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Talk About Inept...
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Thinking about some of the books I've read this year, I'm shocked (shocked I tell you!) by how badly so many of them are written. Talk about inept:

  • John O'Hara gives away the ending to Appointment in Samarra in the introductory matter.

  • Herman Melville keeps interrupting Captain Ahab's hunt for the great white whale with Moby Dick size info-dumps about whales and whaling.

  • In Silas Marner George Eliot blatantly relies on coincidences, particularly having Marner just happen to leave the cottage door open at exactly the right time.

  • Albert Camus' The Stranger lacks sufficent motivation for his actions.

  • At no point in her rather slow moving To the Lighthouse does Virginia Woolf have a man enter with a gun.

  • Kafka's The Trial doesn't make a lick of sense.

    These poor souls paid no attention to the advice of editors, agents, and all the writers who are willing to explain how it has to be done. I guess they didn't care about being rejected by publishers. (Well, okay, maybe Virginia Woolf didn't have to care since she and her husband published To the Lighthouse through their own Hogarth Press).

    Still, they all did pretty well for themselves. I'm sure I could think of a lot of other classic novels which violate all of today's requirements for publishable books. It could make a good parlor game.

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