Sometimes, just because you have a degree in English doesn’t give you the right to be persnickety. (If you were not such an inarticulate plebeian, you’d know what that means.)
“Oh, what books do I like to read? Well, I’m glad you asked, but probably have not HEARD about any of them. I have very obscure literary tastes: no Pulitzer prize winners or Short-listeners for the PEN/Faulkner awards. CERTAINLY nothing on a bestseller lists, because those books have such drab plots.
Actually, I only read books that haven’t been published yet. No, it’s fine that you want to read “normal” books along with the rest of the plebians.
Oh, The New Yorker gave it a good review? Well, if you want to conform to what the NEW YORKER thinks, fine go ahead, read to your heart’s content. I’ll just try to find authors you’ve never heard of and then laugh at the absurdity of your reading choices.”
Just to be clear, I hate these people. There’s a reason certain books are read widely or win awards. Just because you dislike a book doesn’t mean it doesn’t hold merit. In fact, any book that can make you feel something- that’s good literature. Even books that merely piss you off.
I feel the same way about music. I just don’t listen to bands if in order to buy their new albums I need to know some secret password which I can only find scrawled on the door of an Ohio truck stop bathroom. But I think music and books are good as long as they make you feel something. That even means Ke$ha who only inspires me to dance and party; note, though, that she does inspire me to do SOMETHING.
A story that inspires nothing, not even frustration… that’s quite a bland story.
The truth is, reading has been an elitist activity, done only by intellectuals. I’m not impressed that you like to read War and Peace over the summer instead of some fun book. Because guess what? I spent the summer reading Nick Hornsby and The Hunger Games triology. I know, as a writer I’m supposed to be a literary snob. I am supposed to like highbrow fiction only, constantly study the syntax of MASTERS.
But you write a book that people will enjoy, and just because scholars say that a book is classic, I shan’t read it unless it excites me. Unless I like the story and relate to the characters. Now, some classics are certainly classics for a reason, but understand, other classics are classics because they’re intensely difficult to understand. Scholars and English majors love authors that only they can relate to, because it gives them a sense of superiority.
I’m looking at YOU James Joyce.
Some books, I know, are even referred to as “guilty pleasures” or as “trashy.” But anything you enjoy has some merit, doesn’t it? I openly admit that I obsessively watch shows like Misfits, Skins, Glee, and True Blood. I even watching THE GLEE PROJECT! While I have been told these are “trashy” shows, they allow me to indulge in something separate from my life. And that… seems to matter.
What I’m saying is, I will not criticize what you read, because all writers are not snobs. Read whatever you’d like. And if anyone casts a downward glance at your