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Bad Books

Books I Couldn't Recommend Even to Osama Bin Laden They're so Bad, But Since He's Dead Now and won't be Reading Anything Anytime Soon, let's Re-Name this Page, "Books So Dreadful I Couldn't Recommend Them Even to Casey Anthony"

~ The 1980s, Countdown to Armageddon by Hal Lindsey
~ Get Big Fast by Robert Spector
~ Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney
~ The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis
~ Complete Poems by Ernest Hemingway
~ Crash by J.G. Ballard
Daughters of the North by Sarah Hall
~ Finnegans Wake by James Joyce
~ Fucking Frankenstein by Mr. Matt Allen
The Lucifer Gospel by Paul Christopher
~ Only Revolutions by Mark Danielewski
~ Pool by Ajay Sahgal
Rock: Practical Help for Those who Listen to the Words and Don't Like what They Hear by Bob Larson
~ Satan Seller, The by Mike Warnke
~ Satan Wants You by Arthur Lyons
~ Ulysses by James Joyce
~ Ten Stupid Things Women Do to Mess Up Their Lives by Laura Schlesinger
~ The Documents of Vatican II edited by Walter M. Abbott, S.J.
~ The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
~ Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh
~ Twilight: The Graphic Novel Version by Stephanie Meyer
Twitterature: The World's Greatest Books in Twenty Tweets or Less by Alexander Aciman & Emmett Rensin

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A Brief introduction to the Novels of Khwaja Ahmad Abbas

The majority of the material for this post is taken from Contemporary Novelists, 3rd Ed., Edited by James Vinson, St. Martin's Press, New York, 1982

Khwaja Ahmad Abbas (1914-1987)

There's only eight books of K.A. Abbas cataloged in LibraryThing (five or six different works).  He's virtually forgotten in the United States, though still revered in Indian literary circles.

On highbrow literary critics in India, Abbas said they "have sometimes sneeringly labelled my novels and short stories as 'mere journalese'. The fact that most of them are inspired by aspects of the contemporary historical reality, as sometimes chronicled in the press, is sufficient to put them beyond the pale of literary creation.

"I have no quarrel with the critics. Maybe I am an unredeemed journalist and reporter, masquerading as a writer of fiction. But I have always believed that while the inner life of man undoubtedly is, and should be, the primary concern of literature, thi…

Guest Post: Farewell to Manzanar reviewed by Mac McCaskill

"Mountain now loosens rivulets of tears.
Washed stones, forgotten clearing."
 —Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston

When my father was a boy, he learned that he’d been adopted by the man whom he’d thought was his father. Digging through a dusty trunk in his attic, he found legal documents that gave him the name he wore and the father he knew, but also uncovering an origin that had been hidden from him.

His mother was, by all accounts, a volatile woman — her siblings called her “the hornet” because her sting was quick and painful. She was a hard woman, and reticent to either acknowledge or divulge anything about his biological father. Over the years, he eventually learned from other relatives that she met Mr. Black — it was his name, but also a metaphor for much more — in a late 1920’s dance hall. He left her pregnant, taking whatever money he could get his hands hand on when he went.

Late in his life, after his mother died, my dad started quizzing other relatives for information about Mr…

Guest Post: Play It As It Lays reviewed by Joseph Brinson

You know, I began a try at this review writing about Iago in Othello and the nature of evil.

And about ennui and apathy.

And that the answer is: nothing.

And how I felt deep empathy for Maria.

And then I deleted it all.

This is my review: This novel depressed the fuck out of me.

That, and giving it four stars, should sum it up.

Joseph Brinson (a.k.a., "Quixada"), a poet and a longtime online pal, made me fucking howl when I first read his deadpanned piece on Play It As It Lays years and years ago.  Yes, it is brief — yet is playfully, skillfully thorough. His homage still slays me today.