April 28th, 2012 / 2:52 pm
Snippets

What is the most overrated book in the world?

115 Comments

  1. Brooks Sterritt

      What to Expect When You’re Expecting

  2. New York Tyrant

      Heartbreaking Work of Faggering Genius

  3. New York Tyrant

      The Bible

  4. New York Tyrant

      A Winter’s Tale or whatever. By Haplperin somethijng. Shit was awful.

  5. Brooks Sterritt

      The Things They Carried

  6. Ryan Bradford

      If someone doesn’t mention Franzen soon, I won’t know if I’m on the internet anymore.

  7. cory bennet

      everybody poops. house of leaves. 1984. the corrections.

  8. Flavors

      Most of Shakespeare

  9. Ryan Bradford

      Dude, nice.

  10. Philip Taylor

      Game of Thrones (and the whole A Song of Ice and Fire series). For the life of me, I can’t undertstand the evangelical zeal around it.

  11. werdfert

      Lolita

  12. Anonymous

      Nope, not me. Where’s the rake? Yeah, like twenty-seven years ago. More like shoulda been the rejection.

  13. iain

      the most overrated anything is always going to be the highest rated.  regardless of the highest rated thing’s actual quality, it’s always going to be subject to hyperbole that nothing can ever live up to.  and saying a book is “overrated” is never truly a judgement of the book itself.  it’s only a judgement of the discourse surrounding the book.

      so, no fucking question: the bible.

  14. Anonymous

      For some reason I hated An American Dream by Norman Mailer. Don’t know how rated it is, if rated at all, let alone over, but that was the most recent fail, anyway.

  15. werdfert

       the bible is also the most under-read book in the world

  16. Anonymous

      lol@ the Bible being overrated. Tell that to Faulkner and Melville. 

  17. Brooks Sterritt

      I LIKE THE WAY ‘PAMPHLET’ LOOKS WHEN CAPITALIZED, MMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

  18. Anonymous

      “We The Animals,” Justin Torres. Book was absolutely terrible. I have no idea why it was so hyped.

  19. Ultra Vegina
  20. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      Ethan Frome!

  21. Rito Maxtla

      Fahrenheit 451

  22. leapsloth14

       I loved that book though it was rude

  23. leapsloth14

       Franzen, but then again it’s Blake’s site.

  24. leapsloth14

       Gaggering Stinkus

  25. Mahmoud

      100 years of solitude. Like most of the rest of ggm, though.

  26. Evan Hatch

      Pride and Prejudice

  27. bartleby_taco

      the beatles

  28. Trey

      I like that book. Although I admit that it’s partially because of the film adaptation with Liam Neeson

  29. bartleby_taco

      i love the beatles jk

  30. Frank Tas, the Raptor

       What?? That book rules though!

  31. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      I agree with all the words in this sentence.

  32. Ron Sikora

      Holden Caufield.

  33. Jackson Mace

      Catcher in the Rye definitely, but I’m pretty sure this has already been established by everyone except shitty advanced english teachers at public high schools.

  34. John Minichillo

      I second that.

  35. Brian Carr

      Total disagree.

  36. deadgod

      If “most overrated” means ‘greatest difference between hype and reality of effects’, sacred literature – like the Old and New Testaments – would have to be a strong contender.

      Both parts of the Christian Bible have parts that are as enduringly provocative as any literature has proven to be; arguments for the literary quality of many books and episodes are frequently made and easily defended.  At the same time, vanishingly few people read the whole thing, and, while anthropological (and, sure, theological) interest can burn without calculation to luxuriate in or be challenged by the boring parts, it’s not so easy, it seems to me, to find much agreement that, say, all of the Lord spaking unto Moses in Leviticus and Numbers is beautiful literature.

      (–which is an argument many could defend – I would – for ‘Homer’, Virgil, Milton, etc.  Where, Horace, does ‘Homer’ nod??)

      But the ‘overrating’ of sacred literature consists of something else:  these texts – books, song, oracle, and so on – are not just “texts” — they are the ‘words of God’, the direct, unmediated speech of ultimate reality.  It’s not even that sacred literature represents ‘ultimate reality’; sacred literature – its self-understanding goes – is ultimate reality communicating directly in its own language.

