Monday, March 30, 2009

Booking It--The Best Worst

A few weeks ago, we asked you to name the best book you’ve never read. This
week’s kind of the opposite. What’s the best “worst” book you’ve ever read?

The book that first comes to mind for me is Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. It has no real literary merit, it plays fast and loose with history and religion, yet I couldn’t put it down. His Angels and Demons was the same way for me. In fact, I liked it better than The Da Vinci Code.

Sometimes, I just don’t want to have to think too hard.

And you?


lisa b said...

Amen. And I also preferred Angels an Demons to Da Vinci Code.

I'd have to say Twilight is my personal Best Worst, though. It's a real page turner, but I hated every page I turned. It got worse with each book and I seriously considered just ending the whole thing more than once. I didn't think I would find anything as irritating as JK Rowling's practice of WRITING IN ALL CAPS TO PORTRAY EMOTION, but Meyer's constant references to classic literature drove me nuts. Ms. Meyer, if I believe you are as gifted as Shakespeare, Jane Austen, or the Bronte sisters, I will make that observation myself. You do not have to suggest it to me. :-)

Amy Adair said...

I agree. I would put The DaVinci Code up there with you!

Jonathan G. Reinhardt said...

I've got nothing to add here -- I felt the same way about Dan Brown and Stephenie Meyer.

I do think it's interesting to think about why those books are so compelling even though the writing is awful and the characters pretty much appallingly bland.

My personal theory is that Dan Brown has mastered the one and only technique a writer needs to ensure that everybody will just breeze through the book without being able to put it down: the cliff hanger. Go back and look. He is worthless otherwise as a craftsman, but he knows exactly when to cut off a chapter so you can't help but go and read the next one.

Stephenie Meyer is actually even more embarrassingly bad as a writer, but I will keep my theory about her success to myself on this blog. Let's just say it has to do with the caricature of masculinity that Edward Cullen plays in the female imagination. And I don't want to offend all the very intelligent ladies here.

(P.S. If you need a hint, ask yourself why "Twilight" isn't actually a vampire novel -- Edward could just as well be a werewolf or a rich Arabian prince. No biting necessary... and none takes place.)

Stephanie said...

I haven't read Meyer yet, but from what I've picked up about the novels, it seems that Edward is a saviour figure, rescuing the poor, weak, insecure woman. Haven't we already been there & done that too many times to count?