There are some authors who the public adore. Their books sell and sell and sell. There are no need for bookseller recommendations for them, people just see ’em and buy. When you think there can’t possibly be anyone in the country who might not have their books, they continue to sell. Perennial bestsellers. And yet, I will never read them. For no apparent reason I have taken against them. I have no interest whatsoever. Zilch. A gazillion customers will tell me how much they adore these books and yet I remain certain I will never be enticed. It’s interesting to me that my brain has this reaction. I assume you also have popular authors that you won’t ever read? And that similarly there’s no logic to your prejudice? I’d be interested to hear who those authors are.
Anyway, number one in my series of I Will Never Read… is Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns and his latest, And The Mountains Echoed.
9 thoughts on “I Will Never Read…”
I’m a bit of a literary snob. If I didn’t get sent books to review I’d only read literary fiction and maybe a wee bit of science fiction for a break so there’s a huge list of popular authors who I simply can’t imagine reading. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book one could describe as a ‘thriller’ in my life, virtually no horror (I did read Herbert’s Rats trilogy though), no crime novels (apart from the Laidlaw novels) or spy stories (other than the ‘Smiley’ novels). No adventure books, sports books, action books, certainly no romance novels, no erotica, no fantasy (apart from The Hobbit) and no war novels that I can think of (by that I mean Sven Hassel etc.).
As far as literary novelists go I can’t say I’m very keen on Salman Rushdie for absolutely no reason that I don’t much like the look of him. Never even attempted a book by him.
I mainly read “literary fiction” but definitely have enjoyed thrillers, crime novels and occasional Sci-Fi. I won’t wipe any genre off the list completely. I do rather admire Rushdie and have read most of his work. Good job with the unreasonable prejudice, that’s what this post is all about. I have SO much of it this series may well end up running to the hundreds.
I have long had an unreasonable prejudice toward the work of Sebastian Faulks and Julian Barnes which hasn’t been helped by my reading of one book by each author in an effort to get beyond it; Birdsong and Sense of an Ending respectively, both of which I thought were massively overrated. Birdsong pales before Pat Barker’s Regeneration trilogy and Sense of an Ending was just dull. My unreasonable prejudice has been helped along by the pairs efforts in interview. Faulks comes across as particularly irritating when discussing women writers. I remember Mariella quite rightly taking him to task on her Radio 4 show when he started talking tosh about women writers and women in fiction. For the same reason, I would be unlikely to read any David Gilmour after his ludicrous comments about women writers earlier this year. I suppose this kind of reasoning makes my prejudice more reasonable – but surely we should be able to separate the work from the author?
Bravo, Dan, although yes, you seem to actually have valid reasons so I’m not sure it’s quite the same. I share your feelings about Faulks. Indeed he was a possible for my number 2 in this series of prejudice.
By the by, Barnes on the death of his wife in the third of his three essays “Levels of Life” is stunning, articulate, and impossibly moving. I think it should be required reading for anyone who has experienced the death of a loved one, and anyone who hasn’t.
That latest Barnes has been on my radar as it certainly sounds like my sort of thing. Also, after reading Ali Smith’s superb Artful I have plans to read more essays in the coming year. Getting off to a fair start with some Orwell, but may well give Barnes another go on your recommendation.
@Dan – I would agree about the Barnes. All the stuff about ballooning kind of bored me (although it does make some sense in the end) but don’t feel you have to plough through it. Jump to the third part and maybe read the rest later.
I agree, Jim. I skim read the first two parts. It’s all about the third.
Mine is Zadie Smith. Am I doing myself a disservice?
Oh I think you possibly are. She’s very good.