Cussedness Corner

"My work may be garbage but it's good garbage." Mickey Spillane

Reviewing books.


I don’t see my review of Philbin’s book as being defamatory, nor do I believe in a case like this that I should have had to read the entire book to become offended by the metaphor. As I dip further through the book, I find that the metaphor continues.

Too often people say that the story is what counts. Well, I am of the belief that the story only counts when it is well handled. Philbin’s book is not well-handled. My complaint with the book holds true. The use of ejaculation as an extended metaphor is the source of the problem I have with the book. It is impossible to give any valid judgement of the book’s story line when the metaphor chosen is one of such a disgusting nature.

I am marking the book up as I go with a red pen and a highlighter. Then when I am finished, I will count all the instances of ejaculation and post the numbers. I don’t have a lot of time to devote to this, as my eyes tire easily, and I have more important things to read than to waste my vision on sludge that Philbin calls genius.

It does not take any genius to use adolescent potty language like a barely articulate fourth grader snickering to his fellows, “ooh, I said cum. I said cum.”

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25 comments on “Reviewing books.

  1. Sabledrake
    August 30, 2008

    You don’t have to subject yourself to that to convince us, Janrae … though I admire your fortitude the way I would admire (from another part of the house) that of someone watching a HURL marathon.

  2. cussedness
    August 30, 2008

    Thanks, Sable. I appreciate it.

  3. johaha
    August 30, 2008

    Wannabes like Philbin and Lorenzo and Nick don’t understand that a review is not a personal attack.

    So what do they do when someone gives them a negative review? They, of course, go into attack mode like the idiots that they are.

    Ego is a hard thing to break with wannabes. Lorenzo thinks he’s the balls, Nick thinks everyone is out to get him, and Philbin thinks he’s a genius.

    *sigh*

  4. Devil's Child
    August 30, 2008

    Do you have this piece of “work” in .doc format? Because if you do, or can convert it into such, then just use the “Find and Replace” feature… replace “ejaculation” with “MORON” and hit REPLACE ALL. That will tell you how many times that word was used in the document…

  5. Phil Smith
    August 30, 2008

    Why use a word processor for that? Just grep -ic 'ejaculation' filename

  6. cussedness
    August 30, 2008

    It’s only available in print form. An ebook version would have been far easier to do this with.

    LOL phil.

  7. cussedness
    August 30, 2008

    Hell, an ebook version would have been easier to read because I can up the magnification on it.

  8. johaha
    August 30, 2008

    Johaha Comes Clean!

    In the interest of truth and justice, I state for the record who I am.

    I am Daggy’s ex-boyfriend.

    For three years we lived and loved together. Three long years. I don’t know what I did to make him deny me access to his penis, to his hot man-sauce, but I came back one night to find my stuff on the landing and the lock changed.

    I begged. I pleaded for him to just tell me why. But he wouldn’t.

    Fine.

    A year later he calls me up. Would I like to see him sometime for coffee? Bagel and cream cheese? Sure. Why not. And I still loved him.

    We saw each other on and off for six months. The sex was even better than I remembered. He even enjoyed taking it more often than giving it–which is how our relationship used to be. He was satisfying me more than ever.

    And then I found out the truth. He had been cheating on me, first with another man, then with that, that, woman. I had no idea he was bi-sexual, but I did suspect something was different about him.

    So when his new relationship fell to shit he called me back. When he found that woman he held on to me for a while, but when I discovered her in his cell phone he simply laughed at me.

    So why do I follow Lorenzo around? Because of how he used me and broke my heart.

    Rot in hell, asswipe! I’ll see you burn!

  9. johaha
    August 30, 2008

    Extract from my book: My Broken Brooklyn Life

  10. johaha
    August 30, 2008

    I’m changing the name: Wannabes and Faggotry: A New York Love Story.

  11. Louise
    August 30, 2008

    LOL @ Johaha’s new Daggy tell all book. Please reserve me a copy. 😉

    I agree with your point you don’t need to read the whole book to develop an opinion on the material, and, in the case of a shoddy writer, to tell the book is a hack job.

    I remember checking out an author who claimed success, but I had firm suspicions. Within the first paragraph, ‘taut’ was misspelled ‘taunt’. As in ‘his face was taunt with anger.’ That’s strike one.

