Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Bad Reviews III

(I've discussed snark and bad reviews - and my mixed feelings of delight and shame - previously,  hence the title of this post)

In the current issue of American Book Review , 40 reviewers - all with academic affiliations (is that required?!) - get to say a few words about their least favorite books.  From the editors' introduction: "Calling the question of 'bad books' to the fore elicited - as might be expected - an overwhelming response." (So, it's not just me).  Not surprisingly, the 40 selected entries include some surprises; Revolutionary Road, Women in Love, All the Pretty Horses, An American Tragedy, and The Great Gatsby are there, but also some very credible suggestions like "Dildo Cay" (1940), about which the reviewer writes "For starters, one questions the presumption that even the most sober war-era reader would leap to associate the titular islet with the tall Caribbean cactuses that populate it, rather than, say, with artificial phalluses..." Anyway, 40 short and enjoyable reviews!

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