Beware of the Book

I read way more book reviews than books. In fact, I mostly prefer to read reviews rather than the actual book. Also, I like to review the review, and if I so much as see the following phrases in a book review, I will either close my browser or fling the paper I found on the BART seat back onto the seat where I found it.
“This is a cautionary tale.”
“This is a tale of star-crossed lovers.”

Sometimes, I forget if I’ve read a review or the book, but the chances are I’ve only read the review, and I’ve reviewed the review in my mind to the point I’ve let it influence my opinion of the book. Somehow the review has become the book. The review is the everything, and if I see these words in a review I will groan loudly and declare the book trash (even though I am only reading the review).
“highbrow”
“clinker”
“chiller” (someone started this disturbing misuse of the word “thriller”)
“pipe dream”
“shape shifting”

Everything in a book is a pipe dream or shape shifting. It’s a book for pete’s sake!

And finally there is this…a bad review published by The New York Times and then, another editor at the times starts communicating with a character in the book? Confused? Sure. Because they are essentially doing the same thing I am, except the editor is taking it one step further and asking the character “Did you get hit on the head?” The bad review isn’t making the book now, the character is.

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8 Comments

Filed under writing

8 responses to “Beware of the Book

  1. Let’s go a bit further and say that it always sounds pretentious to me when writers claim that their characters are real people to them and they can’t control them, etc. This article seems to imply that the character with the e-mail account had sort of taken over.

    • Nada

      I think it’s even weirder. I think his agent told him to set up the email account for the character. I’m not sure when fiction got so out of hand.

      I do remember one of my favorite critiques from one of my writing classmate on one of my stories. The critiquerer said, “You lost control of the story.” Whaaaaat? It may be poorly written but the story is not a vehicle where the steering breaks and whizes down a hill into the 2nd grade of an elementary school. Luckily no one is hurt because they are all at lunch.

  2. Where is that photo from, by the way? Hay-on-Wye in Wales?

  3. That is a strange sign. My novels don’t have real people in them or do they?

    • Nada

      I am laughing because I think I already asked you if your characters were based on a real person. They seem very real.

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