    By the time I get to paragraph 3, I’m so bored by the over the top whiny melodrama, the repetition, and the boring plot where nothing is moving forward, I gave up. I read a book by this person, years later, and nothing had changed much, but they had improved some.

    Point being, you don’t need to eat a whole log of shit, to know it is shit. (sorry, that was kind of nasty. lol)

  12. johaha
    August 30, 2008

    Nasty but on the money.

    Money. Some thing these idiots are never gonna make writing.
    (That includes you, Lorenzo, my illiterate lover)

  13. JodiLee
    August 30, 2008

    Louise, aren’t slush piles fun? 😉

  14. Rusty
    August 30, 2008

    That was great, Johaha. I must try to remember not to read Cuss’ blog while sipping any beverage. My monitor and keyboard don’t need the abuse.

    On another topic, I’ve never understood why someone would insist that others read their book in its entirety before stating an opinion of it. Don’t most people working their way through a slush pile make a decision within three pages, if not three paragraphs? Is a rejection letter really that different from a lousy review? Both are written. Nobody tries to e-sue the person who writes back “Thanks for your submission, but . . .”

  15. cussedness
    August 30, 2008

    You nailed, Rusty.

    The first thing that anyone notices is bad grammar and typos in the first paragraphs. That’s an instant rejection.

    A lot of books are rejected within the first 10 to 25 pages if it becomes clear that the writer can’t characterize and so forth.

    Decisions are made fast. Considering that most concepts have been done to death, a new take is needed.

    Assuming that the writing is fine, then other factors kick in.

    When I was writing reviews professionally more than a decade ago, I would sample the opening and the ending, dip into the middle and then decide if I thought the author was worth reading.

  16. raingods
    August 30, 2008

    I’m not a professional critic, but I can tell in the first paragraph whether I’m going to like a book or not. If nothing compels me to read after the first paragraph, I won’t waste my time.

    Certain authors who I love (Peter Straub comes to mind) start slow; however I know I’ll be rewarded by the end of the book and don’t mind. If a writer can’t hook me from the first few sentences, he/she hasn’t done their job.

  17. Mike Brendan
    August 31, 2008

    Mikakke doesn’t understand that most editors don’t feel obligated to get past the first page of an MS on their slushpile. But then again I expect that from him, given his apparent cluelessness with regard to market trends and popular names in genre fiction.

    And Daggy must have slunk off again, his tail curled between his butthurt cheeks muttering “I showed them…” after everyone called him on his latest B.S.

    Hey, how’s that freelance “research” project going Daggy? Still getting your facts wrong?

  18. raingods
    August 31, 2008

    For Larry, the extent of his research is doing a search in wikipedia.

  19. cussedness
    August 31, 2008

    I doubt that he does that much. I just went over to wikipedia and looked up vallium (aka Diazepam). The article there pretty much agreed with what my reference books say about it. Yet, he has that possessed boy in one of his stories getting diazepam when in the grip of a hard core moment of rending himself, tearing a screaming. It would take a nearly fatal dose of it to even slow that pattern of behavior down.

    Diazepam is not administered for that sort of thing.

    DO YOUR FUCKING RESEARCH, LARRY

  20. Louise
    August 31, 2008

    “Louise, aren’t slush piles fun?”

    lol No doubt, hon. They teach an invaluable lesson on what not to write, that is for sure. 😀

    Thank you, johaha. I’m still trying, but I aim to be an author, all the way. 😉

  21. Louise
    August 31, 2008

    Oh, just to be mean, and add a little insult to Dag’s injury. Come September 2008, I’ll be collecting checks from 4 regular freelancing positions, and I’ve given my worker notice I won’t need my supplement after January 2009. Up your nose with a rubber hose, Lorenzo.

    And with that, I need to take this aching body to bed.

    Night folks! *hugs Janrae*

    Louise xox

  22. cussedness
    August 31, 2008

    *hugs louise* I’m off to bed myself.

  23. Mike Brendan
    August 31, 2008

    I’m still up for a little more. Trying to figure out what a self aware starship AI would feel upon discovering a corpse from a “past life.”

  24. Michele Lee
    September 1, 2008

    I’ve only had one Do Not Finish on BookLove. There’s been one or two that have come close. Reviewing is different than slushing, but I understand why either might skip a head, or give up.

  25. cussedness
    September 1, 2008

    There will always be books out there that are so totally unreadable as to not merit completely reading them.

    Philbin’s book was that for me.

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Janrae Frank

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