Posts Tagged ‘stupid’

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Peter the Brazen

April 9, 2014

I’m finally done with Peter the Brazen, and I feel I can say definitively now that it is the worst. The worst. I hardly know what else to say about it, or how to catalog its various failings.

I thought I was going to enjoy this book. Peter Moore is a wireless operator, and he’s the best wireless operator. He can hear things no one else can hear, and other wireless operator recognize…I don’t know, the inflections of his Morse code, or something. And he doesn’t have a lean, sardonic countenance, but he does have a tendency to smile inappropriately, which practically amounts to the same thing. So, all of that boded well. And I was prepared for some racism, because this is the kind of book where the existence of actual Asian people is completely irrelevant to the glamour of Asia. But in general I thought that this book wouldn’t be very good, but that I would enjoy it.

I was wrong. I was so, so wrong. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Lord John in New York

January 11, 2012

The worst thing about terrible mystery novels — the kind where the hero judges everyone on the most shallow grounds imaginable, and every tenuous connection is treated as a solid deduction — is that you can make fun of the hero all you want for assuming the Egyptian guy he’s found in the phone book (apparently this is a phone book that sorts by nationality?) is the same mysterious Egyptian guy who might have upset the girl he’s fallen in love at first sight with, but in the end you know the hero is going to be proven right. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Cinderella Jane

November 25, 2011

Cinderella Jane, by Marjorie Benton Cooke, has a lot of things in it that I love. The quiet girl who cleans all the artists’ studios turns out to be awesome! And beautiful! The hero is kind of a dork! The heroine and this girl who was in love with the hero become best friends! He/she fell in love with his/her wife/husband! A wife in a mental institution! Read the rest of this entry ?

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The Eyes of the World

October 11, 2011

So, The Eyes of the World is pretty bad. There are some mildly entertaining bits, and a lot of really average bits, but mostly there are really terrible bits.

The relationship between the hero, Aaron King, and his mentor Conrad Lagrange was one of the things I sort of liked. Aaron is pretty much a nonentity, but Lagrange is interesting. He’s a famous novelist who hates his work and the people who read it. He hates himself, too. I don’t know why he persists in writing what he believes to be trash when he refuses to be friends with anyone who’s willing to read it–the fortune and fame rationale he puts forward doesn’t really cut it. He’s already famous and wealthy. Why is he continuing to write books he believes to be actively harmful? Anyway, he spends the entire book being bitterly self-deprecating and alternating between deriding Aaron’s attempts to be better and encouraging him to hold on to his ideals. Also, he’s got a cute dog. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Sylvia: the story of an American countess

September 6, 2011

Sylvia is nineteen, the daughter of a woman from California and an Italian Count (both dead), and the most beautiful woman in Europe. But while her aunt wants her to marry a Duke — unless maybe a prince is available — Sylvia says that, if she ever marries at all, she’ll choose an American man. Philip Monroe would be happy to be that man. Eric Fielding has to deny to himself that he’d be happy to be that man, since he’s engaged to a girl in New York. Dick Ames knows there’s no likelihood of his being that man, so he becomes her good friend instead.

Really, though, Sylvia’s not interested in marrying anybody. But her aunt is really pushing the Duke, so Sylvia runs away to her other aunt in California and changes her name to Barbara Gordon. She — obviously — will henceforth be known as Batgirl, to avoid confusion. Read the rest of this entry ?

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The Sheik

May 26, 2011

If you’re triggered by discussions of rape, please don’t read this book, and consider giving this post a pass as well.

Every single time in the past five years that I’ve read a book where the relationship between the hero and the heroine was kind of abusive, or a man failed to treat a woman as a person with a life of her own, or rapist-like behavior was meant to be cute, or a woman was punished for being attractive or for acting like a man, I’ve though, “Well, at least it’s not The Sheik.”

The Sheik is all of those things and more. Basically, if you can think of a gross thing early 20th century authors do to women, it’s here — except, to be fair, that thing where any woman whose virtue has been impugned in any way must die. It’s pretty awful. Read the rest of this entry ?

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When Knighthood Was in Flower

February 22, 2011

When Knighthood Was in Flower, by Charles Major, was the #9 bestselling book of 1900. On one hand that was a relief, because it would have been horrifying to find that it sold better than To Have and To Hold or Janice Meredith, both of which were, you know, good. On the other hand, it’s worrying to think that this book was a bestseller at all, since it’s kind of terrible. Actually, I can’t think of anything I liked about it. Or, I don’t know, the title is okay, I guess. If by “knighthood” you mean “being fickle and selfish.” And there’s one sort of entertaining bit in which Charles Brandon imagines going to New Spain and pining for Mary Tudor: “I shall find the bearing of Paris, and look in her direction until my brain melts in my effort to see her, and then I shall wander in the woods, a suffering imbecile, feeding on roots and nuts.” I don’t know what kind of success he’d have with the roots and nuts, but believe me, he’s got the suffering imbecile part down. Read the rest of this entry ?

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