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(I Hate This Book) No You Don't ... You Love It!
January 13, 2014 6:10 AM   Subscribe

"I purchased and read [Dan Brown's] Inferno, which was inscrutable and interminable, and as I read I scribbled in its margins. When I finished, my friend David Rees, the artisanal pencil sharpener, asked if he could borrow it. He added his thoughts. It was fun to see someone else’s words next to mine. I wrote in black pen, in cursive. David wrote in red pencil, in block letters. I was semi-serious. David swore and told a lot of jokes. Usually we agreed, but occasionally we disagreed. Here are some of the highlights." [via The Millions]
posted by chavenet (105 comments total) 58 users marked this as a favorite

 
. . .
posted by edZio at 6:20 AM on January 13 [19 favorites]


Ellipsysterical.

(If there's anyone from the publishing industry reading this, I think you're missing out on a entire secondary market by not publishing alternate "riffed" versions of your cruddy potboiler airplane novels. Think of it as MST3K, for books.)
posted by Strange Interlude at 6:23 AM on January 13 [20 favorites]


The world-renowned fruit was grimly hanging low.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:23 AM on January 13 [102 favorites]


True, the Provost thought, still displeased his client had drawn his implausible plot points behind her in a recessed doorframe. "Don't move."
posted by marienbad at 6:24 AM on January 13 [1 favorite]


"Don't let her beauty fool you, she is a dangeous foe."

EAT SHIT


This is awesome. Now instead of just bailing on a book I don't like, I'm going to start talking shit to the writer in the margins, then drop it off at my local used book shop so others can join in the dialogue. Seems therapeutic.
posted by stinkfoot at 6:26 AM on January 13 [34 favorites]


I was at the Uffizi last May, just after Inferno was released. I was amused to see that it was offered in the Uffizi gift shop, and was placed quite prominently in a couple of locations inside the store. I also note that they were only selling it in English.

I suppose Florentinans know where their bread is buttered.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:26 AM on January 13 [3 favorites]


They should be called Florentinies or, possibly, Florentinis.
posted by aramaic at 6:28 AM on January 13


This is the first time I've seen marginalia consisting of a drawing of eyes rolling

I like
posted by ook at 6:29 AM on January 13 [20 favorites]


Isn't David Rees also the "Get Your War On" guy?
posted by LionIndex at 6:30 AM on January 13 [2 favorites]


Awesome, a real life version of "S" by J.J. Abrams
posted by Tom-B at 6:34 AM on January 13 [3 favorites]


Every year I mean to post David Rees' amazing, deadpan Best Of The Year lists, but I always forget until after the New Year:

Best Of 2013
Best Of 2012
Best Of 2011
Best Of 2010
Best Of 2000-2009
Best Of 2008
posted by Ian A.T. at 6:34 AM on January 13 [19 favorites]


I have discovered a truly remarkable proof which this margin is too small to contain.
posted by three blind mice at 6:38 AM on January 13 [17 favorites]


◔_◔
posted by jquinby at 6:43 AM on January 13 [3 favorites]


Isn't David Rees also the "Get Your War On" guy?

Yes.
posted by OmieWise at 6:44 AM on January 13 [1 favorite]


I have discovered a truly awful description about which this margin is too small too complain.
posted by dmd at 6:46 AM on January 13 [14 favorites]


Awesome, a real life version of "S" by J.J. Abrams
posted by Tom-B at 6:34 AM on January 13


Has anyone read this? I gave it to my sis-n-law but she has a new baby and is more concerned with that fucker's survival than anything else (including, but not limited to, gifted metafiction).

Edit: "gifted" as in, I gave it to her, not "damn, JJ is mad gifted!"
posted by stinkfoot at 6:49 AM on January 13 [2 favorites]


Best Of 2013

"Heeeeenry did you remember to write the lists?" "Yes dear"
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:50 AM on January 13


It's like the book version of MST3K - I LIKE.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 6:54 AM on January 13


This is the greatest. And yes it a LOT like "S"- down to the unfortunate fact that the novel that's the, uh, substrate? for "S", Ship of Theseus, reads so much like Dan Brown trying to write an existentialist masterpiece. It's very enjoyable anyways and full of clever and beautiful graphic design.
posted by Erasmouse at 6:56 AM on January 13 [1 favorite]


