Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Best Book by the Greatest Living Author

It was a Sunday morning and I'd been up since 7 am to get ready for a flight. I was tired from Saturday night, and really, I am not, nor will I probably ever be, a morning person. And I had been coming down for a cold for some time, so every now and then a death rattle would throw itself out of my mouth, trying most likely to escape out of me and into one of the other airway patrons.

I say this so you will understand this: I was not in a happy or pleasant mood. And on a normal day, I am never, never, rude. My mother and father taught me better than that.

So I go to a Border's to get a book and I pass the clerk talking to a customer. The clerk referred to a book (and this is a short paraphrase of his wordy overfilled speech) as the greatest book ever by a living author today. And what did I do as I passed?

I snorted. Very audibly. Glares by clerk followed (also a nice conversation when I bought a book where he slowly read my books back cover before sarcastically commenting on it. ah, i make friends), and I felt a little bad because of the parents and the politeness agenda.

But look - it is ridiculous to say anything about a greatest living author of all times. Reading is subjective (and of course the clerk meant "in his opinion" - this issue is bigger than him), and for anyone to advertise such things as a greatest living author is beyond silly (oh and said author the clerk was advertising wrote a book that sounds like "the toad.").

Besides, everyone knows the greatest living author is Joyce Carol Oates. No question about it. :^)


  1. I would have snorted too, or at least rolled my eyes.

    Even my own personal best-book-ever-by-the-best-author-ever changes from year to year. It's impossible to state absolutes in opinion.

    Although it does remind me of the comedian I heard once who said there's a worst doctor in the world out there somewhere, and someone has an appointment with them at 2pm tomorrow. :)

  2. I think it's a weird marketing ploy. Every time I go up to my local Waterstone's counter the assistant claims one of the books I've picked is the most fantastic book ever...

  3. Joyce Carol Oates makes me want to bash my head into the wall, but otherwise I completely agree with you. :)

  4. I'm with Carrie. I think? (Oates is amazing, but not my kind of amazing...if that makes sense)

    But yeah, greatest book...blah blah blah. Look, there are amazing books, great books...but evuh? Pleeeeease.

  5. I am pretty sure there are books out there that we have never heard of and have barely cracked 100 books sold that are quite good. We will just never hear of them.

  6. kc - my favorite books change pretty much weekly - depending on what i've read

    cate- your right, it most likely is

    carrie and aaron - agh! how dare you have an opinion that is not mine! blast on you!

    jamie - and just think of all the authors that weren't thought of as "good" until a hundred years or so after they passed

  7. I love it (as in it bugs the living shit out of me) when people express their opinions on purely subjective topics as 100% fact.

  8. One of two books I have ever in my life started again after turning the last page was by an author who wrote a book that rhymes with "The Toad." Hmmm . . .

    (The book I'm referring to rhymes with "Mall the Gritty Forces." Helps to know a little Spanish before tackling it, and I suppose it has a "masculine" sensibility about it that may not be for everyone. But it is indeed a great book . . . even if not written by "the greatest living author" . . .)

  9. never read "mall the gritty forces" brendan, but i did enjoy "the toad," though when it comes to said author, im sort of an on again off again fan

    jameson - i agree