Chapter 11 Bookstore is an independent bookstore chain with 4 locations in Atlanta, Georgia and surrounding cities. Our online site is Customers can browse our inventory, order books, CDs, and DVDs online, and read details about author appearances. Visit our blog for reviews, opinions, and news about books, music, and movies.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Russ's Dirty Guilty Pleasure

I won’t deny the fact that I’m a bit snobbish when it comes to what I read. I try to avoid most comics and graphic novels (though I do have a Sandman fondness, and I just made my way through Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home). However, I’ve spent so much time thinking in absolutely dire, serious literary terms as I prep for Wednesday’s event with Calvin Baker (who I will be interviewing for Chapter 11), whose recent novel Dominion is destined to be lavished with awards and praise, sponsored by the Georgia Center for the Book and the Decatur Public Library, that I’ve been in dire need of something fast, simple, easy. The book equivalent of microwavable mac-n-cheese.

Our stores have been selling through copies of Scott Smith’s The Ruins as though there’s a magical formula for Coke that could be stolen and sold to Pepsi contained inside. Mike, Chapter 11 Books’ friendly neighborhood webmaster, has been as excited about reading this as it seems our customers are. So when a battered-but-readable galley (promotional copy) of The Ruins showed up on my desk, I snagged it up and ran outside to take lunch.

On that lunch, I read. Scott Smith’s writing is horrible. Insulting. Choppy. The Ruins is horrible. Disgusting. Vile. Think of the most offensive things possible that could result from being lost in the woods of Mexico, and then pile them on top of one another. There’s a scene with a dog covered with live, bloated ticks and maggots that I read while eating.

And I can’t stop reading it. In one sitting I made it 160 pages in. It’s a putrid, putrid terror of a book. I’ll finish it tonight and report back.

-Russ Marshalek (


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