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 Post subject: Re: Bad Book Club
PostPosted: 16 Aug 2019, 23:13 
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I also Do Not Like Thomas Hardy. I find it too hard to get past the raging misogyny.


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 Post subject: Re: Bad Book Club
PostPosted: 17 Aug 2019, 10:17 
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Yes, I think Hardy's fiction is a tough read for a lot of people, male or female (I do quite like his poetry, though). It's the sheer amount of doom and gloom in the novels that gets me, I think - he never seems to miss a chance to turn things bitter for his characters. For me, Jude the Obscure probably comes out top in the misery stakes, though Tess of the Durbervilees can't be far behind.


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 Post subject: Re: Bad Book Club
PostPosted: 17 Aug 2019, 12:15 
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I found Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt totally depressing.


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 Post subject: Re: Bad Book Club
PostPosted: 17 Aug 2019, 13:53 
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lizco2 wrote:
I found Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt totally depressing.


I agree, lizco2 - in fact I found it so depressing that I couldn't finish it.


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 Post subject: Re: Bad Book Club
PostPosted: 17 Aug 2019, 14:35 
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Noreen wrote:
Yes, I think Hardy's fiction is a tough read for a lot of people, male or female (I do quite like his poetry, though). It's the sheer amount of doom and gloom in the novels that gets me, I think - he never seems to miss a chance to turn things bitter for his characters. For me, Jude the Obscure probably comes out top in the misery stakes, though Tess of the Durbervilles can't be far behind.


My sentiments almost word for word and being Dorset born and bred, everyone expects me to lu-u-rve him!

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 Post subject: Re: Bad Book Club
PostPosted: 18 Aug 2019, 09:28 
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I can't get on with Hardy either. In fact I rarely do "sad" in books or indeed films.

My children laugh at me because I will watch the saddest of real-life documentaries but nothing fictional....

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 Post subject: Re: Bad Book Club
PostPosted: 18 Aug 2019, 17:01 
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Whilst I agree that that Hardy's books can be gloomy (and Jude is unremitting misery), I feel that there are books (Under The Greenwood Tree, The Woodlanders and The Trumpet Major for instance) which are much "easier" reading. Unfortunately as these are regarded as minor works they don't tend to be the ones that people come across.

I'm reluctant to categorise any book as "bad" if it gives enjoyment to the reader. Whatever I think about the writing of The Da Vinci Code and Fifty Shades of Grey, their popularity shows that many people enjoyed them. To be honest, I think many such books are tedious rather than anything else but I can choose not to read them.

Of course, it rather depends on how you define "good" and, for many people, that just means "I liked this book". Even if it's possible to come up with a definition of "good" that can be applied as an absolute, it still doesn't mean it will appeal to everyone. Many "good" books are hard reading - you are only going to enjoy them if you have reached a certain reading standard.


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 Post subject: Re: Bad Book Club
PostPosted: 18 Aug 2019, 21:14 
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Victoria wrote:
Many "good" books are hard reading - you are only going to enjoy them if you have reached a certain reading standard.
Absolutely - it was very difficult to come up with an accurate title for this topic, but I don't think any of us is trying to set ourselves up as a literary critic. It seemed to me that it would be interesting to see what CBB-ers (who are by definition book lovers in some sense at least) have nevertheless found hard-going.

While we're with the "good" books, I remember reading an article by someone who was such a reader of 'good' books that he had none of what I'd categorise as 'tomato ketchup' in his library at all, and considered authors such as Anthony Powel and Evelyn Waugh to be frivolous. I did find that rather disturbing. I'd read the writings of the fourteenth century mystic Richard Rolle for pleasure, but I'd hate my entire library to be pitched at that level.


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 Post subject: Re: Bad Book Club
PostPosted: 19 Aug 2019, 16:24 
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I'd hate for my library to be pitched at any one level, too, Noreen. Surely one can enjoy Middlemarch one day, and then a book by Dorothy Sayers or Santa Montefiore another day and not feel you're *dumbing down* if you read the latter. Most books give you new ideas, and sometimes comfort and peace, no matter how easy they are to read. My reading covers a wide spectrum, but when I feel ill or depressed, I don't want to struggle with a book. I just want it to take me away somewhere different, and infuse some peace into my soul.

