Thursday, June 18, 2009

Stop Liking Crap

Today's flavor - moon pie - you loved them as a kid because you had an indiscriminate palette for sweets. Now it sounds good in theory, but when you take a bite of this artificial, over-the-top, cheap junk confection, you just want to spit it out.

I am addicted to audiobooks. I have to have 3 or 4 handy at a time because I might be listening to one on my iphone, another in my car and another in my studio. I can finish one in under a day and if I'm all out of book, I start going through withdrawl and - like any addict - I desparately need a fix. So, recently it was slim pickings at the bookmobile and I decided to try a book by a popular author that I never read because I thought she wouldn't be my style. Holy mother of all things crappy. This is a best-seller. I mean, dozens of published titles = multi-million sales = millions of dollars. (I won't name names, but rhymes with fanet yuckanovich) And yet, as I listen to this drek I start to worry that my earphones are going to start spewing out puss. I tear them away, hoping to stave off infection. The writing is putrid. I mean so bad, that I expect the narrator to take a vomit break. So I don't get past the first CD. But I can't stop thinking about this. I mean, everyone knows how hard it is to get an agent and get published, especially for pop-fiction. Many of us have abandoned all dreams of having much than 148 loyal readers. So this, ahem, writer, who seems to sit with a thesaurous, a book of cliches and a map to predictability on her desktop, has struck gold with a publisher that promoted the heck out of her titles and a public with impossibly low standards. Kudos to her. Truly. I do not begrudge her the success - no matter how ironic it is that really, really bad writing got someone to best status. I don't believe that success is available in limited quantities. And I'm not mad at those agents and publishers who provide the resources to make it possible for us to take endless dips in the pool of literary crap - they are in business to make money. As an American, and a capitalist, I don't mind seeing them compromise what surely started out as a love for literature, in the shameless pursuit of dollars.
my grapes are not sour
But I am mad at you. Well, maybe not you personally, because you read my stuff, so clearly you're discerning and extremely cool. I mean the collective "you" - the general public (yeah, yeah, I guess I'm probably in there too). Stop buying the crap that bought the author (and I apply that term in the same way I refer to my 9 year old as mature) the penthouse and the botox. So if you're wishing you could have my clever, laugh-out-loud, relatably flavored novel for your summer reading pleasure, let me break the sad news that it will never happen. I can't possibly compete with the story about the brilliant attorney who looks like a supermodel and has been unlucky in love until she meets the unbelievably hunky, funny and sensitive cop/FBI guy/doctor, and they share the traumatic experience that ends in the most perfect sex ever, followed by a marriage proposal. Ick. Ick. Ick. I feel dirty just describing it. This doesn't even qualify as a guilty pleasure because it's actually painful.


Dear Publisher,
May I suggest a new medium for crappy titles?


Look, people, I'm not expecting everyone to create a Jane Austen book club and reject anything other than high-brow literature. I just want to point out that there is a whole lot of writing talent in this big world, and you have the right to good story-telling. So, please, stop liking crap because you might not be able to escape the stink.


23 comments:

  1. I have not read any of her books and now I certainly don't think I will!

    I just read The Gargoyle. Check it out - it was very different than anything I have read before!

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  2. I am always stunned by the stuff that gets published. Quality, apparently, is no longer required.

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  3. AMEN I read about 1 chapter of her books when I was 12 and knew it was crap and then tried again when I was 15 and almost vomited and then tried again at 20 and went I don't like mustard why do I keep putting in on my hot dog?
    I am not a good writer and I am not a classic book enthusiast but come one that is like went back to school to earn a writing degree first year no talent crap.

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  4. I have never read her stuff and now I never will. Ugh. I get so mad sometimes going into bookstores with all the terrible titles shrieking at me, it's quite depressing.

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  5. Cute post :)

    Happy VGNO!

    http://iamharriet.blogspot.com/2009/06/vgno.html

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  6. I haven't read any of Fanet's books yet and now I'm just not sure I want to. Thanks for the steer clear advice. Happy VGNO!

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  7. I've run across a few author's like the one you've mentioned. One good story and all of a sudden their editor will publish anything they write. Let's face it, it's not the story that sells, it's the author's name.
    Have a great VGNO!

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  8. I haven't read any of Fanet's books as of yet - not sure I want to subject myself to something that's not even a guilty pleasure...thanks for the heads up! ;)

    Happy VGNO! :)

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  9. So true. I have my favorites and stick mostly to them. I will occasionally venture to another author, but, if they can't get me when I read the cover, I'm not reading it.

    Happy VGNO

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  10. Stopping by for VGNO! Hope you have a great weekend.

    http://lolasdiner.blogspot.com
    http://lolasvictorygarden.blogspot.com
    http://firecrotchrocket.blogspot.com

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  11. I may just have a little hetero girl-crush on you now. I love a good rant; especially an intelligent one.

    I'm so glad I found you during my first VGNO!

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  12. Love the "rhymes with"! :)

    I know, I've been trying to publish a children's book and it gets denied. And then I'll be reading books to the kids I nanny for and I'm all 'someone published THIS!?!"

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  13. I used to work at a library and believe me, finding a book that kept my interest wasn't easy.

    They are all so darned predicable!

    Anyway, Happy VGNO!

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  14. I love your writing! I wish a publisher would discover you! Someday...

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  15. You are referring to one of her early works that has been re-published, no doubt. I'm a fan, but I take her books for what they are. Silly, light-hearted reading. If you were expecting a literary genius, yeah, that's not happening in her books. I have a huge collection of books. I'm an addict too. I'll probably never read all of the books that I own. However, when I am choosing a book off the shelf to read, my choice is usually determined by my mood. Sometimes I am in the mood for a bunch aimless goofiness. I enjoyed your article.

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  16. Oh, this made me laugh out loud. It is pretty sad when a book that sucks makes it to that level of fame. It's true though, some people don't know good writing if it hit them in the face. I wish I had more time to read though... the idea of audiobooks though and being able to listen in th car... well that rocks. Why have I not thought of picking one of those up yet!

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  17. My novel isn't crap, I swear. It's also an audio book! The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings.

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  18. Gawd, ain't that the truth- like reality tv, I guess they cater to the lowest common denominator and hit the bigtime. Or maybe know who to be related to/sleep with? I dunno. Good for them but makes you shake your head at those who buy it.
    Just what I want to be known for- being sucktacular- NOT!

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  19. Hahahah....good post. I read crap, but only because I read whatever is handy when I want to read.. I promise I don't pay money for it :)

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  20. I love audiobooks - anything that allows me to read and knit at the same time is a GODSEND for me! :D

    Of course you know that not everything that is popular is good... by a long shot. I feel the same way about the Twilight series. Last year one of my friends wouldn't stop raving about it, so I borrowed the first one, and the quality of writing just made me want to retch. But people love it, can't get enough of it.

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  21. I, too, wish people would stop liking crap. Not only crappy novels, either. Why? Why are some of the great places closing and sucky places staying open? We lost Bennigans, Fuddruckers, and Don Pablos all in the same little spot. But the crappy Mexican restaurant? It's still sitting right there. Ditto the TGIF, which has totally gone downhill. The yummy bagel place is gone. It has been replaced by yet another crappy pizza place. WalMart is going strong, by the great dime-store type place adiosed a while ago.

    So yea, please people - stop liking crap.

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