Recently I did a survey for a well known publisher and one of the final questions was “which celebrity would you like to see publish a book?” A question which sums up the world of publishing. It’s not about the writing or the story. It’s about the personality. Publishing houses will give a contract to every famous person who wants to write because they know people will buy them. Even though I love Richard Osman, I wasn’t convinced that his debut novel would be worth bothering with. He was just another famous name being given the chance to write a book because they knew it would sell. Though I had my issues with the first book, I actually enjoyed it and couldn’t wait to see what Richard Osman came up with next.
In my bookish post last Wednesday, I had a bit of a rant about people judging books on their unsavoury topics over their literary merit. This is something that has always bothered me about Lolita and bothered me about My Dark Vanessa. Despite being one of the most hyped debuts this year, I have still seen plenty of readers respond negatively to the book. Even as they praise the writing, they just can’t believe anyone would dare to write about that topic. When did we, as a society, decide that we should sweep things like this under the rug? As if even saying the word paedophile was promoting it. It’s insane. Yet do they care about all of the psychological thrillers that play fast and loose with serial killers to titillate their audience. The kind of books that get off on terrorising broken woman because the men in their lives are fucked up for no real reason. No, everyone loves those fucking books. Girl on a Train and those like it are universally praised by readers despite the content and despite the fact they have less literary worth than Nabokov’s most famous novel. What the fuck is wrong with people?