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book 'em

My appalling hangover yesterday was interrupted by the arrival of a courier bearing a box of books from a certain huge publisher (initials H.C.). Which would be cool if I didn't know that this publisher's representative on earth (or at least in Ireland) always packs these boxes with the sort of books that I actively loathe, even if the publisher is currently publishing lots of books I would like. And so there is now a large box in my sitting room filled with lots of books about serial killers and religious conspiracies and some schmaltzy family sagas. There are also several of those horrible, horrible abused child memoirs, which I consider to be basically porn for people who enjoy other people's misery - the detail seems to be there purely for a weird sort of non-sexual titillation (just how bad can his mother be? How long did she leave him locked up in a cupboard? How many times a day did she beat him?).

So yes, it was a big box of crap, and it's yet another addition to the piles of terrible books that are threatening to take over my house. I know that I'm lucky to get lots of free books, but just think - for every new Sarah Waters novel, there are about 20 Da Vinci Code rip-offs. And of course, then there are the ostentatiously-clever-but-really-kind-of-hollow-and-unpleasant-look-i've-been-in-mcsweeney's novels, which are the sort of thing I might have read and been impressed by in the days before I got sent 20 new books a month and became a lot more intolerant of sub-standard, over-stylised emotionally dead writing.

And now I have to go and read the new Joanna Trollope (whom I hate as well, although Lord knows no one could accuse of her of being ostentatiously clever or over-stylised). Oh woe is me!



( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 15th, 2005 11:13 am (UTC)
Ugh I know what you mean about those abused child memoirs. I remember when I used to work in Waterstones, just after those dreadful Dave Pelzer 'A Child Called It' books came out, we'd get people in who'd just read them asking for a book 'just like that'.

Most of these people were the sorts who never normally read anything, and I always thought on the one hand it was nice that they had found pleasure in a book, but on the other hand it was a bit sickening that these were the books they'd chosen.
Dec. 15th, 2005 11:40 am (UTC)
I read that Joan Crawford's daughter thingy long ago and one of those books in a lifetime is enough for me.
Dec. 15th, 2005 11:46 am (UTC)
I tried a bit of the aforementioned 'A Child Called It' after several friends had rhapsodised about it and thought it was horrible, and not even terribly well written, which would have helped. Why anybody enjoys reading about child abuse is beyond me, and yet these titles are consistently in bestseller lists. It is perplexing.
Dec. 15th, 2005 12:11 pm (UTC)
I remember when the last of those Dave Pelzer books came out there was a great article in, I think, the Observer about the (non-sexual) titillation aspect - people read these things to see just how bad this kid's life was, and the more details the better. Apparently as the books go on, he goes into more and more detail when describing the abuse. And readers love this. I don't think they love it because they, like, agree with it, but they obviously get some sort of thrill about reading these horrific details. I suppose everyone enjoys reading sensational stories, but I do not get why people like reading 400 pages of child abuse.
Dec. 15th, 2005 11:37 am (UTC)
Ugh, having to read books you don't like is like having to choke down someone's awful cooking. EEEW.
Dec. 15th, 2005 12:04 pm (UTC)
I know, it's so hard to force it down! A few years ago I had to review a particularly bad book and I literally couldn't read it - it was so tortuously written that every page was a torment. I was driven to asking my friends if they'd read it for me...
Dec. 15th, 2005 01:42 pm (UTC)

"A Child Called It" was misshelved in children's when I was little, and I read 75 pages in the bookstore and then went home and threw up.

The idea of people reading and enjoying it kind of disturbs me immensely.
Dec. 15th, 2005 01:53 pm (UTC)
Can I have the new Joanna Trollope when you're done? For I do not hate her at all. Blame my mother for hooking me at an early age.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )


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