Saturday, May 3, 2008

Sour Grapes

DH and I went thrift store shopping today for the first time in several weeks. I picked up a bag of paperbacks for a quarter a piece. Typically I read books from the library, but I like to have a reserve supply of paperbacks on hand for reading in the pool and traveling. If I only spend a quarter on the book, I won't mind terribly if I drop it in the pool or leave it on a plane.

Because I was in a hurry to get to the beach, I sort of randomly picked out a handfull of books. This afternoon, I sat down to read one of them. I should have known better than to buy any novel labeled as a "Romance." I bought it because I always did like to read trashy stuff at the beach. I thought romance novels were the sort of raunchy stuff I have always referred to as "beach reading," such as novels by Erick Von Lustbader and the like. (Is that not the very best nom de plume ever??) Anyway, I used to read Victoria Holt and Mary Stewart books. I rather liked Gothic romance. "Bodice rippers" I think they call them. I always thought of them as Romance novels.

So, today when I picked up a novel classed as a "Romance" novel by a "New York Times Best Selling Author," I thought I was getting either a trashy beach novel or a bodice ripper. Oh, my dear God in heaven! The book was what I would describe as extremely poorly written soft-core porn. After reading the first dozen pages or so, I was ready to give up on it but I kept reading in utter disbelief, sort of like you watch a car wreck. I just could not believe something so awful could be published by an actual, legitimate publishing house.

I can't get an agent or a publisher to so much as read my stories, but this tripe is actually published and ends up on the "best seller" list.

God, it's frustrating. In my heart, I want to be thrilled at the success of writers who make it. I really do. I am awed and inspired by good writers whose books do well. It is hard not to be demoralized and depressed reading crap that can get published when no one will even read my stories.

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