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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Really awful books

I like to read so much that every now and then I read things which are terrible just so I can take a break from all the usual rhapsodizing.

So without further ado (and it is ado, people, not adieu), we have the Top Ten Books Which Make Diana's Brain Itch!

10. The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy. It hurts me to put this on here, because I adore Thomas Hardy, I really do. But it is so very, very awful. Man loses wife and child in a bet? What? This, I believe, was Hardy's lone delve into opium. What you should read instead: Anything else by Hardy. Really. Including his poetry.

9. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. Again, I love Dickens to death, but, along with so many other bona fide geniuses, he's like the girl with the curl right in the middle of her forehead--when he's good he's very good, and when he's bad, he's horrid. Pip, go choke. I'd rather read about Barnaby Rudge and his blackbird. What you should read instead: Dombey and Son, Bleak House, and David Copperfield.

8. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. I really don't like Virginia Woolf, period, and this technically is not as bad as Orlando, but both are simply exercises in egotism. People who write specifically to change the shape or style of writing are rarely my friends. What you should read instead: if you HAVE to read Woolf, To the Lighthouse.

7. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. It isn't just that her politics are loathsome; her characters are cardboard cut-outs representing ideas, and the entire work serves an agenda other than story and character development. I guess I'm old-fashioned. What you should read instead: Anything else by anyone else that isn't on this list.

6. Blood Canticle by Anne Rice. Interview is okay, Armand is pretty fun, but Blood Canticle is tripe. Actually, most of Anne Rice is angsty nonsense, albeit nonsense with hot vampire-on-vampire action. What you should read instead: Queen of the Damned.

5. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Trashy people doing trashy things. Ugh. What you should read instead: Tender is the Night.

4. Everything Ernest Hemingway wrote ever except For Whom the Bell Tolls and A Movable Feast.

3. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. Whine whine whine, angst angst angst, my sister is smarter than me, wonky "message" at the end. Poor little rich boy. What you should read instead: nothing by Salinger, that's for daaaaamn sure.

2. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. I'm sorry, Matt, I really am, but I just cannot pretend to like these books any longer. Long, overweeningly descriptive, dull, long, full of bad poetry and ditties, excessive tendency to borrow from Germanic myth, long, dull, and did I mention long? What you should read instead: The Silmarillion (not even kidding).

1. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. And I'm not even religious! The writing is overwrought, the characters are weakly stereotypical, the plot borrowed at best, and the "facts" incorrect. Utter drivel. What you should read instead: don't read Dan Brown. Burn Dan Brown.
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