Well, the three-day weekend is over. I didn’t do any action hero workouts like I should have. Didn’t get a lot of reading in. No writing done. And I spent money like a drunken sailor.
On the upside, I feel relaxed and ready to get back to work.
On the downside, I’m seeing women in the streets, women on the bus, and women in coffee shops everywhere reading Shades of Grey, and just about every internet magazine and newspaper book section is talking about the damn thing.
As you can guess, part of me wishes I’d been the one to write an S&M soft porn book that becomes a massive bestseller. I really could use the money, especially after this weekend. Another part of me realizes that I’d never get over the embarrassment. I mean, I get self-conscious so easily as it is.
I’m also old enough to remember other massive bestsellers that have come and gone. Some of them still have readers and deserve to stay in print, and for all I know Shades of Grey is in that category – don’t know since I haven’t read a word of it. Besides, the erotic Tropic of Cancer is considered a Twentieth Century classic. And let’s not forget that very often classic novels like To Kill a Mockingbird or The Confessions of Nat Turner were and still are bestsellers.
But I’m not talking about great literature. I mean the kind of commercial hits that suck like a Hoover. Or a Dyson.
Any of you guys remember Love Story?
I think that book came out when I was in grade school or high school, and during my freshman year in college the movie was on TV one night so a bunch of us coeds gathered around to watch it (no guys bothered). At the end of the flick I shrugged, but a bunch of my fellow females were happily sobbing away. You know that godawful line “Love means never having to say you’re sorry”? Well, Love Story is the stinkeroo novel it came from.
For me, however, the worst bestseller ever was Celestine Prophecy. Talk about a stinkeroo of staggering proportion. I mean, a confusing plot, one-dimensional characters who can only be distinguished from each other by hair color, wooden prose, zilch fact checking, pages of New Age sermons cloaked in laughable “secrecy,” and preposterous situations. For me the lowest point came when the narrator meets a peasant somewhere in the Peruvian mountains, and at first said peasant speaks haltingly and apologizes for being uneducated and knowing only a few words of English. A couple paragraphs later he’s speaking English like a professor of literature.
Celestine Prophecy sold about twenty million copies.
So what about you? What novels (especially bestsellers) have you read that in the end you wanted to throw against a wall, stomp on, rip apart with your bare teeth, or otherwise dispose of?
And on the positive side, what recent bestsellers do you think deserve to become classics? (Besides the Harry Potter books, that is.)