Your Pet Peeves Regarding Famous Books

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DATo
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Your Pet Peeves Regarding Famous Books

Post by DATo »

OK, let me just state at the beginning that I am not attempting to start a war here but I am genuinely interested in hearing what things in books you LIKE drove you mad with anger and/or frustration, or which you thought didn't make any sense. Also, any plot holes you've found in famous books or stories which were never explained. (Plot Hole meaning something that totally contradicts something else in the same story.)

1) The Lord Of The RIngs (plot hole) - If The Witch King of Agmar, who Gandalf said could not be killed by mortal man, was invincible why did he run away from Aragorn on Weathertop in 'Fellowship Of The Ring' ? Gandalf tells Pippin that he (Pippen) had met the Witch King before on Weathertop in the same breath that he tells him The Witch King cannot be killed by a man. This discussion takes place in 'Return Of The King'. If this is true The Witch King had no reason to fear Aragorn in 'Fellowship'.

2) In the Sherlock Holmes short story, 'The Speckled Band' (false facts) - A.C. Doyle attempts to convince us that a snake A.) can hear music played from a flute; B.) drinks milk; C.) can climb up a cloth bell-pull sash (used to summon servants) - all of these things are false. Snakes can neither hear, nor do they drink milk, nor is it physically possible for them to climb up a vertically suspended piece of cloth. This is the only example of flagrant dismissal of the facts that I know of in the entire cannon of Sherlock Holmes stories. I have always wondered why Doyle so blatantly posted false facts as true. He surely HAD to know these things were false.

3) Harry Potter stories (frustration) - All of the stories seem to be variations of the same story. One of the most obvious examples of things Rowling does over, and over, and OVER, and over is to make the villain turn out to be the good guy and the good guy turn out to be the bad guy. That got to be a little bit ridiculous after awhile. I am aware of the reason she does this with Snape but that explanation only came out AFTER she wrote the last book because, in my opinion, people were probably already criticizing her for this.


OK .... your turn.
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Post by Gannon »

Hey there DAto, I have just read "The Speckled Band" recently. I must admit that I did not pick up on any of the points you make. When you bring them to our attention they seem so obvious, I don't know how I missed them. It is strange to think that an author like Doyle would make such blatent errors. Nice catch, I will keep my eyes open when I start reading "Memoirs" :)
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Post by RuqeeD »

One thing that drives me to frustration is if a book is going so well, and you've invested time into it only to have an anti climatic ending or something occurs that makes the whole plot sort of redundant. The only one I can think of the top of my head right now is the Hunger Games trilogy.
***********Spoiler****************
The first book went really well, it was exciting and (for me) something different and I enjoyed reading about this bleak future which, ok even if it doesn't seem likely, still makes for good reading. However, the underlying essence of the story was the Protagonist's need to save her sister....we then move through the next (rather disappointing) book and on to the final only to see her sister die which to me made the whole thing utterly redundant. I would have understood if it added to the story and developed the character but imo it did neither and just made for a shoddy ending.

Other things that annoy me when you come to the end of a series and the author has to have some fairy tale what happens in 12 years time tacked on to the end. Like in Harry Potter and in the Hunger Games. I think it takes away from the moment and meatiness of the book and its so prosaic, it bugs me.

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Post by Bighuey »

what bugs me is when a book ends in the middle of a plot. Poe's Arthur Gordom Pym, for instance where they discover an island, the books hints of the main character having further adventures then it ends. Another one was Nathaniel Hawthorne's An Old Woman's Tale. It ended at the most crucial part.

A lot of those old books are full of inaccuracies, one was Swiss Family Robinson. It was so full of things that are obviously not true, but it didnt take away from a good story.
"I planted some birdseed. A bird came up. Now I dont know what to feed it." Ramblings of a retired senile mind.

