Assault Authors

This week we are talking about book genres that we hate/really don’t like.

When I am asked what I read, I generally say, “Everything”, but that isn’t completely accurate.

There was a time when I used to say, “Everything but Romance”, and that certainly is not true anymore. (How I got here with romance writers is part of the story.) I still don’t care for bodice-rippers and if it’s too sappy, I’m not wild about that, either.

I read a lot of detective stories, but don’t care for details of gore; the same goes for horror. I will read a well-written horror, but I am going to stop, generally, if it’s gory. I also get turned off quickly when the writers try to ‘turn me on’; i.e., if they are trying to disguise porn as sci-fi, it’s out.

Books of one genre that I will seldom seek out are historical novels. My husband has many. He used them to engage his history students, and I read many of them. It aggravates me when writers take liberties with the lives of historical figures, changing honorable people into cheaters, changing their attitudes and sensibilities, and usually for the worst. If they base it in true events or even as a “What-If”, (and stay within the actualities of the people’s actual personalities), I’m good with it.

The books that I absolutely despise are those which are mislabeled and misleading. The ones that are self-serving and have agendas hidden within the stories. They are common, and are nothing new by any means. I find it happens in quite a few novels, actually in many “classic’ novels, and what bothered me was that the degradation is often found in the ones which were, and perhaps still are, required reading for students.

More often than not, the story is an attack on organized religion and the moral teachings within. Oh, how cruel society is! Oh, how rigid and hateful the ministers/priests/religious leaders always are! Seldom is a ‘holy man’ ever holy. Too often, generalizations and the worst of the clergy and societies expectations are presented as the norm. It isn’t fair to impressionable minds.

The inclusion of casual drug use in books now, (and many movies), encourages kids to accept and use. I don’t like it one bit.

It isn’t just the churches, (and temples), that are undermined, but families. I am thinking of the ridiculously famous “Lake Woebegone”, in which I found little humor, but everyone did an “Emperor’s New Clothes” and decided they would laugh along. It seemed to me like Garson Keillor had bones to pick with his family and church and so used the book,(and subsequent radio show), as an outlet to attack them. I have seen such works written about Jewish families, Hindi families and others. People who dislike their upbringing, yet don’t take into account their particular situations, their own choices, but assail religion, families and society in general.

You see this in autobiographies newly-formed celebrities, (usually written with a writer, ghost or otherwise). They want to blame their parents/manager/exs/record companies/studios for the wrongs they perceive as having been done to them, and ride their fame, (or waning fame), to a few bucks doing it, telling their fans that they are ‘sharing their lives with them’. Uh-huh. If the celebs stick around, their later books are usually more in tune with reality and they often accept their own part in what may have been amiss in their lives.

I was given a book to review a few years ago, and afterward, I gave the woman from the publisher fair warning that the author will not be happy, since my review would not be very favorable. It was supposed to be a Middle-grade book, a humorous look at Public Television. I have a few bones to pick with PBS myself, but the book is a lampoon, which even attacked Cookie Monster. Many of the assaults were aimed at shows and celebrities which the children could not possibly be familiar, having been from long before they were even born. I assume the writer once worked for a pubic station and had a bad experience, but for him to try to get revenge in the guise of a book for kids was cowardice. If he wanted to write an exposé, he just should have done so, and I including that observation in my online review.

So, I suppose what I have said, (in possibly too many words), is that I hate phony books, written to convey the prejudices and agendas of the writer, disguised as a story.

I’m sure you have all experienced these.

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About Tonette Joyce

Tonette was a once-fledgling lyricists-bookkeeper, turned cook/baker/restaurateur and is now exploring different writing venues,(with a stage play recently completed). She has had poetry and nonfiction articles published in the last few years. Tonette has been married to her only serious boyfriend for more than thirty years and she is, as one person described her, family-oriented almost to a fault. Never mind how others have described her, she is,(shall we say), a sometime traditionalist of eclectic tastes.She has another blog : "Tonette Joyce:Food,Friends,Family" here at WordPress.She and guests share tips and recipes for easy entertaining and helps people to be ready for almost anything.
This entry was posted in authors, book review, Books, experiences, Family, history, reading, Uncategorized, writing. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Assault Authors

  1. Patricia Kiyono says:

    Blaming a group of people for your one’s problems shows a lack of compassion and responsibility. Generalizations like that tend to (eventually) cast an unflattering light on the author.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. jeff7salter says:

    I don’t like phoniness either.
    Like you, I was once UN-impressed by so-called “historical novels” — until I read Jeff Shaara’s Rise to Rebellion. Set in America, prior to the Declaration of Independence, this novel took readers into the studies and offices of the great men and women of that time. Using their own actual writings, in many cases, Shaara constructed dialog that accurately reflects what individual’s known views and actions. I found it riveting. Since then, I’ve read several more of Shaara’s historical novels.
    Cousins, I suppose, to historical novels are the novels SET IN A CERTAIN PERIOD. They don’t pretend to represent actual individuals… except for those few characters who are real historical figures (like Eisenhower or Patton, for example) and who are needed simply as context. I find these novels give me a really good flavor of the time and place and I enjoy reading what those fictional characters do and say as they encounter actual historical battles or behind-the-scenes intrigue.

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    • One that really got to me, Jeff, was a book of Evelyn Waugh’s. I wish I remembered who it was , but he took a historical figure and although, (he said in his introduction), by all accounts the man was unusual for his time, with no evidence of his every having another female in his life, he claimed that the man had a mistress, so that he could use their conversations to explain happening to the reader!
      Waugh should have known better.

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  3. Very well said! I haven’t come across many books like the ones you describe. I have read a few that seemed to want to destroy families, I didn’t finish reading them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tess of the D’Urbervilles is the first that comes to mind, Angie, and I believe The Scarlet Letter would fit the bill, although I never made it through that one.
      I thought a book published in the early 60s by an uncle-by-marriage was of the same sort, until a decade ago when I forced myself to get back into it.I found that it was a view of a man who had comeback from WWII and what he struggled with, with what we now describe as PTSD. Any problems he was having with his family and his church were his own inabilities to reconcile what he could not forget and slip back into his life before his war experiences. I only wish we had all realized it decades ago.

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  4. Joselyn says:

    I dislike hidden agendas as well. I’ve stopped watching several tv shows because of this. Sometimes it seems like lazy writing because the story line is taken straight from the news and it’s not subtly done. While it’s good to be current, it’s not okay to beat your audience over the head with one side of the story. We can do better with our stories.

    Liked by 1 person

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