Stinkeroo Novels

on May 29, 2012 in Misc

Well, the three-day weekend is over.  I didn’t do any action hero workouts like I should have. Didn’t get a lot of reading in.  No writing done.  And I spent money like a drunken sailor.

On the upside, I feel relaxed and ready to get back to work.

On the downside, I’m seeing women in the streets, women on the bus, and women in coffee shops everywhere reading Shades of Grey, and just about every internet magazine and newspaper book section is talking about the damn thing.

As you can guess, part of me wishes I’d been the one to write an S&M soft porn book that becomes a massive bestseller.  I really could use the money, especially after this weekend.  Another part of me realizes that I’d never get over the embarrassment.  I mean, I get self-conscious so easily as it is.

I’m also old enough to remember other massive bestsellers that have come and gone.  Some of them still have readers and deserve to stay in print, and for all I know Shades of Grey is in that category – don’t know since I haven’t read a word of it.  Besides, the erotic Tropic of Cancer is considered a Twentieth Century classic.  And let’s not forget that very often classic novels like To Kill a Mockingbird or The Confessions of Nat Turner were and still are bestsellers.

But I’m not talking about great literature.  I mean the kind of commercial hits that suck like a Hoover.  Or a Dyson.

Any of you guys remember Love Story?

I think that book came out when I was in grade school or high school, and during my freshman year in college the movie was on TV one night so a bunch of us coeds gathered around to watch it (no guys bothered).  At the end of the flick I shrugged, but a bunch of my fellow females were happily sobbing away.  You know that godawful line “Love means never having to say you’re sorry”?  Well, Love Story is the stinkeroo novel it came from.

For me, however, the worst bestseller ever was Celestine Prophecy.  Talk about a stinkeroo of staggering proportion.  I mean, a confusing plot, one-dimensional characters who can only be distinguished from each other by hair color, wooden prose, zilch fact checking, pages of New Age sermons cloaked in laughable “secrecy,” and preposterous situations.  For me the lowest point came when the narrator meets a peasant somewhere in the Peruvian mountains, and at first said peasant speaks haltingly and apologizes for being uneducated and knowing only a few words of English.  A couple paragraphs later he’s speaking English like a professor of literature.

Celestine Prophecy sold about twenty million copies.

So what about you? What novels (especially bestsellers) have you read that in the end you wanted to throw against a wall, stomp on, rip apart with your bare teeth, or otherwise dispose of?

And on the positive side, what recent bestsellers do you think deserve to become classics?  (Besides the Harry Potter books, that is.)


8 Responses to “Stinkeroo Novels”

  1. I can’t think of a specific book right now. (Too early in the morning.) There are certain authors that I just don’t get why everyone likes them. Someone must though as they keep writing books.

  2. I really enjoyed the writing in 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami. That’s a best seller that should become a classic. Hmmm, I was disappointed in Twilight (I actually never finished it). The book disappointed me on so many levels…it really just wasn’t pornographic enough for me. I wanted something better than Anita Blake and what I ended up getting was some Mormon girl’s fantasy. So I never bought anymore of her books. That doesn’t mean, however, that I don’t think it deserves to be a classic. I’m not one of those people that thinks, “Hey I didn’t like it so it shouldn’t be read.” On the contrary, if lots of people think it’s awesome, it should be a classic.

  3. Helena says:

    Alex – I wonder if some readers get lazy and just follow certain writers without ever looking into new and different ones.

  4. Helena says:

    Michael — Twilight readers seem to fall into two camps: rabid fans or couldn’t care less. And I like your democratic approach to classics, as in let people decide for themselves.

  5. Ciara Knight says:

    Confession, I read Shades of Grey. I didn’t like the S&M part of it, and actually skimmed most of that. But, there is a heart-wrenching story behind that. I’ll be vlogging about the book this month. I read it to study why the book made it so big. I was much more hooked on this book then Twilight. I haven’t read the final book, but was emotionally satisfied at the end of book II. There is a story there, it isn’t just S&M. IMHO
    The book is not for everyone, as I said, I skimmed some of it.

  6. Helena says:

    Ciara – I’m really looking forward to your vlog about it. Interesting that you found something heart-wrenching behind the scenes; maybe that’s what gives Shades an edge over other books.

  7. Old Kitty says:

    Sophie’s World!!! The only book I couldn’t finish and wanted to throw out t eh window, but am so in the minority of not liking it with all the accolades it got! And Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – I loved the central story but by jingo!! I had to plough through the first 30 pages of horridness and the last 3 chapters of boringness! LOL!

    I know I’ll be reading Shades of Grey soon as I’m most intrigued – as I (ahem) did sort of like Tropic of Cancer…

    Oh and I did sob without SHAME when I first watched Love Story!!! LOL! Maybe I won’t now but I do recall that first time!

    Running away now!! Take care

  8. Helena says:

    Old Kitty – I’ve gotta read Tropic of Cancer one of these days — purely for the literary merit, you understand. And thanks for saying you cried after Love Story. While it didn’t do anything for me, I’ve wept shamelessly after other movies and books. Sometimes crying feels good.

    And I’m ashamed to admit I’d never heard of Sophie’s World (at first I thought you’d meant Sophie’s Choice). So I looked it up–“A novel about the history of philosophy.” Damn, that sounds like a snoozer.