The 2014 Reading List Page and James Patterson Badness

As a 2014 new year’s revolution, I have a page listing every book I read this year.

I don’t know if many of you have checked out THE LIST. It includes the book’s title and author and a rating with a bit of detail but no big book review. I make up the rating scales according to the book. There is a scale reserved for really bad books and that is the “James Patterson Badness” scale.

reading

Many years ago, I was in a book club. Every month one club member selected the book for the group to read. There were many rules to the selection: had to be a paperback, had to be a novel, couldn’t have been read by other members already or if they had read it and didn’t mind reading it again that was okay but not if they didn’t like it. We read a couple of good books. My first book that the group read was, Clear Springs: A Memoir (link is to the New York Times review) by Bobbie Ann Mason. I liked that book but was chided for selecting a memoir instead of a novel.

The next time it was my turn to pick the book, I picked The Lovely Bones but it wasn’t in paperback yet. So, no.  Then I picked An Obvious Enchantment by Tucker Malarkey, a woman I had met through a mutual friend. Nope, someone had read it and thought it was boring.  On and on this goes and I have got to pick a book. I send out an email to my college pals for book recommendations and Kitty comes up with Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas by James Patterson. That’s gets clearance Clarence and we all read it.

Oh.

Mah.

Gaw.

Within a couple of pages, I realize that the book is one of the worst collections of words ever published. The physical stereotypes of the characters are ridiculous. They are jaw-droppingly beautiful and Mensa-brained. I believe the young lovers meet at John Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette’s wedding. A wedding attended by probably 40 people on Cumberland Island, Georgia. Really?! No they did not, Mr. Patterson. That’s just stoopid. The pop culture references are nauseating. And quite frankly some of the intimate details that Suzanne writes in the diary to her son, are really inappropriate. Children don’t want to read about their parents’ sex life.

The group met that month at the Rock Bottom Brewery downtown. We squeezed into a booth and they erupted in laughter at me. Jill, who I had known since junior high, opened the meeting between giggles with, “WHY would you choose this book?” And it went downhill from there. Dumb ol’ book club with all the dumb rules.

Here is a passage that clearly moved many readers because it is an image on Pinterest. Thank you Mr. Patterson, your insight has touched my soul. Trees are asking for their oxygen back because you are not putting it to good use.

patterson quote

I have never forgiven James Patterson and that is why the truly stoopid books I read will receive the James Patterson Badness rating.

Happy Reading unless you are reading Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas. If you are, go set it on fire.

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20 thoughts on “The 2014 Reading List Page and James Patterson Badness

  1. Alex Cross says:

    Preposterous!

  2. Carrie Rubin says:

    I try not to speak ill of authors, because bad karma, right? But I have to agree with you on this one. I can’t read his books. His pacing is great, no doubt about that, but the stereotypical characters and the cheesy dialogue make me cringe. There I said it. I hope no bad juju rains down on me now…

    • Maggie O'C says:

      He shouldn’t get to be called an author because he has a staff writing for him. It’s sort of like how (I think) good doctors should be open to identifying bad doctors to get them out of the the practice.
      James.
      Patterson.
      Badness.

      • Carrie Rubin says:

        Yeah, I think he mostly comes up with the idea and an outline of sorts, and then other writers string it together. I can’t imagine how that would be appealing to either party.

  3. Juliet says:

    Wow. That quote is so deep; it’s probably the deepest quote I’ve ever come across ;)
    Thanks for telling me what not to read. I’m sorry the book club experience was so unsatisfying though. xx

  4. Cheeseandbuttersister says:

    I’m a terrible writer, think of how rich I’d be if I had chosen that career path!

  5. Addie says:

    I read a book of his once. Four years if therapy later, I was able to enjoy fiction once again.

  6. I loved The Lovely Bones…brought tears to my eyes. Movie…not so much. So beautiful. You tried to pick a good one!!!

  7. Lily Bart says:

    I somehow find it quite reassuring that I never like anything that the general public seems to (including-begging your pardon- the horrible Lovely Bones) and love and revere things that others just can’t tolerate. Leaves more tartar and quail eggs and Hawking for me.

  8. El Guapo says:

    I’m reading a history of T Roosevelt and Taft (his successor).
    Not sure if it’s book club appropriate…

    • Maggie O'C says:

      You know Guap one of my favorite books is “Franklin and Winston” by Jon Meacham, I highly recommend! Dum ol’ book club wouldn’t have let that one in!

  9. Erin E. says:

    I prefer sci-fi books with wizards and dragons and elves, because I like the good guys to win and the bad guys to lose and the heroes to be slightly flawed but still heroic when shit hits the fan. It’s a formula that makes me happy.

  10. sealemahlo says:

    His witch and wizard series seems promising, though. Does he really have a full time staff writing for him? It would explain why he writes so many books every year…suspicious.

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