Learning from others’ mistakes

This post is partially an apology. A while ago, there was an ebook on sale that I had heard great things about. I bought it and told several people that they should get it while it was on sale.

I finally got around to reading it last weekend and I–am–mortified.

Now, I’m not in the business of shaming books or authors, so I’m not going to mention the name of the book here. Just know that if you bought a book on my recommendation and it was teeming with objectification of women and erratic plot zigzags and more loose ends than a frayed rope, I apologize deeply and sincerely.

The sad part is, I don’t think the author realized how horrifyingly offensive the portrayal of female characters was. Other parts of the books made feeble attempts at telling the reader the opposite message, but, my word. I’ve rarely had the misfortune to read a book where women were so thoroughly depicted as all breasts and no brains.

The good thing that came out of all this is that I’ve gone through each of the specific issues I had with the book and held those issues up to my own manuscripts. Doing that always makes me hypersensitive to things that might be misread or problems that I didn’t realize had crept in.

I don’t recommend picking up terrible books, but if you do get stuck with one, make it useful by ensuring that you don’t make the same mistakes in your own writing.

Thankfully, I had a couple of better books on hand to wash away the bad taste. How’s your reading been lately? Any good books I should read? Any bad books I should avoid?



  1. I fully intend to bring you the MG and YA books I don’t intend on keeping when next we meet up. One because I’ve realized I keep too many books that I know I’ll never read again. And two… I just don’t have space in my car!

  2. If you like (adult) urban fantasy and humor, check out Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files. I just started rereading the series from the first book, Storm Front. As for books to stay away from, I cannot recommend Moby Dick; never made it past the second chapter. Or the Twilight series; made it through all of them, but … And I have to say I haven’t tried to read 50 Shades of Gray, and I probably never will 🙂

    • That’s right! Thanks for reminding me about the Dresden Files. I just put it on my Goodreads list, so I’ll remember it this time. Funny you should mention Moby Dick . . . my husband just finished the audiobook, and nothing he’s told me about it has kindled any desire to read it, ever. 🙂 I tried the first couple of Twilight books and never got into them, and I’m with you–50 Shades is NEVER going to make it on my reading list. Glad I can trust your reading judgment. 🙂

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