Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Tell me what's happenin', what's the buzz?

A few years ago I read The World is Flat, because it got lots of buzz about how the world and the way we interact with each other is changing/has changed.

I think I'm the wrong demographic for the book, because all of the obvious "ah-ha" moments left me going "well, duh". When discussing it with a friend's husband, he pointed out that I am in the wrong demographic for the book - I was on a few BBSs in the 80s, I've been online since 1989. I've been interacting with and engaging in commerce with people all over the world since 1990. If The World is Flat had been written in 1992, it would have been insightful.

Got any books, fiction or non, that people rave about or critics/reviewers gush over that leave you going "It's not bad, but it's certainly not as good as _______ thinks it is"?


Shawn Powers said...

Harry Potter? It's good, but it's not "wait in line for a week wearing a cape" good...

vince said...

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. A survey conducted by the Library of Congress and the Book of the Month Club in 1991, had asked what book had most affected readers’ personal lives. Atlas Shrugged placed second only to the Bible.

This roughly 1100-page novel is way too long and way too polemic. Nothing moves in this novel; everything whirls, or thunders, or convulses. Characters aren't afraid, fear "goes through them in spasms." Lines like "he shot to his feet with the stored abruptness of a spring uncoiling, his voice driving on in merciless triumph" and "an announcer, with a voice like a machine-gun spitting smiles " are just bad.

If I were to teach a class about how not to write a novel, I would use Atlas Shrugged as my textbook.

Michelle K said...

Labyrinth by Kate Moss. It was a mystery-fantasy that did a terrible job with the fantasy portion. BLEH.

Also, The Last Witchfinder by errr... James Morrow. I never found the main character believable, and for a so-called period piece, I rarely got the feel of the time.

Also, Daughter of Fortune by Isabelle Allende. I've loved other things she's written, but it's been two years and I STILL haven't finished this book.

And as much as I hate to admit it, although it was good, I didn't like Perdido Street Station by China Mieville. It was full of terrible things and terrible people and I found it terribly depressing to read.

Jeri said...

Someone Comes To Town, Someone Leaves Town by Cory Doctorow. Some thought it was genius - I thought it was simply bizarre.

I'm not a huge fan of lit fic - much of it seems like depression in novel-form - but some of my friends keep pushing me on it. I hated The Senator's Wife, most recently.