One of the best books I've read in recent years was written by Brooks, but she also wrote one of the worst. Re the latter, I was actually quite distressed that someone I'd admired and trusted to produce excellence had let me down big-time. I'd even been eagerly looking forward to attending a special function to hear her speak but I bailed out due to my disillusionment. (I won't name either book but anyone who has read all of Brooks' work may have a fair idea which ones I'm talking about.)
Of course I'm aware that taking books too seriously or over-analyzing can be a fault of mine. I try not to be critical without good reason and always look for positives in everything I read, but I do get annoyed whenever I detect that a respected and talented author is resting on their laurels or displaying arrogance towards the reader. And when they resort to shoddy gratuitous cheap-lit passages after they have previously proved themselves capable of stylish and considered prose, then they often lose me for good.
I also freely admit that it's probably just me who feels this way, and my reactions may have a bit to do with where I was in my own life at the time of reading both books. But giving someone a blanket seal of approval is always going to bring problems as no creative artist - or artiste if you're fancy about it - of any kind can always be perfect and making statements such as "Brooks has never written a bad book" is opinionated nonsense.
More than anything, however, I really object to bossy journalists using the word "should" and telling me what to read and think.
|Great image from Stephanie Piro|