Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Reading Challenge

I haven't written anything about this year's goals yet--things have been busy and a bit disoriented with the back issues--but to start with, I made my 100 books goal again, though there were some VERY short books thrown in at the end.  This year I am doing it again, though I have vowed to not get behind so early.

I'm still enjoying going through so many books, but because so many of the books weren't that great, I have decided to treat myself with a little Jane Austen marathon to kick off the year's reading/listening.  I'm doing them all as audio books because I've got a lot of work to do to catch up from my downtime with my back, and I've realized that it FEELS like it takes longer to listen to a bad 6-disc book than to listen to a good 20-disc book.  Last night I finished Jigsaw by Anthea Fraser, and I had known I didn't like it after the first disc, but I convinced myself to listen to the other 5 discs because it was "short."  I will NOT be making that mistake again.  I have been criticized for being too "elitist" in my literary tastes and I have been trying to be a bit more open-minded, but enough is enough.  People can like badly-written books, but it doesn't change the fact that they are badly written.  If dialogue sounds like nothing two people on the entire planet would ever say, it's bad.  People can still like the book, but it's still bad dialogue.  If a nonfiction book presents flawed logical arguments, it doesn't matter how many copies it sells or if it's made into a movie--it's still poorly written.  I do not have to keep apologizing for having formally studied logic and can pinpoint where arguments stop being logic and start being [empty] rhetoric.  If someone wants to write and can't master his or her native language well enough to write within the actual rules of that language, I don't have to pretend that it's okay.  I don't know why we've rebelled so much against facts and intellectualism, but I'm tired of playing.  LIFE IS TOO SHORT FOR SUCH BAD BOOKS!!!!

4 comments:

Abby said...

Agreed! In my case, bad grammar may not stop me from reading a book, but I am not likely to pick that author again, not when there are so many other authors to read.

Ella said...

Agree. If you don't like a book for whatever reason, don't read it. I've wasted far too much time on stupid books, sometimes because I thought it might get better (it must get better, right? Can't be that bad throughout the entire book, or it wouldn't have sold at all, right?), sometimes because friends said they liked it so much and I thought I must have missed something or probably just not have gotten to the good part yet.

As you said - if a book is bad, it's just bad, and nobody should have to pretend to like a book - or keep reading it, for that matter.

Dana said...

Because I share your elitist sensibilities and love for precise language...I just have to point out that the word "rhetoric" simply describes the strategies by which one gets one's point across. If the strategies employed are fallacious or illogical, then they are empty rhetoric.

Rhetoric itself is not a bad or manipulative thing.

And, definitely: life is too short for bad books. I read a horrendous romance novel last summer because I was desperate (at a workshop with insomnia with nothing to read...) and it was a free ebook download. I learned that you get what you pay for!

Might I suggest diving into the awesome world of YA lit? most of the books are short (200-300 pages) and there are some amazing authors out there! I'm sick of "literary fiction" being depressing or completely ridiculous and unrelatable.

Toni said...

Extremely good point! It's been so long since I've encountered any rhetoric that WASN'T empty that I seem to have forgotten it existed. My Roman Lit teachers would be appalled....

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