My New Book!

My New Book!
My New Book!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

February 21-22, 2015: Crowd-sourced Non-Favorites

[Last year, I followed the Valentine’s series with a complementary series analyzing some of the things that just don’t quite do it for me. It was pretty popular, including my biggest crowd-sourced post to date, so this year I repeated the series—as well as the request for your non-favorites for a crowd-sourced post. Here it is—and there’s plenty of room for more grievance-airing in comments!]
Following up Monday’s Breaking Bad post, Katharine Slater Tweets that “that tension between approval and critique you’ve identified definitely informs my own (non-)enjoyment of anti-hero narratives.”
Joe Bastian also left an extended comment on Monday’s post, detailing an alternative way to watch and analyze Breaking Bad.
That post also prompted an extended Facebook thread on non-favorite TV shows, featuring thoughts from Nancy Caronia, Craig Reid, and DeMisty Bellinger-Delfeld among others.
Responding to Friday’s post on historical figures, Liz Covart highlights, “Benedict Arnold. I admire and dislike him.”
Michael Miles agrees with me on Rutherford B. Hayes.
Jason Herbert agrees with me on Andrew Jackson, and adds “Frederick Jackson Turner. Because if I have to read that Frontier Thesis one more time I’m going to go crazy.”
Maggi Smith-Dalton recounts that “a man yelled at me once when I mentioned my dislike of TR at a program we were giving.”
Andrea Grenadier agrees with Wednesday’s post on Emerson, writing, “In studying American philosophy, I found myself constantly exasperated by Emerson, his inconsistencies, and his general Emerson-ness.”
Other non-favorites:
Osvaldo Oyola writes that, “As an undergrad I once scandalized a prof by suggesting that Henry James needed a better editor, and that it could be me.”
Bryn Upton agrees, noting “I will never forgive Henry James for Portrait of a Lady.”
Jonathan Menon highlights, “Political corruption. Corrupt through and through. Money, money. Special interests, special interests. It’s outrageous.”
Irene Martyniuk writes, “I really dislike fan fiction. I’m on the side of Julian Barnes, who wrote in his rather smart Flaubert’s Parrot, ‘knit your own stuff.’ Yeah, the title of the book is part of the post-modern joke, but there it is. Of course, the magic of a book is that we fall in love with complex and interesting characters and want a book to keep going. A truly wonderful book is the one that leaves you bereft when it’s over because you must leave that world.  But to my mind, leave you must. If you are a creator, and that includes a writer, do the hard work and create your own world—one that other readers will sadly leave at the end of your text. Hmm, on the British side—I hate D.H. Lawrence. Too much patriarchal symbolic sex. Over and over—even turtle sex. No style, just sex. Sigh.”
Next series starts Monday,

PS. Any other non-favorites you want to share? Don’t keep ‘em in, that’s bad for your blood pressure!


  1. PPS. In comments on Friday's post, NTodd Pritsky nominates Robert E. Lee, and Xan Avalon seconds my Forrest pick and nominates Dan Sickles as well.

  2. I was busy editing this week (one of the jobs was, I kid you not, a German marathoner's memoirs), but I missed Irene's completely wonderful comment about fan fiction, and agree wholeheartedly! Her mention of "Flaubert's Parrot" reminded me how utterly brilliant that book was. And the point about leaving the world of the book is spot on, especially leaving the characters of their own devices, and getting back to your world. Thinking back, the books that have moved me the most make me wonder how everyone is still getting on, a few years later.