Sunday, 27 February 2011
Books can be the same, I know.
Lord of the Rings? Well, I'm with CS Lewes. 'Not another f****** elf?" he was reported to have uttered as Tolkien read aloud another chapter to the prestigious Inkies. I struggled through it when I was about fourteen I think, only because it was the book at school and it was too dreary to have to pretend that I had read it when I hadn't. Oh dear. Hobbits Schmobbits. Who cares? Yes, I know it was all about Nazi's and evil spreading over the land, but really... I also felt the same about Melvyn Peake. Smike. Gormenghast (which I do think about every time I go past Lancing College, which isn't that often) what a sprawling turgid page turner that is. Awful. Just awful. The TV adaptation was just abut bearable, but even that... Other massive bestsellers have left me cold too. But then of course, others that have never been out of print can still grip me. Forever Amber? Oh, yes please... the attention to detail, the account of the plague, the theatres, the royals, the inns and the streets of London have me gripped every single time.
Some bestsellers, just like Marmite, provoke a strong response. Which is about the best an author can hope for.