As a follow-up to Nathan Bransford's recent blog on Oct. 6. '09 (literary agent for Curtis Brown), I would like to reinforce his opinion that taste in literature (or anything) is always:
#1 extremely personal
#2 a way of trashing something you don't agree with.
In the case of literature, as Nathan points out, to trash a book is highly risky. Not only will there be others (including the agent and publisher, of course) who disagree with you, but there might be thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands, who are reading the book. Therefore, as a writer, there is something to learn from that book's formula for success.
In other words, if you trash a book because you believe it is unworthy of being on the same bookshelf as a "classic," you are neglecting the thousands of books who have given readers a "quick read," a "beach read," or even a "plane read." They may not be a MOBY DICK, but they have provided hours of pleasure, nonetheless, for readers who may not be looking for a timeless treasure that can be dissected.
There is something else happening here. Trashing a book does, indeed, mean closing off a part of your brain that learns from whatever was deemed worthy of publication in that book by either an agent or a publisher, or both. If I hate a book, I don't trash the entire thing. I will simply point out in my book clubs what I didn't find up to par: plot, character development, voice, symbols, etc. However, if there was any small redeeming factor in the writing, I also point that out, too. I cannot remember reading a book that I did not finish, for that reason. But then, I am one to never walk out of a movie, either, even when I dislike it intensely!
- Delray Beach, FL, Westport, MA, United States
- Undergraduate degree, Colby College; MA in teaching, Columbia Teacher's College; former high school English teacher in three states; former owner of interior design co. with advanced degree from R.I. School of Design. Published first book in 2009 titled, MINOR LEAGUE MOM: A MOTHER'S JOURNEY THROUGH THE RED SOX FARM TEAMS. Her humorous manuscript titled ELDERLY PARENTS WITH ALL THEIR MARBLES: A SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR THE KIDS was published in June, 2014. In 2015 A SURVIVAL GUIDE won a gold medal in the self-help category at the Florida Authors & Publishers Association conference. See website By CLICKING HERE.