      That’s a lot of hype to live up to.

  37. leapsloth14

       I agree. Tell it to Buk and Jim Harrison too. They read and re-read psalms and proverbs for the pure bad-assness of the lyricism. The Bible we can debate forever–but it is well written.

  38. Anonymous

      It’s also why so many Southern writers are noted as stylists–so many of them grow up in a culture where they read and study the Bible constantly. The lyricism in Barry Hannah’s work, for instance, is clearly influenced from close study of the Bible.

  39. Bobby Dixon

      Probably Truce at Bakura. Shadows of the Empire was amazing, though. 

  40. Anonymous

      It had its moments. I don’t know what it was, just couldn’t get that into it for some reason.

  41. Mike James

      My unpublished one.

  42. rawbbie

      that’s a good short story. If it were written now it’d be called Tom Cruz Goes To War and be written by someone in muu muu house.

  43. Joan Markson

       I agree with some of the above. Has anyone read Stanley Elkin’s genius essay “Some overrated Masterpieces”?

  44. Rito Maxtla

      It read flat and dry and redundant to me, but -maybe- Bradbury was intentionally presenting this sentiment as a statement of what it would feel like to be in a society without books. What I disliked most was that at some points it felt like he was interrupting the narrative to make public announcements regarding the moral standpoint of the book, most noticeable at its conclusion. I personally thought it a nice little cautionary tale that would work best as a bedtime story that encourages you to read other books (because if you don’t read, you’re basically burning down your own library!), intriguing enough but distant and not great – overrated imho.  

  45. Rito Maxtla

      Nine Stories is excellent though.

  46. Rito Maxtla

      But what about Proverbs, Psalms, and the wonderful Song of Songs!

  47. postitbreakup

      agree agree agree bible is so fucking overhyped

  48. postitbreakup

      people who hate holden are such goddam phoneys 

  49. postitbreakup

      hey man the bible on average is HORRIBLY written. even if you put together psalms, proverbs, song of solomon, job, ecclesiastes, revelation, that’s not even half the Bible. there are pages & pages & pages of instruction manuals re: temple building, & elaborate genealogies, there’s so much fucking padding in there.

      also just because the bible has positive literary qualities @honoredguest doesn’t mean it’s not way overrated. if people only talked about the bible re: its writing, i wouldn’t say it’s overrated, but people actually believe that shit & try to legislate it too. 

      in another 1000 years they’ll look at our “god” the way we looked at zeus

      ALSO just because anyone can turn the shitty bible into some good work of art doesn’t make the bible any less shitty. like if a sculpture turned a big pile of shit into art, the art can be good, but the shit it’s made of is still just shitttttttttt

      did i mention btw fuck the bible

      yeah parents raise your kids baptist if this is the kinda shit you want your children writing on saturday night

      lol god

  50. postitbreakup

      god thank you

  51. postitbreakup

      nah that essay’s totally overrated

  52. postitbreakup

      such a great n64 game too

  53. postitbreakup

       such a small percentage of people are readers anyway that even if we’ve all only read 1% of the bible it’s more read than any other book 

  54. postitbreakup

      and Numbers and Deuteronomy and 1st & 2nd Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles!!!!

  55. M. Kitchell

      all of them

  56. Henry Fry

      Me too. My god. Once I was on a twelve hour bus ride, trapped in the backseat with this book. Even after four hundred pages, numerous same-named partially-related characters and eight hours of boredom, I still couldn’t understand the hype and opted to sleep the last four. Apparently GGM prefers his prose when translated into English. Mysterious, no? 

  57. Joan Markson

      i see you’re a heartbreaker

  58. Craig Ronald Marchinkoski

      ¡and job and daniel!

  59. Craig Ronald Marchinkoski

      king lear? 

  60. Anonymous

      bell jar

  61. Brian Carr

      The best story in that collection is “How to Tell a True War Story.” 

  62. Samuel Sargent

      In the category of “Overrated By The Zealots Who Adore It”, I think The Bible would face some pretty stiff competition from Atlas Shrugged.

