A quick little update:
I’ve amended my ‘Stephen King and Feminism’ article for inclusion in the next issue of Pandora Press, lovingly hand-made and edited by the fantastic Cath Elms. You will be able to buy/read this in the next couple of weeks. I feel that the article now is a little more balanced and lot less rambling. It’s not a work of art by any stretch of the imagination (unless your standards are extremely low…) and there was some stuff I wanted to cut out completely because I felt it detracted something from my actual point.
I was reading an article this morning about a Man Booker judge who said last year that book bloggers are ruining the art of literary criticism. I was annoyed by this on several different levels, as you can imagine.
-‘It is the job of Booker judges to identify books that are challenging and rewarding, rather than easy beach reads…’ …apparently.
Firstly, why should book reviews and literary criticism be restricted to just a privileged few?
Secondly, it’s really rather indicative of an attitude that I believe still exists in British society that somehow, working-class populations are responsible for the decline of some imaginary ‘standards’ regarding culture and tradition.
-“Books that are not immediately easy to read – the books that in the end will last, that reward you most – do increasingly require the Man Booker Prize judges to identify them so that people will find the pleasure and reward of reading them.”
Ah, so the great unwashed beach-readers like myself NEED the Man Booker judges to point us in the right direction! I will definitely seek their advice next time I go to a book store. DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT PICKING UP THAT JAMES HERBERT! BACK AWAY FROM THE MAUVE BINCHYS! IT’S DOSTOEVSKY OR DEATH!
FYI, I read Dostoevsky as a yoof, and found it a little bit impenetrable. It was a poor translation into English but its more likely I didn’t enjoy it because I am really stupid…
KNOW YOUR PLACE seems to be the overwhelming messages from the Man Booker judges. HEY YOU! Don’t read that, read THIS! You’ll be more intelligent at the end of it, just like us!
I was thinking about reading Wolf Hall/Bringing Up The Bodies for a while, but the thing is, it just isn’t my cup of tea! And that’s okay. I am happy that lots of other people find this genre enjoyable and want to invest their hard-earned cash in this author (I use Hilary Mantel as an example purely because she won the Booker prize twice, which is an excellent achievement). Her recent speech for the London Review of Books on the media portrayal of royalty, I thought, was very astute and didn’t deserve the inevitable tabloid backlash it received.
Perhaps the Booker Prize judging panel should be made up of ordinary folk like you and me, then maybe we could get a more accurate picture of what different people like to read and ultimately, what they like to buy.
I think it’s time that literary critics came out of their ivory towers and engaged with the public on this issue. Maybe ‘beach readers’ read what they do because they spend the majority of their time working. After a 12 hour shift I don’t particularly want to come home and delve into a Goethe…
I think it’s great that the internet has revolutionised the way in which we can communicate with each other and express our opinions on different topics. Maybe that’s the problem. What was once the exclusive domain of the few is now open to everyone.
Most book bloggers like myself are unpaid (of course!) and write about the books they love/hate because they are passionate about reading. I don’t see anything wrong with that and I most definitely believe that this institutionalised snobbery is ridiculous.
My current Kindle Wish List:
–Eichmann in Jerusalem by Hannah Arendt
–Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
–Er ist wieder da (‘He’s Back’) by Timur Vermes
–Case Histories by Kate Atkinson
–The Mermaids Singing by Val McDermid
–Game of Thrones Book 1 by George R.R. Martin
I’ll be placing some pre-orders on these lil’ babies soon as well:
–NOS4A2 by Joe Hill
–Joyland by Stephen King
–Doctor Sleep by Stephen King
–MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood