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Next Question:

What was the most overhyped book you ever hated?

For me, hands down, White Teeth by Zadie Smith. I didn't see the brilliance everyone else seemed to. All I saw was a book in desperate need of an editor.

E-mail me your responses by the end of October.

Responses to last month's question, What books are you ashamed to own?


I am ashamed to own ... witchcraft and ghost stories, supernatural stuff. And teen series novels. And supernatural teen series novels about teen witches. I think that's about it.

God how embarrassing, you're not going to print my name, right?


I choose not to admit "shame" for owning embarrassing books! At least, not shame so much as a deep blush and a box of paperbacks under the sofa..

Bless me Beckett for I have sinned. I am deeply, catholic-ly ashamed to own The Cowboy Takes a Wife. A romance novel. I should feed it to the trash compactor; but dammit, every time I go to throw it away it gives me that look with it's large, liquid eyes, heaves it's generous bosom and moans softly, "Oh please, I'm just 200 pages front to back. Low-key cover. Don't toss me away just because everyone tells you it's wrong."

You know, I feel a little better letting that out, I think I can chuck The Highlander: The Series Novel now. regards, (name withheld for sanity)


I own four books written by Fabio. Well, they probably weren't really written by him, but they have his name as the author credit, which is close enough. Even for romance novels, they're bad. They have pages of description about the male lead, who's invariably tall, muscular, long-haired, and generally Fabio-like. The titles of the books are Rogue, Pirate, Viking, and Comanche, because that's what the Fabio character is in each of them. They're really terrible, and there isn't a page in any of them that doesn't have some really entertainingly bad prose on it.

But I have to be careful when people look at my shelves, because if anyone notices the Fabio section, I feel obliged to point them to the more intellectual stuff.

Heather: I didn't think I had any books I'd be ashamed to own, until you asked this question, but as I look back over my shoulder at the shelf, there are a few things I feel rather squeamish about...

Firstly, The Truth About WitchCraft Today--by Scott Cunningham
I bought this book years ago to give to my parents when (I thought) they would ask what I was doing on my days off and why I started wearing a pentacle. However, they never asked, even in the face of (many) other books and paraphrenalia strewn about my room. This is alright with me, if only because they'll never have to read this AWFUL book with the cheesy Yuppie-chick on the cover. Now that I've been a practicing Pagan for over 10 years, reading this book is like re-reading some of your high school poetry! Was I ever that sincere? That simplistic? That Airy-Fairy-Fluffy-Bunny?? I shudder just thinking about it.

Secondly, there is my love (and my unabashed re-reading of) the works of Mercedes Lackey. For those of you unfamilar with her work, she writes fantasy, of the sword and sorceror/elves and magick genre. Yes, I know it's corny, and trite, but for some reason, I like it. Maybe she's just the fantasy equivalent of Jackie Collins? Kind of like candy for the brain, I guess. But I still camouflage those volumes behind an art print whenever someone new comes to my house.;)


I'm VERY ashamed to own several Rosemary Rogers books:

Love Play
The Insiders
(woman falls in love with her RAPIST)
The Crowd Pleasers

My friends and I used to pass these around in middle school, but I recently reread them (I'm 34 now!). They are just as misogynist as I remember, but they are appealing in a very sick way. My girlfriend loves them more than I do, which is very disturbing! She's actually read ALL of her books, even the crappy historical romances.

I'm also ashamed to have read almost all of Jackie Collins novels, but I only own one: The magnificent Hollywood Wives!


Friday by Robert Heinlein. I like SF, but if this isn't a lesser Heinlein work, he doesn't have any. The cover is singularly off-putting among my other books -- a blonde in a half-unzipped form-fitting silver space suit shows off cleavage that could only be the work of an illustrator. It's a leering, bodice-ripping, sleazy cover for any book, much less one by a man with a recognizable name. Sadder still, the content reflects the cover.

If it makes anyone feel any better, I have never finished it.

Cassandra: Being the designated "well-read" fellow in my group of friends, I have a certain image to maintain when having them over to my place. Martin Amis, Salman Rushdie, V.S. Naipul, Michael Oondatje, Patricia Highsmith, James Ellroy, Neil Gaiman, Phillip Roth etc. etc. all stay right where they belong on the shelves.

Inconspicuously absent are Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel's Dart and Kushiel's Choice, Diana Galbadon's Outlander series (which has always held an unexplainable appeal to me,) and other Fantasy style novels that are definitely meant to appeal to a certain female demographic.

Likewise Stephen King. I have read just about everything he has written and enjoyed every one. You will never find me admitting this to anyone, except here at Bookslut, my literary confessional.

Oh, and the Harry Potter series (gasp!)


the vast majority of my stephen king books. i let The Shining grace the shelves of my normal bookcases, but all of the collections of short stories are here. the cheesy romance novels my apartment manager keeps giving to me. It's enough that i admit that i read one of them, okay? but i refuse to acknowledge which one it is, hoping that people will give me more credit than i really deserve.

pretty much every holdover from junior high that i have not yet had the courage to get rid of. like The Light in the Forest, a fairly cheesy novel about a young white man adopted by a tribe of indians. this so does not belong on one of my *display* bookshelves.

my lone, beat up Dean Koontz novel that I refuse to give up. After discovering that the books all have the exact same plot, I realized that I only had to keep one, so I got rid of the rest, but this one stays.


Okay, here it goes. On the whole, I'm fairly oblivious to my own taste. This means that very much is there on the selves, visable to any preying eye who comes to visit. If people don't like it, it's their fault and not mine. I'm mostly ashamed of things I _don't_ own. However, there are some books that even I can't ever have on the shelves because even I get a lower opinion off myself when I see them...

The Shannara-series by Terry Brooks. I've been trying to sell them but it feels as if I would rip off the used book shop by doing so. The first three Xanth books in hardcover -- I don't remember buying it but still. What else? Oh, there is this translation of Kenneth Bulmer's The Electric Swordswallowers. I've not read it in english, but it must bet better than this considering his sf-fan background. It reads as if the translator had previously translated books by Sidney Sheldon and Jackie Collins. It's really frightening to read (not to mention fun in a camp sort of way.)

Joseph #2:

Books about Judaism. Not that I'm ashamed of them; it's just that I have never had the gumption to tell my conservative Roman Catholic parents that I'm planning on converting to Judaism.


A thoughtful relative gave me Bill O'Reilly's two essay collections--one each on successive Christmases. While I can't stand the author, I've put the books on my (quite prominent) bookshelf...because they're GIFTS and I feel bad about being unappreciative. Because guilt is fun. If anyone ever asks, though, I'm fully prepared to disavow all knowledge of their appearance.

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