      Personally, though, I’m going to have to go with The Cat In The Hat. I adore Dr. Seuss but that book, despite being one of his most popular, is definitely one of his weakest. On Beyond Zebra and The Butter Battle Book out shadow it so far that their shadows stretch all the way around the planet and poke its shadow in the ass.

  63. Rose Hunter

      No way! I was trapped on a bus with only this book as well. So I feel like I made a really good attempt. But yes, sleep turned out better.

  64. werdfert

      take also into account the numbers of bibles sold vs. number of regular books sold. the number of gideon bibles readily available unread.

  65. deadgod

      Aynt is an excellent call, especially defined sharply as you’ve done.  ‘Zealotry’ is the engine of a kind of “overrating”, and the gulf between evaluations of her books by her supporters and by almost everybody else is comically wide.

      (Some of the disparity is due to political-economic differences in world views, but supporters seem to think Atlas Shrugged is well-written, and it’s as an artistic failure that many haters hate it.)

      Are you sure it isn’t overfamiliarity that’s caused you to say such a vile thing about the mighty, flighty, don’t-be-uptighty Cat’s tale?

  66. Matt Rowan

      No way man! WHO IS JOHN GALT!? Plus genius and smarts and railroads! 

  67. Anonymous

      I’m glad you were able to get this out of your system, though it’s a silly, juvenile post that’s not worth a serious response. Let me save you some words: “CHRISTIANITY IZ BAD!!!!!” A few quick points–1) It’s silly to lump all Christians in one group (ALL CHRISTIANS ARE ANTI-GAY, PRIMITIVE BAPTISTS WHO HANDLE SNAKES AND HATE THE GAYS!!!!); 2) Christianity’s influence on liberal movements, like, you know, the one that gave African-Americans equal rights, is undeniable (MLK was a Baptist Preacher, last I checked); 3) Stop watching Bill Maher–he’s a moron. There are more intelligent spokespersons for Atheism and Agnosticism than this fool; 4) Dismissing the Bible’s influence on literature is dumb, and I really shouldn’t have to explain this to you, assuming you have a shred of historical perspective and have read books that were published before 2000. 

  68. postitbreakup

      hey man you seem kinda angry feel like maybe you should pray about that

  69. Anonymous

      Hey man, you seemed pretty angry yourself in your first post. Using religious insults (“better pray about that”) doesn’t make you seem any less angrier, petty, or immature. 

  70. shaun gannon

      aw man this piece of shit hasn’t left yet

  71. postitbreakup
  72. postitbreakup

      hi man 

  73. William VanDenBerg

      I once saw a bumper sticker that said “Who is John Galt?” inside of a Jesus fish. I almost threw up. 

  74. Richard Grayson

      Do you mean published in the Tulsa World or the Coos Bay, OR, World?  I can recall reading only articles, not books, in those newspapers.

  75. reynard

      where is the dislike button

  76. Anonymous

      Nah, I’m not fond of fundamentalism, but thanks anyway. 

  77. bg

      amen

  78. bg

      nonsense

  79. bg

      not just lolita, all the russians suck dick. shakespeare. moby dick. to kill a mockingbird. 

  80. Nick Antosca

      Troll, or idiot?

  81. Nick Antosca

      Reading TROPIC OF CANCER for the first time right now.  What a fucking slog.

  82. Anonymous

      And that story would be called, “experimental,” while TOB’s story that basically breaks every “rule” of fiction writing would be called “traditional heteronormative realism.”

  83. JP Kemmick

      That book broke all of my heart.

  84. Luke Weldon

      “there’s so much fucking padding in there”

      lol

  85. Taylor Napolsky

      I love Catcher in the Rye. That book is hilarious.

  86. Taylor Napolsky

      No. All those books and authors you listed kick ass.

  87. Taylor Napolsky

      The most overrated book is The Great Gatsby. It’s pretty good though. 

  88. Anonymous

      “raise high the roofbeam carpenters”–I mean, damn, peanut butter and jam! that beat is correct.

  89. Jackson Mace

      It was the Naked Lunch of its time. Only sold because of the obscenity trial. Easily Millers worst work. Have you read Colossus of Maroussi or Big Sur? Pretty dope reads.

