Monday, June 13, 2011

Reading Bad Books

When I was in college, I picked up a book from the bargin bin. I remember the book's title well: Perfect Order. The book, written by Kate Coscarelli, was hard cover, the dusk jacket long lost, but the book was in good shape, except for a fat black felt tip pen mark along the book's bottom edge - the remnant mark.

I really don't remember too much about the plot line, but I remember it was the first novel I read and thought, "I can write better than this." Stephen King calls this "popping your literary cherry." It just occurred to me that someone may place this book on their favorites list - sorry if that is the case. The words used were predicable, the phrases over-used, and the characters were flat. There was some sex in the book - not Judy Collins sexual frequency, but more than I am comfortable with. I have nothing against sex - just that it should help move the story along, and these labored passages hindered the flow of the story. And some of the phrases did not make much sense.

Writers need to read bad books. It teaches you what not to do - what seems ineffective, trite, etc. And it also helps motivate you. Someone got a book published, and they wrote a real stinker. To be fair, I googled the book I mentioned, and the reviews are generally mediocre (scoring three of five stars).

Speaking of bad books, I just purchased a volume of poetry called Touch Me by Suzanne Somers.

I have not started reading it, but I really enjoyed Kristen Wiig reciting it recently. It is so bad it is good. I don't know if this makes me a bad person, but at this point, I figure at least I have not done anything terribly wrong with a twitter account.

Celtic Knot and Xmichra took up my challenge of writing Commencement Addresses. I was pleasantly surprised that someone attempted it, two someones. Please read their words - both really came up with something very fresh.


Xmichra said...

I do the same thing with art - paintings mostly. But instead of "I can do this better" it's "my kids can do this better" and they do ;) I could likely pimp out thier little masterpeices for thousands. lol... my walls are nicely decorated at least :)

Thanks for the shout out, I really enjoyed writting that post.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with Xmichra on this, whether it is writing or art. It's actually good for the ego because it leads one to believe one isn't proceeding too badly.

Zephyr said...

Bad books have their place... There's nothing quite like reading a bad book out loud with/to some friends. It's even better if you have a nice bottle of wine to accompany the bad book. :)

With that said, I would hate to have been the author of the bad book. So I'll stick to letting others write.

Anonymous said...

To give me inspiration to finish my novel I go to B&N and pick books off the shelves at random, knowing that half of them will make me realize that if this dreck gets printed, certainly my less-drecky stuff can get printed.

And to steal a Lewis Black line and apply it appropriately...a monkey with a stick up its butt and coming out of his mouth in his final death twitches could write better than this...

Leesa said...

xchmira: I can see doing that with painting as well. AndI really liked your post.

ian: exactly.

zephyr: part of me would not mind being a published author of a bad book.

coopernicus: I did not ever here that Lewis Black quote. Thanks, I think.