I stumbled on this article by Time magazine’s book critic, Lev Grossman, and it made me laugh out loud.
I cannot stand this book I’m reading right now.
It’s a novel. It’s by a writer who is generally described as Great, but who I’ve always personally felt is Pretty Good When He’s Really On His Game, Which Was Like For One Book, But Generally Speaking He’s Really Not That Good At All. Like For Example Right Now.
Ordinarily I would just stop reading it. But in this case for professional purposes I kind of have to keep going.
Oh, this is a delightful rant! Particularly when he continues:
In fact I hate books all the time. Loathe them, even. I mostly write about books I love, but those books have beaten the odds. I throw books across the room. I throw them down the stairs. I throw them in the trash, lest they fasten themselves to some other human and drain away even more irreplaceable hours from humanity’s collective finite total.
He had me at the “irreplaceable hours [of] humanity’s collective finite total.” True confession: I, too, have thrown away books.
I know my reading tastes and am normally a pretty good judge of the reviews I read; I can filter out the hyperbole (after all, I write a lot of book jacket copy myself). So I very rarely end up with a book I don’t enjoy. And when I do, I give it to Goodwill.
Except for World Without End by Ken Follett.* I fell victim to the “follow-up to the international best-selling Pillars of the Earth!” business I’d read and ended up with nine hundred pages of anachronistic, boring, ridiculous purple prose so awful I quit reading somewhere around page 374 and took it straight to the trash for the very reason Grossman cites. It was a humanitarian act, I tell you.
Have you ever thrown out a book? Or just … thrown a book? (I’ve done that too. Hope the, um, Fraternal Order of Librarians don’t show up at my front door.)
*And the Glenn Beck book my brother gave me for Christmas one year. I trashed that too. (Sorry, Jon.)
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