I was in New York this weekend on a two-day writing retreat, and brought a book I’d expected to review for Guyspeed.com along with me (I stayed in Red Bank, NJ, which meant I had some down time on the train to and from New York). But the book was so rotten that I emailed my editor and said I just couldn’t do it – and this is a site that will list things that they hate.

Could I have done that for this book? Yes. I didn’t, though, because I hadn’t read the whole thing. Two chapters was enough. In order to do a proper “I hate it” review, I’d have to read the whole thing (yes, I have ethics!), and I didn’t want to subject myself to that.

Two reasons why the book was bad:

1. It was written by someone who said they were an ‘expert’ on the topic, though she’d only been doing it for four years. Sorry, writer. Four years does not make you an expert on something as multi-level and complicated like this, especially when you write about the people who taught you – people who have decades of experience.
2. The writing sucked. Too many adjectives. Too many adverbs. Writing about details that did not matter – and then repeating them (lots of cigars and whiskey on the same page, explained the same way).

I should have guessed something was up when I saw that the book had an unusually large font. Bad Jen, bad. Her bio also touted that she’d written for X, Y and Z women’s magazines. I should have known better on that front too. That means nothing, really.

I wasn’t at a loss for reading, though. Beth Ciotta’s Jinxed is a free ebook (for a limited time). I downloaded the Kindle app for my iPhone, got the book (all while sitting at a diner counter), and had to it read all weekend.

First time I ever “got” the convenience of an eReader. I don’t know if I’ll make the full on plunge because I’m very comfortable with reading on my iPhone. But maybe.

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Jen Miller

Jen Miller

Jen A. Miller is a an author and freelance writer. Her memoir, Running a Love Story, was a Philadelphia Inquirer best book of the year. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, SELF, Buzzfeed and the Guardian, among others.

1 Comments

  1. Beth Ciotta on December 6, 2011 at 10:36 am

    Thanks for the shout out for JINXED, Jen. Hope you enjoyed the read.

    As for poorly written books, I'm like you. I rarely make it past two chapters. Who has the time to force a bad read? Too many good ones waiting. There are some people though who will read a book, no matter how much they hate it, to the end. Once started, must finish. Can't imagine.

    As for ereaders I am a Kindle lover. Never thought I'd take the ereader plunge, but now I'm addicted.

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