Wednesday, 13 May 2009

I _ _ _ e Dan Brown

I am a self-confessed book snob. It's awful. I judge people if they claim The Da Vinci Code is their favourite book, I shudder (on the inside) when people say, "Oh my God, I love Harry Potter. Did you read the latest one, The Enchanted Monkey from Elsavor?" In short, no I didn't read it because I am not a child.

I am all for children's books - I love them. There's nothing better than reading The Tiger Who Came to Tea to my two-year-old nephew. I mean c'mon, the tiger drank all the water in the tap and Sophie got to eat in a cafe - what is not to like about that? (Sorry about the spoilers) However, that's in the spirit of things - I am not reading about a greedy tiger alone, to myself, in my room at night. That's what irks me about Harry Potter fans - there are so many good books out there but they're reading books intended for a child – with no excuse. Ditto those Twilight books.

You see, I approach reading as a means to explore different styles of writing. I enjoy savouring new words and different approaches to narrative. I love the English language - it's beautiful when employed well. I know this might all sound very pretentious to you. You might even still be reeling for the revelation I've judged you for enjoying Angels & Demons. The thing is, with books, you can afford to be snobby. Sure, read for enjoyment, but also read something that is vaguely going to stretch you, teach you something new, inspire you in some way otherwise you've wasted your time reading some crap which you could have spent reading something magnificent. And life, as we all know, is too short for that.

My boyfriend almost visibly shudders now when someone says they've read a Dan Brown and loved it, or talks about Harry Potter. And not because he's a book snob - he's quite open-minded accepting people, whatever their personal library. He shudders because he fears one day, what he's been fearing might happen for over four years is about to occur; I might open my mouth any moment and say, "Why are you reading that crap?" and slurge forth the above rant. He is a doubting Thomas though - I might be a book snob but I do have manners.

I have a friend who changed her life after reading The Time Traveler's Wife. Whilst I read that book and was much more indifferent to it than most people, that book changed her life. OK, not every book is always going to do that, and not every book will lead you to a good place even. But at least you're in with a chance of feeling challenged by a book if you plump for something with a bit of depth to it next time you're at Borders.

I suppose there's a chance that there are people out there that don't want to be challenged. That's a strange idea to me. I doubt we'd get along...


  1. I feel exactly the same about those books (except I loved the Da Vinci Code film..) but I fear saying anything negative about Twilight incase i'm murdered by outraged teenage girls.

  2. So agreed on the Harry Potter thing. It puzzles me.

    I need book recs! I was in Borders the other day and I couldn't decide. I started reading the Time Traveller's Wife but then lost it and didn't really mind...that might say something about my reaction to the book!

  3. This puts me in mind of Stewart Lee and his views on reading Harry Potter... LOL. I've never understood the HP thing... I had a friend in college who was trying to convince me the books were the best thing EVER - not for me anyway.

    I have a pile of Raymond Carver books to get on with reading & I'm about to get-lost in some Haruki Murakami works...

  4. Okay, so I have to admit to liking Harry Potter (as much as I thought I would hate them when a friend introduced me at 17), and Dan Brown books are okay too. And whilst I'm in this 'admitting things' vein, I probably do have a tendency to read for pleasure rather than because a book is going to push me, or teach me. I think that's probably because I read as a form of relaxation and I don't like to think too much when relaxing.

    Anyway, I'm not (entirely!) opposed to change, so recommend me some books, and I'll try and get my hands on them.

  5. Eeek, I like HP and Dan Brown, for me it was good storytelling really, please don't hire a hit on me!