Yesterday afternoon a very close friend of mine (who for her sake will remain nameless) sent me a very interesting article that she thought I would find interesting. The article, which can be found here, is a criticism of Eric Arthur Blair or, as you probably know him by, George Orwell. Orwell is widely considered to be one of the most influential writers of all time, being placed second on The Times list of “The 50 greatest British writers since 1945,” yet Steven Poole, author of the article, accuses Orwell’s “assault on political euphemism” to be what he describes as “righteous but limited.” He also claims that what Orwell “perceives to be bad style [is] often outright ridiculous.” While the article continues from there to further criticize and blame Orwell, the theme of the article got me thinking. Are there any authors who are generally considered to be “incredible” and “revolutionary,” that you simply cannot stand? Personally, I find myself wishing I could stomach the writing style of J. R. R. Tolkien, as I absolutely love The Lord of the Rings. Obviously it’s not his concept that doesn’t agree with me, but his unnecessarily long-winded descriptions that seem to plague every other page of his writing. The only book of his I enjoyed was The Hobbit.
What I ask of those of you, who will take the time to read this, is to take a moment to think about some authors who are extremely well regarded, that you find yourself hating. What is it about their work do you not like? Why don’t you like it? More importantly, what does this dislike say about you as a writer? Has it influenced the way you’ve grown as a writer? I think this mental exercise could be extremely beneficial to all us, or at the very least, it’ll be very interesting.