Question: [...] Are there books that for whatever reason you despise?(The title of this blog is supposed to be linked to the original article, but one must apparently be a registered subscriber or something to peruse the entire thing. This snippet is quoted under "fair use.")
Michael Dirda: Despise? Well, I think there are meretricious books, books only written to make a buck. This usually includes about half the best seller list. I think most nonfiction best sellers are utterly ephemeral--I mean, really, in a couple of years Bill Clinton's memoirs will be read as often as RN: The Memoirs of Richard Nixon. Then there's diet books. Self-help books. Jumped-up magazine articles from the New Yorker. The novels of Judith Krantz. Anything regarded as snarky, edgy, on the cutting edge, hip.
Oh, these have their place, I suppose. But I prefer seriously experimental fiction, heartfelt Harlequin romances, [and] books where real scholars present the work of half a lifetime.
How interesting, though, that someone would find a "heartfelt Harlequin romance" of more value than a political memoir.
It's that "heartfelt" that's the secret, I think. Romances, of whatever hue, must be heartfelt or how can they claim the title of romance? We as authors have to reach down deep and offer up the beating of our own hearts so that we can touch the hearts of our readers.
What about you? What books do you "despise"? Or maybe not despise, exactly, but don't care much for? What are you overdosed on? I'm with Mr. Dirda on the diet books and the political ranks of both leanings. And I think I'm beginning to overdose on books with whiny, depressed characters. (Off to vette my books for whining...)