I have been reading fiction for several years. I have enjoyed many books and short stories in that time with exceptions which just did not grip me. However I have to admit, that I have not always been fair.
I can admit it.
I have been a snob.
If the book was not by a well-known author with excellent reviews and awards behind it, I just felt like it was a waste of time to read it. I was not willing to give anything I had not heard of a chance. Life is short and what is the point.
Through most of my twenties, I even shunned modern books of any kind. Only the classics- those books which were well established and here to stay- could get my attention. I went through every classic I could find, from Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment to George Orwell's 1984 to J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye to Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian. They were all excellent and very well-written. However, I must admit, they did not all grip me.
The truth is crime fiction is really my genre. For the longest time, I could not even pinpoint my favorite genre to read, much less write. And I could not even decide on a genre which I wanted to really delve into.
However I did decide and have since read several books in that genre and while most have been around for a while and well-established, many of them have actually been written in this century.
This year, I really went out of my gourde.
I read a few novels available on the Amazon Kindle. One had a meager price and the other was absolutely free.
Can we say turnaround?
Now while I know that some classics even are available on the Kindle for free, I was giving an unknown author a chance. While my instincts a few years ago would have warned me to stay away from such trash, I took a chance.
I am very glad I did.
The books were by authors who are unknown to most, but each one was excellent. They were well-written and very professional. I found myself immersed in each one and thought, other than a big name on the cover page, what was the difference?
There was really none.
If the author had been well-known, I would have read the book and totally thought 'Wow. Another good one. That guy just keeps going.'
Yet, I think that my old attitude comes from an old place. In years past, writers had to go through the major houses to get published. This brought with it a certain prestige especially when the author's books sold well. Wow. What a mountain they climbed. They must b geniuses!
Well, some of them were.
However, with the uprising of self-publishing a lot of things have changed. Now anyone can publish for very little cost. Now does this mean a lot of bad books are out there?
It's much different than the old days with traditional publishing where every published book was spectacular.
Wait a minute.
Actually there were many less than quality novels back then, too. I don't think the e-revolution will hurt much of anything. I think it will only open up more doors for more writers. After all, the editors, agents and publishers miss talent often just like in any other form of entertainment. People are human. They make mistakes.
And I now realize I made a big one. The saying “You can't judge a book by its cover.” has been around for a long time for a reason. The words inside the book are black ink on paper. What the author does with them can only be discovered when we open the book and open our eyes to the fact that lots of great books are put out every year and may not go on to be classics but are nonetheless worth a read.
If you have been a snob as I have, I urge you to open up. You could be missing some truly great stories out there.
What are your thoughts? Are you a snob? Are you open to anything? Any regrets?