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Have you ever read an overrated book? Do share!I must admit that I have read a couple....

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Michelle Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 15, 2010 at 12:02 PM via web

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Have you ever read an overrated book? Do share!

I must admit that I have read a couple. I enjoyed Angels and Demons by Dan Brown ten times more than The Da Vinci Code and somehow the latter even made it into a movie- WHICH was also overrated.

There are some other classical books I will not mention because I think I might get in trouble, but it's amazing to me how sometimes people just "say" that this or that book are "out of this world" when, in fact, they are not.

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drmonica | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted October 15, 2010 at 12:14 PM (Answer #2)

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Interesting that you start off with The DaVinci Code, which I rank as one of the most overrated novels of all time and immediately thought of when I saw the topic! In fact, this novel made me renew my vow not to pay attention to current popular fiction, as it almost always disappoints me greatly.

I much prefer nonfiction and eagerly await the next release by, let's say, Nathaniel Philbrick, as most readers await a Grisham novel. To me, history and current events are much more interesting than just about anything a novelist can devise.

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epollock | Valedictorian

Posted October 15, 2010 at 3:07 PM (Answer #3)

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I am not sure what you mean by overrated. If you refer to popular fiction, there are quite a few that are marketed and sold almost as a new way of life such as the book "The Secret" but when you read it objectively, there is nothing in it that no one already knows.

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 15, 2010 at 3:16 PM (Answer #4)

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One of my very favorite movies is A Clockwork Orange, so I decided to give the novel a whirl, expecting it (like most books) to be better than the film version. I couldn't get past the futuristic language used by author Anthony Burgess, however. A second attempt at reading it failed as well.

 

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ask996 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted October 15, 2010 at 3:34 PM (Answer #5)

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It kind of comes down to what people expect out of a book and for what purpose they are reading books. I spend so much of my professional life reading for edification that when I read simply because I want to read, I tend to enjoy novels that will never be considered "classical literature." However, I do also enjoy works that would be considered "quality literature" too. Speaking of John Grisham--as I think Mrs. Monica mentioned. I absolutely hated playing for pizza.

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mrs-campbell | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 15, 2010 at 3:41 PM (Answer #6)

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At the risk of alienating entire crowds of people and possibly getting hate messages, can we say Stephanie Meyer?  The only thing recommending her vampire series is that she effectively tapped into the raging hormones of teenage girls and women, and all women's desires to be loved by a true gentleman--even if he is a blood-sucking one.  The writing is horrible, the main character is petulant, and the books are single-handedly responsible for an entire surge of even worse vampire spin-offs in novels, television, and movies.  I teach creative writing, and I when I tell my students that they are not allowed to write stories about vampires, it's like I've dropped a bomb; they get really upset with me and ask, "Well, what am I supposed to write about then?" like vampires are the only fodder for any sort of creativity.  I know that many teachers and academics don't overrate the Twilight series, but I know that it certainly is in popular culture.

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kiwi | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted October 15, 2010 at 6:25 PM (Answer #7)

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As with earlier postings, I will risk condemnation - but I can't seem to appreciate any of Tolkein's great works. I have had students so keen to convert me that one bought me a beautiful illustrated copy of The Hobbit. I did try but no, still can't get engaged by hairy-footed Middle Earthlings. I have to change the subject at parties as The Lord of The Rings was filmed here in New Zealand and I still don't get it.

Right, that's me probably losing my visa...it felt good to confess though.

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 15, 2010 at 7:19 PM (Answer #8)

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I hate coming late to the game because two of my three ideas have been taken and I feel like I'm stealing others' ideas.  Nonetheless, I pile on by naming The DaVinci Code, which I found laughable at times, and the Twilight series, which is just too commercial for words.   I shall now join the rest of you on the "Isle of Exiled Ex-English Teachers" by naming the Harry Potter series.  I know.  These are the books which caused somnolent and uninterested readers to read once again; however, one book tells you everything you need to know.  The rest of them are just repetitions of the first.  Marketing is everything, and Harry Potter branding is almost beyond belief; however, they just bore me.

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brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 15, 2010 at 7:47 PM (Answer #9)

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This is hilarious.  The first book I thought of when I saw the question was Angels and Demons, before I saw the other responses.  I started reading it in a bed and breakfast within sight of the Vatican walls, and am still angry I spent that much of my European vacation reading it only to have my Willing Suspension of Disbelief so utterly challenged.  I won't include the spoiler in case you haven't read it, but I'd give it a big raspberry for a review.

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clairewait | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 15, 2010 at 9:55 PM (Answer #10)

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At the risk of alienating entire crowds of people and possibly getting hate messages, can we say Stephanie Meyer?  The only thing recommending her vampire series is that she effectively tapped into the raging hormones of teenage girls and women, and all women's desires to be loved by a true gentleman--even if he is a blood-sucking one.  The writing is horrible, the main character is petulant, and the books are single-handedly responsible for an entire surge of even worse vampire spin-offs in novels, television, and movies.  I teach creative writing, and I when I tell my students that they are not allowed to write stories about vampires, it's like I've dropped a bomb; they get really upset with me and ask, "Well, what am I supposed to write about then?" like vampires are the only fodder for any sort of creativity.  I know that many teachers and academics don't overrate the Twilight series, but I know that it certainly is in popular culture.

I love this so much, I just might print it out on small cards and start handing it to students instead of trying to verbalize it myself.

I might get the wrath of Scott-Locklear here, but I wasn't all that big on Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  Read it for a book club and found it entertaining, but not mind-blowing.

