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Worse Books Ever

June 3, 2010

I feel honored when a writer asks me to review their book. This year alone, the privileged has been granted to me five times. I never thought I would come across a book which I would have no desire to finish. That day has arrived.

A debut novel can sink or swim an author’s first baby steps in to the publishing world. You write the book. You wring it through several editing sessions. Research publishers and agents. When one or both are obtained, then you begin further edits and later marketing. All steps are very crucial towards a success. You shoot for the huge success but smaller ones are gratifying in their own right.

I began reading a debut novel that put every self publishing fear about writing in to retrospect. The right margins were completely wonky. A lot of the dialogue contained commas and only commas (I assume the guy didn’t know what a period or question mark was). The whole novel was in present tense. I understand some novels flow better in present tense. This was not one of them. The 20-year-old community college protagonist read like he was twelve. The supposed villain was more Mr. Wizard than anything. This was all in the first twenty-one pages of the book. Unfortunately, he can’t blame himself and self publishing for this major miss. A small press publisher agreed to digitally mass produce this one.

It’s just a shame. Reading a little about the author, he seemed very excited to be published even though he thinks most writers use pseudonyms. This book is suppose to be the first in a series. I don’t have much hope for it until the guy goes back and learns the fundamentals of storytelling.

What is the worse book you’ve ever read? Did you read it cover to cover? Why or why not?

Andrea hates to stomp all over a writer’s dream but sometimes it’s necessary to push them to do better.
  1. June 3, 2010 6:30 am

    Oh my!! the poor guy! some of the things you’ve noted are the publishers/ editors fault – there is no way it should have reached printing stage with bad layout or bad punctuation.

    I’m a bit like you Andrea – I try my darndest to finish books – refusing to give up on them. one of the worst I struggled through was one which had won a prestigious literary award.. It was….crap. boring, disjointed and made me want to scratch my eyes out… but I persisted because it won this award – so kept thinking “I’m going to GET it…soon….”

    I never did.

  2. allena permalink
    June 3, 2010 11:51 am

    I do a lot of book reviewing for a series of magazines about books on the West coast. generally, I think they turn down the self-published BUT I one got by and I got it . . . . Oh, yeah, it was like THAT.

  3. June 3, 2010 2:53 pm

    I can’t think of any off the top of my head but I usually don’t finish them or if the plot was interesting, I skip to the end and then put it far away from me.

    I kind of want to read parts of the book you’re talking about…Can you email the title to me?

  4. barr permalink
    June 5, 2010 11:27 am

    Just a tip…

    “What is the worst book you’ve ever read?”
    What is the worse book you’ve ever read?”

  5. June 5, 2010 1:10 pm

    Thanks for the correction, barr – you have saved the world from exploding.

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