Monday, 27 July 2009

Paperback writer...

We're travelling, hence the unaccustomedly long quiet on my part - and the lack of a British Blogging Mummy of the Week. Apologies for that; I even have one all lined up but I've missed my slot so you'll just have to bear the suspence until next Sunday when I'm back in the UK. Can you bear it? Can you? (Don't answer that...)

In the meantime...

Have you ever finished a book and felt - well - 'used'?

No names, no pack drill, but I have, more than once, and it's always my own stupid fault. Firstly I'm of the 'I've started so I'll finish' school of readers, and secondly, I'm a sucker for a '3 for 2' offer. Not always the best of combinations. So I wander into Waterstones, Smiths, Borders, and a title I've read about catches my eye. It's usually well-reviewed, or at the very least by an author whom I like, and I think to myself, AHA! At last, the chance to read some 'quality'...

But then, as I turn and walk towards to the till, I am besieged by a host of alternatives all with those appealing little circular orange stickers on the front cover. Buy me! they say. Not that one. Oh, you'll learn something from that one, that's for sure. You'll enjoy it, no doubt. But will it pull it's weight? Does it count towards the holy grail of a 'free book'? I don't think so... Look, look, all around you, here are my sister titles, also on Buy One Get One Free, my siblings in shame, all of us cheap as chips and twice as nasty... Go on, go on... you know you want to...

And guess what? I do want to. Free books? Who wouldn't? And before I know it my worthy interesting book is left forlornly on a shelf whilst I rifle through chick-lit heaven and I leave the store with a bag full of titles that there is NO WAY I will ever have the nerve to display on the bookshelves, and which - once read - will instead be delivered shame-facedly in a plain brown paper bag to Oxfam in one of my yearly purges....

So anyway, that's how it happens that I frequently find myself reading books that are like candyfloss - too sweet, that leave a disgusting taste in your mouth, and are full of empty calories.
But that's so easy to say. Get me, huh? Passing judgement on other people's hard work and effort. Who am I to say these things and not have had a shot at writing something better myself?
So I decided to have a go at it. Why not?

But you can see the diabolical results over at Powder Room Graffiti. And I warn you; it's not pretty...


  1. While the other site is loading I thought I would just leave you this note: I used to be Coming out of Waterstone's with twelve books and a gaping hole in my bank account because of the three for twos. Then when I got home I used to read them all cover to cover while NOT CREASING THE SPINES because that would be terrible.

    Then one day I saw someone who was travelling and he'd torn his paperback into several pieces to reduce the weight and left those pieces behind when he was done with them. I still don't do that, but it has changed my view of books dramatically.

    I realised I read books to make my life better, not more stressful. They are objects to be used. A bad book now gets tossed after about twenty pages. A crease in a spine is not a terrible thing.

    And today in Waterstone's? I got two books and was allowed a free one, but I got one for the kids instead because I didn't really think I'd read another.

    (I like to pass this on because it has made my reading life at least infinitely less stressful.)

  2. And that's why I love the library. For those times when shameful chick-lit is just what's needed, but you can't justify buying it, or ever putting it on the shelves. It is a dirty little habit, a secret between me and the librarian. Like chocolate, without the calories...

  3. Unfortunately I accidentally put some on my bookshelf once... and a friend was searching my shelves looking for something to borrow "oh, what's that one about?" she asked... My secret was out. The shame, the embarassment, the cleansing feeling as I shared my guilty secret with a friend and then the guilt shared as she actually borrowed one of them.

  4. You should read Milla's review of "Unless" over at PowderRoomGrafitti. Cracking!

  5. I could do that too..but after the first two or three downers and dramas I just couldn't take it anymore. I'm over to read your other post as it looks pretty funny!

  6. Better pass on the free books from now on, bargain hunter, because you really don't get the quality you deserve and that's no bargain. Always go with the book that in its original binding was expensive and that now is a cheaper paperback. That's what I do, how I afford good books. Chick lit is candy floss, you said it yourself. You can't properly get your teeth into it, excuse the pun.


Go on - you know you want to...