I just don't get them


For my job today, I got to do something that I think I could actually handle: make a book list. True, the list was for quasi-inspirational business titles, but it's still much more manageable than things like "plan an instructional session" or "help to design a display of Book of Mormon translations".

I came up with a series of titles that looked like what the instructor was after, thanks to the combination of my mad skillz using: OPACs, amazon.com, google, and the reviewing canon (which is more useful, but less destructive and therefore less fun, than the reviewing cannon, where you get to shoot bad books into the air and watch them be destroyed).

In my searches, I came across a philosophy book entitled On Bullshit. The title caught my attention, but I stuck around after reading the reviews. If the public library here didn't have a draconian 10-item limit on holds, it'd be in my queue. One reviewer on amazon, however, took issue with the title, apparently:

Although Mr Frankfart writes with clarity on a most unsavory topic, as a teetotalling, non-smoking Southern Evangelical born-again Christian, I strongly object to this book's vulgar, unbiblical title. I know of no televangelist who would utter such an expression, except perhaps Benny Hinn in a moment of justified righteous indignation when preaching about Catholics or caterers who forget to load smoked salmon aboard his private jet. On a positive note, however, it is reassuring to see that Amazon, in its role as a vocabulary vigilante, does not permit reviewers to write bu lls hit in their comments. Such a breach of propriety would be impossible.
Hmm...is WWTeD (What Would Televangelists Do) the new WWJD? And what makes them some barometer of goodness? I mean, I guess I have issues with the whole "send us money for your sins" thing (unless it's theologically grounded in the treasure of merit a la pre-Council of Trent Catholicism), but regardless, televangelists, as a group, are probably not the best examples in the world. At least not for fashion, health, political philosophy, child-raising, or Christian living. Other than those areas...they may be onto something...

Speaking of unfortunate book reviews, Entertainment Weekly gave On Chesil Beach, the latest Ian McEwan an A grade. However, from the choice of quotes, it did sound like the reviewer read about 1/3 the book and then read other reviews to fill in the gaps. The book, which I bought in Canada prior to the US release date, was good but not A-worthy. I'm just a prude, I suppose, and was put off by the graphic depictions of the bedroom encounter. Sure, I was left disgusted with the male main character (who I sincerely hope was not meant to be sympathetic) but I could have read all sorts of books to feel that. McEwan, it appears, is one of those novelists who can write good books but only has one great book in him (cf Michael Cunningham). More's the pity.


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