One Star Reviews of Famous Books

If you don’t know, my dream is to become a full-time author, which means my dream is to become a best-selling author. You can check out my novel The Mysterious Manuscript at its discounted Kindle price of $1.99.

Anyway, as an author, who works very hard on his novels, I dislike receiving one or two-star reviews. I know that not everyone is going to like my book and that’s fine, but still, no one likes it when someone calls their baby ugly.

So what do I do to feel better? I look at books that are considered classics almost universally and read the one-star reviews. If people hate “The Great Gatsby” then I’m in good company.

So, here are some one-star reviews of some of the most iconic books of all-time. Oh, I will keep the selected reviews short, for your reading pleasure.


-To Kill a Mockingbird

The Most Boring Book Ever! Review

THIS BOOK IS BORING! There’s no other word to describe it.I just wasen’t interested in this book. And they call this a “timeless classic”! Bah,humbug! If I had a cookie for every time I heard that, I’d be a very fat kid!


-1984

A redundant book of philosophy and vericose vains

While embarking on this “classic,” don’t expect to find yourself absorbed in a magnificant tale. 1984 is a redundant novel with unnecessary tangents and pages of contradicting philosophy. …and must we really keep reading in full detail the horror and disgust of Winston’s vericose veins?!

 


-The Fellowship of the Ring (LOTR)

One man’s bread…

…is another man’s poison. Before I get flamed by rabid Tolkien fanatics, let me state that I’ve attempted to enjoy this book several times over the last 7 years or so. Each time, I’ve managed to get perhaps 1/3 of the way through before I finally give up. I mean, I enjoyed “The Hobbit”, and, as devoted fantasy readers, it’s our duty to worship L.O.T.R., right? Sorry, but this is one book of flowery prose that zaps me (and many readers, I’m betting) right into slumberland. The characters and situations are well-crafted, but his style of writing about them generates a 0 on the interest meter.


-The Catcher in the Rye

I am truly the odd one out here. I hated it.

Why on Earth do so many people love this book?! Goodness gracious it was almost painful to read. I guess I would have enjoyed it much more if I were a teenager more precisely a teenage boy. The ramblings of Holden just didn’t do a thing for me…other than annoy the crap out of me that is. It was just all over the place sometimes it was even hard to keep up. I guess I’m glad I read it since it’s a classic and all but maybe I should have read it a long long time ago!


-The Great Gatsby

Not what I would call a classic

Beautifully written, with careful, flowing language that, despite that, couldn’t make me like it. Stupid, shallow characters that drove me insane (seriously, why was that woman sobbing over shirts? Or was it ‘symbolic’?), and a plot that annoyed me. Seriously, if I wanted to read about a bunch of drunken, entitled rich prigs and their secret, snooty hidden world, I’d pick up one of the local gossip rags.


-The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Rubbish

Started reading it to my granddaughter,she kept losing interest.It rambels,rubbish.


-The Sun Also Rises

An Insult to all who admire good writing.

Thank the maker I checked this book out at the library. What a total waste of money it would have been if I had bought it. Pure…utter….nonsense. But, we must understand that Hemingway was 27 years old, immature, most likely drunk, and this novel was written in his very first year as a novel-writer.

This novel has thee worst dialog ever to grace a page. It is unnatural in every sense. It is contrived It is repetitive. It is just…plain….awful. It’s as if Hemingway’s “mission statement” in writing this novel was to mention drinking wine, eating at a restaurant, being chauffeured about the town, and staying in posh hotels, at least five times…on…every….single….page.

There is no plot. The characters are as substance-less as they could get. Eat, drink, party, talk bad about others. Rinse and repeat. My final issue is that I was prohibited from burning this book (so as not to inflict pain upon future readers.) The library might have had a problem with that.


-On the Road

Utter nonsense

‘On the Road’ was one of those books I’d always heard of, and thought I’d read one day. A few weeks ago I heard Mojo Nixon’s rant about the book on Little Steven’s Underground Garage. Dude was sellin’ it! And bought it… so no one to blame but myself (I owe ya one, Mojo…).

