Off Topic on Bad Books (Was RE: dwj-digest (Diana Wynne Jones) V 1 #70)

McMullin, Elise mcmullea at
Wed Sep 1 15:08:38 EDT 1999

> Buried in a long post, Mellissa wrote:
> > Don't feel bad about not liking something.  And on this list you don't
> ever
> > have to suggest that you might not know what you're talking about.
> (Okay, so
> > this is one of MY buttons.)  It's one thing to make comments about the
> > absolute worth of a book--whether or not it is, in some concrete sense,
> a
> > bad book.  It's another to say that you just didn't like something.
> Your
> > opinion of your reading tastes is something only you can know!  Sure,
> you
	Philip B. responded:

> Very good point, which I've never thought of before.  Some books I don't
> like
> because they are bad books, others I simply don't like.
> A bad book is very subjective, but I (not educated in lit. crit., BTW)
> would be
> fairly confident in labelling a book bad if I could identify concrete
> features
> about it that I consider bad.
	It's a rare day when I actually call a book bad instead of just
declaring it not to my taste.  A lot of perfectly decent books didn't hit
the target with me, but they were not bad.  I met my match for badness last
month when  I read the sequel to Silence of the Lambs.  Oh, it was a bad,
bad, rotten, lousy book that should have been taken off life support if
anyone had had any sense of compassion or mercy.  Sure, it's just an
opinion, but I feel I could make a very strong case for its incorrigible
badness if necessary.  And that's just on the (de)merits of what lies
between the covers.  If one considers that the author was paid $20 million
to write this dreck, it only adds to the unspeakable, noxious miasma of
badness.  In sum, it was bad. Did I mention how bad it was?

None of this negates Melissa's point about it all being a matter of opinion.
Apparently many people think differently than I, since the book is still on
top of the best seller lists.  It is still an aesthetic abomination though,
no matter how it's dressed.

And as if I have somehow started drawing Bad Books to me through some
subliminal cry to the Universe ("Let me have it!"), I plucked an even worse
book off the shelves of the library last week.  If you want to rubberneck at
something really misbegotten, it was called Belladonna. But that one was
interestingly bad - because it carelessly crashed through so many points of
no return, detour, warning: bridge out, low clearance, railroad crossing
signs.  It was fascinating in it's way.  In fact, I may get it out again if
I need a cautionary tale.

	"By the end of the trilogy I was wincing every time Brooks used a
circumlocution to
> avoid writing a person's name, and I nearly threw up when he used
> circumlocutions to avoid using a horse's name..."
	lol!  Too funny!

	Subsiding from my tirade,

	"How quick come the reasons for approving what we like!"
	--Persuasion, J. Austen

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