Amen to Dan Brown.

And, did anyone else get caught up in The Purpose Driven Life movement?  I am a church goer, but anytime my church (or any church for that matter) promotes a book, I run for the hills.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 16, 2010 at 6:51 AM (Answer #11)

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Oh my goodness! How the mighty have fallen! I must admit I share so many of my editors' scepticism about "the latest blockbuster" as I have been disappointed so very many times. I must share, at risk of getting all the blood sucked out of my body, my loathing of the Twilight series. The only way I managed to read it (after much protesting and encouragement from my students) was when I was so ill I couldn't read anything more complex, and even then my wife made me stop because I got so angry with the stupid characters I started shouting at them. Could have been the high fever making me delusional...

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 16, 2010 at 10:39 AM (Answer #12)

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Is not most pulp-fiction overrated?  But, while Cormac McCarthy has written some superb fiction--All the Pretty Horses and The Crossing, for instance--his The Road seems overrated.  Somehow, the "great existential moments and themes" do not seem insipid to this reader.  If anything, this book reflects the publics penchant for making something out of nothing.

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MaudlinStreet | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted October 17, 2010 at 4:22 PM (Answer #13)

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I have to chime in and agree with The Da Vinci Code. It wasn't even a book I could mindlessly fall into over summer. I hated every minute of it.....I felt it was written for people who didn't usually read, so there were all kinds of stylistic gimmicks to grab your attention. I also read the first book of the Twilight series at my sister's request, and still wish I had told her no. Maybe I missed the pre-pubescent romance craze in my life or something, but there was no getting me into that book.

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frizzyperm | College Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted October 20, 2010 at 12:25 AM (Answer #14)

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Maybe I'm an incompetent philistine, but I can't understand why Agatha Chritie is supposed to be so amazing. Her stories make great films, but the books themselves are horriblly dry and boring IMO.

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lmetcalf | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted October 28, 2010 at 11:01 AM (Answer #15)

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I am going to add a novel that got tons of good buzz and that I would classify as "better" lit -- The Story of Edgar Sawtelle.  I LOVE Hamlet and I am a devoted reader of classic literature, but love to wade into modern books, especially stuff like this that promises to be good -- after all, how can anything that claims to be a modern telling of Hamlet's story be bad?  Well, let me say that I thought this was one of the most boring things I have ever read!  Too much dog-breeding info, too heavy handed with the allusion (Uncle's name is Claude and Mom's name is Trudie).  I got half way through, stopped for a few months, decided I just had to see it through, and hated it all the way to the end.  Thanks for letting me vent!

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linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted October 28, 2010 at 12:43 PM (Answer #16)

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Oh my goodness. Has anyone ever read Billy Budd for pleasure? I mean, did you ever pick it up and start reading without being forced to by some awful teacher? It is sheer torture! Yet, it's one of the classics. I don't get it!

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howesk | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted November 18, 2010 at 11:57 AM (Answer #17)

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I recently tried over and over to read The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao but failed each time. I heard so many good things about the novel, but I found it slow and painful to get through. Perhaps I'm the only one here, but I don't understand how it's taught in schools.

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sparrow13 | Student, Grade 10 | Honors

Posted November 26, 2010 at 12:15 PM (Answer #18)

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The Twilight books are so overrated. I did not enjoy them at all. They were to predictable and I do not understand the hype over them. They were a real disappointment when I read them. Everything about them is so cliche and boring. I was made to read them for an english project. The books have no substance and I wad forced to read them- my english teacher is in love with them. The most overrated book ever!

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booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted November 29, 2010 at 9:01 PM (Answer #19)

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I recently finished The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, by Katherine Howe, which is purported to be on USA Today's List of Top Ten (?) books of 2009. Comments from a variety of reviewers (well-known sources) on the book's jacket praised it as "scary" and 'similar to Anne Rice.' Now Anne Rice's book The Mummy was something I read ages and ages ago. I recall that it scared me to death (and I loved it). (Maybe it wouldn't so much today...)

This book was a good read, and I liked the premise; research was good and there were no loose ends, but I wasn't sure after I had finished it what all the hoopla was about. And...I didn't turn up the lights or listen for bumps in the night.  *Sigh*

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appletrees | College Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted December 2, 2010 at 7:55 PM (Answer #20)

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I used to review books for a New Age publication that covered new products and books. They asked me to review The Celestine Prophecy (that new age piece of claptrap that was self-published and sold millions of copies and made the writer a millionaire.) I tried to read. I really did. But it was so poorly written, I really could not get through it. I still wrote the review, sticking to generalities. I'm sure my review did not adversely affect sales in any way.

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laurenlulubelle | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 14, 2010 at 4:41 PM (Answer #21)

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At the risk of alienating entire crowds of people and possibly getting hate messages, can we say Stephanie Meyer?  The only thing recommending her vampire series is that she effectively tapped into the raging hormones of teenage girls and women, and all women's desires to be loved by a true gentleman--even if he is a blood-sucking one.  The writing is horrible, the main character is petulant, and the books are single-handedly responsible for an entire surge of even worse vampire spin-offs in novels, television, and movies.  I teach creative writing, and I when I tell my students that they are not allowed to write stories about vampires, it's like I've dropped a bomb; they get really upset with me and ask, "Well, what am I supposed to write about then?" like vampires are the only fodder for any sort of creativity.  I know that many teachers and academics don't overrate the Twilight series, but I know that it certainly is in popular culture.

I was going to put this up too! I was shocked that no one mentioned it before 6 posts!

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