Being a bookseller may just be my part-time job but its a job I do well. And I take some pride in that.
Which is why I flat-out refuse to sell a bad book. My self-respect will not allow it.
Sure, I’ll take it silently from the customer and ring it through the till. I’ll perhaps even smile. But if asked my opinion, I will not mince my words.
One such book is Fifty Shades of Grey.
Here’s a fun story. I had two elderly customers ask me about this book, what it was about. You try to explain bondage to women who look remarkably like your grandmother. Eventually, I went with the term ‘erotica’. They bought the books.
This trilogy has taken the world by storm. People love it. Everybody wants it. Book clubs are buying all three books at once, brimming with pride at their cleverness. The book buying community is swept up in this whirl of excitement.
It’s mob mentality, nerd style.
Here’s the scoop, according to yours truly: It’s a bad book. It’s badly written, it’s badly imagined, it’s all just bad. It started out as Twilight fan fiction, starring Bella and Edward, until it was removed from the web pages due to its sexual nature. True story.
I’ll be honest, I haven’t finished the book. Actually I’ve barely started. I’ve read the first chapter. If it gets better, please do let me know and I will try again. But one thing working in a book store has taught me, is that there are far too many books and far too little time to read all of them. And if the first chapter is rubbish then the rest of the book probably will be too. And this book reads like the wet dream of a fifteen year old girl who’s read one too many Nora Roberts novels and dreams of marrying Chuck Bass. The writing is predictable. The sentence structure is boring. There’s no poetry, no rhythm. It’s erotica dressed up as literature.
And don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against erotica. All I’m saying is, call a spade a spade. Stop trying to pretend it has any sort of intellectual appeal.
I’m not wasting my time.
For the record I will also not sell:
- The Language of Flowers (fiction; for many of the same reasons)
- Bringing Up Boys (non fiction; a popular parenting book written by a fundamental Christian who believes that homosexuality in boys is both preventable and curable)
- Anything by a certain nameless local author, for no other reason than he is a douchebag. And I say this with authority. Too often he has treated my colleagues and myself with complete disrespect and general fuckery.