All fingers and toes accounted for?
This weekend, as we inexplicably picked up the second installment of Anna Godbersen's The Luxe Books (the first of which, you'll recall, A Reader's Respite skewered in a spiteful review), this one entitled Rumors, we found ourselves wondering a couple of things:
- why did we purchase a book that is a sequel to a book we so disliked?
- why, precisely, did we dislike the book so very much?
The answer to #1 involves a treacherous journey into the depth's of A Reader's Respite's twisted psyche, so we'll graciously spare you that particular torment. Suffice it to say that it involves forking over cold, hard cash to alleviate our oddly-placed guilt over our scathing review of The Luxe.
In other words: we hated your book, but here is some money to take the sting out of it.
Perfectly rational, wouldn't you say?
The answer to #2 is far more complex and deserves further attention. What is it about certain best-selling books that draws our ire? And if said books are so disliked, why are we all propelling them onto the best-seller lists?
Let's use one of my favorite examples: Dan Brown's The DaVinci Code.
Since original publication in 2003, The DaVinci Code has sold around 40 million copies worldwide. That's right: 40 million copies. And yet, it is a challenge to find a positive review of this novel. This is the book that everyone loves to hate.
Why? The most commonly reason cited is historical inaccuracies. These same reviewers who later lauded Philippa Gregory's The Other Boleyn Girl are downright spiteful towards Brown's free and easy interpretation of history. Dost we detect hypocrisy? Wethinks we do.
A quick perusal of lit blogs uncovers an almost universal dislike of The DaVinci Code. Anyone who's anyone claims to have disliked the book. And yet, we keep coming back to sales: 40 million copies sold. If it's such an awful book, exactly who keeps buying it? A handful of fans who have purchased ten million copies each?
Similarly, as A Reader's Respite consciously restrained ourselves from hurling Anna Godbersen's Rumors at the nearest wall, we couldn't help but see the similarity between ourselves and the DaVinci-haters. After all, our stated reason for our dislike (and we're sticking to it) is, indeed, historical inaccuracies. Aside from that, we found the technical portion of the books quite acceptably executed. Dialogue flows (however inaccurate in 1899 vernacular), the plot moves along quickly (ie, from one illicit teenage rendezvous to the next), and the characters are sharply developed (developed into snotty whores, that is).
The best we can figure is that evidently historical inadequacies as they pertain to Christian history serve as entertainment to A Reader's Respite, while historical inaccuracies that pertain to a young woman's moral code greatly disturb us. Hypocrisy? Definitely.
Is A Reader's Respite a book snob? Perhaps not, we've decided, after perusing a few blogs. Comparitively speaking, that is. At least we've never written a review entitled The DaVinci Code is a Stepped-On Bag of Pork Rinds.
But we can always aspire to, can't we?