Heh. I did this with a couple of friends with another godawful book, Stephen Baxter's Mammoth (and sequelia). We went one better and actually got Baxter to sign it...
posted by MartinWisse at 7:01 AM on January 13 [1 favorite]


My New Writing Technique Is Unlikable
posted by orme at 7:03 AM on January 13 [1 favorite]


...I actually needed an inspiration to get back to my editing. I mean if this can get popular there's hope for anyone right?
posted by The Whelk at 7:04 AM on January 13 [2 favorites]


In Florence, the pressure changed, and I suffered an episode of what is known as paroxysmal positional vertigo – a severely debilitating inner-ear condition that I've experienced in the past. It's temporary and not serious [...]
Sounds like the liberatory maneuver this post provided was indeed called for.

Ha. Ha.

Note that metoclopramide is NOT listed as a medication used to treat BPPV's symptoms when serious. (The B is for "benign", which Brown tellingly left out.) Also, it doesn't seem to cause intense drowsiness. Dumb plot point gets even dumber.
posted by fraula at 7:12 AM on January 13


"he is so bad at people."
posted by The Whelk at 7:12 AM on January 13 [1 favorite]


The ellipsis overuse reminds me of Judy Blume's Forever..., which I can't hate because it's a book about teenagers being responsible about sex and because Judy Blume is five trillion times better than Dan Brown, but oh... dear god... the ellipses. There's even one in the title. I used to get a kick out of reading it out loud and saying every "dot dot dot" I came across.
posted by Metroid Baby at 7:14 AM on January 13 [4 favorites]


Strange Interlude: If there's anyone from the publishing industry reading this, I think you're missing out on a entire secondary market by not publishing alternate "riffed" versions of your cruddy potboiler airplane novels. Think of it as MST3K, for books.

I agree, this would be great. But I really like these notes when found by chance, because they feel so much more personal. For example, I read a copy of Jesus, Interrupted (terrible title, vaguely interesting book) that I checked out from the local library, and someone had written responses to the book. The note-adder directly addressed the author, Bart D. Ehrman, as Bart, and refuted claims made by Bart. It was weird and amusing, and I took pictures of the notes so I could look up the references, and to have my own copy of the discussion.

Amazon created a "social network" to allow folks to share their highlights, but it would be fantastic if you could add and share actual notes, though I could see publishers and authors getting annoyed to see such riffing on their books.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:15 AM on January 13 [1 favorite]


This is awesome. Now instead of just bailing on a book I don't like, I'm going to start talking shit to the writer in the margins, then drop it off at my local used book shop so others can join in the dialogue. Seems therapeutic.
posted by stinkfoot at 6:26 AM on January 13 [8 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]


Oh, you're on.
posted by From Bklyn at 7:21 AM on January 13


Oh, you're on.
posted by From Bklyn at 7:21 AM on January 13


Just PM'd you my address, feel free to send me your marked copies.
posted by stinkfoot at 7:38 AM on January 13 [2 favorites]


This is great for its entertainment value, and I'm all for a renewed interest in marginalia. It makes me think of my first-read comments on academic work which can be quite angry (initial impressions from which I work toward more nuanced positions toward a writer's argument). I should try red pencil all caps to better express my anger.

Also, and here I beg to differ with Rees, but in-flight magazines employ far better writers than Dan Brown.
posted by audi alteram partem at 7:40 AM on January 13


yes, an In-flight magazine convinced me to buy a watch. Dan Brown has never convinced me of anything.
posted by The Whelk at 7:45 AM on January 13 [5 favorites]


though I could see publishers and authors getting annoyed to see such riffing on their books.

If someone is riffing on your book, it means that someone somewhere bought your book, and is now talking about your book. Even if only to say what a terrible book it is. That doesn't have to be a bad thing, though; would Plan 9 From Outer Space even be remembered if not for its status as one of the Worst Movies Ever Made?

Better to be hated than ignored, in other words.

Writers for in-flight magazines may or may not be better than Dan Brown (I personally wouldn't mind someone doing a comparative review of the various in-flight magazines), but they at least get edited down so they don't block the pretty pictures and listicles.
posted by emjaybee at 7:47 AM on January 13 [1 favorite]


yes, an In-flight magazine convinced me to buy a watch.

