Friday, February 02, 2007

Library Bias

“For a long time now I have tried simply to write the best I can. Sometimes I have good luck and write better than I can.” - Ernest Hemingway

I can't believe I'm quoting Ernest Hemingway considering how much I hate his work. Still, I think I finally found one thing of his that I do like! That quote.

Do you ever read over something you wrote and feel amazed that it came from you? I've been working through one of my novels, and every now and then I stumble across a particularly good line. Not that the rest is sludge (at least, I hope not) but sometimes I laugh at my own work or get choked up... and that seems really strange to me.

I do like this book. I hope the agents and editors do, too.

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My library director has decided that she will no longer order any paperbacks for the circulation in our town library. Period. If she can't get it in hardback, it won't go on the shelves.

Additionally, she typically refuses to order any romances that I request -- sometimes the reason is that it's not in hardback, but not always.

Near the front desk of our library there is a display of recommended books. All of the employees put out one or two of their favorite books. Many of them I've read and enjoyed. But the director always puts out those heavy literary tomes or tragic non-fiction. Nothing light. Nothing fun. No mysteries or sci-fi or (*gasp*) romance.

I often wonder if people like that think too much about what they "should" read and not so much what they would enjoy reading.

I don't only read romance. I read just about anything. I do have to admit a prejudice against many so-called literary novels, because most of the time they end unhappily. I'm not reading to grow as a person, I am reading to be entertained. If growing happens, fine. But I refuse to get attached to a character and make them my friend and then have them die, or have their hearts broken, or have their child killed or their dog or whatever (the only exception to this for me was "The Guardian" by Nicholas Sparks).

I will never force my daughter to read "Where the Red Fern Grows" or "The Yearling" or "Old Yeller". If she chooses to read them when she's older, fine. But even now, thirty years after I read them, they depress me just thinking about them.

Thankfully, there is one library in our system who has nothing against paperbacks. They're forty-five minutes away from me, but that's okay. There's a Christmas Tree shop down there, too, so it makes the trip worthwhile.

Still, it's frustrating. Next time I see her, I plan on reminding her that more readers prefer romance to any other genre (and thanks to RWA, I can print off cute litte pie charts). And if she wants to get her circulation numbers up (and she does -- because her job depends on it), maybe she should consider loosening her stance just a little.

And that is my rant for the day. It may just be that I am in a "mood". I started doing my taxes yesterday.

1 comment:

Tori Lennox said...

I would have to kill that woman. Or at least complain to her bosses. She has to report to SOMEBODY. I'm lucky in that our little library isn't full of snobs.