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Post by DATo »

Hi Gannon - I don't think you will find any other obviously falsified facts in Sherlock Holmes stories ... at least I didn't. I know Doyle was tired of writing the "Sherlock stories" and at first I thought that maybe this was just his way of telling his publishers that he wanted out; in other words, as a veiled threat that he would write absurdities till the reading public, which had heretofore demanded more stories, would become so critical of him that this would force him to stop writing. This would be, in fact, exactly what he wanted. But then I remembered that this story was in one of his first collections - The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes - so that explanation doesn't seem to work.

RuqeeD & Bighuey - I haven't read those stories but now you have sparked my interest. I will have to look into them. I DID read Swiss Family when I was a kid and really loved it but I was unaware at that time of the inaccuracies. I should give that one a re-read as well. It is sort of fun to play "literary detective" this way *LOL*
Last edited by DATo on 19 Feb 2012, 06:17, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Gannon »

DATo wrote:Hi Gannon - I don't think you will find any other obviously falsified facts in Sherlock Holmes stories ... at least I didn't. I know Doyle was tired of writing the "Sherlock stories" and at first I thought that maybe this was just his way of telling his publishers that he wanted out; in other words, as a veiled threat that he would write absurdities till the reading public, which had heretofore demanded more stories, would become so critical of him that that this would force him to stop writing. This would be, in fact, exactly what he wanted. But then I remembered that this story was in one of his first collections - The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes - so that explanation doesn't seem to work.

RuqeeD & Bighuey - I haven't read those stories but now you have sparked my interest. I will have to look into them. I DID read Swiss Family when I was a kid and really loved it but I was unaware at that time of the inaccuracies. I should give that one a re-read as well. It is sort of fun to play "literary detective" this way *LOL*
Yes DAto it says in the introduction to the Sherlock Holmes books that Doyle got so sick of writing Holmes books that he killed him off and 20000 subscribers stopped their subscriptions to the magazine the stories featured in immediately, so he had to bring him back. :)
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Post by Maud Fitch »

We are talking about fiction here. As far as I'm concerned there has always been, and will always be, errors made in novels. In the old days they had a better excuse (no Google) but these days famous authors have deadline pressures and sometimes things slip through the cracks - the spate of poor editing doesn't help. If I enjoy the book, I try not to be too picky.

My pet peeve is what I call piggyback publishing, when books are written and published in the style of a current bestseller, right down to similar titles and copycat covers. Be original I say!
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Post by DATo »

Maud Fitch wrote:My pet peeve is what I call piggyback publishing, when books are written and published in the style of a current bestseller, right down to similar titles and copycat covers. Be original I say!
I couldn't agree with you more. I see an awful lot of this going on with both books and movies. It is all about making money it seems. Long ago I used to fence (swords, not wire screen partitioning). My instructor was a former Olympic epee champion. I mention this only to assure you this was a serious class and not just fun-and-games. Shortly after I joined, our class was told by our instructor that we were expected to attend an upcoming competition as observers. The protective vests worn during the competition and the swords were connected to electronics which would record "hits" when contact between them was made. The whole object was to hit the opponent's vest with the tip of the foil thus recording a valid strike, or hit. To my amusement, amazement and disgust I noticed that on several occasions the competitors (who were all very experienced fencers) would wind up in very awkward and convoluted positions, and in very close proximity to each other. At these times they would grab the tips of their foils and jab repeatedly at the opponents vest to score a hit. This was not fencing ... this was cheating in my opinion. Unfortunately it was totally valid according to the rules.

This is what writers do when they copy another person's style, premises, title, or book cover so closely that it skirts the borders of plagiarism. I have no respect for any writer or publisher who would stoop to marketing ploys such as this simply to make money. The fact that it takes place is testament to the fact that many people are duped by it. It may be legal but it is unscrupulous, disgraceful and cheating. If a writer cannot succeed gracefully, with talent, they should get the hell out of the business. The same goes for fencers.
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Post by Bighuey »

Ive never really done it with books, but I like to play detective with movies. The newer movies you rarely see any boo-boo's, but the older ones they are fairly common. For instance, one movie I saw had Cary Grant going through a door with a white towell over his arm, when he came through the other side the towell had stripes on it. I suppose it is the computer age, they can see things like that where they slipped past before and its probably the same with books.
"I planted some birdseed. A bird came up. Now I dont know what to feed it." Ramblings of a retired senile mind.

