By Robert Laurie
At one time, GQ was a men’s magazine about fashion and lifestyle. They’d offer advice on clothes, watches, cars – things of that nature. It was uniformly high-end, and they became the go-to source for such information. Those days are long past. Currently, GQ loves nothing more than to offer the standard print-media electoral positions, sanctimonious left-wing posturing, and politically-correct narratives – all while trying to maintain their well-heeled “suave rich guy” attitude.
It is, in a word, insufferable.
Recently, they decided to show just how above it all they are, by offering a list of 21 ‘overrated’ books you ‘don’t have to read.’ According to their publication, the “great books” have not aged well. As they put it, “Some are racist and some are sexist, but most are just really, really boring.” Thought crimes that require an attention span? Heaven forbid!
Here’s what they have to say about a little book called…. The Bible:
The Holy Bible is rated very highly by all the people who supposedly live by it but who in actuality have not read it. Those who have read it know there are some good parts, but overall it is certainly not the finest thing that man has ever produced. It is repetitive, self-contradictory, sententious, foolish, and even at times ill-intentioned. If the thing you heard was good about the Bible was the nasty bits, then I propose Agota Kristof’s The Notebook, a marvelous tale of two brothers who have to get along when things get rough. The subtlety and cruelty of this story is like that famous sword stroke (from below the boat) that plunged upward through the bowels, the lungs, and the throat and into the brain of the rower.
Now, I get that including this on the list was probably just a way to get their rag noticed. If that was the goal, congratulations are in order. People have been exposed to the surprising fact that GQ still exists. However, if the goal was to get noticed in a positive way, well… Sorry. GQ’s list of overrated books doesn’t come across as an intellectual think-piece. In fact, it reads like the hottest of hot takes from a mentally and emotionally stunted millennial throwing a tantrum about his summer reading list.
How else can you explain ‘liking’ the Hobbit but calling The Lord of the Rings – often listed as the most-purchased and most-read book published in the 20th Century – “barely readable.”
I liked The Hobbit. A lot. But while Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings books are influential as exercises in world building, as novels they are barely readable.
Or how about trashing Dracula because you’re not a fan of its genre…or something.
Gothic-horror classics like Dracula and Frankenstein always leave me cold. If you want to read a truly terrifying literary gem, try Johnson’s Angels.
If you’re like millions of readers, you like Joseph Heller’s seminal Catch-22. Well, you’re wrong. It’s a snooze.
I never could get into Joseph Heller’s Catch-22. It fails to capture the absurdities and impossible conflicts of war.
So, as you see news of GQ proclaiming the Bible ‘overrated,’ Remember: They’re not just wrong about the Bible. They’re wrong about much of the 19th and 20th century canon. …We won’t even get into the tedious, played-out, ‘we don’t need a racist like Mark Twain’ thing.