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If This James Frey Thing Goes Through…

A non-exhaustive list of books I would like my money back on (in no particular order):

A Heart-Breaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers – The book that made me love James Woods’ crusade against hysterical realism.

Cambridge by Caryl Phillips – Ready-made for the Hallmark Channel, without even the decency of good writing.

Everything Jane Austen has ever written, but especially Persuasion. I’ve never been fond of Austen’s ridiculous style, and while David Lynn has tried unsuccessfully to convince me that she’s really parodying the characters she writes about, she spends so much loving detail describing every second of their boring lives that I can’t believe him. I threw Persuasion across the room several times when I had to read it for my English comprehensive exercise, but especially when our heroine Anne, who has no flaws except that she might be plain (this changes as the book goes on, however; her beauty blooms again!), discovers Captain Wentworth really does love her. I threw the book and stomped on it when her spurned suitor, her cousin, turns out to be a “villain.” Because our Anne couldn’t possibly break the heart of someone who’s decent–oh, no, she’s too good for that. I understand Austen is considered a classic but I still can’t figure out why.

And everything by Charles Dickens, while we’re at it. He was paid by the word–and it shows (I’m also proud to say Virginia Woolf has my back on this one).

In a Time of Violence by Eaven Boland. For every good poem, there are three self-aggrandizing ones acting as filler. I’ll wait for the greatest-hits collection, thanks.

Moby Dick by Melville. Loved Bartleby, loved The Confidence-Man, loved the first 100 pages of Moby Dick, and then the book wore thin. And there were still another 600+ pages to go.

Shampoo Planet by Douglas Coupland. A book written entirely on autopilot. Too bad.

The Concise Book of Lying by Evelin Sullivan. I threw this book across the room when she started wading into Freud and Jung. Psychology has advanced since the turn of the last century, Ms. Sullivan.