One-Minute Book Reviews

February 29, 2008

2008 Delete Key Awards Finalists — The Complete Shortlist

Filed under: Delete Key Awards,News — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 5:14 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Here’s the complete list of 10 finalists for the 2008 Delete Key Awards for the year’s worst writing in books. The passages that qualified these books for the shortlist were posted in 10 separate posts on Feb. 29, 2008 www.oneminutebookreviews.wordpress.com/2008/02/29/.

1. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

2. The Secret by Rhonda Byrne

3. Pearl Harbor: A Novel of December 8th by Newt Gingrich and William Forstchen

4. The Intellectual Devotional: Revive Your Mind, Complete Your Education, and Roam Confidently With the Cultured Class by David S. Kidder and Noah D. Oppenheim.

5. On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan

6. The Alphabet from A to Y … With Bonus Letter Z! by Steve Martin and Roz Chast

7. The Manny by Holly Peterson

8. The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold

9.  A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

10. Unholy Grail by D. L. Wilson

The winners will be announced on March 15, 2008.

© 2008 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.

Delete Key Awards Finalist #1 – Steve Martin and Roz Chast’s ‘The Alphabet from A to Y: With Bonus Letter Z!’

Filed under: Delete Key Awards,News — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 4:55 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Delete Key Awards Finalist #1 – From The Alphabet From At to Y: With Bonus Letter Z!’ by Steve Martin and Roz Chast:

“Henrietta the hare wore a habit in heaven, / Her hairdo hid hunchbacks: one hundred and seven.”

And special mention to Chast for a drawing that may leave thousands of children with the idea that the plural of “Inca” is “Incans”

Hey, kids! You’re never too young to make fun of people who are different from you! That’s an implicit message of the shortlisted lines from this demented bestseller by the actor and cartoonist. Yes, American publishers have brought out far too many dreary children’s books that are longer on ideological correctness than good writing. But do we really need books that encourage 2-to-4-year-olds – the usual audience for alphabet books – to laugh at people with disabilities? In this book the joke isn’t on fictional hunchbacks like Quasimodo but on those who look like your Uncle Ed. It doesn’t help that one of Chast’s drawings gives the plural of “Inca” as “Incans” instead of “Incas” or “Inca.”

© 2008 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.
www.janiceharayda

2008 Delete Key Awards #2 – The Intellectual Devotional: Revive Your Mind, Complete Your Education, and Roam Confidently With the Cultured Class

Filed under: Delete Key Awards,News — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 4:25 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Delete Key Awards Finalist #2 – From The Intellectual Devotional: Revive Your Mind, Complete Your Education, and Roam Confidently With the Cultured Class by David S. Kidder and Noah D. Oppenheim:

On Moby-Dick:
“The novel’s narrator, Ishmael, decides to seek relief from a midlife crisis by joining the crew of a whaling ship.”

Honorable mentions to:

“Miguel de Cervantes [sic] Don Quixote (Part I, 1605; Part II, 1615] is arguably the most prominent cultural landmark of the Spanish-speaking world.”

Pride and Prejudice (1813) is arguably the most popular work of the British novelist Jane Austen.”

“Though history has produced many great novelists, arguably none is held in higher esteem than Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910).”

“A midlife crisis”? Don’t we see enough of this modern cliché in novels about men who suddenly start using designer hair gel? Do we need to start applying it retroactively? How do we know that Ishmael didn’t just forget to take his Paxil?

There is arguably a place for “arguably” in the English language, particularly in academic books. But who, exactly, is going to “argue” with the statement that Don Quixote is the greatest book written in Spanish? Or that Pride and Prejudice is Austen’s most popular novel? In a book about how to “roam confidently with the cultured class,” these timid passages read like the work of intellectual wimps.

The 2008 Delete Key Awards finalists are being numbered but announced in random order from No. 10 to No. 1.

© 2008 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.

2008 Delete Key Awards Finalist #3 – D. L. Wilson’s ‘Unholy Grail’

Filed under: Delete Key Awards,News — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 3:42 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Delete Key Awards Finalist #3 – From D. L. Wilson’s Unholy Grail:

“’Believe me, I doubt if the Church has a secret agency that would go around killing people.’”

“’Here’s the kicker, Charlie.’ Carlota sank into her chair and let out a sigh. ‘Professor Hamar’s husband felt so much guilt over contributing to the disease that killed their son that he committed suicide.’ Charlie smacked his hands to his head so hard he knocked his cap off.”

“A uniformed task force had been sent to the Hotel Royal and, thank God, there was no dead priest in any of the rooms.”

Is it just a coincidence that The Da Vinci Code has inspired so many knock-offs? Or could it result from a conspiracy surpressed for thousands of years?

A hat tip to Bill Peschel at Reader’s Almanac www.planetpeschel.com, which has an extensive archive of reviews of mysteries and thrillers, for this one.

The 10 Delete Key Awards finalists are numbered but announced in random order. 

© 2008 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.
www.janiceharayda.com

2008 Delete Key Awards Finalist #4 – Eckhart Tolle’s ‘A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose’

Filed under: Delete Key Awards,News — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 3:12 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Delete Key Awards Finalist #4 – From Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose:

“A new species is arising on the planet. It is arising now, and you are it!”

“We are in the midst of a momentous event in the evolution of human consciousness. But they won’t be talking about it in the news tonight. On our planet, and perhaps simultaneously in many parts of our galaxy and beyond, consciousness is awakening from the dream of form. This does not mean all forms (the world) are going to dissolve, although quite a few almost certainly will. It means consciousness can now begin to create form without losing itself in it. It can remain conscious of itself, even while it creates and experiences form.”

