Rush on over to Feminist SF — The Blog and read this very funny — and thought-provoking, to boot — post: How to know if you’re reading a bad book.

Here’s a couple of the short ones:

5. Does anyone lurk? If someone’s lurking, you might be reading a Bad Book.

11. Does the book begin with some sort of random sex scene meant to show you how desirable / virile one of the protags is because if you don’t know about his / her addictive sexuality you won’t understand why they’re supposed to be attractive given their lack of any other character traits of note? If so, you might be reading a Bad Book. Actually, you almost certainly are. Hopefully you didn’t pay money for it. If you did, I’m sorry. … Did you keep the receipt?

Comments

  1. #1 phisrow
    June 26, 2009

    There seems to be some overlap between “bad books” and “books with distasteful operating assumptions”.

  2. #2 Moopheus
    June 26, 2009

    Back in the days when I had to read slush I had rules like this, because you usually only had a few minutes for each manuscript. There was, for instance, the Striding Frame rule. In a thriler-type book, you come across a line like “Joe Blow strode through the door, his 6’2″ frame swaggering manfully,” or some such. As soon as the striding frame appeared, I was done. Next!

  3. #3 John Dupuis
    June 26, 2009

    Yes, I can imagine. In fact I’ve just finished reading for a literary prize and a lot of the items in the list did come up. More than once.

  4. #4 Janne
    June 26, 2009

    A so far 100% reliable indication that I’m reading a lousy book:

    “The protagonists flee from their tall albino cultist masochist hitman hidden in the back of a Swiss’ banks armored car.”

    It’s never failed me yet.

  5. #5 melior
    June 29, 2009

    How to know if you’re reading a bad book

    For me, the dead giveaway is always the loud “splat!” sound I hear as the book hits the wall across the room and slides to the floor.

  6. #6 John Dupuis
    June 30, 2009

    Ha! Yes, I think we’ve all got experience with that. However, I do think that sometimes books are so infuriating that they demand to be read, although that’s more for non-fiction.

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