09, 2012, 03:46:06 PM »
We were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates.   Not necessarily a bad book, but incredibly depressing.  I couldn't finish it, and I always finish books no matter how awful they are.

Bad enough that the girl got raped, boy got off scot-free, but then her dad sends her away to live with a relative because he just couldn't stand to see her.

Harriet Jones

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Re: well, THAT was the worst book ever!
« Reply #1659 on: February 09, 2012, 05:14:07 PM »
We were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates.  Not necessarily a bad book, but incredibly depressing. I couldn't finish it, and I always finish books no matter how awful they are.

Bad enough that the girl got raped, boy got off scot-free, but then her dad sends her away to live with a relative because he just couldn't stand to see her.

Was it an Oprah Book Club selection?  Because all of those I happened to read were like that.

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Re: well, THAT was the worst book ever!
« Reply #1660 on: February 09, 2012, 05:16:18 PM »
We were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates.  Not necessarily a bad book, but incredibly depressing. I couldn't finish it, and I always finish books no matter how awful they are.

Bad enough that the girl got raped, boy got off scot-free, but then her dad sends her away to live with a relative because he just couldn't stand to see her.

Was it an Oprah Book Club selection?  Because all of those I happened to read were like that.

Why yes, yes it was, in fact  ;)

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Re: well, THAT was the worst book ever!
« Reply #1661 on: February 09, 2012, 05:42:28 PM »
Me too! I went and read "Eye of Argon". Laughed my butt off, then read the Mystery Science Theatre 3000 style commentary version and laughed even harder. The sad thing about it is that underneath all the overwrought prose, there's a decent story in there somewhere. I did have a few quibbles though- If the ruler of that land is such a vicious tyrant who kills anyone who opposes him, then why do peasants throw things at him when he's out in public, according to one of the characters in that story? Wouldn't he have his soldiers kill them? And at one point in the story, the main character gets into a scuffle in the throne  room, and the king's advisor takes what sounds like a serious wound. But later, we see the king and his advisor again, and the guy is just fine, no sign given of his earlier injury. Hello, continuity error!
Continuity errors, even major ones, can sneak into all sorts of writing.  I'm thinking about MZB's Two to Conquer.  In one scene, a man and a woman are cuddled up in bed; she is specifically described as sleeping with her head on his shoulder.  Another man enters the room; the first man wakes up, leaps out of bed, and has an entire conversation with the intruder before the woman wakes up.

I don't know about you, but if my shoulder-pillow jerks out from under me, I'm going to wake up immediately!

IT's so easy to do. I remember writing a scene where characters A, B and C have a long conversation. B ends it by saying, "Good plan, let's go tell it to C, who's in the other room".

I didn't catch it until my third read-through. It wasn't as if I hadn't been writing dialogue for C through the whole scene.

I write my own stuff (for fun, not publication) and have for years been terrified of love scenes, because I am not the best at physical logistics. Then, a few years ago, I read a novel (maybe by Katie MacAlister?) in which someone in a love scene did, however briefly, have three hands.

It was a paranormal romance, but not one in which anyone could reasonably be expected to have extra appendages  :P.

That made me feel both better (everybody does it, I guess!) and worse (there's no guarantee even a trained editor will catch it!  :-[).

You got me very curious! What was the book?

Kendo_Bunny

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Re: well, THAT was the worst book ever!
« Reply #1662 on: February 09, 2012, 11:21:26 PM »
I write my own stuff (for fun, not publication) and have for years been terrified of love scenes, because I am not the best at physical logistics. Then, a few years ago, I read a novel (maybe by Katie MacAlister?) in which someone in a love scene did, however briefly, have three hands.

It was a paranormal romance, but not one in which anyone could reasonably be expected to have extra appendages  :P.

That made me feel both better (everybody does it, I guess!) and worse (there's no guarantee even a trained editor will catch it!  :-[).

I do some editing (mostly picking apart terrible things), and someone on one of my boards submitted a story with a love scene between a pair of ultimate contortionists. Extra long necks, being able to kiss the other's back while in a certain position... I was reading it out loud to some friends who decided to try to contort with how the story described it. We figured that one of the lovers had a neck like a giraffe, and the other had a second head growing out of his hip region.

