One-Minute Book Reviews

February 29, 2008

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
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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.


  1. I can deal with the patterins and smatterings of the culture class, but prefer finding it in E Wharton’s pages or just some awful OBVIOUS chick lit. The “arguably” also sucks. This one ties with S Martin so far for the DK award.

    Comment by oh — March 1, 2008 @ 3:31 pm | Reply

  2. Wharton is one of my favorite authors, especially “House of Mirth” (which I almost can’t believe I haven’t written about on this site, because I love it so much).

    I appreciate that you made comments after having read all the finalists, because so many of these are so bad, you could say about almost any one: “Oh, that should win, definitely.” And then you see how bad the others are … A thousand thanks for all your comments …

    Comment by 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom — March 3, 2008 @ 2:00 pm | Reply

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