So it’s the season eh?
The time of year when people who generally avoid bookshops get asked to buy a book as a gift and find themselves baffled by the sheer volume of stock. We have five floors of books organised by subject matter, and yes, sometimes it is confusing.
Poetry? Sure, it’s next to parenting, obviously!
An atlas? Hmm, would that be with geography on second, travel and maps on third, or reference on fourth?
Yesterday I was asked for Kerry Katona’s novel. My colleague refused to believe such a thing existed, saying that surely it was in biography, but no, Ms Katona is named as the author of a, cough, novel.
The customer was a youngish woman, and she said that she knew it would be under ‘K’, but that’s she’s not good enough with her alphabet to be able to know where K would come. Which is too obvious a joke, and you know, let’s say she is someone who doesn’t read much but that Kerry putting her name to a book encourages her to read, so, it’s a good thing really and we should stop being so fucking snobby. I did bite my lip and try not to smile.
Anyway, even though the computer said that we had six copies I couldn’t find them at first. This was because the lovely man who runs fiction had hidden them under a table. (He denied that they were hidden, because, as he said, I did find them eventually.)
My colleague turned to me after the customer had left and said ‘That must really piss you off, you’re a writer and yet someone like Kerry Katona has a novel published, just like that.’ I said yeah, and then we got busy and I didn’t think about it much, but it occurs to me now that whilst I think it is utterly stupid to give book deals to people who can’t write and don’t write, who instead employ other people to cobble something together for them, I am not pissed off by it. It’s up to us to decide if that is the sort of book we want to read, and it is simply not something I would aspire to at all. Perhaps Kerry did write this book, or maybe she dictated the ‘story’ to someone who merely polished the grammar and so on, or possibly she just allowed her name to be used. Whatever. It’s not a book I would want my name on, it’s not a book I would want to read. But some people do want to, and my question then is why?
I get that it is fascinating to read a sleb biography, and as I understand it (not being one who gives a shit about it) Kerry’s story is as grim and bleak as any one of the misery memoirs that are so prevalent. But who the fuck then needs to read a fictionalised account?