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Bad Press: The Worst Critical Reviews Ever! Hardcover – October 15, 2002
This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
“Quotes from the most devastating critical reviews ever probes historical magazines to provide the nastiestand funniestreviews ever are expertly compiled by Laura Ward. … Bad Press is enthusiastically recommended and highly entertaining.”
Library Bookwatch, February 2004
"One of the great natural unfairnesses of life is that unkind reviews of books, plays, musicwhateverand especially vicious ones live on in memory and anthologies while favorable ones die young. Here, Ms. Wood, an irrepressible enthusiast for aesthetic savagery, has compiled a magnificent compendium of dismissals. Among my favorites: 'The triumph of sugar over diabetes'George Jean Nathan on the writing of J.M. Barrie. 'I love Wagner; but the music I prefer is that of a cat hung up by its tail outside a window and trying to stick to the panes of glass with its claws' Charles Baudelaire. And 'Farley Granger played Mr. Darcy with all the flexibility of a telegraph pole.' Brooks Atkinson on a musical version of Pride and Prejudice. But these are just snippets. Some of the most entertaining and even intellectually provocative material comes in pieces far to long to quote here. A delightful romp of critical wickedness."
Michael Pakenham, The Baltimore Sun, September 15, 2002
"Great, irresistible fun. Ward is hardly the first to compile a 'lexicon of invective' but she's done it better than anyone in quite a while..."
Buffalo News, November 2002
About the Author
Laura Ward has worked for many years as an editor for various book publishers in England. She lives and works in London, and still nurtures a shamefaced, but unflagging enthusiasm for the bad press over the good.
Top customer reviews
"'The Birthday Party' is like a vintage Hitchcock thriller which has been, in the immortal tear-stained words of Orson Wells, 'edited by a cross-eyed studio janitor with a lawn mower.'" -Alan Brien
"This is M. Ionesco's first attempt at a social play, and the number of interpretations to which it is susceptible is roughly equal to the number of people in the audience." - Kenneth Tynan on 'Rhinoceros' by Eugene Ionesco, 1960
"They gave us for dinner boiled ant-bear and red monkey; two dishes unknown even at Beauvilliers or Paris.... The monkey was very good indeed, but the ant-bear had been kept beyond its time; it stank as our venison does in England..." -Charles Waterton
"What can I do with it? It's like a lot of yaks jumping about."
-Sir Thomas Beecham on the third movement of Beethoven's 'Seventh Symphony'
"The music of Wagner imposes mental tortures that only algebra has the right to inflict." -Paul de Saint-Victor on Richard Wagner in 'La Presse'
And finally, my all time favorite review in the entire book, and probably of all time:
"I love Wagner; but the music I prefer is that of a cat hung up by its tail outside a window and trying to stick to the panes of glass with its claws." -Charles Baudelaire
My only criticism of the book is that its roughly square shape makes holding it a bit of a chore, as it is quite thick, yet dimuitive of height and width. It's good material, just a less than ideal format. If you want a book filled with some of the worlds all time pithiest reviews, this is the book for you.
lashing,and downright mean reviews and remasrks made by all kinds of pople about movies,literature,TV,music food and theatre.
There are no holds barred when these people let go with their opinions. My only regret is that I am not familiar with some of those making the comments or some of the things they are commenting on. It is also clear that when it comes to masterful put-downs;the more concise and to the point,the better.
Not surprisingly; few are able to match Mark Twain or Oscar Wilde; at least in my humble opinion.
I am sure everyone who picks up this book will find their own favorites.
Here are a few of mine;
"Reading him is like wading through glue."
Alfred Lord Tennyson on Ben Jonson
"Mr.Priestly has always been good at making a short story
long. This is a short book.
Elizabeth Bibesco on J.P.Priestly
"Bernard Shaw is an excellent man; he has not an enemy in
the world,and none of his friends like him."
"I like a thin book because it will steady a table,a leather
volume because it will strop a razor,and a heavy book
because it can be thrown at a cat."
"The reason why so few good books are written is that so few
people who can write know anything."
"People who like this sort of thing will find this the sort of
thing they like."
Abe Lincoln's review of a book
And finally on music;
"Like two skeletons copulating on a corrugated tin roof."
Sir Thomas Beecham on the harpsichord.
- The editing is weak: Mark Twain's comment about leaving Jane Austen out of a great library appears twice (with different wording)
- Many quotes aren't traced back to their source (the authors frequently used "attrib." or quote from someone else's collection of quotes)
- In both the Movie/Television section and the Music section, 20% of the quotes come from a single person
- Not all the quotes are, in fact, reviews. The pieces from Robert Bentchley, for instance, are quotes from one of his books