One-Minute Book Reviews

March 15, 2010

Grand Prize Winner in the 2010 Delete Key Awards for Bad Writing in Books — Dan Brown’s ‘The Lost Symbol’

Filed under: Delete Key Awards,News,Uncategorized — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 2:33 pm
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Yes, the hero teaches courses in the nonexistent field of “symbology” at Harvard University. But too many lines in The Lost Symbol (Doubleday)  flunk English, logic, history, or other subjects. Dan Brown wins the Grand Prize in the 2010 Delete Key awards for these lines:

“The only wrinkle was the bloody black-clad heap in the foyer with a screwdriver protruding from his neck.”

Yes, a screwdriver sticking out of your neck is always something of a wrinkle.

“It was no coincidence that Christians were taught that Jesus was crucified at age thirty-three …”
Just as it’s no coincidence that people were taught that Baskin-Robbins has 31 flavors.

“Thankfully, this particular crypt contained no bodies. … The entourage hurried through, without even a glance at the four-pointed marble compass in the center of the floor where the Eternal Flame had once burned.”
As opposed to one of those three-pointed compasses you usually see.

“His hips and abdomen were the archways of mystical power. Hanging beneath the archway [sic], his massive sex organ bore the tattooed symbols of his destiny. In another life, this heavy shaft of flesh had been his source of carnal pleasure. But no longer.”
That “archways of mystical power” helps to make this passage read like a cross between The Secret and recruitment brochure for McDonald’s.

“According to Nola’s spec sheet, the UH-60 had a chassis-mounted, laser-sighted, six-gigahertz magnetron with a fifty-dB-gain horn that yielded a ten-gigawatt pulse.”
Did Tom Clancy send in a play from the sidelines here?

Tom Chivers of the Telegraph collected 20 of the worst lines from Brown’s The Da Vinci Code and other books.

Read the shortlisted passages from all the finalists here.

© 2010 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.

First Runner-Up in the 2010 Delete Key Awards for Bad Writing in Books — Seth Grahame-Smith’s ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’

Filed under: Delete Key Awards,News — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 1:39 pm
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Elizabeth Bennet’s best friend turns into a Regency zombie and appears to channel Mammy in Gone With the Wind in a passage from Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (Quirk), the second runner-up in the 2010 Delete Key Awards for bad writing in books. Jane Austen weeps as author Seth Grahame-Smith has Charlotte Lucas say:

“‘What can be da meaning of dis?’ howled Charlotte, as soon as he was gone. ‘Mah dear Ewiza, he muss be love you, aw he never wuh have called in dis famiwiar way.’”

Read all the shortlisted passages from all the finalists here. You can also follow Janice Harayda (@janiceharayda) on Twitter.

© 2010 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.

Second Runner-Up in the 2010 Delete Key Awards for Bad Writing in Books — Chuck Palahniuk’s ‘Pygmy’

Filed under: Delete Key Awards,News — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 12:59 pm
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Ever thought it would be fun to read an entire novel written in Pig Latin? No? Then you may want to avoid Chuck Palahniuk’s novel Pygmy, written in a pidgin English so relentless it almost makes the idea of reading a novel in Pig Latin sound like fun. The author of The Fight Club is this year’s Delete Key Awards second runner-up for for:

“Succulent barrier much thrusting mammary glands shield operative me, swinging lady buttocks further thwart attacks.”

“Tongue of operative me lick, licking, touching back tooth on bottom, molar where planted inside forms cyanide hollow, touching not biting.”

“In greater afraid … within thinking machine operative me, this agent ponder if entire being operative me pitted for destroy American, annihilate homosexual, crackpot Methodist religion, Lutheran and Baptist cult, extinguish all decadent bourgeoisie – subsequent successful total such destruction: Render this agent obsolete? Of no worth?”

Read the shortlisted passages from all the finalists here. You can also follow Janice Harayda (@janiceharayda) on Twitter.

© 2010 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.

March 12, 2010

Winners of the Delete Key Awards for Bad Writing in Books –Coming Monday

Filed under: Delete Key Awards,News — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 2:42 pm
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Which authors wrote the most memorably bad prose in 2009? Find out Monday when One-Minute Book Reviews announces the winners of the Fourth Annual Delete Key Awards for writers who don’t use their delete keys enough. You can read the shortlisted passages here, all from bestselling or otherwise well-known books published last year in hardcover or paperback.

