Wednesday, June 18, 2008

"There's many a best seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher."

I am pondering some things about books lately.

...ponderings birthed from a re-definition of self that I have undergone in the last two years. I used to place such tight limitations on things i would allow to represent me- truly adhering to them as my own identity. I could only wear serious outfits, watch serious movies, say serious things, and definitely only read serious books.

All this stoicism made for a rather hard outer shell - and was rather intimating. Perhaps I meant for this to be so, but if I did - it remained rather subconcsious for quite some time. While growing up, people have always told me that I was intimidating (i am speaking mainly of women here, which JUST occurred to me, how interesting), and I just figured it was because I was pretty much a supermodel or something.

Turns out i am not a supermodel.

Well, that hardness has slowly been melting away and I find that more and more people are sheepishly confessing to me the books they read that i wouldn't have approved of in later years- you know, the guilty pleasure but feel embarrassed to tell anyone type of things - and i am picking up on their hints that they wouldn't have felt comfortable telling me these things a couple of years ago. I took myself (still really do in a lot of ways) so seriously - perhaps too seriously to even TRY to read Harry Potter. But in this debate, I felt like I was standing for something, making a statement about loving that which is well-written, not only that which is best-selling. (I realize that everyone says HP encompasses both worlds, but how do I turn my back on all the unread booklings of history to embrace this new impostor! I am working on a theory called Harry Potter and Titanic: A symposium of mainstream poo.)

I may/may not have to talk to my therapist about Harry Potter.

But in general, who am I to judge people who want to read best sellers all the time? maybe they had poor English teachers who just totally turned them off to serious literature, you never know. or maybe, just maybe - the best seller is good. (confession: the only best seller i have read is the kite runner and all of David Sedaris' books).

but like Flannery O'Connor's words, isn't there something to be said for a standard in writing? i do believe literature should be enjoyable, but i also fear that most people do not push themselves out of their reading boxes for fear, for intimidation that they will not understand.

one thing is for sure. everyone should be proud of themselves when they read, at least they are not watching tv.

welcome to my constant vacillation between tolerance and snobbery.

and keep reading those weird novels i have never heard of - you know, the ones written post1980 - and tell me if they are worth selling at bookling.

i will have to hire a best seller guru to instruct me.

not it.

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