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(Anti) Bestsellers

By On Aug 15 2012, 8:00 am

Don’t tell me what to do.

More to the point don’t tell me what to read.

Contrary and stubborn. That’s me, I suppose, trying hard not be like everyone else, not to follow the crowd, but to be myself, and that goes for my taste in reading and movies as well.

There is a long list of bestselling books and mega-hit movies I haven’t read or seen. Titanic is one movie that comes to mind. I never saw the point of watching it when I knew how it would end.

My daughter Dani was an adolescent when the first Harry Potter book came out. She loved it and recommended it to me. I gave up after a few pages. Wizards and magic aren’t mything. Ditto for the movies. I’ve seen bits and pieces of all of them on television over the years, but I’ve never sat through one in its entirety.

Dani is a writer and reads even more voraciously than I do. I value her opinion and she’s one of the few people I can discuss books with ad nauseum. She’s in her twenties and knows what’s hot and what’s happening. We whisper to each other during movies, analyze them to death afterward, usually offering suggestions on how we would have rewritten the plot.

The Twilight series? Dani read them all and loved them. Vampires aren’t my thing, either, although I did watch the DVD of the first movie with her. I can see the appeal of immortal love and why young girls are swept up by the notion. I get it. But…it’s vampires and werewolves. I’ll pass.
I’ve been let down too many times over the years by bestselling novels and the movies “you have to see.” Sometimes I go far in the other direction. I won’t read or see something just because that’s what everyone else is doing and raving about.

Fifty Shades of Grey? Again, Dani read the series. While she didn’t find it exceptionally well-written, the hero fascinated her. She found him compelling and that’s why she kept reading. A couple of good friends read the series as well and loved or liked it. I admit I looked at the excerpts online, but the truth is, I don’t read erotica and there wasn’t anything in the excerpts to make me think I had to have those books.

One book Dani recommended to me repeatedly for close to a year was The Hunger Games until finally I caved to pressure and bought it. Although it isn’t what I’d normally read, it is exceptionally well-written and unusual. I’m glad I read it.

I read The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo because it looked like the sort of suspense thing I like to read. (I had a bookstore gift certificate so it didn’t cost me anything, either!) Subsequently I read the second book in the series but have no desire to read the third, because once I’ve figured out an author’s shtick, I’m done.

There are some truly fine authors writing some fine books. The only problem is too often they write basically the same book over and over. I may read a few, but when I don’t see anything different from that author, I stop picking up his books.

There are other authors, however, who can write a series with the same character as the star and every book is different and interesting. Amazing, isn’t it?

Luckily we all have different tastes. Luckily there are enough talented authors writing today to keep us all happily reading. Some of the best, most memorable books I’ve read are by authors I never heard of before and may never hear of again. It’s possible the book I read may be the only one that author will ever write. But if I enjoyed it, if I escaped into it, she did her job. She may never be a bestselling author, but I thank her.

Have you read a book you loved by an author with whom we may not be familiar? Was the bestseller you adored? Word of mouth does wonders for authors. Here’s your opportunity to post a comment to share.


4 Responses to “(Anti) Bestsellers”

  1. Mary Hughes says:

    Dorothy Dunnett wrote the amazing Crawford of Lymond series of historicals. I enjoyed them immensely, but I’ve always loved her lesser-known Dolly series more.

  2. Kaye Kelly says:

    Barbara,I get what you’re saying about best selling books. So often I’ve looked forward to reading a book touted as an international best seller and been disappointed. Then again, there have been times I’ve loved them. All down to personal taste, I guess. For me any book in just about any genre that’s written in a way that’ll hold my interest is a winner.

  3. Mary, I’m not huge on historical fiction but I’ve heard Dorothy Dunnett is wonderful. Kaye, I was in a bit of rush when I wrote this (moving) but I guess part of what motivated me was the shock when others discover what I haven’t read or watched and tell me I must. Shrek comes to mind, along with numerous other animated movies. My response is I outgrew cartoons by age 12! Although…I did enjoy The Incredibles. Definitely what we like is a matter of personal taste. Recommend away. I love to know what others liked and why, but I might not share their interest. Thanks for commenting.

  4. Heather says:

    I’m with ya girl! I’m a rebel, too! I also refuse to buy into the hype of best-sellers and feel good hits of the summer. lol. One book comes to mind I think you’d enjoy, Heat by R. Lee Smith. It’s science fiction-romance-erotica-romantic suspense mash-up beyond your wildest imaginations. I haven’t recommended to any of my friends because they don’t have the nerve to read it. I’d love to know what you think of it, if you choose to read it. Biblio-ancharists unite!

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