The RS book group (one of two book groups I participate in) met last Wednesday evening. There were six of us there to discuss Gilead by Marilynne Robinson.
I've decided to come up with a new category for books: lettuce literature. I call it "literature" because I am not unappreciative of the skill demonstrated by the author in sentence construction and in the choice of the apt and delicate word. But when the plot is rambling or plodding or both or non-existent, then it is lettuce literature.
If there is lettuce literature, there must also be literature that is poorly written and boring, like most school textbooks, and literature that is poorly written but has an interesting plot, and literature that is well written and interesting. I think a lot of mystery/suspense novels fit into the "poorly written but has an interesting plot" category. But what to label these categories?
I went downstairs this morning to eat breakfast and saw that my evil cats, or one of them, had set another trap for me, right by my chair.
And in the living room:
And by the back door:
What is it with these cats? Why do they do that? Why, why, why? Well, I know why. They're evil. "Cats" should be spelled with an E, for Evil. Like this: cæts. There. And it's pronounced the same, too.
Now, when I read really bad writing, I tend more often to think of barf than lettuce. Lettuce barf? Hmm . . . no. I think writing that appalls me with its atrociousness is too enraging to be lettuce. I'll have to come up with another term. Perhaps some other bodily waste product.
So my categories at present are as follows:
lettuce literature -- well written yet boring stuff
textbook (a provisional term) -- poorly written and boring, like most textbooks. The problem with this one is that the word is used in terms that mean completely unrelated things, like "textbook case".
cat barf (or cæt barf, also provisional) -- badly written stuff, like Dan Brown's books, or Harlen Coben's. I don't know, I usually just call that stuff crap. But there's got to be a more imaginitive term. Maybe cræp, because I think bad writing is also evil. I'll have to give it some more thought.
So Gilead is lettuce literature. It's very well written, and I suppose Robinson deserves her Pulitzer Prize. There are some good things in that book, but it is very very slow, perhaps deliberately so. I would give a couple of examples of beautiful things found in the book, but I sold my copy to a group member who really loved the book but had to borrow hers from the library. I sold it to her for $3, which is what I paid for it, and that made me happy. I wish I could sell her three cats.
It's time for a nap.