Monday, August 22, 2011

30 More Days Book Challenge: Day 13

Don't forget to check out updates on Gianna's current road trip to West Texas on our Facebook page.  It's an adventure to say the least. 

Day 13: Overrated authors.


Most overrated author as a topic is sure to make people angry, so let's do it!

My first instinct was to say Norman Mailer, but the problem with that is I have read two of his books and attempted another three. Basically he is two for five in my book; which means the Cubs would pick him up and over-pay him. But at the end of the day I am not sure he ranks as overrated. I will say, however, that I disliked the man and avoided reading about him or interviews with him….but did really love The Executioner’s Song.

Liz and I will probably pick a few of the same authors here and I doubt the name Franzen won’t show up (no matter what Time Magazine says). And you know what? Since I am drunk right now I will say Hemingway just to get some hate mail. I am on a roll…I do not get the fascination with Salinger. And if we are going to pick on some bestselling contemporary authors….Jodi Picoult. I have tried three times and I just don’t get it. I mean I get it but I don’t get why people love her so.

Now having said all that…one author’s popularity and critical acclaim is just beyond me. Chuck Palahniuk.  If he'd stopped four books back, he wouldn't be on this list.  He's catering to adolescent boys now.  Yuck. 

Send all hate mail to Liz.


First, yes, I absolutely agree that J.D. Salinger is terribly overrated.  Also, Hemingway.  My favorite Hemingway is Muriel.  I'll say it: David Foster Wallace.  I think he's a fascinating personality, but I don't want to read his books.  

My pick for most overrated author, though, is Jonathan Safran Foer.  I think he presents interesting concepts with design and form, but I don't understand the hoopla over a guy who's really just written two books, and of those two, I only really liked a third of one (the guide's voice in Everything is Illuminated).  His second book, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, feels derivative and his wife's book, Nicole Krauss's The History of Love, has a similar plot but significantly better writing.  Foer falls into a category that really bothers me--clever writers who choose style over emotional connection with readers.

Send the hate mail.  We're not afraid.


  1. I take issue with some of these (particularly listing Wallace before ever reading him). However, your main contenders are right on; Palahniuk and Foer would make my top 5 most overrated, for sure. As would Toni Morrison.

    Seriously though, Liz, you gotta send me that Harkaway the second it's an arc.

  2. You made a mistake here Kester. You do NOT call Toni Morrison overrated and then ask for an ARC! Man did you mess up. Here is what I suggest, write another post and chat about how much you love The Astros, chubby cats, monster trucks, chocolate and Sula. - you're welcome.

  3. THANK YOU for saying Salinger's overrated. I really hate J.D. Salinger! Also, would love it if you could recommend a Murakami that I could actually get through. I have a book of his short stories, and I really struggle to get through a SHORT STORY of his. Ugh. Okay. Rant over.

  4. I'm not ashamed to say that our list of overrated authors might be related to the fact that neither of us is an adolescent male. As for Salinger, I didn't read him until I was in my late 20's, about 10 years too late to be able to tolerate all the adolescent whining. Murakami--I've not read him, but I know a ton of fans. Maybe someone else has a suggestion? Post it on the Facebook site and see what happens.

    Show of hands--how many people think that David Foster Wallace was the literature Jesus BEFORE he died?

  5. I can't believe you both got through this post and didn't mention John Kennedy Toole.

  6. I think there's a difference between overrated and unreadable. JKT is the latter.

  7. I haven't read JKT...figure I would wait 100 years for the movie.