I’ve never considered myself to be any kind of book snob given I will read anything I can get my hands on: romance, mystery, classics, thriller, fantasy, memoir, even the odd cereal box here and there.
Thus I was a bit disturbed a couple years ago to discover a small prejudice when it came to choosing my next read – I had developed an aversion to blockbusters. If a book’s been read by 70 million people worldwide and translated into 30 different languages then oh no, it’s not good enough for me. No sirree, there’s no room for populist rubbish on my bookshelves!
Given I have no idea where this distaste comes from (other than a natural dislike for following the crowd) this appears to be the very worst kind of snobbery, the unjustified kind. Which is why I decided to tackle this ridiculous bias about a year ago.
First stop was Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code. In 2009 there were 80 million copies of this book scattered through the world so I can only imagine what that figure stands at now. A fast paced thriller it manages to weave fact and fiction so seamlessly you have no idea which is which. This makes for a compelling read and naturally I couldn’t put the bloody thing down once I started it. In fact I raced through the book so quickly I had to immediately re-read it to pick up everything I missed the first time. Blockbusters 1, Me 0.
Next on the list was Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series. By the time I got round to these, Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart had already been off and on 100 times and the movie of the second book was out. I love a bit of a romance but vampires? Really? Once again I was proven wrong. The entire trilogy was knocked off in a whirlwind week of sparkling skin, pregnant pauses and considerable sleep deprivation on my part. Blockbusters 2, Me 0.
My final stop on the blockbuster train was Stieg Larsson’s Girl with The Dragon Tattoo. I was especially determined to stay away from this one because the girl in the bookstore assured me “this has been HUGELY popular, it will be a great gift for your dad”. However, just as dad finished reading it I found myself with an empty bedside table. So I grudgingly started the book and within two chapters was hooked. Three nights later it was finished and I praised god for my e-reader as I quickly purchased and despatched books two and three. Blockbusters 3, Me 0.
From this simple experiment it would appear that blockbusters are popular for good reason. They are not just good reads, they are easy and compelling reads too. This is a shocking combination both for sleep and also getting any work done, but for the average bookworm, it is a very sweet union indeed.
Kelly is a designer, writer and lover of all books – great and small. She is also a reformed over-committer and blogs about this at A Life Less Frantic. You can follow Kelly on Twitter here.
What blockbuster books would you recommend to a friend?