Lists, Miscellanea, Reviews

What’s Popular Is Not Always Right: A Top Ten List

I wish I could say I haven’t wasted my time on E. L. James, Dan Brown, or James Patterson, but I have. I read the whole 50 Shades Trilogy. As a librarian, you get curious about these things. You see 400 people on the waiting list, you assume the book has to be halfway decent. I’m here to tell you that no, no it doesn’t. The ‘what is popular’ argument is what lead me to books like Kiss the Girls, 50 Shades of Grey, and The Da Vinci Code. It was also part of my job to be knowledgeable about what was popular in literature (it pains me to use the word literature there), it’s also why I left the public library field. Now I occupy that tiny sliver of the library field when my background in Latin is actually useful. I also feel less pressure to read what’s popular and more freedom to read whatever I was. Winning all around.

Smith and Dylan

This week’s list: popular authors that I’ve never read (as hosted by The Broke and the Bookish).

10. Alexander Dumas. Yes, I hang my head in shame as I acknowledge this. I’ve seen numerous film adaptations, for what it’s worth. (And what it’s worth is nothing.) Bonus: I haven’t read Victor Hugo yet either and I have no immediate plans to do so.

09. Thomas Pynchon.
Technically, I’ve dipped my literary toe here, but in general I don’t enjoy feeling daft – which is the primary response Pynchon manages to evoke (in me). I like to enjoy my reading.

08. Nora Roberts/Danielle Steel/Janet Evanovich/etc. They are so far out of my reading zone that I can’t even imagine a time when I would read one of their books. And honestly, when Katherine Heigl is cast as the lead in a movie, I can’t help it – I judge*.

07. Lauren Conrad, Hilary Duff, Madonna, John Travolta, etc.  Also known as the celebrities who try to write books – badly. Conversely, Hugh Laurie and Steve Martin have done it well.

06. Patti Smith. Recently I read that EVERY girl has read this and loves to talk about it. I haven’t read it, but I kind of want to now.  Just so I have something to talk about.

(Plus, there’s Bob Dylan.)

05. Jennifer Weiner. I find her abrasive and have never been tempted to pick up her books –although I do own Good in Bed. To be fair, I can’t stand Jonathan Franzen either. Which brings me to my next selection…

04. Jonathan Franzen. I’ve tried to read The Corrections…(at the very least, I read the Wikipedia synopsis – does that count?).

03. Clive Barker. I’ve been tempted, I just haven’t ventured there. Yet.

02. Markus Zusak. He perpetually tops my to be read list, maybe someday. Soon.

01. Glenn Beck/Rush Limbaugh. Never. Never. Never.

Okay, so has everyone read Just Kids? Am I missing out? Which authors have you never read? If you say Stephen King, I’ll be shocked. And if you tell me you genuinely enjoy Pynchon, I’ll be speechless.

*I know authors generally have little input into which actor is cast, so I don’t hold Evanovich responsible. However, the subject matter of her books is equally unlikely to pique my interest.

Image found here.

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