In looking around the lit/writer blogs today, I find that there are many whingers out there and I'm afraid that I am going to have to join them.
My good friend Petrona (who must have a reading age of 101 judging by the number of words that scuttle by her eyes every day) must have books for breakfast, lunch and tea. Analysing them in her sleep and then letting blog readers know of her highly regarded thoughts and recommendations from lit right across the board.
Having just completed a survey on The Publishing Contrarian I find, horrifyingly, that I am filled with BOOK ENVY. I slathered over the titles that were offered up but I have since found out that a few people on the survey have been telling porkies! Whilst they filled the comments box with their highbrow tastes they ommited to say that they did indeed enjoy the odd, dare I say, trashy novel.
And what's wrong with this?
Are we supposed to be embarrassed by our gutter tastes, is it dreadfully common to say that we have not only read, but enjoyed books, from the bestseller lists. The Da Vinci Code came in for a right drubbing - why?
As usual I have my own theories and I'm going to compare with my well-known thoughts on the state of football in England.
We Brits live in small country, a sometime world dominationg country it has to be said, but nonetheless a small island that would fit inside many others with ease. France and Germany had a million more in acreage in which to grow their players and yet when was the last time you heard 'Well, they do quite well considering.'
Why do we find it so difficult to give praise where it is due? The so-called pundits/supporters of the game seem to enjoy putting down their teams especially those struggling in the lower leagues. Where is the support in that? (And yes, I do know the offside rule!).
So what am I saying in the world of readers and critics?
I am saying that we are not all the same, nor should we be. If writers produced all the same kind/standard of lit then half the country wouldn't be reading. My bookshelves groan under the equal weight of the good, the bad and the ugly - all of them brain food. I like burgers but I also like steak and I'm telling the world. So please give the poor (no pun intended!) writer credit for providing sustenance for all!
And envy, where did this come in? Ah yes, I am in fact jealous of those who manage to read six books a week - I couldn't do it if I tried, and why not?
I am a writer (of possibly trashy books!) and I walk around all day with an on-going novel in my head. I cannot go to the cinema without plotting, planning and structuring the next line, paragraph or chapter. I drive my family (and me) mad with bits of crucial paper stuck all over the house and the endless hours I spend tapping away in the corner.
Whatever the style or genre of a book, whatever its audience, credit should be given where credit is due. These are published authors, somebody liked them and believed in them enough to market them and you don't have to read it unless you want to!
So the next time you are reading your trash with a torch under the bedclothes, smile. It may be one of mine!