If you’re an author, do THIS at your own risk!

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Mark Twain

My apologies for sounding like Alex Trebek. The answer (or question, in this case) is that when you’re an author, be VERY careful about other authors discussing how they feel about your work.

I was referred to this great article from examiner.com, courtesy of Michelle Kerns, accessible here, entitled “The 50 best author vs. author put-downs of all time”.

I laughed out loud at some of them. I’ll quote some of my favorites.

9. J.K. Rowling, according to Harold Bloom (2000)

How to read ‘Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone’? Why, very quickly, to begin with, and perhaps also to make an end. Why read it? Presumably, if you cannot be persuaded to read anything better, Rowling will have to do.

10. Oscar Wilde, according to Noel Coward (1946)

Am reading more of Oscar Wilde. What a tiresome, affected sod.

12. John Milton’s Paradise Lost, according to Samuel Johnson

‘Paradise Lost’ is one of the books which the reader admires and lays down, and forgets to take up again. None ever wished it longer than it is.

19. John Steinbeck, according to James Gould Cozzens (1957)

I can’t read ten pages of Steinbeck without throwing up. I couldn’t read the proletariat crap that came out in the ’30s.

26. Marcel Proust, according to Evelyn Waugh (1948)

I am reading Proust for the first time. Very poor stuff. I think he was mentally defective.

27. William Faulkner, according to Ernest Hemingway

Have you ever heard of anyone who drank while he worked? You’re thinking of Faulkner. He does sometimes — and I can tell right in the middle of a page when he’s had his first one.

31. Jane Austen, according to Mark Twain (1898)

I haven’t any right to criticize books, and I don’t do it except when I hate them. I often want to criticize Jane Austen, but her books madden me so that I can’t conceal my frenzy from the reader; and therefore I have to stop every time I begin. Every time I read ‘Pride and Prejudice,’ I want to dig her up and hit her over the skull with her own shin-bone.

36. William Shakespeare, according to George Bernard Shaw (1896)

With the exception of Homer, there is no eminent writer, not even Sir Walter Scott, whom I can despise so entirely as I despise Shakespeare when I measure my mind against his. The intensity of my impatience with him occasionally reaches such a pitch, that it would positively be a relief to me to dig him up and throw stones at him, knowing as I do how incapable he and his worshippers are of understanding any less obvious form of indignity.

50. Tom Wolfe’s A Man in Full, according to Norman Mailer (1998)

The book has gas and runs out of gas, fills up again, goes dry. It is a 742-page work that reads as if it is fifteen hundred pages long….

At certain points, reading the work can even be said to resemble the act of making love to a three-hundred pound woman. Once she gets on top, it’s over. Fall in love, or be asphyxiated. So you read and you grab and you even find delight in some of these mounds of material. Yet all the while you resist — how you resist! — letting three hundred pounds take you over.

The last three are my absolute favorites. I would very much advise that you click on the link at the top to check out the rest of them. So many of these are just brutal. Apparently there is no honor among authors.

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2 comments on “If you’re an author, do THIS at your own risk!

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Avraham Spierer, Avraham Spierer. Avraham Spierer said: If you're an author, do THIS at your own risk!: http://wp.me/p84sd-l5 […]

  2. Judy Kamber says:

    These are great – maybe you should send the article to Boobie and Shira with your comments. I’m so glad you have a place to post all these interesting things because I learn something new and fun each time. Thanks!

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