A mortal insult

Recently a certain member of my family who shall remain nameless because I at least don't want to hurt his feelings made a grave accusation against me. I said I didn't bother to finish The Plot Against America because I felt that after two or three chapters I got the author's point, and perhaps it should have been a short story.

"I think the problem is that you just read for plot," said he.

Can you believe it? My own father unnamed family member?? Steve, honey, will you be my second? Because we're meeting tomorrow at dawn.


  • Oh wow, can't wait to see how this one ends!


    posted by Anonymous Sylvia on 2:26 PM  

  • Not to worry, friends of Bookworm, Fatherworm has never been up at dawn in all the years I've known him, which is about 45 at this point! I've just started reading the Roth, only about 15 pages so far, so will not comment further.

    posted by Anonymous motherworm on 10:39 PM  

  • If, and I'm not saying it's so, but if you did indeed only read for plot, and you couldn't finish the book, wouldn't that intimate that The Plot Against America has no plot? I think that might be ironic.

    Hi. Recently found your blog, and am enjoying it.

    posted by Anonymous adrienne on 10:47 PM  

  • Hun, do I still get to be your second if, um, I--that is, if I tend to read--now and then--with a sort of plot-attentive focus?

    ---it's not that I don't like the other aspects of books, whatever they may be--but, well, anyway...

    I'll set up a meeting with the other second--I believe, as the offended party, you are allowed to choose the weapons.

    Let me know how to proceed.

    (For more on this topic:

    (One thing--I don't think, technically, that you're allowed to duel. It's a guy thing. But the rules haven't been updated in a while--I'm sure any modern duelist would extend to women a right to be offended and to respond as honor requires. To do otherwise would simply be ungentlemanly...maybe.)

    posted by Anonymous hubby on 11:34 PM  

  • Jules!

    If you stopped there you've deprived yourself of one of my top two "Most Wrenching" literary scenes. No spoilers, but it involves a dining room table and a phone call.

    Now, get back and finish that book, soldier!

    The other, the end of Barry Unsworth's "The Greeks Have a Word for It"

    posted by Anonymous BrotherInLawWorm on 12:22 AM  

  • I'm just chuckling that a father could be capable of such an accusation. My dad? The best in the world, of course. But entirely incapable of even comprehending said comment. Maybe that's why I read for plot.

    posted by Blogger Kristy on 7:19 PM  

  • Whoa, Bessie,

    Audiatur et altera pars! (Let the other side be heard!)

    What, pray, would any member of your loyal claque think, my darling Daughterworm, if someone said to him or her what you said to me about laying the book down after catching on to the "author's point"? Would they diagnose a deep sensuous infatuation with diction, with the trenchant aperçu, the astonishng trope? Nevermore! They would accuse such a reader of base philistinism. In brief, the unfortunate one would soon become known as an habitué of the dueling grounds.

    As for allowing women on the dueling grounds, I say what's sauce for the gander is sauce for the goose. I am, in this respect at least, a wholehearted dualist!

    posted by Anonymous Fatherworm on 10:58 PM  

  • Remind me never to have an argument with your dad! Wow!

    posted by Blogger Suzanne on 2:30 PM  

  • Dear Suzanne,

    that wasn't an argument; I was helping Bookworm get her tongue back out of her cheek and supporting her project of starting a conversation on the blog about the relative importance of plot among the other literary assets. Purple prose is just a goad.

    So, I do hope you and I can have an argument some time soon. You may choose the topic.

    posted by Anonymous Fatherworm on 11:04 AM  

  • I love that the whole bookworm family seems to read Julie's blog and to engage in spirited book discussion off blog as well. Clearly this is a family whose dinner table conversation I would enjoy!

    posted by Blogger Kate S. on 9:30 PM  

  • It seemeth to me, good literary fellows, that a plot is integral to a novel. Without plot you have but a bit of poetry, or stream-of-consciousness essay, or something else entirely. Perhaps a mess. Perhaps not. In any case, to read merely for plot to the exclusion of all other factors would be a mistake, as there are many, many stupid plot-driven books in existence. But to be disgusted with a novel because it has no plot? I'd say that's a pardonable sin, if sin at all.

    posted by Anonymous Laura on 5:15 PM  

  • I sense the humor, drama, and more.
    I think you might be similar to me, Julie. I'm an avid bibliophile as are you. I don't have time in my life to be bored by finishing certain books that are so predictable in plot if the writing style is also mundane, repetitive or simply detracts from me having figured out the plot. That is FAR different than "reading just for th plot."

    I cannot imagine you normally reading "just for the plot." I think we all sometimes scan a book quickly, but 95% of the the time I devour a book in all of it's glorious aspects! Plot is only one part of the literay stew, as you know. There's writing style as I mentioned, characterization, setting, a variety of literary devices dependign upon the "read" such as symbolism, metaphor, allegory, diaologue technique, irony, satire, and too many to list here!

    Uh oh, I became involved. I hope Thanksgiving is not at Papa Worm's home or he forgives me easily... Waving hi to Papa Worm ~~~~.

    posted by Blogger GEL on 6:20 AM  

  • Ooops, "Fatherworm" and I read that he is not sexist in regard to dueling...or is that only dueling banjos? I did notice that dawn is not his early light, a point in his favor besides his unwavering support of you here.;)

    Love the banter among your family.

    posted by Blogger GEL on 6:25 AM