Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Friday, September 21, 2007


Catholic Bibliophagist is seeking book nominations for the Dorothy Parker Flung award:

“This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.”
--Dorothy Parker

This morning I was trying to think of which books I’ve read that deserve the Dorothy Parker Flung Award. But since I routinely eschew genre that I know I won’t like and am not required to read books I don’t choose, I can’t think of any candidates right now. I must let this percolate through my hind brain and see if it dredges up anything from the past.

Certainly I've stumbled into novels I didn’t like. But since I don’t feel obliged to finish them, I usually don’t feel the need to fling them. Sometimes I’ve finished a novel I wasn’t enjoying because I kept thinking that sooner or later there was going to be a payoff that would turn the whole thing around and make it all worthwhile....

...Okay, guys: nominate some titles. I promise not to read them.
Like the Bibliophagist, I usually finish a book. Same with movies. Off the top of my head, I can think of two movies I've stopped watching more than five minutes in: Total Eclipse, in which Leonardo DiCaprio plays a 19th-century French boor; and some early Harrison Ford flick set in WWII England, in which our hero is a American fighter pilot who has an affair with a local woman. Boooring.


The Opinionated Homeschooler said...

"The Secret Life of Bees," from the NYT best-seller list, and chosen by my book group. What a waste of trees. Didn't come close to finishing.

Pro Ecclesia said...

Here's an ironic nominee for a movie that ought to be "flung": "Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle"

Bernard Brandt said...

Actually, I liked Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle. It performed a competent presentation of the history of both Mrs. Parker and the Algonquin Circle, and offered an actual dramatic role for Matthew Broderick. Just out of curiosity, Mr. Anderson, does your sense of taste reside mainly in your mouth?

But badinage aside, My late wife, Carolyn, on one occasion when she was still well, decided to read through my copy of The Inclusive Language Lectionary, Year A, which I had bought some years ago in a fit of multiculti. I was visiting a friend at Berkeley at the time, which was the only reason I can think of for having committed that particular act of madness.

At any rate, within a few pages of starting, she suddenly picked up the book, declaimed: "This is not a book to be lightly tossed aside, but hurled with great force!", and suited her actions to her words, throwing the book out the front door into the weeds outside. There it remained for a number of months, until it started to sprout mushrooms or toadstools. We didn't want to befoul the poor fungi, so at that point we removed the ex-book from the yard and deposited it in the trash.

Father Schnippel said...

daVinci code

Darwin said...

A'ight folks. Nominations are fine, but as far as impugning other commenter's tastes, let's not go there.

Othervise I shall have to get out ze delete button and ze comfy chair!

Rick Lugari said...

I'd fling Caged Heat 3000. I know it's hard to believe that there would be a Women In Prison movie not worth watching, but in spite of the babe quotient, that movie is just a waste of time.


Darwin said...

There are some books and movies that I'm sure I should have stopped half way through on, but generally I keep holding out hope and get all the way though -- to my sorrow.

I should have stopped watching Event Horizon.

Of the books I should have stopped reading, I can't really recall any titles -- they must have been forgettable. Though I'm pretty sure that none of the stuff I ready by Harry Turtledove actually deserved to be finished. Good history -- really lousy characters.

Anonymous said...

I can usually tell within a paragraph or two that a book probably won't be worth reading, so I don't have any recent titles to mention. Here are a couple of alleged classics I regret spending time on::

The Prairie, by James Fenimore Cooper. It took me a month to force my way through the sludge (which I had to read for class. It sure wasn't by choice), and I am not a slow reader. Twain was far too mild in his assessment of Cooper.

Naked Lunch, or anything else by William Burroughs. He may be an Important Cultural Figure, but he's still unreadable.

Kiwi Nomad said...

I usually stop reading if I am bored/ annoyed/ dissatisfied/ angry with a book... and haven't actually flung any that I recall. Possibly because in the main they would be books belonging to the public library that I need to return.

Damien Fisher said...

The Emperor of Ocean Park -- oy, they made such a fuss about this book!

It was about 400 pages longer than it needed to be, and about 150 of those extra pages were minute descriptions of people's clothes, for no reason at all. It was really hard to tell if the stodginess of the prose was supposed to be painting a picture of the main character, who is stodgy, or if the author was just a boring writer (and if you can't tell, it's the latter by default). I hated all the characters, and instead of sitting on the edge of my seat, aching for that grand finale, I spent the whole book growling to myself, "This better pay off in the end." It did have the huge ending it kept promising, but I still resented the time I spent on this self-indulgent, overhyped slug of a novel.

Other than that, it was okay.

Darwin said...

Okay, memory kicks in. I didn't fling Pierced By A Sword, but I probably should have. I've been told that it was at least slightly better at a prose level once they had a real writer overhaul it, but the original version I read was pretty much a stinker.

Though it did make me aware of Makers Mark, so I guess it wasn't an unmitigated failure...

Anonymous said...

My "Flung" nomination:
The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley. Preferably into a body of water not frequented by the Lady of the Lake.

Anonymous said...

"The Lovely Bones" - couldn't understand (and still can't understand) the fuss. I finished it, but I thought it was crap the whole time.

Most books by Tamar Myers are extremely flingable, though I will admit to liking the first one I read. Because I liked it, I read another one in a different series of hers. Frankly, I got tired of the b*tchiness of the female leads in both series. That schtick is only funny and/or interesting a few times. I absolutely can't stand it when the main characters of a book/show/movie have no redeeming qualities and nothing that makes me want to root for them! To add to all of that, the note from the author to fans who suggested clever titles to her was just obnoxiously rude (she said to quit sending them in as most of them weren't that good). Bah! All of that adds up to very flingable books.

One movie that I walked out of and never watched again was "The Brothers McMullen". Horrible, horrible crap.

-- Bridget

mrsdarwin said...

I read the first chapter of The Lovely Bones on Amazon, and I found it uncomfortable enough that I didn't read the rest of the book. I don't like the subject, frankly.