Thursday, January 20, 2011
What do YOU read?
The following posting was originally written as consecutive tweets on Twitter. I routinely see interesting observations and links to informative articles about the world of book publishing when I'm on there, but I also find plenty that troubles me. The latter is what inspired this series of mini soundbites bemoaning what publishers are opting to print, which of course is prompted first and foremost by what people are choosing to read. Once done with school and no longer in possession of a required reading list, we're on our own to decide what to fill our heads with. I like a little brain candy sometimes as much as the next person, but as we were warned as children, if you consume too much sugar while neglecting fruits and vegetables and other stuff critical for your development, inevitably important things will start to rot.
In recent days, understandably, I’ve seen various sarcastic shots taken over the fact that reality star Snooki has a Best Selling book out. I joined in too, remarking on my sobering suspicion that there’s likely more I can relate to in her book, regardless of what percentage of the writing she actually contributed to it, than the various vampire novels pubbed seemingly hourly.
Those following my tweet of thought probably think I have a major problem with vampire fiction. My sister, for example. But that’s not the case. I believe ALL topics are fair game for literary examination.
In the vampire milieu I’ve enjoyed 2-3 Anne Rice titles & The Historian. Fine reading indeed.
What I take issue with is formulaic writing, cookie cutter books churned out like so many near identical widgets on an assembly line.
The appeal of such books to anyone over the age of 10 continues to elude me. At some point a mature person should demand more bang for their buck, no?
Some people crave a particular genre. Okay, c’est la vie. They don’t know what they’re missing by refusing to be more adventurous but...
Hopefully those who exclusively plunder a single category within a particular genre at least try to find whatever diversity may exist there.
But at what point is there simply nothing new to say about how cool vampires are? Surely the possibilities have been exhausted by now.
I can only conclude there are people so anti brain use that they basically read the same book over & over, the next version of it already pre-ordered.
Obviously those who churn this stuff out are out to make a buck, plain & simple. They require & expect no comparison to Faulkner.
I’m cool with capitalism & what it yields. Some enter the medical field to save lives, some for $. Some enter the law profession to fight for justice, some for $. Writing is no different.
There are authors who hope that their books will be assigned to your great great grandkids in school one day, others who are simply looking to make quick cash.
I have no beef with those who write from the wallet rather than heart. Where there is demand, someone will always take advantage & supply.
I suppose this means I have a problem with readers so unimaginative that they refuse to digest any more than one flavor of book. This practice simply astounds me. Could you eat the same thing everyday? Watch the same movie & nothing but? Listen to the same song to the exclusion of all others? Surely this would become maddening.
If nobody was affected by such singleness of purpose, no harm done I suppose. But there is an effect from such mindsets. Fresh, bold books by legitimately talented writers do not see the light of day because shelf space in what bookstores are still left standing is taken up by the 30th title in some insipid series.
So I funnel my frustration toward those who know not what they do, even though I firmly believe in freedom of choice, which includes the right to make bad choices.
I suppose I’m left with no option but to be peeved at God. Hopefully HE/SHE reads my tweets or this blog.
What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you wholeheartedly agree or vehemently oppose my opinion? Have at it. This space is very lonely without reader feedback.
If I've offended anyone for any reason, most likely I meant to. Sorry about that. This space is meant to express the truth as I see it, not to conform. Hope that doesn’t mean we can’t still be friends.
Here's my reading list: past, present & future. What do YOU read?