Actually, I love all kinds of books. Because of what I do for a living (and I use the word “living” in the strictly non-payment sense) I mostly read children’s and young adult books. But I also read adult books (which sounds like I mean porn, but I don’t) both novels and non-fiction. I heard once that the average adult reads fewer than ten books a year. I typically read ten books a month. I wish I could read more. I keep books in the bathroom, in the kitchen, in the car and in my purse. I often have several going at the same time. I have at least twenty on my bedside table that I intend to get to, but still I check more books out of the library when I go a couple of times a week. My point is that I love to read and I am not snobby about what I do read. I don’t turn up my nose on genre fiction (mysteries or romances or thrillers). I certainly don’t look down on children’s books. (And a little aside here, the New York Times recently ran an article by novelist Martin Amis who said that anyone who wrote children’s books was probably brain dead. Here’s my response to Martin Amis:
Never mind. Not going to bother with a response.
But Martin, I do hope you realize that your readers were once children who read children’s books.) I am a former English teacher and I have a masters in English, so I suppose I did have a snob streak in me at one time, thinking that “literary” fiction is somehow superior to “commercial” fiction. But I really don’t care about that anymore. All I want is to fall into a good story. The only thing that will make me put a book down unfinished is if it’s boring.
So here’s a story about a commercial fiction series that’s entered my life recently:
Whenever I go to a writing conference I write down the book titles that editors mention. I’m curious what’s selling, what’s popular, what’s winning awards, etc. If it’s a big series, I usually check out the first book just to see what the fuss is about. Which is how I ended up with Book One of The Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead. I brought it home along with a pile of other books from the library and my teenaged daughter picked it up and flipped through it. “Why are you reading this trash, Mom?” said she. (She and her friends do pride themselves on their literary taste.) I told her it was for research purposes and she rolled her eyes (but I noticed she had spirited it away.) I didn’t see her for the next eight hours. Later, she stomped into the room and flung the finished book down on the counter. “I can’t believe I read that.” Pause. “Can you get me book two?”
Flash forward to last night: We’re curled up on the couch together. She’s reading book four. I’m reading book three. (There are six in all.) At one point my daughter looks over the top of her book and says, “You know I heard this author has started another series.”
We may have to check that out.
On another note, in the Eat More Vegetables Category (See my blog: Between Projects Reading Books and Eating Vegetables for further explanation) I served cauliflower last night and apparently I don’t do that often because my son asked, “What’s with the albino broccoli?”
He was only half kidding. I think.