Saturday, May 23, 2009

Critic's Corner

Normally, I don’t read much. I find that it takes away from valuable TV-watching time. That being said, I did find myself wandering around a book store the other day.

What immediately caught my eye was the book, Gulliver’s Travels (see picture), written by someone named Cliff S. Notes. Instantly, I came to the conclusion that this would be the perfect subject for the next installment of the Critic’s Corner.

Working from outside in, I have to admit that the cover is quite eye-catching, if somewhat garish. Personally, I find the tri-colored scheme a little edgy; I think that an appearance by Fabio and some curvaceous wench on the book jacket might be more appropriate, given the story’s setting.

The plot itself is very simply written and easy to understand, while at the same time, seriously lacking in detail. The characters, too, are sorely in need of some added dimension and, dare I say, warmth (The complete lack of dialogue often made it seem like I was reading a textbook).

But what I found the most distasteful is Mr. Notes’s annoying habit of disrupting the dramatic flow of the story in order to explain to the reader what is going on. What an insult to one’s intelligence! I also will go so far to say that it might completely dissuade me from buying any more of Mr. Notes’s books (He apparently has authored several).

Well, that’s all for this installment of the Critic’s Corner. Join me in the Corner next time when I review some of the latest movie trailers and ringtones.

18 comments:

Gary Leibowitz said...

Don't let this one book turn you off on all of Mr. Notes' work. I can heartily recommend "A Short Day's Hop Into Early Evening".

Dave said...

I hear they made it into a play. Can be seen on a twin-bill with "Kitty Up There Where It's Hot"

Dan Kimmel said...

Interesting review. Sounds like much better than a book I just read called "Boston Directory." Just as you're getting introduced to one character, the author rushes you along to the next one, never to return. Very frustrating.

Dave said...

Ah, they really don't write 'em like they used to. And as far as your assessment of the review as "interesting", I fail to see what your point of reference is. Hmmph, everyone's a critic.

Jeff Tompkins said...

Great idea for a post and very funny. The scary thing, though, is that in a society with an ever-shrinking attention span, I can see the day when a post like this would pass for an actual book review.

Dave said...

Jeff: Thanks for the kind words. I remember asking a few people in college, "Hey, did you ever read__________", and they would respond, "Yeah...kinda...I read the 'Notes version". That's very kinda to my mind.

Jeff Tompkins said...

I only used Cliff's Notes once and I actually felt guilty about it. I had no problem cheating in math and science, because I hated those subjects, but when it came to English (and history) it bothered me.

The more I think about this, Cliff's Notes are summaries of books, a book review is even shorter, a review of Cliff's Notes is even shorter than that, and maybe next we'll have reviews of reviews... Where does it end?

Dave said...

I think you tapped into an as-yet unknown micro-niche in literary circles: The Review Review (by Jeff Tompkins?). You can start with mine and use plenty of doubled-up words; e.g., "I think it is appropriate to be critical of Dave's critiques...etc."

Alternate title: MetaReviews.

brookeamanda said...

I think this Cliff fellow may have a future as an author :)

Dave said...

He sure is prolific--if something of a hack.

Diane said...

Heeeeeey... I think I might have just discovered how I can get through my (ever-growing) summer reading list... Thanks!

Dave said...

Great idea! Last summer, I got through the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy while waiting for a dental appointment.

Shawn said...

LMAO...your best work ever. I don't just mean blog posts, but anything you've done in real life as well.

Dave said...

Thanks Shawn. Truth be told, this is the ONLY funny thing I ever did in real life.

Chris @ Maugeritaville said...

Being new over here in Blipland, I'm just kinda perusing the archives . . . this one if friggin' hysterical, Dave. I busted up just at the name Cliff S. Notes. I'm laughing just typing it. This technique of the "naive responder" is something Shawn does well, also (see his outstanding post on mythical creatures).

Great stuff.

Dave said...

Chris--I've been reading Shawn's completely out-of-control postings for a little while now. He makes processed meat out of my stuff. He also "contributes" here as well; check out his unfortunate statements in the Chat-O-Matic.

Muggies McGuinness said...

I've always loved Cliff S. Notes' work. I read that his seminal "Guide to Being President With Illustrations" was consulted daily by George W. Bush during his two terms.

Dave said...

Muggies: I have no doubt. But I also heard he consulted the I Ching, an Oujii board and random fortune cookies as well. I think, given the position of responsibility, one has to draw from various sources, don't you?


Thanks for the drive-by...er, stop-by.