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Post by DATo »

Bighuey wrote:Ive never really done it with books, but I like to play detective with movies. The newer movies you rarely see any boo-boo's, but the older ones they are fairly common. For instance, one movie I saw had Cary Grant going through a door with a white towell over his arm, when he came through the other side the towell had stripes on it. I suppose it is the computer age, they can see things like that where they slipped past before and its probably the same with books.
Greetings Huey !!! I do my very best to refrain from getting into movies here because it is a book forum and I feel I would be out of line, but now you are talking my language. I really like the art of movie making about as much as I like books and writing craftsmanship. I agree that there are a lot of mistakes like the one you mention in movies. I can excuse it more in movies than I can in books because time is a director's worst enemy during a shoot. Thousands of dollars are spent for each minute of production time and often small mistakes are allowed rather than enduring the expense of shooting the scene over after the mistakes are noticed in the dailies. A writer has greater opportunity to screen his work before publishing, but even then some gaffs make their way through into print.
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Post by Bighuey »

DATo, thats true. Ive done some extra work in a few films, and sometimes it takes an hour or more to set up for a 5 minute shoot, so I can understand why they wont shoot a scene over again if they dont have to. But with books its a little different. The author can afford to take a little time to do a little research. It dosent really bother me, if the book is good and holds my interest. The Tarzan books were like that, apperently Burroughs knew nothing about wild animals and their habits, but they were still an exciting read.
"I planted some birdseed. A bird came up. Now I dont know what to feed it." Ramblings of a retired senile mind.

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Post by Gannon »

Have either of you guys seen the guy wearing jeans in the background on the set of Gladiator? One of my favourites is the episode of Seinfeld where they are all sitting around the table and there is a bowl of salad in the middle of the table. First shot it is full, brimming at the top. Then there is a close up of one of the characters, when it goes back to the wide shot the bowl of salad is only half full. Then there is another close up and when the wide shot comes back again, the bowl of salad is full again. :D
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Post by Bighuey »

I havent seen those, but there was one scene in Sparticus where one of the Roman soldiers was wearing a wrist watch.
"I planted some birdseed. A bird came up. Now I dont know what to feed it." Ramblings of a retired senile mind.

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Post by Gannon »

Bighuey wrote:I havent seen those, but there was one scene in Sparticus where one of the Roman soldiers was wearing a wrist watch.
Haha, thats a classic, its funny how little things can slip by. :D I just watched another one from gladiator on the ipad. In the big battle in the coliseum, when the chariot turns over you can see a gas tank fitted to it. When it is slowed down it is so blatent.
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Post by primrose777 »

RuqeeD wrote:One thing that drives me to frustration is if a book is going so well, and you've invested time into it only to have an anti climatic ending or something occurs that makes the whole plot sort of redundant. The only one I can think of the top of my head right now is the Hunger Games trilogy.
***********Spoiler****************
The first book went really well, it was exciting and (for me) something different and I enjoyed reading about this bleak future which, ok even if it doesn't seem likely, still makes for good reading. However, the underlying essence of the story was the Protagonist's need to save her sister....we then move through the next (rather disappointing) book and on to the final only to see her sister die which to me made the whole thing utterly redundant. I would have understood if it added to the story and developed the character but imo it did neither and just made for a shoddy ending.

Other things that annoy me when you come to the end of a series and the author has to have some fairy tale what happens in 12 years time tacked on to the end. Like in Harry Potter and in the Hunger Games. I think it takes away from the moment and meatiness of the book and its so prosaic, it bugs me.
I didn't get why Prim had to die either, I mean the whole point of the of entering the hunger games was to save her and really it added nothing to the already bleak storyline. I did however enjoy thebooks, though the first was the best.
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