Was it . . . a Mickey Mouse watch?
posted by Madamina at 7:49 AM on January 13 [1 favorite]


I loathe Dan Brown, but I really want to read _this copy_ of this book.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 7:54 AM on January 13 [1 favorite]


I personally enjoyed how most of the action of the "secret strange mysteries that only Renowned Professor can solve" was basically driven by "Renowned Professor tortuously can't access the Internet through any method, because most of the "shocking discoveries" could be made in about two seconds" (SPOILERish?)

seriously, the final climax's 'secret location' is revealed by a basic translation that is widely found in every guidebook to the city. Like literally if they had googled "mysterious phrase" "city of clue" they would have found it.
posted by nakedmolerats at 7:56 AM on January 13 [2 favorites]


Renowned Professor tortuously can't access the Internet through any method, because most of the "shocking discoveries" could be made in about two seconds

Yeah, in The DaVinci Code (which I hated enough to read several times. Don't question it) at some point they get to a library and the librarian calmly smiles and explains Boolean searches like she's imparting secret mysteries of the universe instead of something I learned in middle school in 1996.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 7:59 AM on January 13 [9 favorites]


I just love the internet. You know why? Because something like this would be passed around to a giggling group of friends who would pass out by page 4 laughing at this, but nobody else would see it. And now, we can all read this kind of weird, hilarious exercise.
posted by xingcat at 8:01 AM on January 13 [3 favorites]


Yeah, in The DaVinci Code (which I hated enough to read several times. Don't question it)

Oh, I am totally this person too. Can we talk about how Langdon is supposedly this renowned scholar of art history but doesn't appear to know French or Italian fluently?
posted by nakedmolerats at 8:06 AM on January 13 [1 favorite]


I never mark up fiction books. I guess I should turn in my English degree...
posted by sonic meat machine at 8:06 AM on January 13 [1 favorite]


I love this. I used to think defacing books by writing in the margins was a total show of disrespect to the book, but then I started reading nonfiction and and had to do something to help myself synthesize and remember things, and then I started reading nonfiction books I didn't agree with at all and it WAS really therapeutic to write in the margins.

This could totally be a Metafilter thing, like Secret Quonsar or a MeFi Project - trading books around for people to have conversations in the margins!
posted by bibbit at 8:07 AM on January 13 [6 favorites]


btw, if you hated DaVinci Code, you should try Ari Jules' Tetrakys, which is pretty much the same book, only where the author can write and knows anything at all about cryptography.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 8:07 AM on January 13 [2 favorites]


"So tell me, do we have any authors here tonight?"

Nearly one-third of the hands went up. Langdon stared out in shock. Wow, either this is the most accomplished audience on earth, or this e-publishing thing is really taking off.
Wow, what a dick.
posted by Iridic at 8:09 AM on January 13 [9 favorites]


This could totally be a Metafilter thing, like Secret Quonsar or a MeFi Project - trading books around for people to have conversations in the margins!

I would gladly participate in a MeFi Bad Book Marginalia swap. Maybe some sort of round robin thing where each person sends a book to someone, who reads as far as they can for a week and then passes it on? At the end, you get back the book you originally sent with all sorts of snarky notes and butt drawings and stuff.
posted by Metroid Baby at 8:11 AM on January 13 [26 favorites]


Ok, but the final version would need to be scanned and shared so everyone could enjoy it.
posted by emjaybee at 8:18 AM on January 13 [4 favorites]


I guess this would be a good place to start looking for examples. (MeMail me if you do this, I'm in.)
posted by graymouser at 8:21 AM on January 13 [1 favorite]


I would like to nominate "A Discovery of Witches" by Deborah Harkness.

It is HILARIOUSLY awful.
posted by kyrademon at 8:25 AM on January 13 [7 favorites]



Please also add me to the "Marginaliafilter" list! (My old D&D books have Far-Side like captions on all the images, long before Lolcats.)
posted by The otter lady at 8:29 AM on January 13 [2 favorites]


(If there's anyone from the publishing industry reading this, I think you're missing out on a entire secondary market by not publishing alternate "riffed" versions of your cruddy potboiler airplane novels. Think of it as MST3K, for books.)

