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Author Topic: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through  (Read 44130 times)

Offline Ben

Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
« on: March 08, 2015, 03:34:28 PM »
I'm sure we all encounter them. Books that everyone who reads the genre loves and recommends to you on a near daily basis.

I'm sure my list runs about waist high in regards to books that people have loved but at this moment I am focusing on Elantris. My wife loves the book, every review I have read of it states that it is a good book but I am struggling with it. I am 37% done and it has been a fight. I don't mind books with moments of devious politicking, and self reflection but this book seems to be nothing but politicking. At least at this point. My wife keeps telling me that it builds momentum as it goes...I hope it does.

So to pass the time, I have also picked up Red Rising.

Offline JMack

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Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2015, 03:51:13 PM »
A number of folks have commented on Mirror Empire as a tough read. I've currently set it aside, and plan to return at some point soon.

I'd love to know who on F-F has actually read Gormengast, Titus Groan and Titus Alone. I've started the first novel twice. It's incredibly dense, interesting stuff, reminiscent of Dickens if he'd been smoking opium. I keep putting the single-volume version on the Goodwill pile, and keep pulling it back off with some vision of being a more intellectually-focused person than I am actually am.

And then of course... Wheel of Time - any volume past number 5.  But this has been raked over the coals in other threads. Let's not start another discussion of it. Though from what I've heard the bathtub volume would be must-reading if I needed something to read during a root canal.
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Offline eclipse

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Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2015, 04:03:02 PM »
Terry Pratchett, I've tried but Discworld not for me sorry everyone
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* Generally those who don't have to do it.Politicians and writers spring to mind

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Offline Skip

Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2015, 04:20:07 PM »
Name of the Wind.  I found the main character insufferable and the characters trite. Gave up about a third of the way through.

For a different sort of struggle, Dahlgren. I made it all the way through, and the book still lingers in memory, but it was a difficult book to read. It was like reading someone else's dream.
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Offline ScarletBea

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Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2015, 05:26:55 PM »
Neil Gaiman's American Gods - one of the very few books I didn't bother to finish.

As for books I liked, but have definitely not given the cult status/5+ stars that most people seem to give them, hehe, I can list Scott Lynch's Lies of Lock Lamora and Joe Abercrombie's First Law trilogy (I can hear the cries of "heresy!" in the background ;))
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Offline Nighteyes

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Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2015, 07:04:18 PM »
Book of the New Sun by Gene Woolf. Read all 4. Still no idea what was going on.
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Offline Hedin

Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2015, 07:05:03 PM »
For me it's been Mark Lawrence's Broken Empire (plus Prince of Fools).   They are definitely well written books but I can't find myself caring about any of the characters or the results of their actions.

Offline Ryan Mueller

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Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2015, 07:15:51 PM »
A Song of Ice and Fire. I have to read it a little bit at a time. There are so many characters I just don't like reading about. It's only the few interesting plotlines that keep me going.

Malazan Book of the Fallen. I tried for five books. I really tried. I just can't do it anymore. I don't care about the characters or the world. That's a common theme for me in these dark, gritty fantasies. You have to give me someone to care about, and it just isn't there. When you add the slowness and confusing nature of the plot, it's just too much for me.

Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey. I just don't get it. I didn't care about the characters, and I thought the dragons were kind of stupid.

The Darkness that Comes Before by R. Scott Bakker. More of the grimdark that just doesn't do it for me. When I don't care at all about the characters or world, I feel no reason to keep reading. I got through the book, but I feel no desire to pick up another by Bakker.

The First Law trilogy. For the record, I did kind of like it. It just felt like a struggle a lot of the time because, once again, I didn't really like most of the characters or the world they inhabited.

Lord Foul's Bane by Stephen R. Donaldson. I ended up liking the trilogy by the end, but this book was a huge struggle because I hated Covenant. It was very hard to build my sympathy for him after the rape scene.

Prince of Thorns. I was okay with the second book, but the first was really difficult to get through because I hated Jorg. Mostly, I think I kept reading in the hope that he might die.

A Wizard of Earthsea. It was okay, but I don't get all the praise heaped upon it.

Zelazny's Amber Books. I read the first five. They were okay, mostly because they weren't very long, but I don't get all the praise for them.

Guy Gavriel Kay's Fionavar Tapestry and Under Heaven. While I loved Tigana, neither of these stories did a whole lot for me.

The first two books in King's Dark Tower series. I do intend to read more, but I felt like these books were a bit boring. Too much walking across barren landscapes for my tastes.

The Black Company. Another one that was okay, but not as good as everyone makes it out to be. It improved for me as the first trilogy went alone. I'm not sure if I'll bothered reading any more.

