Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Stop, already

I'm getting distinctly tired of "guilty pleasures" and now, "guilty reads." Not sure that Stephen King should be anyone's guilty read. If you like someone, stand up for their writing/music, and if you think they're not that great a writer/singer etc. don't be embarassed to admit it. Stephen King's always been a great writer - probably one of the best writers about childhood in the last thirty years or so, as readers of "Firestarter", "Carrie", "The Body" (made into the film "Stand by Me") and "It" can attest. I've not read any for a while - but seem to recall either "The Dark Half" or "Pet Semetary" as my favourites. I also like "Bridges of Madison County," so sue me - I think its structurally clever, and I like its sentimentality and its morality. I know - as surely everyone does - that we're no better judge today of what contemporary books will stand the test of time than anyone in the past. From Shakespeare to Donne, from "Wuthering Heights" to "The Great Gatsby", the current judgement is more often flawed. I've heard so many people tell me that "Da Vinci Code" is badly written (even people who wouldn't notice such a thing) that I've no desire to read it; but so's "Moo" by Jane Smiley, "Larry's Party" by Carol Shields, and "Anil's Ghost" by Michael Ondaatje; exceptionally terrible novels all. Remember, when Oasis's "(What's the story) Morning Glory" came out, dumb critics preferred Blur's "The Great Escape." Stick by your guns; like what you like; defend your choices; and don't ever call them guilty ones.

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