WILL UNWOUND #350: “Wednesday Rant at the Unwinders Tavern: Classical Authors You Detest”February 1, 2011
The rumor around the Tavern today is that we were paid a visit by a special library blogger last night. I think I saw her around midnight but at the time I was pretty busy helping Boris the bouncer dispatch some rowdy librarians from the UK.
If I’m not mistaken, and I very well might be, a woman wearing a hooded trench coat came in, sat down by herself over at a table in the back, ordered a martini, and then buried herself in a book. I didn’t see her face because of the hood, and I didn’t catch the title of her book. On the other hand, I could be completely wrong. It may have just been one of the brothers from the Franciscan monastery on the other side of town. Like I said I was pretty busy with those UK librarians. Boy can they put away the bitters.
Anyway, thinking of the Annoyed Librarian made me remember a great line from one of her recent blogs. She was writing about the Huck Finn cleansing controversy and wrote:
- Personally, I’ve never been a fan of anything by Mark Twain, since I consider Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer and the rest to be glorified local color fiction, like Uncle Remus but with more words. If I wanted ignorant country boys pulling pranks and speaking in dialect, I’d watch old episodes of “The Dukes of Hazzard.” At least those boys look good in tight jeans.
You have to admit that this was one of Annoyed’s better lines. What temerity to suggest that Huck Finn isn’t really a great book and that Mark Twain is nothing more than a local colorist. Will Annoyed be telling us next that S.R. Ranganathan is a half baked swami marauding as a library philosopher?
I bring all this up because, while I personally feel that Mark Twain was a literary genius and Tom Sawyer was his greatest creation, there is one classical author whom I really detest.
And that is our subject for rants today: Classic Authors and Classic Titles You Detest. As your lead lab rat, I’ll start the ranting.
My literary hit list begins and ends with Theodore Dreiser. Do you like soccer? Well, you might like Dreiser. The man had a talent for writing boring books. What is worse than a boring book? How about long and boring. No, that’s not good enough…how about very, very long and very, very boring. An American Tragedy is the Chinese torture test of reading experiences. It is a constant drip, drip, drip of the most depressing 900 pages of behavioristic drivel you can imagine. Curses to my Senior English teacher in high school for obliterating six weeks of my life with this book.
Your turn…rant away.