A friend of mine started her own virtual book club in the UK’s first lockdown. I didn’t join it straight away because I figured I was already putting enough pressure on myself to read 2 books a week. Then they read Convenience Store Woman and I asked her what she thought. She invited me to join and I said yes. As you’d expect, the book selection has been hit and miss. My friend and her boyfriend come up with a selection of titles that are all around 200 pages in length. Then we all vote on our favourite. I think I’ve only picked the winning book a couple of time since joining but there haven’t been many books that I’ve really disliked. Until this week. It hadn’t been my choice but that’s not really the point. It sounded like an interesting read and I was quite excited to read it. How wrong I was.
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?