Shielding the reader from the frenzy

Nothing makes me less interested in discussing literature than being only a quarter of the way through a fatuous book that I feel obligated to finish.

(Especially when the book wants to be a contemporary answer to This Side of Paradise but lacks the romance, charm, curiosity, and specificity of place and time that lift Fitzgerald’s juvenilia above mere collegiate pomposity and navel-gazing.)

I’m sure I’ll be tempted on finishing the book to say more, but I defer to the wisdom and experience of Mark Twain, who once told Joseph Twichell:

I often want to criticise Jane Austen, but her books madden me so that I can’t conceal my frenzy from the reader; and therefore I have to stop every time I begin. Everytime I read ‘Pride and Prejudice’ I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone.


Newsletter Signup

Subscribe to my free newsletter, Ancestor Trouble.


You might want to subscribe to my free Substack newsletter, Ancestor Trouble, if the name makes intuitive sense to you.