Not naming books I hate

Some of you have expressed annoyance that I have not named the hated book in previous post. To which I can only say: tough.

My blog, my rules.

Is long-standing policy of this blog never to name the author or title of books I don’t like. This will never change.

I don’t name them because authors are the most sensitive creatures alive. Layers of their skin disappear every time one of their babies books is dissed. This is why agents and editors never pass along any but the good reviews. They do not want their authors to wind up skinless because then they’ll be in intensive care unable to write more books.

Then there’s the other kind of author who seek out and destroy those who speak less than praise-ingly of their books. And—even worse—the fans who do likewise. Fans can be VICIOUS. What can I say? I am a coward.

The only time I will name a craptastic book or author is if they’re dead AND they don’t have a rabid fan following. Mentioning my dislike of a certain detective by a long-dead author led to my receiving hate mail. I have learned my lesson: Passionate readers are to be FEARED.

So far that means I can only tell you how much I hate hate hate hate Moby Dick. That’s because American Lit scholars aren’t very scary. I can so take them.


  1. Ishmael on #

    I love Moby Dick. I know where you live. At least I know what cities you live in, and that should be enough to be scary.

  2. Justine on #

    Ishmael: You SO don’t scare me.

  3. Kenina on #

    I’ve met too many fangirls for my liking. Some literally say “I will convert you.”
    Okay, here’s a joke I made up while talking to my sisters over dinner:

    Q: How do you get two fangirls to stop talking?
    A: Shoot both of them, because a fangirl will just talk to herself.***

    “…chiseled body….porcelain skin….coal black eyes…inhumanly beautiful….hypnotic eyes… SQUEAL!!!one!!!1!”

    ***Not to be applied to real life scenarios.

  4. PixelFish on #

    I’m guilty in the past of a few snarky reviews. I have a couple of books I love to hate, a couple of books I love madly despite being horribly flawed (wherein I talk about them the way you talk about family members with crazy habits that you love anyway), a handful I used to love but realise sucked, and a bunch that I thought sucked until I grew old enough to appreciate them. Recently, one author talked about a series that I had long ago dismissed, but reviewed them in such a way that made me rethink the series and how I regarded it.

    But sometimes I just loves me the snark a little too much. Perhaps your policy is best, but I haves the guilty pleasures.

  5. El on #

    I’ve never been able to get through Moby Dick, though I tried more than once.

    Some years ago, I saw an interview on TV with Ray Bradbury, who wrote (cowrote? not sure) the script for the movie. He couldn’t stand it either, until he HAD to read it to do the script. I think he said he skipped around all over the place and came to love the book.

    I have bought a new copy. I have from time to time considered whether now is the time to try that technique to see if I like it better.

    I’ve never been able to convince myself to do it….

  6. Serafina Zane on #

    Obviously you have not encountered the fearsome American Lit ninjas. Fear them. They have copies of Moby Dick, and man, that book is HEAVY. Not a piece of literature I’d like upside the head.

  7. cat sparks on #

    But I scare you, right? I’m coming up there to slap you round for dissing the big fish book.

  8. Justine on #

    Serafina Zane & Cat: I’m not scared of you or your ninjas. No fear at all! Moby Dick is the most boring novel of ALL TIME.

  9. Delia on #

    Maybe in Australia Am. Lit. scholars aren’t scary. I’ve met a few here that would give you pause for thought.

    I rather like Moby Dick–all those great whale-oil extracting tips–but I don’t mind if you don’t. Mileage varies. I couldn’t read Ulysses, not even if it was ever so. And Hemingway just makes me hate men, so I try to stay away from him. Also, boring.

    Hey, this dissing Dead White Authors is fun!

  10. mensley on #


    My wife the American Lit scholar recently read Moby Dick for an advanced class, and she utterly shares your contempt for it.

    Now if you brought the hate for Jane Austen she might get scary. Okay, not scary, but certainly astonished and vexed.

  11. Sherwood on #

    *Watching as hordes of Melville scholars rumble up, glasses joggling, briefcases flapping…ducking as they hurl deconstructed postmodern white papers in your general direction*

  12. Jennifer on #

    Smart move. I got some massive complaints from an author one time…oy.

    I won’t say a dang thing about The Teen Vampire Novel That’s Sweeping The Nation, either.

  13. Jaye on #

    Sherlock Holmes is wonderful. C’mon…Sure, the stories are formulaic but still look what he did for the (now mostly stale) mystery genre. He’s compelling and develops over the course of the stories.

    Never made it through Moby Dick, though.

  14. Justine on #

    Did I mention Sherlock Holmes? I did not. I have no idea what you’re talking about.

  15. Rene on #

    Jennifer: do please say something about The Teen Vampire Novel That’s Sweeping The Nation. I haven’t read it, but I bought it for my sister’s birthday. (She’s not a teen! But she likes vampires!)

    I recently picked up a book by a Respected Author I had heard speak and only made it halfway through before abandoning it. I’ll try another, though, because he was funny in person.

  16. Nikki on #

    Moby Dick…no easy read..long, difficult, still fascinating. Short spurts of reading and a little latte at you-know-where (named after Captain Ahab’s first mate) helps to ease the pain.

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