Junk Fiction: Americas Obsession with Bestsellers

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S. T. Joshi

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This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Jun 09, Neale rated it liked it Shelves: essays-miscellanea. The title say it all, really. This is S.

Savage Appetites

Joshi, the noted Lovecraft scholar, having a lot of elitist fun at the expense of bad popular fiction. He claims to be objective, and open to any redeeming qualities in the bestsellers that he eviscerates, but he finds none, and soon gives up any pretense of trying. The book is ultimately an exercise in ostentatious nose-holding while simultaneously shooting fish in a barrel.

But it is also very amusing - both for Joshi's heavy-handed but droll plot The title say it all, really. But it is also very amusing - both for Joshi's heavy-handed but droll plot descriptions, and for his outraged, shamelessly elitist commentary. Much of the time his critical style seems to be channelling - parodying? This is old-school criticism at its most old-school.

Some readers may find Joshi's plot-descriptions too long-winded. Personally, I enjoyed them.

I work in a public library, and have probably handled all of the books mentioned many times, but I have never looked into them, and have no intention of ever doing so. Having read Joshi's descriptions I feel that I know as much about them as I will ever need to know indeed, much more. Do not read this book for any deep understanding of what drives bestsellerdom.

Joshi's conclusion is simple: people are stupid, and nothing will change. But there is much fun to be had along the way.

S. T. Joshi - Wikipedia

Jun 08, Faye rated it liked it Shelves: non-fiction , reviewed. I know I'm probably not the intended audience for this book, but I really wanted to read this just to see what the author has to say about Nora Roberts, Sue Grafton, Patricia Cornwell and Dan Brown, who are all favourites of mine. Joshi's main argument seems to be that the majority of books published in America today are 'junk fiction' and he decides to read and analyse certain books by different best selling authors to find out why these books seem to be preferred by the general public over more I know I'm probably not the intended audience for this book, but I really wanted to read this just to see what the author has to say about Nora Roberts, Sue Grafton, Patricia Cornwell and Dan Brown, who are all favourites of mine.

Joshi's main argument seems to be that the majority of books published in America today are 'junk fiction' and he decides to read and analyse certain books by different best selling authors to find out why these books seem to be preferred by the general public over more serious, literary fiction. After a fairly extensive re-telling of the plot of each novel and mini conclusion, Joshi tells us that the works he has read with the exception of O is for Outlaw by Sue Grafton which he admits to enjoying are "inferior Joshi points out the dangers of only reading popular fiction or escapist fiction; "it does not Jan 13, Robert rated it liked it Shelves: media-essays-criticism , contemporary-fiction.

Ultimately I'm not really sure what the real point of this book was, other than to make fun of several truly dreadful-sounding books complete with overly-generous plot synopses that in many cases I eventually mostly skimmed through , and, contrary to the promise on the book's cover, a none-too-deep probe into why these authors and books are so popular in the first place.

I think Joshi basically wanted to bitch, which is cool who could blame him, especially after suffering through several James Patterson potboilers , but it gets a little wearisome to read after a while. There is one refreshing section where Joshi does mete out a healthy amount of praise for Sue Grafton, whom he deems a more than competent mystery writer possessed of a nuanced eye for characterization and a genuine sensitivity towards social issues.


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I wish he could have found more praiseworthy subjects to balance things out a bit. He also might've been wise to have acquired a better copy editor for this book - which he states is to promote better quality fiction while lamenting slapdash work - I found a lot of typos here, which doesn't help his arguments much. View 2 comments. Rebekah rated it it was ok Feb 11, Philip Challinor rated it liked it Jan 03, Patrick Sanders rated it liked it Oct 25, Alyssa rated it did not like it Jan 01, Phaeton83 rated it liked it Apr 06, Jeremy Bellor rated it it was ok Mar 21, Jason Brock rated it really liked it Jun 20, Michelle rated it liked it Jul 22, Ian Vance rated it it was ok Aug 23, Marc Iverson rated it really liked it Feb 28, Liyana rated it liked it Jun 10, Joshi b.

Lovecraft, Ambrose Bierce, H. Mencken, and other writers, mostly in the realms of supernatural and fantasy fiction. He has edited corrected editions of the works of Lovecraft, several annotated editions of Bierce and Mencken, and has written such critical studies as The Weird Tale and The Modern Weird Tale His award-winning biography, H.

Lovecraft: A Life , has already become a collector's item. Lovecraft , was published in 2 volumes in But critical, biographical, and editorial work on weird fiction is only one aspect of Joshi's multifaceted output.