February 25, 2010

Complete List of 2010 Delete Key Awards Finalists

Filed under: Delete Key Awards,News — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 5:59 pm
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The finalists for the 2010 Delete Key Awards for bad writing in books are:

THE ACCIDENTAL BILLIONAIRES (Doubleday) by Ben Mezrich.

BIG MAN (Grand Central) by Clarence Clemons and Don Reo.

FINGER LICKIN’ FIFTEEN (St. Martin’s) by Janet Evanovich.

GOING ROGUE (Harper) by Sarah Palin.

IT SUCKED AND THEN I CRIED (Simon Spotlight) by Heather Armstrong.

THE LOST SYMBOL (Doubleday) by Dan Brown. 

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES (Quirk) by Seth Grahame-Smith.

PYGMY (Doubleday) by Chuck Palahniuk.

STORIES FROM CANDYLAND (St. Martin’s) by Candy Spelling, and MOMMYWOOD (Simon Spotlight) by Tori Spelling (tie).

THE WHOLE TRUTH (Vision/Hachette) by David Baldacci.

Honorable Mention: MENNONITE IN A LITTLE BLACK DRESS (Holt) by Rhoda Janzen.

You can read the shortlisted passage from  a book by clicking on the title on the list above. The Delete Key Awards winner and runners-up will be announced on March 15. If you would like to try to lobby for or against a title, please leave a comment on this post or any of the posts linked to on the shortlist.

2010 Delete Key Awards Finalist #1 – ‘Pygmy’ by Chuck Palahniuk

Filed under: Delete Key Awards,News — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 5:17 pm
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From Chuck Palahniuk’s novel Pygmy (Doubleday):
“Succulent barrier much thrusting mammary glands shield operative me, swinging lady buttocks further thwart attacks.”

“Tongue of operative me lick, licking, touching back tooth on bottom, molar where planted inside forms cyanide hollow, touching not biting.”

“In greater afraid … within thinking machine operative me, this agent ponder if entire being operative me pitted for destroy American, annihilate homosexual, crackpot Methodist religion, Lutheran and Baptist cult, extinguish all decadent bourgeoisie – subsequent successful total such destruction: Render this agent obsolete? Of no worth?”

Yes, all 241 pages of Pygmy are this dorky. The novel reads as though Palahniuk had cut up a dictionary, put the pieces in a food processor, and pushed, “Spin.”

Read the full review of Pygmy.

You can also read about the Delete Key Awards on Janice Harayda’s page on Twitter. The 10 Delete Key Awards are being named in random order, beginning with No. 10, but numbered for convenience. This is finalist No. 1. The winner and runners-up will be announced March 15 on One-Minute Book Reviews and on Twitter.

© 2010 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.

2010 Delete Key Awards Finalist No. 2 — ‘It Sucked and Then I Cried’ by Heather B. Armstrong

Filed under: Delete Key Awards,News — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 5:00 pm
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From Heather Armstrong’s It Sucked and Then I Cried: How I Had a Baby, a Breakdown, and a Much Needed Margarita (Simon Spotlight):

“Leta knew how to poop, she knew how to eat, SHE HAD TO KNOW WHAT TIME IT WAS, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD.”

“‘HA! ANOTHER BABY? The logistics of more than one TOTALLY BOGGLED MY MIND.”

“But this time we couldn’t park in the special parking space because I was no longer pregnant (THANK THE LORD GOD JESUS!) and we had to park in the non-pregnant parking space and walk an extra twenty feet to the door. We found this inconvenience totally unacceptable as we were living in America and shouldn’t have to walk an extra twenty feet for anything. AM I RIGHT? AM I RIGHT? This is the best country on Earth! WE DON’T WALK NOWHERE FOR NUTHING. Damn straight.”

Armstrong knows how to type, she knows how to blog, SHE HAS TO KNOW HOW ANNOYING IT IS TO READ SO MANY CAPITAL LETTERS, EXCLAMATION POINTS, AND MISPUNCTUATED SENTENCES, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! Especially when she SAYS MEAN THINGS about old people like her stepfather, such as: “Maybe if you SCREAMED A LITTLE LOUDER THE WINDOWS WOULD EXPLODE.”

Read the full review of It Sucked and Then I Cried.

The Delete Key Awards finalists are being named in random order, beginning with No. 10, but numbered for convenience. This is finalist No. 2. You can also read about the Delete Key Awards on Janice Harayda’s page (@janiceharayda) on Twitter. The winner and runners-up will be announced on March 15 on One-Minute Book Reviews and on Twitter.