Consciousness may be “awakening” in “many parts of our galaxy”? Has anybody told the National Aeronautics and Space Administration about this? If not, NASA will find out soon enough, because A New Earth recently was named the 61st selection of Oprah’s Book Club. Goodbye, Love in the Time of Cholera. Hello, Psychobabble in the Time of Ratings Wars.

The ten Delete Key Awards finalists are numbered but announced in random order.

© 2008 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.
www.janiceharayda.com

Delete Key Awards Finalist #5 – Alice Sebold’s ‘The Almost Moon

Filed under: Delete Key Awards,News — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 1:40 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Delete Key Awards Finalist #5 – From Alice Sebold’s The Almost Moon:

“And there it was, the hole that had given birth to me.… This was not the first time I’d been face-to-face with my mother’s genitalia.”

“Face-to-face” doesn’t seem quite the right phrase for those body parts, does it?

The Almost Moon might appear to be almost too easy a choice for the Delete Key shortlist, given that Entertainment Weekly and New York magazine have already ranked it among the year’s worst books. It makes the cut partly because it’s written fourth-grade reading level (Grade 4.7), according to the Flesch-Kincaid readability statistics on Microsoft Word, slightly higher than Mitch Albom’s For One More Day (Grade 3.4), first runner-up in the 2007 Delete Key Awards contest.

© 2008 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.
www.janiceharayda.com

Delete Key Awards Finalist #6 – Ian McEwan’s ‘On Chesil Beach’

Filed under: Delete Key Awards,News — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 1:03 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Delete Key Awards Finalist #6 – From Ian McEwan’s On Chesil Beach:

“Like most young men of his time, or any time, without an easy manner, or means to sexual expression, he indulged constantly in what one enlightened authority was now calling ‘self-pleasuring’ … How extraordinary it was, that a self-made spoonful, leaping clear of his body, should instantly free his mind to confront afresh Nelson’s decisiveness at Aboukir Bay.”

“Because the instrument was a cello rather than her violin, the interrogator was not herself but a detached observer, mildly incredulous, but insistent too, for after a brief silence and lingering, unconvincing reply from the other instruments, the cello put the question again, in different terms, on a different chord, and then again, and again, and each time received a doubtful answer.”

Earlier this year, Ian McEwan made the longlist for the Bad Sex in Fiction award from the London-based Literary Review, possibly for passages such as the first. He lost that prize to Norman Mailer’s The Castle in the Forest. But the problems with On Chesil Beach go beyond than sex: The second passage quoted above sounds like McEwan is channeling the worst of the later work of Henry James.

The finalists for the 2008 Delete Key Awards are being numbered but announced in random order.

© 2008 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.
www.janiceharayda.com

2008 Delete Key Awards Finalist #7 – Sherman Alexie’s ‘The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian’

Filed under: Delete Key Awards,News — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 12:30 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Delete Key Awards Finalist #7 – From Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian:

“ARGGHHHHHHHHSSSSSPPPPPPGGGHHHHHHHAAAAAARGHHHHHHHHHHAGGGGHH!”

Yes, Alexie won the 2007 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature for this novel. And, yes, it’s possible that this line has an inner logic discernible only to teenagers. But the rest of us may wonder: Why does this line have five S’s and six P’s instead of six S’s and five P’s? Why does it have eight A’s and ten G’s instead of ten A’s and eight G’s? What, exactly, is the logic behind this manic sequence of letters? Does it help to know that it’s supposed to sound like “a 747 is landing on a runway of vomit”? Or that in the book the letters take up two lines (without punctuation) instead of one? The letters seem intended as onomatopoeia, but their arrangement is so random, you wonder if Alexie’s space bar just got stuck.

This line suggests how the language of e-mail – or perhaps Hollywood screenplays – is infecting novels for all ages. Will we someday get a novel written entirely in emoticons?

The ten Delete Key Awards finalists are being numbered but announced in random order.

(c) 2008 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.

www.janiceharayda.com

2008 Delete Key Awards Finalist #8 – Holly Peterson’s ‘The Manny’

Filed under: Delete Key Awards,News — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 11:58 am
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Delete Key Awards Finalist #8 – From Holly Peterson’s The Manny:

“We’re in the modern era, baby, you spoiled, Jurassic, archaic, Waspy piece of petrified wood!”

“He was munching furiously on his prey, like an African lion with a freshly caught zebra.”

Guess which part of the body the “prey” is.

The ten 2008 Delete Key Awards finalists are being numbered but announced in random order.

© 2008 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.
www.janiceharayda.com

2008 Delete Key Awards Finalist #9 – Newt Gingrich and William Forstchen’s ‘Pearl Harbor: A Novel of December 8th”

Filed under: Delete Key Awards,News — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 11:31 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Delete Key Awards Finalist #9 – From Pearl Harbor: A Novel of December 8th by Newt Gingrich and William Forstchen:

“James nodded his thanks, opened the wax paper and looked at bit suspiciously at the offering, it looked to be a day or two old and suddenly he had a real longing for the faculty dining room on campus, always a good selection of Western and Asian food to choose from, darn good conversation to be found, and here he now sat with a disheveled captain who, with the added realization, due to the direction of the wind, was in serious need of a good shower.”

The English language goes down the USS Arizona in this novel that envisions the attack on Pearl Harbor from the Japanese point or view. Pearl Harbor suggests that Gingrich, a former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, writes fiction about as well as Danielle Steel could draft legislation. But even Steel has a better grasp of the function of a comma than the authors of this book, both candidates for a gift-wrapped copy of Lynne Truss’s Eats, Shoots and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation.

The ten finalists for the 2008 Delete Key Awards are being numbered, beginning with No. 10, announced in random order.

© 2008 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.
www.janiceharayda.com
Next Page »

The Rubric Theme. Blog at WordPress.com.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 373 other followers

%d bloggers like this: