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04.09.2004 - 7:44 p.m.


My friends Gael and Kim recently contributed to the 2004 Spring Book Guide on MSNBC, and I just have to say, I am really impressed and intimidated by people who can write good book reviews.

A well-crafted book review is simply above and beyond my capabilities, it falls into the same elusive category as the intelligent film review; far better suited to others with more packed into their skulls than a weak grasp on the English language and a overabundance of useless Echo and the Bunnymen lyrics.

With that said, let me BRILLIANTLY segue into a rant about Trading Up. First of all, I was a big fan of Sex and the City, so you may simply want to leave in disgust right now. I was less enchanted with 4 Blondes, but it kept me sufficiently occupied on our Thailand trip (I also brought and devoured The Virgin Suicides, Diary, and A Prayer For Owen Meany, in case that absolves me any in your eyes). I was out of reading material for the Narita-Seattle leg home, and half brain dead, so opted eagerly for the combo of shopping/fucking/Manolos at an airport bookstore.

Plus, Trading Up is 548 pages - good stuff for a 9 hour flight.

In my (esteemed? not) opinion, it's bad. It's just badly written. I am not smart enough to tell you exactly why it's badly written, or to lambaste it cleverly in a way that makes you snarkle quietly to yourself and reflect on how searing I am, although I wish I could. It's simply got none of the snappiness of Sex and the City, each character is one dimensional and boring, and our protagonist, Janey Wilcox, seems to 'cry' "Oh <insert character name>!" every other sentence. There are…FAR….too….many….ellipses. And the dialogue made me crazy.

'Don't be angry at me, George, please,' she whispered. 'I didn't mean it. I was just kidding…to see how you'd respond…'

'You're a wild card, Janey,' he said, shaking his head.


I'm not really sure why I feel compelled to snipe about Trading Up, given the fact that I admit to being craptacular at writing about books, which maybe makes me not so much the qualified candidate to critique, hmmmm?

And really, who am I to bag on a published author, who has every right to say "Excuse me, but have YOU written a book? No? Yeah, didn't think so. I checked out that journal of yours, and you're no great shakes yourself. Beeyooootch."

Onward to the good things I've read lately: like I said, Owen Meany, which I'd read years ago but dusted off for the trip. Oh lord, is there any funnier scene in print than the Christmas pageant at the beginning of the story? I laughed and laughed and laughed. Understanding Comics, which was brilliant. BRILLIANT IS A REALLY SMART ONE WORD REVIEW RIGHT? Perdita Durango, which has the perfectly perfect line: This life's sure got question marks scattered around like dogshit in a empty lot, the way Daddy says. I guess I ain't been steppin' careful enough.


Lord almighty, this has been a link-heavy entry. The html, it hurts. Last bit, just in case I haven't completely alienated you:

Oh, and fuck Easter. I'm going to shit on the floor Saturday night and on Sunday morning I'm going to tell them it's a special egg, full of special goodness.

And watch them open it.

Warren Ellis, on his most recent Bad Signal mailing list.

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10 comments so far.

I have moved. - 1.03.2005
Obviously, a work in progress. - 12.27.2004
Happy holidays! - 12.24.2004
Listen, I am not a complete dick, it's not like I want Joe to die alone surrounded by cats or something. - 12.23.2004
Plus I am convinced my butt is extra big when it's upside down. - 12.22.2004

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