Wretched Writing: A Compendium of Crimes Against the English Language
By Kathryn and Ross Petras
Perigree Trade, 2013. 224 pgs. Nonfiction.
Kathryn and Ross Petras have compiled a volume of what they consider the most wretched writing tropes found in literature, ranging from classic to modern authors, from bestsellers to little-known B-list writers. No one, the authors claim, is immune from writing stunningly bad prose once in a while. But they should be.
The book includes some hilarious and mind-boggling examples of writing that has actually been printed. One thing to be aware of is that, apparently, a lot of really bad writing happens in the description of sex scenes, so there is some fairly risque content. And I objected to the authors' categorization of outdated word usage as "wretched." Victorian writers writing about the "gay times" they had would have no way of knowing that the word would have a different meaning 200 years later. But, overall, a very engaging look at some of the worst sentences ever.