I just bought The Passage. I still haven’t bought Witz yet, but I bought The Passage. It’s the most heavily marketed book in recent memory. It’s the publishing industry’s next great white hope. I had to see what all the hubbub was about. Usually I hate the idea of reading popular fiction. I’ve go no desire to read a Stieg Larsson book, and that’s for no particular reason other than it’s in the hand of every person on the train, on the shelf at every bookstore, on the front page of every bookstore’s website. I hear Stieg Larsson’s a good read, a storyteller guaranteed not to bore. I’ve got no other reason to dislike it other than everyone is reading it. If I was forced to read the Twilight books right now I think I’d seriously consider jumping out the nearest window.
My girlfriend wants me to read Harry Potter. I really don’t want to. I’ve got nothing against Harry Potter. I like the movies. I just feel like it would be a gigantic waste of time for me to jump into Harry Potter as I’ve got “more important” books on my to-read list. We’re doing an exchange. I’ll read Harry Potter if she reads something I choose for her. I haven’t decided what yet. Maybe Witz.
So what this impulse boils down to is that I think my taste is better than everyone else’s in terms of popular fiction. Either that or it stems from a fear of being perceived as one of the unwashed masses consuming the candy of the literary world. In either case, it’s a stupid impulse. You should just like what you like and not give a shit what anybody else thinks.
Do you hate books just because they’re popular? Where does the impulse come from? Is it jealousy that people are reading things that you haven’t written?