Recently she donated 14 Danielle Steels, with publishing dates ranging from the 1980s onwards, for me to ‘lend’ out to people. Now I know that many many people are absolute book snobs who wouldn’t touch a Steel if it was the last book in the world, and on fire, and being stamped on my a massive Kindle-shaped devil with flames coming out of it’s ears, but I’ve read a couple in the past,and actually enjoyed them. I am willing to concede that my current market for the TLS may not so much, so was resigning them to ‘top shelf hidden behind the classics that make me look good, along with the secret stash of Freya North’s’ collection.
Then I heard Quintinn Letts’ Radio 4 piece on ‘what’s the point of public libraries?’. In it, Letts spoke about how the early public libraries were supposed to promote literature, rather than the ‘penny dreadful the middle class hate so much’. Letts was deploring the fact that now, public libraries do not discriminate in buying popular authors that their readers love, and read. Why aren’t we all reading DH Lawrence, if we must read dusky romance?
To that I say, because sometimes, when you’ve read The Road, Lord of the Flies and The Handmaid’s Tale in a week *you need a break*! There is nothing wrong with reading smutty, cheap romance novels for pleasure because at least you are reading for pleasure. And with the ability to read comes the ability to discern ideas, and practicing your reading makes you a better reader, if children see adults enjoying reading, and looking forward to reading, then they will enjoy and look forward to it. If you spend four months plowing your way through War and Peace, hating every second of it, how does that make you a better person that those who have read twelve James Patterson’s in that time, love them all and had great conversations with their mates about them?
I cannot abide book snobbery, and will counteract it at every turn. With this in mind this week I start a new challenge…The Danielle Steelathon. Fourteen Danielle Steels in fourteen days, book a day, reading on the train, in the pub, at home, in the bath, in the park, anywhere. Anywhere where I can get out my trash and display it proudly to the world and say; ‘there is nothing wrong with reading this’. Plus its a great way for me to practise my speed reading, which is getting lapse these days.
So it begins. I shall attempt to update this every day. I may fail. But if I do, it was not for want of trying. Anyone else wishing to join me in my crazy quest more than welcome to do so. First book, ‘Daddy’, published 1989.