So I picked it up and about 1/4 of the way in I thought maybe it’ll get better. I kept reading. I got to a point where I had to finish the book so I would never have to read it again (and criticize it to my lil heart’s content). It took me two weeks to read the whole darn thing, but it felt longer.

This is the book that changed America?!? Really?!? The “adventures” of a mooching scumbag (Dean Moriarty) and his weak-willed friend (Sal Paradise)? I suppose this planted the seeds for the 60s hippies right up to today’s hipsters. Swell…

The writing is atrocious, so bad the editor could have used an editor. I am truly at a loss as to why there are those out there who think it’s a work of genius. BUT, I read it, and I never, ever, EVER have to read it again.


-Ulysses

Go for a root canal instead

After fifty pages of a suicide-inducing introduction attempting to explain to me what this phone book-size mess is supposed to be about, no, I will not be devoting one more minute to ULYSSES by James Joyce. Life is too short for any more alcoholic-fueled aimless ramblings by over-rated authors whom college professors try to tell us are geniuses and we just don’t get it. One thing I do get, is a plot. And there is nary a trace of one within the pages of this root canal of a book. Goodbye.


-A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Please, don’t make me read Joyce!

One of the best things about finishing my formal education is that no one can ever force me to read James Joyce again! I didn’t get it, I’ll never get it, and I don’t want to get it. I had nightmares for weeks after reading the “hell” passage. It ranks at or near the top of my list of “Worst Books I Ever Read” and it’s likely to stay there no matter what I read. Joyce fans tell me that it is essential to read his works with the aid of another book, such as ReJoyce, to explain Joyce’s, and it continues to astonish me that otherwise highly intelligent people think that this proves the quality of the work. Other writers don’t get published, unless by a vanity press, if their work can’t be understood by reasonably intelligent people. Joyce is supposed to be brilliant? I think he was nuts. More power to those who like him, but if you are thinking you should read this because it’s supposed to be a classic, you might want to rethink that. At least check it out of the library instead of spending money on it.

 

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

J.K. Rowling is working on a Harry Potter prequel! Well, sort of. It’s actually a play, not a new novel, but it does take place before the events of the first book.

“The Cursed Child would ‘delve into what happened to Harry’s parents before they were killed by Lord Voldemort, forcing an infant Harry to be raised in miserable circumstances by his mother’s sister, Petunia, her horrid husband Vernon and their spoiled son Dudley.'”

Read more here

Drawing and Illustrating

While I write and talk a lot about writing, drawing is also one of my early passions. I began writing and drawing almost interchangeably. While I credit my mother for teaching me how to write and for always buying me books to encourage my imagination, it was my father who taught me how to draw.

I began drawing cartoon characters that I saw in TV, and ever since then all of my illustrations tend to be cartoonish, that is, not realistic representations of things. For a long time, I thought that this meant I was less of an artist than someone who was a “classical” painter.

When I was around nine or 10, or perhaps even earlier, I began to write my own comic strips. At first, I used characters that already existed (Batman, Superman, Mickey Mouse), but eventually, I began creating my own superheroes.

Looking back, I think drawing helped me cope with the fact that both my parents were far away. And by creating my own comic strips, I was writing dialogue and creating plot lines that extended into multiple volumes. In other words, I was mixing both things that I loved.

I kept working on comics until I was 13. Being an illustrator wasn’t a hip and cool thing like it is now and I was kind of embarrassed of letting people know that I was into comics, so, sadly, I stopped. I wish I had continued and improved my skills, but alas, I can’t change the thought process of an insecure teenager on the verge of high school.

Fortunately, I did save a bunch of my comics. I have dozens and dozens of original superheroes. Anyone at Marvel or DC hiring or looking for new ideas?

Here are some of my “Superheroes Club” comics

Superheroes Club

And all of my comics

All Comics

Most Influential Mass Media Professors

Apples

Continuing with my post-grad nostalgia, there are a few professors who certainly made an impact in my life while I attended Washburn. Although I did have a lot of wonderful instructors throughout my two and half years, there are a few who stood out and I want to honor them with this humble post. Think of this post as a very long ratemyprofessors.com article.