The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold. I've really enjoyed her Vorkosigan saga, but this book felt like a chore to read. It wasn't at all like the Vorkosigan books.


And now for the greatest heresy of all:

Lord of the Rings. Don't get me wrong. I liked the books overall, but if I were ranking fantasy, I wouldn't put them anywhere near the top of my list. I understand the importance Lord of the Rings had for the genre, but by today's standards, I don't think they're the greatest books.

Offline JMack

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Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2015, 07:36:49 PM »
I've really enjoyed [Bujold's] Vorkosigan saga, but this book felt like a chore to read. It wasn't at all like the Vorkosigan books.
And now for the greatest heresy of all: Lord of the Rings.
Hmm, many sins forgiven for enjoying Miles & Co.
But, I think we have to draw a line somewhere  :o

Inquiring minds want to know: If you were to name three bests for yourself, what would they be, considering the huge list above?  ;)
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Offline ScarletBea

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Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2015, 08:01:56 PM »
Inquiring minds want to know: If you were to name three bests for yourself, what would they be, considering the huge list above?  ;)
That's what I was wondering when I got to the end of the post ;D
*curious*
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Offline Ryan Mueller

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Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2015, 08:10:24 PM »
I've really enjoyed [Bujold's] Vorkosigan saga, but this book felt like a chore to read. It wasn't at all like the Vorkosigan books.
And now for the greatest heresy of all: Lord of the Rings.
Hmm, many sins forgiven for enjoying Miles & Co.
But, I think we have to draw a line somewhere  :o

Inquiring minds want to know: If you were to name three bests for yourself, what would they be, considering the huge list above?  ;)

Three is kind of hard. I actually do like quite a few books and authors.

Brandon Sanderson is one of my favorites, though I understand how the extensive focus on the magic systems can bother some people.

Brent Weeks is high on my list as well because his books always keep me turning the pages.

Jim Butcher because he's just plain awesome (both Dresden and Codex Alera, and hopefully the Cinder Spires too).

Rachel Aaron/Bach for her Eli Monpress series and Paradox science fiction trilogy. Both are stories that are just a lot of fun.

On the slower and more traditional side, I really enjoy Tad Williams. It can take me a while to get into his series, but once I do, they're great.

The Name of the Wind (The Wise Man's Fear not as much).

The Warded/Painted Man (the sequels not as much).

The Lies of Locke Lamora.

Daniel Abraham. Like with Williams, it takes me a while to get into his series, but once I do, I really enjoy them. I also really enjoy his work as James SA Corey.

Michael J. Sullivan.

In short, I tend to like my stories with a lot of action, though there are some exceptions to this.

Offline ladybritches

Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2015, 08:59:09 PM »
Took me around 200 pages to get into Lies of Locke Lamora. I'd have surely given up had it not come so highly recommended by the people on this forum. I did get really into the last half of the book, but it still wouldn't come close to making my favorites list.

Offline cupiscent

Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2015, 10:00:55 PM »
I whinged my way through Name of the Wind as well. It had so many elements I really liked, but the story didn't seem to be interested in those, and I found what it did tremendously annoying. Haven't bothered with the sequels, no matter how much people rave.

Offline Doctor_Chill

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Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
« Reply #13 on: March 08, 2015, 10:14:36 PM »
A few I never finished, contrary to rave reviews all around:

The Thousand Names by Django Wexler. Found this flintlock fantasy to be lacking in the pacing department. Boring even if gunpowder was swinging around, and an offender of the "woman must dress as a man to get somewhere in life" trope, one of the very few I cannot stand.

The Alchemist of Souls by Anne Lyle. While the world-building was quite interesting and extensive, there's a reason I don't read Old English for fun aside from Shakespeare. (Actually, I don't read Shakespeare for fun either.) Took me half the book before I realized I hadn't jived with the setting or characters, so I let it pass.

The City and the City by China Mieville. As much as I love noir and detective fiction, this felt too detached and cold for my tastes. For somebody lauded as having flowery prose and thinking fiction, I found it bland, uninteresting, and repetitive. Might have to pick this one up again, however, because I'm curious to see if my sentiments still hold or if it was a one-off grumble of bitterness from too-high expectations.

On the other hand, I've been wary of The Wise Man's Fear. Absolutely nothing happened in TNotW up until the end, so I'd rather not trek through a 1K page slog just to say I did.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2015, 10:17:26 PM by Doctor Chill »
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Offline Elfy

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Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
« Reply #14 on: March 08, 2015, 11:43:34 PM »
There's probably a few and I will admit that like Ryan, I gave up on Malazan partway through because it just wasn't making me care enough to continue. One that really sticks out in my mind is John Crowley's Little Big and also Mark Helprin's The Winter's Tale. I'd recommend both as cures for insomnia.
I will expand your TBR pile.

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