Tag Archives: Why Some Books Suck

Little Pink Slips by Sally Koslow

Synopsis: When her magazine is taken over by a bullheaded celebrity, editor-in-chief Magnolia Gold tries to go along to get along–until she gets handed a pink slip. Review: I am not ashamed to admit that I love a good ‘n’ dishy roman a clef. But Little Pink Slips was a HUGE disappointment. I felt like author Sally Koslow was simply recycling material from other, better books, and none of her satire was particularly fresh. Her worse sin of all? Squandering her source material. Share on…

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The Steep Approach to Garbadale by Iain Banks

Synopsis: On the eve of the sale of the family’s multimillion dollar business, black sheep Alban makes his way home where he will have to confront the truth about his mother’s death and the love that lingers for his cousin Sophie. Review: I was intrigued by the plot of The Steep Approach to Garbadale, hinging as it does around a family that built its fortune on a successful Risk-type game. That kind of staggering wealth and the ramifications on relationships sounds fascinating to me, particularly…

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Done with Jodi Picoult

About 200 pages into Second Glance by Jodi Picoult, I decided to give up–not just on the book, but on her altogether. I thought she was just hit-and-miss, but now I’m convinced that if I read anything more by her I’ll stop liking the one book of hers I did like, Sister’s Keeper, which I just recommended to my friend Karen. I thought I’d really enjoy Second Glance, which promised to delve into eugenics in the first part of the 20th Century in America, a…

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Such a Pretty Girl by Laura Wiess

Synopsis: After a teenage girl’s abusive father is released early from prison, she fears that she will be victimized again. Review: I hold Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak to be the perfect YA “problem novel.” These novels take a teen in jeopardy facing off against a social issue, and show how the protagonist overcomes the situation. In the case of Speak, the protagonist has gone mute after calling the cops on a summer party, and can’t tell anybody what happened to her that night. Halse Anderson…

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Bulwer-Lytton Awards Announced

And the winner is: Gerald began–but was interrupted by a piercing whistle which cost him ten percent of his hearing permanently, as it did everyone else in a ten-mile radius of the eruption, not that it mattered much because for them “permanently” meant the next ten minutes or so until buried by searing lava or suffocated by choking ash–to pee. Jim Gleeson Madison, WI My personal favorite is the Children’s Literature winner: Danny, the little Grizzly cub, frolicked in the tall grass on this sunny…

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Keep Away from the Genre

Last night’s work read saw a celebrated author of so-called “literary fiction” attempting a murder mystery. Great characters, fabulous dialogue, smart ideas–terrible plot. Why? The writer doesn’t know the first thing about genre satisfaction. This happens from time to time. A “real writer” will decide to take on a genre, thinking that it must be easy otherwise there wouldn’t be so many of them. But what said “real writer” doesn’t understand is that true genre excellence comes out of love for what the genre has…

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The Trouble with the Magical Talisman

Why is it that so many kids’ fantasy adventure books can be boiled down to: “Children find a magical talisman that transports them to a wondrous world where they must fulfill their destiny or be trapped for ever.” I swear I’ve read this book about a zillion times for work, and today was no exception. Some, like today, are better written than others but it makes me wonder if we’ve run out of stories with which to delight and dazzle children. Is it just me,…

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A Bookish Brunch

I had brunch yesterday with fellow fast reader Alissa and Carey, who shared such astute insights into Brothers K. The time flew by, as it does when readers get together and get on the subject of books. It was such a pleasure to spend time with people who are as passionate about reading as I am. I got some book recommendations (I think I will be checking out Michael Chabon’s newest) and got to rave about mutual love for authors like Tolstoy and George RR…

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Stone of Farewell by Tad Williams

Synopsis: Young Simon is in the middle of the biggest adventure his land has seen in years, but if he and is friends fail their mission, the wicked Storm King will prevail. Book Two of Memory, Sorrow and Thorn. Review: I know it sounds like Lord of the Rings, but it’s all in the details, people. (Though he does team up with a dwarf and spend some time with some Elf-like folk.) I found the first book in the series, The Dragonbone Chair, a bit…

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