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Tuesday, February 9, 2021

When to Expose a Bad Book

Is a reviewer ever justified in attempting to blow a bad book out of the water? I think the answer is yes, but the reviewer must choose his targets with the greatest of care. It's not enough for the book to be bad; other elements must be present: smugness; pretentiousness; and over inflated reputation; clear evidence that a book's badness is not the result of incompetence, but of deliberate design. Such books represent an assault on the republic of letters and should not be ignored.

Peter Prescott, Never in Doubt, 1996


  1. That's the trouble with an e-Reader. You find yourself mired in a truly awful book, and you can't indulge yourself in the small pleasure of throwing it across the room, lest you send all your other books to an undeserved oblivion.

  2. I agree, and in my time, have tossed more than a few books across the room. Most of them were in the "literary fiction" genre.