Since my major was Mass Media, I’ll start with two professors from said department, but will talk about two professors in the English Department (my minor) in a future post.

Mass Media Department

Dr. Stover

I would have to start with Dr. Maria Stover. While I had a few classes with Dr. Stover, there’s one that really made an impact and that’s Media Literacy. I went into the class not really knowing what to expect, but I came out with a whole new perspective in how I see the word.

Thanks to Dr. Stover’s class, I was able to recognize all the gender and racial biases in the media, as well as in my own life. Although I was raised by wonderful women, I certainly grew up in a patriarchal society, where machismo is touted as the norm to follow. However, thanks to this class, a lot of my own biases were removed. Thanks to this class, I began to make smarter decisions as to what toys to buy my daughter. For instance, my daughter doesn’t just have the stereotypical girly dolls, she also has a doctor’s kit, as well as a set of hammer and tools. And that’s just one thing.

Besides those eye-opening lectures, Dr. Stover grew up under a Communist regime, just like me. It’s an unfortunate bond to have, but it was incredible to learn that the hardships she faced in her native Bulgaria, were the same exact things that I faced in Cuba. Dr. Stover also invited me to speak to the entire class about Communist propaganda during one of the lectures, which was a great and wonderful experience.

But besides all that, the thing that I appreciate the most about Dr. Stover is an encouraging conversation she had with me. She told me that it’s not often that she comes across students like me and that I could literally do anything I wanted to. She said that if I wanted to, I could have a very successful career in the Mass Media field. She even encouraged me to pursue my Masters and maybe even teach one day.

It’s hard to overstate what hearing those words from someone you highly respect does to your self-esteem.

Regina Cassell

Although I had Regina early on in my Washburn career, it was online, so I didn’t get to really meet her until this Spring. One thing that immediately stands out with Regina is that she really cares about her students. Because I work full-time, I had a hard time juggling work and school, but Regina was very understanding and flexible.

Someone once said, “Creativity is intelligence having fun” and Regina understands that well. In her Creative Media Practicum class (where we created the Mass Media Messenger alumni magazine) she allowed us to be creative, to explore, to have fun. At the same time, she made sure to keep us on task and motivated. And whenever we had a question about something, she would help us out because she does know her stuff.

But the class that really made a difference in my life was the Independent Study class where we put together a live half-hour news show on YouTube, KSWU News. Not only did I learn a lot about cameras, sound, editing., lighting, reporting, etc., I also made a lot of good friends. There were people in that class that I’ve had in previous classes, but given the nature of the studio environment, we got to know each other a lot more. I think one of the best parts about college is getting to know other awesome people and this class made that so much easier.

Finally, Regina also has a literal open-door policy with her current and former students. To celebrate out last KSWU show, she had a party at her home and invited all of us, as well as other Mass Media students. It’s rare to have a professor be so welcoming and accommodating, but Regina made room for all of us and made us feel right at home.


Thanks Dr. Stover and Regina!

I didn’t want to make this post too long, so I’ll be talking about two professors in the English Department in a few days. Those professors are Tom Averill and Liz Derrington.

Las Mujeres De Mi Vida

Finalmente me gradué de la universidad con un título de licenciatura, 14 años después de terminar la escuela secundaria. La última vez que fui a la escuela fue en el Miami Dade College, donde obtuve mi título de Asociado, pero eso fue en 2004. Por desgracia, un título de  Asociado no significa mucho hoy en día.

Gracias al apoyo de mi esposa, pude terminar mi carrera. Y cuando miró hacia atrás en mi vida, puedo ver que siempre estuve rodeado de mujeres maravillosas que no sólo me criaron, pero me enseñaron muchas cosas.

Mi Mamá

going to school
Mis primeros recuerdos de mi mamá son de ella enseñandome a escribir. Yo tenía alrededor de tres años de edad cuando aprendí a escribir mi propio nombre y nunca he dejado de escribir y soñar desde entonces. Y todo comenzó con mi madre, que es una mujer amorosa y maravillosa.

