Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Fling It!

“This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.”
--Dorothy Parker

This morning I was trying to think of which books I’ve read that deserve the Dorothy Parker Flung Award. But since I routinely eschew genre that I know I won’t like and am not required to read books I don’t choose, I can’t think of any candidates right now. I must let this percolate through my hind brain and see if it dredges up anything from the past.

Certainly I've stumbled into novels I didn’t like. But since I don’t feel obliged to finish them, I usually don’t feel the need to fling them. Sometimes I’ve finished a novel I wasn’t enjoying because I kept thinking that sooner or later there was going to be a payoff that would turn the whole thing around and make it all worthwhile. The Cunning Man by Robertson Davies was one of those. I’ve liked other books by this author, but this one just left me feeling soiled.

Some books are so badly written that you end up finishing them simply from a sense of appalled fascination. Like catching sight of a road accident that makes you turn your head and keeps your eyes helplessly glued until it's out of sight.

But bad enough to be “thrown with great force”?

Okay, guys: nominate some titles. I promise not to read them.


Jocelyne said...

Margaret Atwood's The Edible Woman. Blech.

I nearly got lynched in a Canadian Lit class for dissing "The High Empress of Can Lit".

Jeff Miller said...

Well I have never flung a book.

Though in hindsight I can think of some I should have flung such as Atlas Shrugged.

Sherwood said...

Someone beat me to Ayn Rand.

Two others. Robert Cormier's "The Chocolate War," a kidzbook I thought from the title would be a fun boarding school romp, and turned out to be a grinding exercise in misery and nihilism. For kids. You know, to get them started good and early.

The only book that made me want to take a bath right after was "Monsieur Tristesse", a french novel in which the adults seem to have nothing whatsoever else to do than sit around wondering whether or not a 13 year old girl who acts like a Lolita is really "doing it." Blecch!


Catholic Bibliophagist said...

Hoooo, boy! Good nominations all! Extra points for the kiddie nihilism though.

mrsdarwin said...

I didn't like Stranger in a Strange Land, though I don't know if I'd say it needed to be flung. Put aside, perhaps, and nudged with a toe.

I did want to fling Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. Disgusting.

Steven Cornett said...

The only book I've tried to read on multiple occasions and failed is the Dune series. Found the whole thing ponderous halfway through really. Still, can't say I disliked it enough to fling it, or even give it a toe.

In retrospect, I'd say Piers Antony's Incarnations of Immortality series are all pretty fling-able. Very neo-pagan in its thinking, and in some respects disgusting.

Letum said...

Camus' The Stranger. Need I elaborate?