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 #6 — ‘The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook’ by Ben Mezrich

Filed under: Delete Key Awards,News — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 2:24 pm
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Update, Feb. 6, 2011: The screenplay for movie The Social Network was adapted from The Accidental Billionaires.

From Ben Mezrich’s The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook: A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius, and Betrayal (Doubleday)

“His hands roamed under her open white shirt, tracing the soft material of her red bra, his fingers lingering over her perky, round breasts, touching the silky texture of her perfect caramel skin. She gasped, her lips closing against the side of his neck, her tongue leaping out, tasting him. His entire body started to quiver, and he rocked forward, pushing her harder against the stall, feeling her writhe into him. His lips found her ear and she gasped again –”
Has any other author written such purple prose about the Harvard students who put Facebook in the black?

Also from The Accidental Billionaires:

“the end was really a foregone conclusion.”

“Eduardo had spent many evenings in the stacks of Widener – poring through the works of economic theorists such as Adam Smith, John Mills [sic], even Galbraith.”

“Maybe feeding the chicken chicken was a mistake; how was he supposed to know what chickens ate? The thing hadn’t come with a manual. Eduardo had gone to a Jewish prep school in Miami. What the hell did Jews know about chickens, other than the fact that they made good soup?”

Read the full review of The Accidental Billionaires.

The 10 Delete Key Awards finalists are being named in random order, beginning with No. 10, but numbered for convenience. This is finalist No. 6. Janice Harayda also writes about the awards on her Twitter page (@janiceharayda) at www.twitter.com/janiceharayda. The Delete Key Awards winner and runners up will be announced on One-Minute Book Reviews and on Twitter on March 15.

© 2010 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.
www.janiceharayda.com

January 12, 2010

Fake Book News #2 — National Book Critics Circle

Filed under: Fake Book News,Humor,Late Night With Jan Harayda,News — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 11:32 pm
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National Book Critics Circle changes its name to National Association of Unemployed Former Book Editors.

Fake Book News is new category on this site that satirizes American literary culture, including the publishing industry, in posts after 10 p.m. Eastern Time. All posts consist of made-up news items that are intended to be entertaining — not taken seriously — and many will also appear on the FakeBookNews page (@fakebooknews) on Twitter (www.twitter.com/fakebooknews). Some Fake Book News may appear on One-Minute Book Reviews but not on Twitter and vice versa.

J.D. Salinger’s ‘Tin Ear’ in ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ — Quote of the Day / Jonathan Yardley of the Washington Post

Filed under: Classics,Quotes of the Day — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 12:28 pm
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Jonathan Yardley‘s late “Second Reading” column for the Washington Post included a scathing and widely read assault on The Catcher in the Rye, “Salinger’s Holden Caulfield, Aging Gracelessly.” Here’s an excerpt from the review, which you can read here:

“The Catcher in the Rye is now, you’ll be told just about anywhere you ask, an ‘American classic,’ right up there with the book that was published the following year, Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea. They are two of the most durable and beloved books in American literature and, by any reasonable critical standard, two of the worst. Rereading The Catcher in the Rye after all those years was almost literally a painful experience: The combination of Salinger’s execrable prose and Caulfield’s jejune narcissism produced effects comparable to mainlining castor oil. …

“The cheap sentimentality with which the novel is suffused reaches a climax of sorts when Holden’s literary side comes to the fore. He flunks all his courses except English. ‘I’m quite illiterate,’ he says early in the book, ‘but I read a lot,’ which establishes the mixture of self-deprecation and self-congratulation that seems to appeal to so many readers. …

“Salinger has a tin ear. His characters forever say ‘ya’ for ‘you,’ as in ‘ya know,’ which no American except perhaps a slapstick comedian ever has said. Americans say ‘yuh know’ or ‘y’know,’ but never ‘ya know.’”

You can also follow Jan Harayda (@janiceharayda) on Twitter at www.twitter.com/janiceharayda. She satirizes American literary culture, such as it is, at www.twitter.com/fakebooknews.

December 8, 2009

At Last, Someone Is Naming the WORST Books of the Decade

Filed under: News — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 12:06 pm
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Which Mitch Albom novel are YOU going to nominate?: The Guardian is asking for suggestions for the worst books of decade. If you need ideas, you might want to look at the lists of the winners of the Delete Key Awards given out annually on One-Minute Book Reviews.

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