by David and Tim Bayly on June 16, 2007 - 2:34pm
Some authors grow on you, others wear on you. I was reading a top-ten list of books on sanctification moments ago and I realized that among the ten were several authors I'm no longer willing to read. So, in a rather different vein, here are ten authors I can no longer bear to read....
- Leo Tolstoy. Several years ago Tim's and my mother finished reading Anna Karenina. She'd never read it before, so I asked her opinion. "It was beautiful," she said, "but evil. He made evil so attractive that you were cheering Anna's adultery at the end." Others I've told this story to dislike Mud's assessment, I agree with Mud.
- Knut Hamsun. I loved this Norwegian author (Pan, Mysteries, Hunger) in my teens and early 20s. Now the thought of him curdles my blood. Florid emotion run amok.
- A.W. Pink. He was grimly palatable until I learned of his failure to attend church for decades. Now I line gerbil cages with pages from his books. (Just joking about the gerbils, dead serious about the rest.)
- Thomas Hardy. Though I liked the name Tess enough to name my daughter Tessa, my affection is reserved for the name these days, not the book or the author. I hope my children never turn a single page of his drivel. If you don't understand, don't bother reading Hardy to see what you're missing. Simply read the recent New Yorker profile of Hardy. A more godless and depraved Victorian would be hard to find.
- Tom Clancy. Talk about a one-hit wonder. The Hunt for Red October was fun, the rest were verbose, jingoistic, immoral, over-the-top, macho cornballs.
- C.S. Lewis. Too much lionizing by the Evangelical and Reformed world for me to be able to enjoy him any more. No denying his brilliance or wisdom, I'm simply tired of the marketing and Anglophilia of it all.
- Patrick O'Brian. Not only did his books grow increasingly mannered as his fame increased, devolving into plotless collections of character twitches and tics, the Guardian/Observer revealed him to be the worst sort of father at his death.
- Hunter S. Thompson. I loved his books when I was young and had no fear of God. But what a tragic man he always was. I still laugh at memories from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, but I'd never read anything by Thompson again.
- Scott Foresman. Yes, I know it's not the name of an author. It's a publisher, the textbook company that published the Dick and Jane reading books of baby-boomer childhoods. The idea of such stupid, plotless, senseless, vapid writing employed to teach children to read is beyond credibility, except it really happened. No wonder America is a television nation....