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A Reader's Manifesto: An Attack on the Growing Pretentiousness in American Literary Prose Paperback – Sep 1 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Melville House; 1 edition (Sept. 1 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0971865906
  • ISBN-13: 978-0971865907
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 12.1 x 16.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 163 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #657,904 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Mr Quashie, my email address is johnebert@mac.com
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J.Bird on May 20 2004
Format: Paperback
I devoured Mr. Meyer's book in a little under 2 hours. I returned, then, and reread the book more slowly.
It seems that people either praise the essay highly, or call it hypocritical (or any other number of things). Some of these readers are obviously missing the point.
Some of the most praised contemporary fiction out there is pretentious. There's little debating that. Whether an individual likes it or not is up to them. And *that* is Mr. Meyer's biggest lesson. The point is not to take his word and rebel against the mainstream critics' choices, but to make up your *own* mind!
I did not agree with everything Mr. Meyer's had to say, but the crux of his arguement is true. People are no longer questioning form or device. They praise interesting turns of phrase and obscure metaphors - even if those very things make absolutely no sense. This essay exposes the sheer audacity of some authors. Character development and plot are things that "get in the way"? An absurd notion!
Overall, I recommend this book to anyone who has ever wanted to tell their professor just why [insert book title here] was not worthy of the praise lavished on it. Mr. Meyer's succinctly puts what so many of us have always thought.
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Format: Paperback
A good reality check for these b.s. times.

You don't have to agree with it. But you will be a more thoughtful reader for reading this book.
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By Jared M. Thomasson on June 6 2004
Format: Paperback
This book took a completely different spin on contemporary authors than I had previously seen. I never thought I'd hear anyone excuse the emptiness of the Kings, Rices, Grishams, etc. but Meyers' did just that. He represents the pretensious and inexplicably flawed writing of today's 'literary' authors as just what it is. Hard to read Bool-sheet. The part of this book that I absolutely love the most that Meyers calls a spade a spade and says that if it's hard to read that's probably because it's poorly written. It seems unfair that contemporary critics would allow someone to feel stupid simply because they don't like garbage.
Literature isn't as subjective as some would believe. It consists not simply of words but of good utilization of those words. Anyone could slap a bunch of words on a few pages and expect people to like it. The rel issue is that people need to at least try nd distinguish between novels that seem to be words vomitted onto a paged helter skelter and words used to crft a novel out of scattered words and blank pages. This book is good for anyone who likes to red and essenial to anyone who's ever read a book that left them scrtching their heads.
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By J. Wombacher on March 17 2004
Format: Paperback
BR Meyers: You are my hero! Your manifesto is gospel. What I wouldn't pay to see the looks on the faces of the frauds you have exposed here. What Meyers does for me here is turn the world upside down, to borrow a cliché. I have been a victim of the lit-crit establishment and I have been duped, bilked, and pilfered out of many dollars and hours by buying the so-called "Serious Fiction" of our day, while ignoring writers of so-called genre fiction. I have been sifting endlessly through the mass of today's turgid prose only to be left with very little to look forward to in terms of new literature (with the lone exception of Jonathan Franzen). In the past I have found enjoyment only from reading time-honored classics.
I must remain skeptical, despite Meyers, of the so-called genre fiction until I actually do find an author I admire. But in any case Meyers makes a persuasive argument for these authors, although he does not give very many examples. There can be no denying Meyers' assessment because the evidence he provides in this essay is so incriminating; it is as if he caught these frauds on videotape. Just read it.Look at his countless, perfect, well-supported examples. My theory is that today's literary darlings are under-read. They really don't know how bad their fiction is.
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Format: Paperback
After trying to read Don DeLillo's 'Underworld,' I felt like a failure. I knew the book was supposed to be brilliant, but I couldn't get through a single paragraph without getting confused or annoyed. Was it me? How could a highly-praised book be so bad?
BR Myers takes DeLillo to task in the second chapter of 'A Reader's Manifesto.' Using plenty of quotes --- including passages that other critics have singled out for praise --- Myers shows that the emperor has no clothes. For some reason, many people in the critical establishment like over-written and needlessly abstract novels.
All of BR Myers' book is as good as the DeLillo chapter. My only complaint is that it's too short. Myers even spends a few dozen pages responding to critics of the manifesto. But it turns out that the critics have willfully ignored what Myers is clearly saying --- bad writing does not deserve praise, and too many contemporary, prize-winning novelists write poorly. If you like reading novels and you feel pressure to plow through 'postmodern' books like 'Underworld,' you should read this manifesto first. You'll be glad you did.
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By A Customer on Oct. 16 2003
Format: Paperback
Let's dispense with the assertion that BR Myer's work is sour grapes, and that he should go write his own novel if he's so dissatisfied with the state of things. This is the refuge of readers who cannot or will not address his arguments, so instead they launch a passive-aggressive, ad hominem attack (children resort to "nyah nyah nyah", but that's too obvious, isn't' it?). Ralph Nader exposed the Corvair for the danger that it was, but no one asked him to start his own car company. Tiger Woods's coach (Butch Harmon) will never be half the golfer his student is, but he's still an effective coach. Editing, critiquing, coaching, reviewing, teaching, whatever - there's nothing wrong with the role of thoughtful observation and commentary. This is often done quite effectively by those who are not principals in a field. If you don't agree with that, go out and write your own book on the state of contemporary literature and its critics; nyah nyah nyah.
This book is worth every penny. I've read McCarthy (that cowboy trilogy, all three) and Proulx ("Shipping News"). While I had high hopes for McCarthy, that's why I kept slogging through the books, one read of Proulx and I was through with her. Never again will I be so duped. Myers was spot on in his observations and critiques. When you're through, you won't know which are more pitiful, the authors or their adoring reviewers.
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