A Queer Business

Book reviewing is a queer business. Amateur reviewers, often anonymous and sometimes with an axe to grind or with lofty literary pretensions, can damn with faint praise or go nuclear with their toxic pen. Naturally, no book appeals to everyone. Bad reviews are an occupational hazard. Even the top of the heap gets mixed critiques. Someone once wrote that Captain Corelli’s Mandolin was “…the worst book I’ve ever read.” It might not be everyone’s cup of tea but the worst book ever? Hardly. Clearly, the reviewer wasn’t that well read. Was Louis de Bernières bothered? Not with a cheque for the film rights in his back pocket, he wasn’t. The best anyone can do is rise above the din, turn the other cheek and keep their own counsel. It doesn’t do to spit back even when sorely provoked. I’ve got off lightly. On the whole, reviews for Perking the Pansies have been excellent, and not just from my nearest and dearest whom I emotionally blackmailed. Shadowy rogue reviewers? It reminds me why dogs lick themselves – because they can.

12 thoughts on “A Queer Business

  1. As a painter I understand and to say it smarts when you get unfairly criticized is a grand underestimate of the truth. It does help if the person is an ignoramus in the first place though. I was once told by a Turkish painter (who painted walls for a living) I get less for painting a whole wall how can you ask that price for a small painting. I, as you can imagine, had no answer for that one.


  2. Oh dear Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, yuk, horrible rambling book, bored the pants of me, I did try more than once because I felt I ought to, because lots of people liked it, not the worst book I have ever read, that goes to a Mills and Boon bodice ripper that was the only book available to me on a rather drab night in a Hilton Hotel in Coventry. However I finished the bodice ripper which is more than I can say about Captain Corelli. Books are like wine Jack, one persons champagne is another person Lambrini, and like wine they have their own brand of snobbery and own clubs. Best to rise above it all, is what I say.


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