Sister Carrie
posted by Lucinda at 8:33 AM on January 13


So I'll at least check out anything that gets super popular to see what all the fuss is about. I could only manage about two pages of the Da Vinci Code when I picked up in the bookshop. Having read all the excerpts I have now read way more Dan Brown than I imagined I ever would (ie nil)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:34 AM on January 13


I would like to nominate "A Discovery of Witches" by Deborah Harkness.

It is HILARIOUSLY awful.


Reviewed (negatively) by MeFi's own Phoebe North over at Strange Horizons.
posted by inire at 8:38 AM on January 13 [2 favorites]


Dan Brown has never convinced me of anything.

He managed to convince me of the fact that just because I've started reading a book, I don't actually have to finish it. I've mentioned this before, but I did the electronic equivalent of throwing The Lost Symbol across the room (closing it and deleting it from my phone and computer) less than a quarter of the way through because it was so godawful.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 8:40 AM on January 13 [2 favorites]


> "Reviewed (negatively) by MeFi's own Phoebe North over at Strange Horizons."

Quite an accurate review, although I am not sure it conveys the sheer insanity of the novel's idea of romance, e.g. out-of-the-blue lines like "I will kill you myself before I let anyone hurt you!"

Also, Graynouser's links led me to a review of a book called "Knight Moves", and now my mind hurts.
posted by kyrademon at 8:49 AM on January 13


(The B is for "benign", which Brown tellingly left out.)

He's pulling his punches. Watch for Brown's next novel, The Eppley Maneuver, in 2016!
posted by JoeZydeco at 8:52 AM on January 13 [1 favorite]


Stephen Potter in his excellent book One-Upmanship has the following:

"... perfected a means of suggesting to borrowers of books that their reading is superficial and that they are imperceptive of the finer nuances. This is done by underlinings, comments, etc., written on the margins of the book at random in ink."
posted by njohnson23 at 8:52 AM on January 13 [3 favorites]


Every year I mean to post David Rees' amazing, deadpan Best Of The Year lists, but I always forget until after the New Year:

“Heeenry! Did you remember to do all the hottest trends?!” “Yes, dear.”
posted by straight at 9:05 AM on January 13


Randomly coming across abusive marginalia in a book can be the best thing ever. Reminds me of the time I opened an old copy of Wilfrid Scawen Blunt's My Diaries (1919) and found that the whole thing had been marked up in fountain pen by a very angry British Marxist in about 1920. When you find annotations like "unscrupulous, greedy, ambitious, conceited, gushy, canting Winston Churchill" and "blue travelling snob jingo Tories who make wars," you know you're onto a good thing.
posted by Sonny Jim at 9:37 AM on January 13 [14 favorites]


I just spent upwards of half an hour looking at expensive pencils that I never knew I wanted.
posted by Standard Orange at 9:44 AM on January 13 [3 favorites]


       this
  time,
    wounds
         Brown . . .
 
posted by Herodios at 10:05 AM on January 13


So many of those excerpts are terrible, but I can't get over the overuse of ellipses. That is seriously on a teenager-on-fanfiction.net level of bad writing. Ellipses don't build suspense, Dan Brown!

It is a source of perpetual hilarity/despair to me that the vast majority of people don't notice that Brown's writing is godawful. I read The Da Vinci Code when I was 15 or 16 because my high school had the "Accelerated Reader" program, where we were required to read a book on the list every so often and take a multiple-choice quiz on it in the computer lab. I was a big reader and did plenty of non-assigned reading, but that reading wasn't always on the AR list, so occasionally I tore through whatever book was on hand and on the list, and one week, that book was The Da Vinci Code. Even as a high school student, I could tell that Brown's scholarship was non-existent, if superficially compelling. And I could even tell that he wasn't a good writer, though I couldn't break it down and point out specifics, other than "I have read loads of Harry Potter fanfiction that was better written than this."

But when I've talked to people who aren't big readers about Brown's writing, they just don't really notice or care that the writing itself is terrible. They only really noticed the plot, which they either liked or were indifferent about. I know this is nothing new, and certainly my leisure reading isn't all deathless prose, but if I was a genuinely talented pro writer languishing on the bottom of the bestseller list, I'm pretty sure I would be driven to insanity by the knowledge that Dan Brown is making millions with this awfulness.
posted by yasaman at 10:06 AM on January 13


yasaman: "So many of those excerpts are terrible, but I can't get over the overuse of ellipses."