© 2010 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.

2010 Delete Key Awards Finalist #3 — Clarence Clemons and Don Reo’s ‘Big Man’

Filed under: Delete Key Awards,News — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 4:14 pm
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From Clarence Clemons and Don Reo’s Big Man: Real Life & Tall Tales (Grand Central):

“Clarence thought about a girl he knew in high school, then about a song he used to play, then about the house he grew up in back in Virginia, then about a street in Paris, then about a room he stayed in once in San Francisco, then about a painting of a child and a dog sitting on a pier, then about a bottle of wine he especially enjoyed at a restaurant in New York or maybe Boston with its gardens and grown-up houses ad tress along the river and pizza in the North End and a car, his first car, a ’62 Chevy, a burgundy convertible; and he thought about all the people who died and he thought about death itself and how his was coming someday and how scared he would be to stop living and lose it all and slip into that great blackness and would it hurt and for how long; and he thought about the endless rush of time and color and sound as he moved down the corridor like at the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey, where that guy is in the room where you’re young and you’re old and you’re young and you’re old again; and he thought about his mother and his father and his children of God and about Heaven and who would be there and would there be awkward moments like when Jackie O runs into Marilyn, and he wondered why ghosts are always wearing clothes and did that mean that shirts and pants existed after death, too; and he thought about all the things he didn’t do that he said he would, the broken promises, the broken hears, the fragments of regret scattered around all his rooms, all his days; and he thought about the rain, the soft, steady kind, the deep, soaking rain that strangely brought him comfort on the days that said that the sun would never come out again, and the rain would wash him clean if he stood in it and opened his arms to it and turned his face to the dark, weeping sky and allowed it to soak into his soul and make him one with the rain, part of it, lost in it where there was no pain and no memory and no regret, a place of peace and quiet, a place beyond hope, beyond redemption, beyond death.”

The E Street Band might still be playing in Asbury Park dives if the group had given the world the musical equivalent of this 397-word jawbreaker from its popular saxophonist and sideman for Bruce Springsteen. “Long” doesn’t equal “profound.”

Read the New York Times review of Big Man

The Delete Key Awards are being announced in random order but numbered for convenience. This is finalist No. 3. You can also read about the Delete Key Awards on Janice Harayda’s page (@janiceharayda) on Twitter. The winner and runners up will be announced March 15 on One-Minute Book Reviews and on Janice Harayda’s page (@janiceharayda) on Twitter.

© 2010 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.

2010 Delete Key Awards Finalist #4 – ‘The Whole Truth’ by David Baldacci

Filed under: Delete Key Awards,News — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 3:44 pm
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From David Baldacci’s The Whole Truth (Hachette/Vision):
“To say that this hit the earth like a molten-lava tsunami would have been the grossest of understatements.”
A “molten-lava tsunami”? Is FEMA prepared for one of those?

Read the full review of The Whole Truth.

The Delete Key Awards finalists are being announced in random order, beginning with No. 10, but numbered for convenience. This is finalist No. 4. You can also read about the Delete Key Awards on Twitter at @janiceharayda.com. The winner and runners-up will be announced on One-Minute Book Reviews and Twitter on March 15.

2010 Delete Key Awards Finalist No. 5 – ‘Finger Lickin’ Fifteen’ by Janet Evanovich

Filed under: Delete Key Awards,News — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 3:25 pm
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From Janet Evanovich’s novel Finger Lickin’ Fifteen (St. Martin’s):

“ ‘Nobody calls me pecker head and lives,’ Pecker said.”
Evanovich’s popular series about the bounty-hunter Stephanie Plum goes further south in Finger Lickin’ Fifteen, which abounds with jokes about body parts or functions described as “number two,” “cooter,” “pecker,” “wanger” or “winkie.” Another example appears below.

“‘Yep,’ Grandma said. ‘He’s got a big one. All them Turleys is hung like horses. … I tell you, for a little guy, he had a real good-sized wanger’.”

Read the full review of Finger Lickin’ Fifteen.

The Delete Key Awards finalists are being announced in random order, beginning with No. 10, but numbered for convenience. This is finalist No. 5. You can also read about the awards on Janice Harayda’s page (@janiceharayda) on Twitter. The winner and runners-up will be announced on March 15 on One-Minute Book Reviews and Twitter.

© 2010 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.

 

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