Bad Writing

I’m reading an autobiographical book called, “Looking for Trouble,” by journalist and producer Leslie Cockburn.

She’s done a lot of really exciting stuff all over the scariest parts of the globe, and her story is fascinating. But man do I hate her writing.

A sample sentence. She and her crew have just arrived at the airport in Nicaragua. Here’s how she starts the paragraph describing the drive to the hotel:

“The night drive from Sandino Airport, named after a totemic guerrilla who fought the U.S. Marines, following the cold embrace of an airport security bureaucracy infatuated with forms (one slip of the pen and I was ordered to start again), was a revelation.”

Am I crazy, or is that some mind-bendingly bad writing?

She also has a habit, like lot of writers, of not ending a list with “and.” That is, she’ll say something like, “we jumped, ran, fell” instead of, “we jumped, ran, and fell.” I recognize this as a stylistic choice, and I can even get behind it for certain sentences (like jump ran fell) where the writer wants to make the events happen very quickly, one two three. But it annoys me in longer, complex sentences. I want my “and.”

But the stories are pretty cool.

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