The ultimate line about writing love-making poorly: "Giving a reader a scene that is half right is like giving her half a kitten. It's not half as cute as a whole kitten, it's a bloody, godawful mess."

FlyingBaconMouse

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Re: well, THAT was the worst book ever!
« Reply #1663 on: February 09, 2012, 11:25:43 PM »
Me too! I went and read "Eye of Argon". Laughed my butt off, then read the Mystery Science Theatre 3000 style commentary version and laughed even harder. The sad thing about it is that underneath all the overwrought prose, there's a decent story in there somewhere. I did have a few quibbles though- If the ruler of that land is such a vicious tyrant who kills anyone who opposes him, then why do peasants throw things at him when he's out in public, according to one of the characters in that story? Wouldn't he have his soldiers kill them? And at one point in the story, the main character gets into a scuffle in the throne  room, and the king's advisor takes what sounds like a serious wound. But later, we see the king and his advisor again, and the guy is just fine, no sign given of his earlier injury. Hello, continuity error!
Continuity errors, even major ones, can sneak into all sorts of writing.  I'm thinking about MZB's Two to Conquer.  In one scene, a man and a woman are cuddled up in bed; she is specifically described as sleeping with her head on his shoulder.  Another man enters the room; the first man wakes up, leaps out of bed, and has an entire conversation with the intruder before the woman wakes up.

I don't know about you, but if my shoulder-pillow jerks out from under me, I'm going to wake up immediately!

IT's so easy to do. I remember writing a scene where characters A, B and C have a long conversation. B ends it by saying, "Good plan, let's go tell it to C, who's in the other room".

I didn't catch it until my third read-through. It wasn't as if I hadn't been writing dialogue for C through the whole scene.

I write my own stuff (for fun, not publication) and have for years been terrified of love scenes, because I am not the best at physical logistics. Then, a few years ago, I read a novel (maybe by Katie MacAlister?) in which someone in a love scene did, however briefly, have three hands.

It was a paranormal romance, but not one in which anyone could reasonably be expected to have extra appendages  :P.

That made me feel both better (everybody does it, I guess!) and worse (there's no guarantee even a trained editor will catch it!  :-[).

You got me very curious! What was the book?

Based on a quick look through Amazon, I think it must have been MacAlister's A Girl's Guide To Vampires. I hope printings since I read it have had that corrected!
I don't kill threads, but I do seem to stun 'em pretty good. :-)

Slartibartfast

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Re: well, THAT was the worst book ever!
« Reply #1664 on: February 09, 2012, 11:37:54 PM »
I write my own stuff (for fun, not publication) and have for years been terrified of love scenes, because I am not the best at physical logistics. Then, a few years ago, I read a novel (maybe by Katie MacAlister?) in which someone in a love scene did, however briefly, have three hands.

It was a paranormal romance, but not one in which anyone could reasonably be expected to have extra appendages  :P.

That made me feel both better (everybody does it, I guess!) and worse (there's no guarantee even a trained editor will catch it!  :-[).

I do some editing (mostly picking apart terrible things), and someone on one of my boards submitted a story with a love scene between a pair of ultimate contortionists. Extra long necks, being able to kiss the other's back while in a certain position... I was reading it out loud to some friends who decided to try to contort with how the story described it. We figured that one of the lovers had a neck like a giraffe, and the other had a second head growing out of his hip region.

The ultimate line about writing love-making poorly: "Giving a reader a scene that is half right is like giving her half a kitten. It's not half as cute as a whole kitten, it's a bloody, godawful mess."

One of my (published) writer friends mentioned how she uses her husband for this.  "Here, honey, can you help me with some blocking?  Okay, so if I'm standing here, you put your hand like this.  All right, then I touch you here, and you use your other hand to hold me here.  Then if you lean forward a bit - that's good - yes, perfect, it does throw us off balance!  Okay, so now we're lying on the bed like this - a bit more to your left, honey - and you do that.  Does that feel awkward to you?  Oh, I guess you can't use your other hand to run through my hair because you need it for balance.  Okay, thanks honey!"  *jumping up*  "I'm going to go finish the scene!"

(Meanwhile her poor husband is left with his shirt half off, lying on the bed, and really hoping she was more in the mood for a Scrabble game than for sitting at her laptop for the next few hours!)