25 April 2013

A brief thought about book snobbery...

There's been lots of talk about book snobbery recently after Matt Haig's excellent Booktrust blog (here). Matt writes a lot more eloquently than I could ever hope to and many people who are perhaps lacking in eloquence have already contributed to the discussion but...

I enjoy literary fiction very much and I also love YA (not that these two are necessarily mutually exclusive) - I like meandering, wordy books and I like fast paced, plot heavy books but the books that I truly adore, those that I fall in love with and have fundamentally affected me are those that fuse the two. I want soaring, beautiful, intelligent language but I also want characters that move me and that I care about and a story that takes me somewhere I've never been before.

Sometimes these books are literary fiction (The Unconsoled, Life After Life), sometimes these books are for children or teenagers (Maggot Moon, The Phantom Tollbooth) and sometimes they are mainstream, bestseller books (The Eyre Affair, The Time Traveler's Wife) and I really don't mind which genre or bracket anyone wants to put them in so long as they fill me with wonder.

All of us who love books and stories and words should rally together and encourage everyone to realise why we love them so much - whether that be through a unoriginal erotic book, a children's book, a graphic novel or a wordy challenging novel. The book that turns you into a reader is different for everyone, but I really want everyone to find theirs.

1 comment:

  1. A few years ago I had this discussion with a new blogger -and new reader - who was focused to read the classics because they're the real literature. They enrich you etc. I got so tired that "the classics" really meant "white, Anglo-Saxon, mostly-male authors" that I just had to tell that blogger. What about newly published works? What about women? What about non-white authors?

    This is one of the reasons I love reading contemporary fiction, because I think it's not valued as it should be. And because apparently, only "classics" make you a better person... Oh, don't get me started again, I'm so fed up!