  90. Anonymous

      Seriously? Caulfield’s voice is one of the most perfectly realized I’ve encountered thus far. The prose is beautiful, the dialogue excellent. Forget about the nonsense those English teachers tell you – about teenage alienation, etc. – and focus on the writing itself and how Caulfield functions as a character and keep the dead brother in your mind at all times.

  91. Anonymous

      Holy shit, I read both of those. If we’re going to go into Sci-Fi fan-fiction, Imzadi was way overhyped as well. How could someone fuck up Troi and Riker meeting for the first time THIS BADLY.

  92. Kyle Callert

      the youtube video of the dog w/ the cupcakes

  93. Anonymous

      History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell.

  94. Brooks Sterritt

      I’m going to regret this, but that story is every realist’s favorite “experimental” story/exemplar to assign to 10th graders.

  95. Anonymous

      I usually don’t worry about the “experimental/non-experimental” binary, because it doesn’t really exist, so I don’t know what you’re talking about. I do know that the book, as a whole, does a lot of innovative stuff: genre hybridity, meta-fiction, progressive critiques of gender, modular plot. Perhaps it’s not “experimental” though because it’s popular and not published by some independent press. 

  96. Brooks Sterritt

      It bored me before I knew what an independent press was. I guess I think the book is fine, but it didn’t hold up on a second reading (for me). I also don’t think it’s doing anything innovative that wasn’t done 30 years before, or 300.

  97. Anonymous

      Yeah, if you were to simply isolate the techniques, but no one had written a book like that about Vietnam, or even war. As a genre, realism is highly experimental. Any genre that denies its artifice is obviously experimental. 

  98. M. Kitchell

      i think it’s explained by “the general population have terrible taste”

  99. deadgod

      Have a look at the poetry of George Seferis, whom Miller calls Seferiades (Seferis’s real (family) name) and whom Miller meets more or less when he’s introduced to Katsimbalis (the Colossus).  Seferis is a great writer – his criticism is also a pleasure to read – , and his epyllion Mythistorima (a mini-epic of 24 short poems) is a peer of The Waste Land and The Heights of Machu Picchu (or whatever you like).

  100. Mike James

      “like, you know, the one that gave African-Americans equal rights”

      I think it was George Carlin who mentioned this is one of the biggest brainwashing techniques of government because bro and/or girl, we were born with those rights. As was everyone else. As that is kinda what the Bible is getting at, among other things. Now back to your original discussion.

  101. Anonymous

      Obviously, it–the Civil Rights Movmement–shouldn’t have been necessary. But that’s beside the point, because I was simply acknowledging an historical reality. 

  102. Anonymous

      This is a funny question. Anything well known enough to be the most overrated in the world has probably already begun to tip into rating defilement.

      I get the Bible being overrated, but most people don’t revere it as literature anymore, so it doesn’t seem overrated at this time. Yet, that book is still the basis for countless stories and tropes in both film and literature, so it occupies a position that’s nearly unimpeachable. It’s like it’s lased in our circuits whether we read it or not (“we” is loose). I think some folk tales, fairy tales are similar. “Overrated” seems a feeble word to describe what some think the question is asking.

      Totes Jonathan Franzen yeah.

  103. Don

      Hi Flavors,

      Have you read most of Shakespeare (that is, more than half of his work)?

  104. bg

      of course they do taylor. and war and peace is really fucking awesome too. 

  105. bg

      true, if you’re an adult and not 5. theres a reason no one has ever heard of his “adult” stuff. 

  106. bg

      thats silly talk, 100 years kicks ass. 

  107. Stephen Tully Dierks

      i liked it a lot, found it very enjoyable to read

  108. herocious

      Every book imaginable

  109. reynard

      anyone who thinks lolita is overrated is either crazy or not crazy enough

  110. lorian long

      that shit is parked outside of my office RIGHT NOW

  111. lorian long

      what is it like to be you

  112. Beau Rice

      Alice Munro ==> BORING but everyone’s is like 8==D~~~

  113. Beau Rice

      Alice Munro ==> BoRiNg but everyone is like 8==D~~

  114. Mark Buckner

      nabokov

  115. postitbreakup

      hahahahahahahaha