Friday, 26 July 2013
Where Are All The Good Books?
I used to love spending time in bookshops and knew exactly where to find the titles that appealed to me, the historical fiction section was located in its own alcove with a conveniently placed armchair - In the larger ones I could even buy a cup of coffee and happily browse - Bliss
I visited a major bookshop this week, one of the two large chains which have survived the publishing revolution. The historical fiction, contemporary fiction, so-called 'womens' books' teen, paranormal, chic lit and crime novels are all lumped together under 'Fiction A-Z' Locating titles likely to appeal to me became a chore in itself, not to mention a pain in the neck [literally] from all that bending. Science Fiction still has it's own section but then perhaps that is as it should be?
No quiet corner with a comfy chair away from the draught nowadays. Only Books Labelled:
Bestselling Author: Their umpteenth title to meet contractual requirements so the formula had become stale four books back.
Fan Fiction - spinoffs of Jane Austen [hundreds of them!] From 'Mr Darcy's Secret Brother,' to 'Recipes From The Parsonage Kitchen of Charlotte Collins'
Paranormal Teen Fiction - Teenagers screwing vampires [oh perleaze!]
TV Chefs and their fifteenth book '1000 Ways With Root Vegetables'
Celebrity Biographies - 'The Trials of My Life by Second Bandboy on the Left aged 19!'
Celebrity Coffee Table Books: These are given the most prominent displays where photographs of TV and film celebrities grin at you and their eyes follow you round the shop. All ghostwritten of course.
Actors Turned Author Chic Lit novels which get taken up by one of the 'Big Five' having bypassed the slush pile completely and promoted on TV no matter how banal the plot or unbelievable the characters.
What happened to the epic stories with memorable, proud and flawed heroes and beautiful but slightly selfish heroines you still warm to, all set in good yarns to get your teeth into?
They are still there, just. Stacked in piles on the 'Buy Two Get One Free' bargain tables inside the door.