Friday, August 25, 2006

British Readers

Interesting article today in The Guardian Unlimited. The author talks about the top-selling books in Great Britain for this past week. Among the things he noted were that nine of the ten are written by women. Eight of ten were, as he says, depressing. He also pointed out they’re all long – an average of 459 pages.

He attributes the somber tone of most of the books to the post-911 attitudes. He seems to feel readers are looking for heavier books now, and writers are leery of writing what could seem “entirely trivial.” Don’t know about the rest of the world, especially England, but I’m veering toward lighter books, ones that make me smile and take me away from reality.

The fact that nine of the ten authors are female doesn’t bother him since women are the biggest buyers of fiction. He seems to assume women buy books by female authors, primarily. I’d have to go take stock of my books, but I don’t think that’s necessarily the case for me. Usually, I don’t pay any attention to the sex of the author.

The author’s unbiased reporting gets dropped as the article lengthens. Toward the end, he begins to put down more popular authors such as JK Rowling and especially Dan Brown. He calls Brown’s writing “subliterate drivel.” It would seem that although he says, “Only an insomniac on a month-long desert-island break could read all ten books,” he still believes it’s best to read boring, depressing literary novels than popular fiction.

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