Saturday, November 15, 2008

Secret Reads

There's a great post over on Shannon Hale's blog comparing fine works of literature with mass market paperbacks. Can one call the former "good books," and the latter "bad books"? Do both have a place on our night stand? Is reading meant to be for enlightenment only, or for pleasure as well? And if so, why are we occasionally embarrassed to be seen reading some of our favorite things?

I confess that I love People magazine. And Us Weekly. I don't subscribe, or buy them regularly, but if I'm laying on the beach or getting a pedicure or just need a break from life, I buy a copy and spend a delightful half hour reading drivel. Occasionally someone will see me with a copy and ask why I don't read more highbrow mags, since I'm a writer and all that. Like I should only read The New Yorker and Atlantic Monthly.

I think it's a big wide world and there's room for all kinds of writing, all kinds of books, and all kinds of magazines. Shannon's post reminds me a lot of that interview on WBUR that Siobhan posted where the interviewer attacks Gossip Girls having never read it or bothering to think that while it may not be Newbery or Printz material, it sells hundreds of thousands of copies, which means it has hundreds of thousands of readers.

Read what you want, I say. Potato, Pa-tah-toe.

*caroline hickey