Wednesday, August 27, 2008


I just read something which asked if a certain best selling author was dumbing down his novels.

Is the questioner for real? I really don't believe there is any room in the downward direction for this particular author to go.

I am not normally one to squash the creative efforts of anyone, but some people should not be published, much less, best selling authors. (okay, everyone should have a shot at putting themselves out there if they want to, but BLOG. Best seller? ...Wait, I'm seriously waffling here because I can think of certain specialty criminal types who should not have a shot at putting it out there. )

I had never heard of this author until someone handed me one of his books and said it was a good read.

It was not.

I read the whole thing because of that human inability to turn away from horrible things. Every page I questioned, "is this as stupid as I think this is? He doesn't really think he's setting up a plot twist, does he? I can see this whole thing coming from the first page." And then, I felt compelled to see if it really was as stupid as it seemed, or maybe he was some genius keeping me going with writing that was beyond basic and there would be a surprise payoff somewhere along the way.

Even as my brain pleaded, "this is as it seems and you are getting dumber every second you spend reading. Stop. Stop reading. Now. Stop it." But I read on to the end and it was so flat-lined I didn't even want to throw the book across the room -- I just stared at it. I was mixed between disgust and not being able to understand why this book existed.

I kind of question the aunt who gave it to me now, too. I looked up to her once, but "good read?" What's happened? what's wrong? One of the kids suck your brain out? Are you on a medication that's turned you into a dullard?

What's more, I was trying to explain the experience to my friend Brian and as I described the writing he asked, "was it J---- P--------?"


I was glad for Brian in that moment, because I realized that the author didn't make me feel stupid, he made me feel crazy, out of body and separate from the human race. Brain reconnected me.

I know horrible books are published every day, but I usually just stop reading. Again, I marvel at the power this book held over me, how it compelled me to read every stupid, predictable word.

I saw an ad for this guys latest book and I thought, hey I've already seen this as a movie -- it was called Dead Calm. Ripper offer.

I left his name out, because, what if he googles himself? I'm sure he's no stranger to scathing reviews and that he reads them while sitting atop a pile of money, but still -- I don't wish the man ill will -- I just felt the need to ponder aloud.



Blogger kim said...

I wish I could do the rant without guilt thing -- I have such a rich mean streak and I'm so very guilty about it...

I'm wishing and washing now. But that was really bad book -- it really was.

7:25 PM  
Blogger TTQ said...

I'm still waiting on A.B's next book. No mre nictone gum for him if we don't get another of his books. Then he will have "dry" mouth until we give it back.

I'm feeling all mighty powered today..

P.S. I drove myself to "lunch" and sat still for a whole hour. babysteps.

8:19 PM  
Blogger kim said...


see, and now you name someone who rants without apology.

I think I've said it before, but I can't even watch bad guys get busted for ripping off old people on 20/20. I probably could now that my grandfather has been a victim of scammers to the tune of a HANDSOME sum of money, but I don't know.

anyway -- did you read "wolf at the table?" I have not, but need to.

And I could use some "lunch" right about now. I am very head case-ish this week.

9:07 PM  
Blogger kay said...

i'm guessing it's james patterson.

his books are all the same. and super easy to figure out.

i hate it when someone gives me book to read and i don't like it. it's almost like i'm telling them they have bad taste. (which they usually do!)

7:10 AM  
Blogger kim said...

Kay you read more than one?
It's only okay because it's you and you read one gazillion books a year.

I actually wanted to peek into another of his books because I wondered if the one I read was something he phoned in after achieving success. But again, that writing -- so colorless.

Fool me once...

7:33 AM  
Blogger kay said...

i guessed right!! i'm so lame.

yes i am homeschooling but only the little guy. he starts kindergarten this year. caleb wanted to go back to school. he starts tuesday. wish me luck!!!!!!

1:57 PM  
Blogger TTQ said...

uh oh don't wish for books the Post Office does that flat rate thing..and i have books everywhere..

Next time i get manic and am allowed to clean, you may have just created your own pile..

2:26 PM  
Blogger KATE said...

Okay spill it, what book was it! Email me the name if you don't want it out there, but seriously, that was way too cryptic! I get who the author was, but I have to know the book! Come on, tell me!

~What good books have you read lately?

7:32 PM  
Blogger kim said...

"Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas"

I had to google and read a list of his books to remember. So naturally I read some reviews to see how others felt about it. The book was a departure from his genre, fine -- still no excuse for what I read. And then, I'm reading the reviews and find he is DRAWING FROM PERSONAL LOSS!
Significant because, either dude can't draw from himself, or dude WAS drawing from himself. The first doesn't bode well for a writer, the second doesn't bode well for a person.
If he's so good at writing creepy stories, maybe it's because he is creepy.
one reviewer said the writing of this story was one step above dick and jane. Exactly. I can't see how he pulls off suspense in the novels he's famous for.
I'm being guilty of "contempt prior to ivestigation" here, but for real? He can write suspense?

9:56 AM  
Blogger Melek said...

i've read one james patterson book. that's all i needed. i see them on the stands, and the cover or the title look intriguing, but i just can' get into them.

1:26 PM  
Blogger Swishy said...

I have never read him, but I do not understand at ALL how some books get published. It boggles my mind, for real. (And I feel guilty about EVERYTHING, so I am right there with you :) )

5:09 PM  
Blogger Cecily R said...

Hahahahaha!!! The SECOND I read about a best selling author who can't get any dumber, I KNEW who it was.

Now I am desperate to know exactly which JP book you read. Because I can think of two that made me categorically stupider for reading them...and yea, I'm totally embarrassed to tell you that I DID finish them.

How I LOVE you for feeling the same way!

10:17 PM  
Blogger Cecily R said...

Okay, I just read your comments and that was one that I was talking about. It was such a TRAIN WRECK. It was terrible awful and bad all at once. Someday you and I will talk about this.

And for the record, the person who told ME that SDFN was the kind of book you "can't put down" is now dead to me.

Just kidding. But I don't take her suggestions seriously at all anymore.

10:20 PM  
Anonymous Tooth Fairey said...

There's a lot of dumbing down going on lately. Reality tv, Adam Sandler movies, creationisim, that guy who cut me off.. the list goes on.

My suggestion is a nice graphic novel. "Last Man" is a good place to start

1:17 PM  
Blogger Barrie said...

You know what I think is amazing? How so many YA books are great reads. YA!

11:45 PM  
Blogger KATE said...

Okay, you're crackin' me up! I did read that one and it was horrible! You're SO right! I also HATE his Alex Cross series. (i know I'm an idiot, but I keep trying) a couple of his other "suspense" books I didn't mind, for "mindless" reading. But if you read more than that they are all the same!
You are so stinkin' funny! I LOVE your rants!! And, I LOVE your mean streak! hee hee
we should talk! I think you need a flight out here, Cecily and I are going out to dinner tonight. Where are you?! We'd have SO much fun let our mean streaks out together!!!!
Love ya!!

1:43 PM  
Blogger wordtryst said...

I know who you mean, but I haven't read his books so I can't offer my two cents. I'll tell you though, that as a writer myself I dread stumbling upon a totally scathing review. The ones I've read so far have been good, but you know how opinions go.

Erica Jong (or one of her characters) said that even if you get a thousand great reviews, the one scathing piece will keep you up nights in lonely hotel rooms.

I'm glad you didn't write the name, although at his stage of 'success' he probably won't care. I can't go anywhere that sells books and not see rows of his stuff.

Being nice and politically correct all the time sucks, though, so rant on.

3:11 PM  

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