Books have been my one constant these last three years of never-ending severe pain. Sometimes I had to kneel to read, as I couldn't lie or sit, but books still worked their magic, taking me away from my situation. They were - and still are - my only real comfort when the pain is bad, as pain-killers don't help at all - and neither would reading only the classics! To coin a cliché, variety is the spice of life.

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 Post subject: Re: Bad Book Club
PostPosted: 19 Aug 2019, 16:37 
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When I had another think about this, I realised that the only books I would regard as "bad" are the kind of (allegedly) non-fiction that is based on neither facts or logic, and are there to promote a particular way of thinking. In this case, "bad" is definitely a moral judgement on my part

Into this category of "bad books"I would place things like "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion", "The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail" (although that's quite funny in places) and an awful lot of stuff like the antivaccine books and alternative "cures".

Even within that category, there are books that it is important to read simply because of their influence on society and people's thinking.


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 Post subject: Re: Bad Book Club
PostPosted: 20 Aug 2019, 13:30 
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I enjoyed Pannenberg's "Jesus God and Man" admittedly in translation,

but struggle with Thomas Hardy - after having "Tess"as set book, I swore never to read any again.

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 Post subject: Re: Bad Book Club
PostPosted: 21 Aug 2019, 00:22 
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I prefer to like/identify with at least one character in a book. Lots of recent novels seem to be populated with thoroughly unlikeable individuals.


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 Post subject: Re: Bad Book Club
PostPosted: 21 Aug 2019, 14:14 
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Pado wrote:
I prefer to like/identify with at least one character in a book. Lots of recent novels seem to be populated with thoroughly unlikeable individuals.


I agree. Why would anyone want to spend time with a lot of people they dislike?


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 Post subject: Re: Bad Book Club
PostPosted: 21 Aug 2019, 20:04 
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Equally true of both fictional and real people, too...

I also have a problem with seemingly interchangeable characters, especially within the genre of fantasy, where I think it's reasonable to expect people who are on the whole memorable. I don't want a ton of description, necessarily - a few quirks and foibles will do as long as they're well captured on the paper.


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 Post subject: Re: Bad Book Club
PostPosted: 21 Aug 2019, 20:20 
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Victoria wrote:
Pado wrote:
I prefer to like/identify with at least one character in a book. Lots of recent novels seem to be populated with thoroughly unlikeable individuals.


I agree. Why would anyone want to spend time with a lot of people they dislike?


I've only read the first of J K Rowling's books written as Robert Galbraith, I really did not like Cormoran Strike and didn't want to read any more about him.


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 Post subject: Re: Bad Book Club
PostPosted: 22 Aug 2019, 15:41 
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ivohenry wrote:
Victoria wrote:
Pado wrote:
I prefer to like/identify with at least one character in a book. Lots of recent novels seem to be populated with thoroughly unlikeable individuals.


I agree. Why would anyone want to spend time with a lot of people they dislike?


I've only read the first of J K Rowling's books written as Robert Galbraith, I really did not like Cormoran Strike and didn't want to read any more about him.


That was the book that came to mind when I was thinking of books with no likeable characters.


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 Post subject: Re: Bad Book Club
PostPosted: 28 Aug 2019, 12:03 
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I read 'The Girl In The Train' and found it hardly passable. So I persevered and read 'Into The Water'.

Well, I do wish I could have understood it.

So I consoled myself by reading about King Stephen's reign from the Peterborough Chronicle. Just why is Middle English so much easier to understand than a much-rated modern novel? Not boasting, just still confused.

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 Post subject: Re: Bad Book Club
PostPosted: 28 Aug 2019, 19:23 
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I read Girl in the train for a book club - wished I hadn't. It seems to be one you either love ot hate, judging by reactins at the discussion.


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 Post subject: Re: Bad Book Club
PostPosted: 29 Aug 2019, 17:21 
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I have just finished Blood Queen by Joanna Courtney which is about the MacBeths. The author felt that the Celtic and Anglo Saxon names were too complicated for the readers so she changed them. Some have been modernised eg Mael Coluim becomes Malcolm. Others are changed completely, Lady MacBeth has been renamed Cora instead of Gruoch. Cora is not Scottish nor sounds anything like Gruoch. A Danish woman is called Sibyl instead of Suthen.

I can accept using modern equivalents but not complete changes. I can cope with unusual names - I read Sister Fidelma, Cadfael and Icelandic crime. The latter will often explain how to pronounce nanes.


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