Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Another one...

I am not having much luck with my reading materials. Today I picked up another book I got from the big book sale, and this time I didn't even get past the first page. Can't people use English any more? I CAN'T READ THIS STUFF. I want to read something that is written well, or at least competently.

Have I turned into an elitist? Am I too picky? I don't remember having this problem so much before. Is it me, or has the quality of what gets into print plummeted? I thought everybody wanted to write a book, and it was difficult to get into print. If that is the case, why are the publishers not choosing books that are written WELL? Why are readers accosted by sentences like this one?

Like so many London girls, he thinks the woman is worryingly thin...

I'm not sure if this is a case of a hanging modifier (as per Berlin Bear's recent complaint) or, more simply, a missing comma after thinks. All I know is that it made me close the book and sigh deeply.

Besides that, the first eight pages are written in italics, and that annoyed me, too. Some italics are fine, but not eight pages of it. It makes me feel as though I'm reading in a whisper, and for some reason it is harder work. This is probably just me, and I accept that, but I am not prepared to work that hard if my reward is to be sentences like that one.

Another book to avoid: The Hidden Man, by Charles Cumming.

To be fair, I haven't read past the first page, and the rest could be a delightful read. But opening the book at random just now and hoping for something to tempt me I came across a sentence which began:

He was still hungry from not eating....

NEXT!

7 comments:

Ms Mac said...

"NEXT!" I am lovng this series of posts!

Potentilla said...

We seem to have opposite problems
http://www.auspiciousdragon.net/reader/blog.html
I suppose it's not really economic for me just to send you all the goats in an enormous great parcel.

Robert said...

I'm starting to think these books were in the sale bin for a reason.

Wendy said...

A combination of bad writing, proofreading and editing...tiresome, I agree. I think being an English teacher also makes one more aware of those errors and it IS irritating.

Anonymous said...

>Have I turned into an elitist?

Probably. The issue is really about marketing, not language.

Wiccachicky said...

I don't like it when authors over-use italics. That happens a lot in stuff I read and it's dreadfully annoying.

BerlinBear said...

My money's on a hanging modifier. It's either that or this is a book about transsexuals in London and you just didn't read far enough to find that out.

*Wanders out singing quietly to himself "After waiting patiently for him to come and get it, he came on up and asked me if I wanted to get with him"*