Thursday, March 30, 2023

Get off my bookshelf


I’ve become a grumpy reader.

There’s a reason I now always check out four books at a time (besides the fact that of the four, I’ve inevitably already read one of them).

In spite of the glowing comments on the back cover, I no longer have patience for poor plotting and characters whose names all seem to have come from a Dick and Jane reader: Mandy Mitchell, Trent Thompson,

I also have no patience whatsoever for poor writing. Heavens knows I have my own challenges as a writer, but sometimes I’m so amazed at the quality of what I’m reading that I go back and check to see what fly-by-night publisher sent this drivel out into the world. And yes, as a self-published writer I am able to spot the irony here.

I took a chance at the library this week and strayed from my usual list of writers and picked up a few unfamiliar names. The latest one, whose back cover promises “Good, dark fun” and claims the writer “practically invented the thriller” was another disappointment.

I tried to slog through the prologue (have you noticed everyone’s throwing in a prologue lately to avoid the labor of weaving background information into the story itself?), I swear I did try, but I gave up halfway because of this:

Second sentence- As the clumsy maid leaned in

Second paragraph – As the chauffeur opened the door,

Third paragraph – As the car pulled up on the graveled driveway

          There were at least three more clauses employing ‘as’ before the prologue came to a stop.

          Never mind that it all began with the tired phrase of ‘In the soft light of flickering candles”. I’ll save the next installment of Cranky Reader for another time – maybe about the need to sensationalize everything. (Case in point another trite example from this sad prologue: Connie was very curvaceous, her bleached blonde hair reminiscent of Marilyn Monroe, and she had perfect the movie star’s sultry pout.)

          Agatha and Miss Marple where are you?


  1. Oh my. I am also a grumpy reader, I can't help it. I sure do enjoy your books, though.

  2. That's some boring writing for sure. Don't be coy! What's the title?!

    1. Don't know what made me choose it: Buried by Lynda La Plante. Just read the flyleaf- apparently the author's script for an episode of Prime Suspect won a BAFTA!
      Go figure!!

    2. I own a couple by Lynda La Plante: Cold Blood and Bella Mafia, both are good but Bella Mafia is the better of the two.

    3. OK! I've heard of Lynda but I've never read anything by her. Might keep it that way. :)

  3. I am with you. And mourn that so much essential editing hasn't happened.

  4. Those sentences would have me putting the book back on the library shelf. Do you ever read a few paragraphs before checking them out, to see if you remember having read them already? Perhaps you could put a tiny green or purple dot on the back side of the last page and check for that to be sure you don't take home something you have already read.

  5. It does seem like rather banal prose.

  6. Add me to the grumpy reader club.


Thanks for stopping by and I'd love to hear what you think.