Maybe "Dan Brown" is a pseudonym for William Shatner.
posted by brundlefly at 10:11 AM on January 13 [1 favorite]


So many of those excerpts are terrible, but I can't get over the overuse of ellipses.

It reads like one of those "doge" memes.

a shadow appeared

the shadow of a man

much standing

so cavern

wow
posted by Ratio at 10:17 AM on January 13 [23 favorites]


brundlefly: Maybe "Dan Brown" is a pseudonym for William Shatner."

Well, the kids have to learn about TekWar sooner or later.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:40 AM on January 13


Hi everyone! quidnunc kid from the future here. I just travelled back in time to tell you that Dan Brown has just won his fourth Nobel Prize for literature in the year 2035. Everyone now agrees that he is the greatest writer who ever lived, and the Applesoft iGod 7000 (being the gigantic world computer which runs our society) confidentially predicts that his genius will not be eclipsed for at least another 93,000 years. Every schoolchild now receives instruction in certain of Dan's novels throughout her or his middle- and high-school years, and other works of Dan Brown are required reading for civil service exams, marine corps officer promotions and all creative writing masters degree programmes. Our English language has changed fundamentally, as people from all backgrounds have incorporated concepts, phrases and neologisms from Brown's works into their daily speech. And, "Dan" is now one of the most popular names for newborn boys and girls. And all this happened because you people on MetaFilter in 2014 - back when Dan Brown was still mortal and vulnerable - just sat back and snarked about his terrible writing, rather than getting off your goddamn asses and having him executed for crimes against humanity.

So a big "fuck you" from the future, you assholes.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 10:40 AM on January 13 [29 favorites]


This marginalia club sounds amazing. Frankly would also be fun for good books. Please count me in.
posted by prefpara at 10:44 AM on January 13 [1 favorite]


This is brilliantly done, and like most of the rest of the thread I'm seriously tempted to start something like this amongst my friends.

Ellipses don't build suspense, Dan Brown!

I've read The DaVinci Code and Angels and Demons, and have a hypothesis that Brown experiences his books as if they're action film trailers. If you read pretty much any of his descriptive text as if it's actually a voiceover in the gravelly trailer guy's voice ("In a world where..."), the ellipses as dramatic pauses suddenly seem weirdly appropriate. It also explains his obsession with visual description at the expense of atmosphere: he's not trying to put you in the scene, he's showing it to you on a screen. And he needs to dump exposition and character descriptions on us as quickly as possible, so he can rush on to the next Shocking Twist or Thrilling Chase before our attention wanders.
posted by metaBugs at 10:48 AM on January 13 [3 favorites]


im in for the marginalla club
posted by PinkMoose at 10:50 AM on January 13 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I'm in. That sounds fun.
posted by brundlefly at 10:56 AM on January 13 [1 favorite]


yes, an In-flight magazine convinced me to buy a watch. Dan Brown has never convinced me of anything.

Derail related to Skymall, the most convincing in-flight magazine, & internet chess-battles. Who is the biggest douche in skymall?
posted by Going To Maine at 11:10 AM on January 13 [2 favorites]


I am SO IN for the marginalia club.

On the linked list, I vote for Left Behind. I know, I know, it's already been critiqued to death, including a fabulous link about a year ago, but it seems fun. Alternatively, Anne McCaffery, who I love, but honestly. Or what about any of the Spenser books (short, manly sentences, anyone?)

And also, I've never read Dan Brown, have read some of those clips, I never will.
posted by Measured Out my Life in Coffeespoons at 11:13 AM on January 13 [1 favorite]


Also in for the marginalia club. Sounds great.
posted by Fence at 11:15 AM on January 13 [1 favorite]


I will gladly scribble insane ramblings on all y'all's Kindles too.
posted by Mister_A at 11:16 AM on January 13 [3 favorites]


Who is the biggest douche in skymall

ok um so I loaded that page and was immediately presented with "reclining numbercruncher" who is using the exact same laptop-tray-in-bed that I am using right now. So um ouch.

