Author Topic: What is the best and/or worst recent book you've read?  (Read 2758 times)

clarissavandell

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Re: What is the best and/or worst recent book you've read?
« Reply #15 on: November 06, 2009, 10:54:00 PM »
I once had to read Cold Mountain for a class.   :P

The one time I liked a movie better than a book.  I know it's considered a classic by some, but the dashes for quotation marks is just odd, and serves no purpose. The description is brilliant; however there is so much of it packed into one page, I get tired of it easily.

Also, the main character dies, and their lover has their finger chopped off in the epilogue for some irrelevant reason.  I didn't understand the epilogue until I saw the movie. 

So that's my Cold Mountain rant.

Lord Terrisman

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Re: What is the best and/or worst recent book you've read?
« Reply #16 on: January 29, 2010, 01:13:28 AM »
So far the best book I've read is The Well of Ascension- BY:Brandon Sanderson
And the worst is The Immortals Series- By: Alyson Noel

Shadmere

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Re: What is the best and/or worst recent book you've read?
« Reply #17 on: January 29, 2010, 04:22:43 AM »
Recently?  Hrm. 

Over the last few months, I'd probably choose Mistborn as the best one I've read, followed closely by The Baker's Boy, by JV Jones.  If I look at the last year or so, I'd probably pick Anathem. 

Mistborn and Anathem are good for nearly opposite reasons.  Mistborn moves fast and feels very action-packed.  Anathem moves slowly.  I've read several reviews that specifically disliked the book for that reason, but the world was so well realized that I didn't care.  It was funny, though . . . the first half of the book, where he was building the world and describing it?  It took me so far into the world that I was slightly disappointed when the actual plot started!

Worst?  Oh, this one is easy.  As She Climbed Across the Table, by Jonathan Lethem.

I've never read a published "science fiction" book with as much ridiculous technobabble.  Lethem was obviously just making things up as he went along, assuming that the science didn't matter.  In a way, it didn't.  The plot wasn't influenced by the technobabble, really.  But still . . . even if it's unimportant, hearing someone say "The M particles are repelling the L particles" or something just really breaks suspension of disbelief.  The scientists in the book all acted bizarre and absolutely unscientific.  The macguffin of the book is a stable black hole that some researchers at a university create.  They name it Lack.  For a few weeks, they are incredibly interested in Lack.  But as it stymies their precious attempts to figure it out, they eventually stop caring.  Lack is left just floating above a table in an obscure room in the science department.

The book was also some sort of anti-science fantasy.  Like I mentioned above, when Lack did not seem to behave rationally, the scientists almost immediately gave up.  They couldn't find a logical way to explain its actions, so they threw up their hands and left.  This is possibly the most bizarre description of scientists I've ever seen: they discovered a black holel; it eats some things that are dropped into it, while letting others pass through; they cannot figure out what lets some things fall 'into' the black hole, and what lets other things pass through un-touched.  The reaction?  GET ANGRY AND LEAVE.  One scientist actually calls it an "abomination against science" or something like that.  When a literature professor states his intent to 'read' Lack like a text, using symbolism and metaphors, the scientist who created Lack becomes so threatened and insecure he runs out of the room to vomit.

Every character in the book was flat and incredibly unbelievable.  These two autistic guys are written as if by someone who read an article in Reader's Digest about the condition.  The scientists are all obsessed with logic and when something seems to go against logic, they decide it's safer to pretend that thing does not exist, and ignore it completely.  The Gender Studies professor that appears in a single scene goes on and on about how women allow themselves to be dominated by men by even speaking the language, and that spoken language is, at its root, a tool to control women. 

The main character cannot see a single thing, talk to a single person, or think a single thought without going on a bizarre, pages-long poetic rambling about what whatever-he's-talking-about symbolizes.  He's also possibly the most moping, emo protagonist I've seen since high school.

The ending, interestingly enough, was really, really good. 

But not good enough to suffer through the rest of the book for.  Not good enough at all.

::whew::  I had to get that off my chest.

guessingo

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Re: What is the best and/or worst recent book you've read?
« Reply #18 on: January 31, 2010, 12:07:29 AM »
Best:

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet: Takes place in the middle ages and it revolves around a village building a Cathedral. Follet is a mystery novelist and his historical novel is his most popular. If you like fantasy you will love this book. No it is not fantasy, but it is a period of time that Fantasy lovers like.

The Time Travellers Wife (I heard the movie sucked). The audio book presentation is outstanding. It has male and female performers. I am a guy and I do not read romance. So this is partial romance and alot of sci-fi. VERY well written.

Roma by Steven Saylor: Saylor is known for his mystery novels set in ancient Rome. This one is different. It is a series of vignettes that start in 1000 BC and then go to the rise of Octavian (the kid who won in HBO: Rome). This is the first novel I have seen where most of it takes place in very early rome. VERY good book.

The Forever War by Joe Haldeman: This is 35 years old. I went through the sci-fi awards to look for an older book to read and picked this one. GREAT BOOK! GREAT BOOK! It is about a 3,000 year war. People travel close to the speed of light and that causes them to go forward in time (Einstein says this will happen).

The Accidental Time Machine by Joe Haldeman: This was light hearted and fun. A lazy graduate student too lazy to finish his PhD accidentally invents a time machine. However, he can't figure out how it works and keeps going forward in time in hopes that someone else will tell him how to get home. The best part is when he gets to a point where technology is at the point where everyone is rich. An artificial intelligence basically manages things. It is the anti-skynet. Instead of wanting to take over, it finds people so annoying it wants to go through time to get away from them. I laughed out loud at this.

I am reading the second Mistborn book by Brandon. I liked the first one.

Worst:
The Yiddish Policemen's Union: This actually won the hugo award and the author won a pullitzer prize. I got bored and didn't finish it. This could be a taste issue. I don't like mysteries. I read it because the reviews were so good. I never finished it. It assumes that israel is not created and the jews move to Alaska.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2010, 12:14:34 AM by guessingo »

readerMom

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Re: What is the best and/or worst recent book you've read?
« Reply #19 on: January 31, 2010, 01:19:05 AM »
I am scavenging through the library because I have already spent too much money on books. I found one called The Still by David Feintuch.
I don't think I've ever disliked a main character so much. The blurb on the back said it was a story of the protagonist leaving the life of a spoiled nobleman's son and earning respect, blah blah blah. After a couple of chapters I skipped ahead and read the last few. Nope, he was still as irritating and annoying as in the first few. I don't know how he changed but I haven't been that bothered by a bad book in a while. I lay in bed that night thinking of all the ways it was awful. I had to take melatonin to get to sleep.

guessingo

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Re: What is the best and/or worst recent book you've read?
« Reply #20 on: January 31, 2010, 07:42:11 PM »
I live in Northern Virginia. The public library around here has all the sci-fi/fantasy or whatever else books I want. They also have a large number of them on audio books.

So your library doesn't carry a lot of sci-fi/fantasy books?