Well, somehow it’s become the “book” channel over here lately! Hi guys, don’t mind me, just the book lady… But I wanted to chime in briefly tonight to tell you about a New Year’s Resolution I’ve made: I’m going to read more pulp.
Being a librarian, I often get asked about my reading preferences. As I’ve talked about here, and also here, this often makes for an awkward scenario. I was that girl who wanted to check off every single title of the Modern Library’s list of the Best 100 Novels when she was sixteen years old. I have an undergraduate degree in English Literature. I love Joyce, Woolf, and Faulkner. Believe it or not, this is kind of embarrassing when you work in a public library.
All this being said, I pride myself on having non-elitist tastes when it comes to lots of media! Since my awkward teenage years, I’ve gotten over most of my hang-ups with pop music, blockbusters, and reality TV; these days I prefer Jaws to Citizen Kane, Project Runway to The West Wing, and Wu-Tang to Puccini. What’s become most important to me is really, thoroughly enjoying the story — experiencing it without bias, and deciding from there whether I like it or not. Plain and simple. Academia has too much cultural baggage to decide these things on its own.
So why can’t I do that with books, too?
To be fair, I have branched out a little in my reading tastes. In the last couple years I’ve started dabbling in young adult fiction, graphic novels, and manga. I even read Twilight! Maybe the fact that these are niche genres helps; I see them as “other” enough not to encroach upon my beloved literature…
But all that’s going to change in 2011! This is the year of pulp, of thrillers and bestsellers, of Dan Brown and Nicholas Sparks. I will no longer shy away when library chit-chat turns to the latest mystery. And you never know — I might even like it. Wish me luck! What should I try first?