I have a back injury! It's really useful! Honest! Also I am not wearing a tie! That's what pushes him over into 'douche' territory, right? Not the fact that he's working lying down?

posted by ook at 11:18 AM on January 13 [4 favorites]


I'm willing to help organize marginalia club, and can put together a metatalk brainstorming/signup thread when I get home from work.

where I am definitely doing work. and not reading metafilter
posted by specialagentwebb at 11:21 AM on January 13 [8 favorites]


Further suggestions for the marginalia club, because there must be some way to redeem books I loved as a kid but which are unreadable now: anything by Piers Anthony or Philip Jose Farmer.
posted by hades at 11:23 AM on January 13


I hope David Rees starts taking orders again soon so that I too can join the marginalia club.
posted by solotoro at 11:32 AM on January 13




I assume by now that "social" ebook readers like Kobo let you do this: join groups that are reading the same book and share marginal commentary.

Collaborative document editors have of course let you do this for years and years.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:40 AM on January 13


yes, an In-flight magazine convinced me to buy a watch. Dan Brown has never convinced me of anything.

Well he convinced me to never read any of his books again. .. (dot dot dot)
posted by littlesq at 11:45 AM on January 13 [1 favorite]


Has anyone read this? I gave it to my sis-n-law but she has a new baby and is more concerned with that fucker's survival than anything else (including, but not limited to, gifted metafiction).

I'm in the middle of it right now and I really like it. The Ship of Theseus book, on its own terms, has been described as like Kafka writing an episode of Lost (one of the good episodes, mind), which is about right. Honestly, it's hard for me to say with any certainty whether it's good or not because it is exactly the kind of project that hits me right where I live and which I usually wind up loving no matter what. Of course, it may wind up turning out terrible in some way, but so far it's been enjoyable.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 11:51 AM on January 13 [1 favorite]


Still my favorite Dan Brown review.

A triumph!
posted by A Terrible Llama at 12:46 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]


I'm down for the marginalia club too!
posted by divabat at 1:07 PM on January 13


This reminds me of when I checked out a copy of Thomas Paine's Age of Reason from my conservative Christian university library, and it contained several students' marginalia, all warning future readers that the book could seriously damage a person's faith. As I recall, there was a very emphatic warning on the title page just to turn the book back in and not risk reading any further, but other editorial comments continued throughout most of the book, taking issue with various lines of argument, imploring readers to trust the literal truth of Genesis, and suggesting prayers that God would strengthen one's childlike faith in Jesus. There were several occasions of interaction between various readers in the margins, although all of them were united in fearing what would happen if unprepared Christians continued their reading. It was basically the fundamentalist version of The Monster at the End of this Book. I really wanted to write an essay all about the marginalia itself and what it said about the previous readers, but I was drowning in graduate school work as it was. Always meant to go back and scan the best sections, but I kept forgetting, and now I'm hardly ever back in that town.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 1:17 PM on January 13 [13 favorites]


Dan Brown's a piker compared to Louis-Ferdinand Celine in the use of ellipsis.
All at once the Colonel shoots upright with a start...frozen motionless finger in the air..."Piss! Piss!" he shouts..."My prostate!...." With his eyes locked in a stare as though he were hearing voices!...Here we go again, another song and dance! Then he pokes around his underpants, sticks his finger in his butt...and dashes off, he's gone!...
posted by Fnarf at 1:46 PM on January 13


Fnarf, what the hell is that?
posted by janey47 at 1:52 PM on January 13


Janey47, it's a snippet from London Bridge, one of Celine's more obscure books, but representative of his scurrilous, elliptical style. I should have grabbed something from Journey to the End of the Night but that was handier.
posted by Fnarf at 2:04 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]


but that was handier

well one can certainly see why
posted by ook at 2:10 PM on January 13 [2 favorites]


I'd love to join in the MeFi scribbled-book exchange. I was actually thinking that I should mark in some books to sell at my bookstore (I did this a million years ago with a friend: I would buy horrible books and scribble in them before sending them off to her. In one, I underlined random words on various pages, babbling in the margins that the words spelled out a message from the ghost of Elvis. That was the general level of goofiness). I never realized there might be a market for our fun and games, but lo, this has struck a nerve with many.
posted by AnobiumPunctatum at 3:11 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]




I read, somewhere, that Dan Brown's Inferno is "so bad it's almost good."

The existence and success of writers like Dan Brown is sort of exciting to me. It makes me think that someday I could actually have money if I worked at my writing.
posted by jayder at 3:40 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]


No clearly the money is in not working on your writing in any way.
posted by The Whelk at 3:43 PM on January 13 [5 favorites]


As an inveterate thriller-reader, I have to say that wooden dialog, sloppy writing, grotesquely improbable plots, and technical and cultural inanity are pretty typical features of the genre -- the rule, not the exception. Dan Brown is pretty bad, but I've read worse.

