Wednesday, February 5, 2014


I love reading. I always have, I always will. I've read my share (and possibly shares of eighty seven other individuals) of books in my life. Not all the books I read make me weep with joy at having read them. I understand and have experienced (far too often) that not all books will speak to my soul. But the last two that I read, that I'm reading, have left me completely their awfulness. To the extent that I spent two days wondering what the hell was the matter with the writers of said books, the publishers and editors of said books and finally the readers of said books...myself excluded.

I picked the novels up in India. Both are adaptations of the Mahabharata, an epic close to my heart, and the only reason I bought the books in the first place. The authors had nothing more to do than rework an old legend on a new-ish premise with a fresh spin. Sadly, both books failed miserably to do any kind of reworking, remolding or my eyes. And I was outraged by their utterly cavalier disregard for good writing.

Notice I said WAS. I am over my outrage. And here's why.

I've realized in my forty-eight hour pout which began with the almost desperate need to grab a pointy, sharp blade from the knife block in the kitchen, flying non-stop to India, hunting down the publishers, editors and authors of said books and hacking them to pieces for destroying this beautiful legend that is the Mahabharata with their rubbish. The murderous urge ended in an anticlimactic, self-induced opening-of-the-eye. 

I have realized since that a successful book need not be good. More astonishingly, a "good" book need not be well-written. And even more astonishingly, my parameters for a successful book, good book and well-written book could be the exact opposite of yours. What I consider good or well-written or successful is but my own opinion of it. Of course, best-seller lists and awards do validate certain books. But here's the thing. Some of those great books on those best-seller lists have not appealed to me in the least! And we all know of a certain atrociously penned trilogy that broke best-selling records not two years past.

So, there goes the theory that a good book should have universal appeal. 

That being said, isn't it the duty of the author, the publishing house and the editor to provide its reader with the best possible product?

I am so confused. What do you think? To each book his own worm?
(Source of gifs: random search on Internet)

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