Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Reading Poorly Written Books For Educational Purposes?

With college graduation behind me and the resurrection of my free time, I've started reading books I've had on my to-read list since last summer. One of these books, Imperfect Bliss by Susan Fales-Hill was just (please know that I hate to say this) an absolute disaster. After forcing myself to read past the first eight pages, the only way I was able to get through the whole thing was by skimming through many of the longer paragraphs which were mostly perfect examples of "telling and not showing." I tried as hard as I could to like the book. It has a strong, confident female MC, mocks reality television, and criticizes sexism, materialism, and other unfortunate parts of society--all major pluses in my opinion--but is, unfortunately, terribly written. Still, there's a part of me that believes the book was worth the read if only to remind me of what not to do. Now I can look for the same mistakes in my own writing. 

What do you think? Is it good to read poorly written books every once in a while to remind yourself what not to do?


  1. I don't know that I would INTENTIONALLY read a poorly written book, but I have a rule of thumb that if I start a book and it turns out to be horribly written, I finish it. If I don't *like* the story, I let myself cast the book aside. But if it's a case of "How did this make it to print?" I make myself finish it because I always feel as though I come away with a new list of what not to dos.

    I just finished an awful book, actually. Not any great literary work, but one that is supposedly popular, and was endorsed by a very well known author - and not in a politically correct 'Read this book it's nice, and I got paid to say so' manner, but in a 'I know the author personally, and they're awesome, their book is awesome and you'll be better for reading it' sort of way'.

    So I gave it a shot. It was close to 300 pages of getting told what was going on, and nothing actually happening and cookie cutter characters each of which had key points that made them fit into a certain 'character'. For example, the geeky gamer threw out random remarks about DMs and dungeon crawls, while the dancer was able to use her made dancing skills as a stand it for karate. And the entire thing smelled of a 90s cartoon (and even has multiple references to said cartoon immeshed in it, in case you missed the blatant knockoff flavor) I thought I would claw my eyes out before finishing. But now I have a laundry list of what not to do.

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