Every few days, we list here new titles that have come to us that drive us bananas. You read them and read them again and wonder, "What's going on here?" and "Why am I doing this?" and "Will it ever end?"

We list below the most recent offending titles, with their authors, publishers, and number of pages we (grudgingly) completed. The last figure [see chart below] offers one or more reasons for our distaste.

Note: Inclusion here does not preclude a subsequent review. If we have already discussed it, the title will show a link to our review.

Here are the thirty or so major literary incompentencies that beset these books:

[1] Arid [2] Awkwardly Written

[3] Base [4] Bathetic [5] Cloying

[6] Fey [7] Functionally Illiterate

[7] Gratuitously Coarse [8] Humorless

[9] Illiterate [10] Illogical [11] Incompetently Edited

[12] Insipid [13] Moon-Struck [14] Naïve

[15] Needlessly Grotesque[16] Needlessly Obtuse

[17] Overly Inscrutable [18] Overly Sentimental

[19] Overly Long [20] Overwritten

[21] Overromanticised [22] Oversexed [23] Petulant

[24] Puerile [25] Pretentious [26] Repetitive

[27a] Self-Abusive [27b] Self-Conscious

[27c] Self-Important [27d] Self-Indulgent

[27e] Self-Inflated [27f] Self-Pitying

[27g] Self-Serving [28] Silly [29] Sententious

[30] Strident [31a] Stylistically Inchoate

[31b] Stylistically Bad

[31c] Stylistically Turgid

[32] Tendentious

[33a] Unnecessarily Coarse [33b] Unnecessarily Confused

[33c] Unnecessarily Obscure [33d] Unnecessarily Repulsive

[34] Without Any Redeeming Social or Literary Value Whatsoever

Title Author Publisher Reason Terminated Pages Read/
Total Pages
You'll Be Okay
My Life with Jack Kerouac
Edie Kerouac-Parker (City Lights) 2, 9, 12 7/186
"Fritz acted as if he was interested, but it didn't phase Jack in the least..."
Heaven of Drums Ana Gloria Moya (Curbstone) 4, 12, 13 53/188
Nickel Mountain John Gardner (New Directions) 1, 8 73/311
Children of Jihad
A Young American's Travels Among
The Youth of the Middle East
Jared Cohen (Gotham) 14 85/287
The Last Nazis
Werewolf Guerrilla Resistance in Europe,
1944 - 1947
Perry Biddlescombe (Tempus) 2, 19 79/285
Kennedy's Brain Henning Mankell (New Press) 1, 20 80/322
"On all sides she was surrounded by people chewing away at sausages with mustard and ketchup, and a strange feeling of peace enveloped her. She knew."
ZigZag: The Incredible Wartime Exploits
of Double Agent Eddie Chapman
Nicholas Booth (Arcade) 20, 26 86/384
The Jokes Over:
Ralph Steadman on Hunter S Thompson
Ralph Steadman Harcourt 3, 7, 20, 24, 30, 33a 44/396
"Green juleps and amber fluid heaved about in our stomachs like oil-slicked waters in a harbour storm."

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