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The Post of Meh.

Here are some books that disappointed me, either obscurely or outright offensively.


Dilbert and The Way of the Weasel, by Scott Adams

Okay, this is Scott Adams, who is a sexist piece of shit (seriously there is a whole lotta rape culture in those links, please be careful) so I should've known what I was getting into, but for some reason, I had hope. Dilbert is frequently genuinely funny to me, particularly when he constrains himself to the idiocy of management.

Unfortunately, while there are rather entertaining bits in the beginning, this book has an entire chapter on why women specifically are weasels and why the glass ceiling doesn't exist, and I just cannot recommend it at all. Don't go here. I'm sorry Dilbert's creator is an asshole.

Fuck Fascists Factor: 0--fascist-approved. See above about sexist piece of shit. Now if he would only complain about brown people he'd be a Trump cabinet member.



Corsets and Codpieces, by Karen Bowman

I'm going to start out by saying that this is not really a bad book. It's pretty mediocre, but it's not terrible. Corsets and Codpieces is an overview of historical fashions and clothes, and fashion history is one of my interests, particularly as how it ties into cultures and customs of the time as well. There is a little bit of that here, but it's largely just a costume history, with no attempt to tie it into any larger trends. It's also very narrowly focused on British fashion, with no indication of that on the cover, and written in some pretty dense prose that the average person might not be able to parse.

It's mostly accurate, as far as I can tell, but there are a couple of really egregious errors, such as misspelling Jane Austen's name and mislabeling a (very famous) portrait of Marie Antoinette as Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire. Now, while that's sort of an understandable mistake to make, it's still something the editor should have caught. Really, this needed several more passes to be a good book.

Also, for the love of god, lady, turn down your hatred of corsets. They are not the worst thing ever. If they're properly fitted, they're actually very comfortable. Please. Please calm down.

Overall, it's okay, but there are much better books on this subject. Seek them out instead.

Fuck Fascists Factor: 2--fascists have slight problems. It's about women's fashion, mostly.



The Monsters of Templeton, by Lauren Groff

Finally, this book. It is a decent book and a fun read. Unfortunately, I love Lauren Groff, and I love her short fiction so much, and this book just isn't as good, so I'm more disappointed than I otherwise would be.

After several years away, Willie Upton returns to Templeton, New York, after an affair with her professor ends horribly and leaves her pregnant. Her mother tells her that her father is not, as she thought, one of three men her mother met in a hippie commune, but someone from Templeton. On the same day, the body of a lake monster floats to the surface in their lake. No one's life will ever be the same.

I have to admit, I didn't find Willie's story particularly compelling. It was the story of the Templeton family that really interested me. Willie's quest to find her father takes her up and down her family trees, learning about her ancestors through their own words, and that plus the archive scenes amused me extremely. I even enjoyed the bits with the Lake Monster and the Running Buds. However, there's a thing that occured toward the end of the book that kind of destroyed my suspension of disbelief, and I suspect I would have gotten more out of this book if I'd been familiar with the works of James Fenimore Cooper-- Groff took him and his works and renamed him James Franklin Temple so she could rewrite his family history to better serve the story. Also, one of the very few POV characters who is a person of color is.... sketch. I don't know that I buy that characterization at all and it kind of makes me side-eye the author a lot.

That said, I did enjoy a good chunk of the story, and I would probably reread those bits of nothing else.

Fuck Fascists Factor: 3--fascists have problems. The book is almost entirely from the POV of women, and there are some POC characters, though again, they're not well-handled.

This entry is crossposted at http://bookblather.dreamwidth.org/420297.html. Please comment over there if possible.

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