Cuando tenía 11 años, mi madre tuvo que tomar una decisión muy difícil. Ella no fue capaz de salir de Cuba, pero yo si tuve la oportunidad y ella tuvo que elegir dejarmer venir a los Estados Unidos sin ella. Ella optó por darme la oportunidad de vivir en una tierra libre,  ella decidió darme la oportunidad de convertirme en un hombre mejor. Si ella hubiera dicho que no, probablemente estaría en Cuba, bajo un régimen que no sólo destruye la libertad, pero también la esperanza.

Sé que mi mamá lloró todos los días durante 12 años hasta que finalmente nos pudimos reunir en Miami. No fue fácil, pero estoy agradecido por su amor y su sacrificio.

Mi bisabuela

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Como mi madre no pudo venir a los Estados Unidos, mi bisabuela se convirtió en mi segunda mamá. Ella siempre ha estado al tanto mío y siempre me ha cuidado. Tal vez debido a mi situación, ella siempre se encargó de protegerme y de que no me faltara nada. Estoy muy agradecido por ella!

Ella es una mujer maravillosa y es un ejemplo de una persona muy trabajadora. Ha vivido una vida bien difícil. Tuvo que abandonar la escuela a una edad temprana para ayudar a cuidar de su familia, y su esposo (mi bisabuelo) falleció inesperadamente por un infarto.

Mami, como todos la llamamos, es simplemente increíble y estoy muy agradecido a Dios por todos los años que la ha dado. Le pido a Dios que le de muchos más.

Mi Abuela

My grandmother! This was taken this year. Maybe my grandfather took it?
Tati, como la decimos, es como si fuera otra madre para mí. Junto con mi bisabuela, ella me crió y siempre se aseguró de que no me faltara nada. Si yo quería un par de zapatos de baloncesto (sin importat lo caro) ella me los compraba. Su forma de expresar amor es dando y, vaya, ella me debe querer cantidad porque siempre me ha dado tanto!

Tati es muy trabajadora. No he conocido a nadie que haya trabajado tan duro toda su vida sin quejarse. Ella trabaja incansablemente y todo lo que hace es para ayudar al resto de la familia.

Mi Tia

My aunt, on the right, captured in my mom's selfie!

Cuando salí de Cuba a la edad de 11, vine con mi tía, tío, dos primas y mi bisabuela. Mi tía siempre me ha apoyado. Ella siempre me trató como si fuera su propio hijo.

Cuand el programa de ayuda financiera de Miami Dade College me negó la ayuda, mi tía fue y hablo con ellos. No se como lo hizo, pero los convenció de ayudarme. Si ella no hubiera hecho esto, probablemente yo habría regresado a Cuba. Realmente lo consideré. Estaba tan deprimido. Mi mamá había sacrificado tanto para que me convierta en un hombre productivo, y mis posibilidades por poco fueron interrumpidas por falta de dinero.

Además, todo lo que sé acerca de la moda, lo he aprendido de ella.

Mi Esposa

With my gorgeous wife, going out for a date!
¿Por dónde empezar? Creo que todo el mundo sueña con encontrar a esa persona especial, con conocer a esa persona que te hace creer en cuentos de hadas. Mi esposa es esa mujer. Elena es amable y cariñosa y muy inteligente. Gracias a su amor y su apoyo, me he convertido en un hombre mejor.

Si no fuera por su aliento incondicional, no me hubiera graduado hoy.

No sólo es una mujer maravillosa, pero también es una madre buenisima. Ellie y Oliver aún no saben lo afortunados que son de tener una madre tan increíble, pero a medida que crecen, se van a dar cuentas. Su amor por ellos y su dedicación a ellos es increíble y estoy muy agradecido a Dios por haberla encontrado.

——-

Si no fuera por todas esas mujeres increíbles en mi vida, yo no sería el hombre que soy hoy en día. He aprendido mucho de ellas y estoy muy agradecido de haber estado rodeado por mujeres tan increibles y amorosas.

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