My favorite feature lately is the Magic Hacker -- the amateur hobbyist, often a bartender or retiree, who can with a few keystrokes tell you anyone's credit-card transactions as they happen, read out their work resume, pay stubs, passport operations, school records, car-rental records, flights, driving history, etc. Very handy for moving those leaden plots along. I just finished one where Our Hero guessed a guy's password on the THIRD TRY -- the name of the prison he was in twenty years before, spelled backwards ("copmol"). Uh-huh.

There are some good ones, which is why I keep trying.
posted by Fnarf at 3:50 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]


> "As an inveterate thriller-reader, I have to say that wooden dialog, sloppy writing, grotesquely improbable plots, and technical and cultural inanity are pretty typical features of the genre ..."

I read one the other day which, among other numerous problems, had a character say the following:

"So what if I feel a screen that large would be better served in a rousing gun battle online with my pals than it is here used to display the deviants from which we get our unit name?"

This is not a sentence which ever has, will, or should be uttered by a human being. Seriously, try it.
posted by kyrademon at 4:51 PM on January 13 [2 favorites]


MetaFilter: a screen that large would be better served in a rousing gun battle online with my pals than it is here used to display the deviants from which we get our unit name
posted by brundlefly at 5:02 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]


"So what if I feel a screen that large would be better served in a rousing gun battle online with my pals than it is here used to display the deviants from which we get our unit name?"

I tried to read that sentence three times, and then my brain broke and hashed it into "Has anyone really been far even as decided to use even go want to do look more like?".
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 5:10 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]


his genius will not be eclipsed ellipsed for at least another 93,000 years

FTFY
posted by arcticseal at 6:11 PM on January 13 [4 favorites]


No clearly the money is in not working on your writing in any way.

Sorry, I was unclear in my comment. By "working on my writing," I meant "writing at all."
posted by jayder at 7:53 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]




I wrote all my marginalia for Angels and Demons in felt tip pen, which was unfortunate... as felt tip pen ink is... mysteriously though perhaps as intended by some obscure designer... water soluble.

And after slogging through Angels and Demons to the bitter end... I did the only thing I could possibly have done... I took the only course of action left open to my tortured, blasted soul...

I drowned it in the bath.
posted by flabdablet at 3:57 AM on January 14


I just finished one where Our Hero guessed a guy's password on the THIRD TRY -- the name of the prison he was in twenty years before, spelled backwards ("copmol"). Uh-huh.

That sounds perilously close to the part in Superman III where Richard Pryor can't guess what's in kryptonite until he looks at his cigarettes, then types in "TAR".
posted by Madamina at 8:14 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]


It's a common misconception that the tar in cigarettes is the same as the tar in kryptonite. That's why the tobacco companies always list "tar" on the package with scare quotes around it.
posted by straight at 9:46 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]


As an inveterate thriller-reader

So, what, you're an annelid? A cnidarian or, perhaps, a mollusc?

Or you mean you read stories about, say, crustaceans. Thrilling stories. I suppose that's why they call 'em pot-boilers.
 
posted by Herodios at 9:57 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]


I too am an invertebrate thriller reader. On the internet no one knows you're a mollusc
posted by From Bklyn at 10:10 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]


hey!
posted by The Whelk at 10:16 AM on January 14 [2 favorites]


"Don't let her beauty fool you, she is a dangerous foe."

So has anyone else been in a theater showing the trailer for 47 Ronin and when it gets to the part where Keanu says, "I'm not afraid of you!" someone instinctively yelled, "You should be!" in unison with the dragon lady and then a bunch of people bust out laughing?

'Cause that's happened to me twice already.
posted by straight at 10:52 AM on January 14 [2 favorites]


[adversaria]
posted by unliteral at 2:34 PM on January 14 [1 favorite]


I decided to read "Atlas Shrugged" so I could see what the fuss was all about, and about 50 pages in, I realized I was stuck reading a horrible, horrible book. How could I redeem the situation? I decided to write a quiz, like in the back of book club selections. That saved my sanity. Now I see I could have done this, too.
posted by acrasis at 4:41 PM on January 14


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