“You know,” said Middle Daughter the other day, as we sat contentedly reading, “the books you read are sometimes a bit, er, … embarrassing.”
I looked up nonchalantly from my Dean Koontz (Relentless, in case it’s of interest), and peered across over my espresso to her book. A Short Introduction To Kant, I had to admit, possibly trumped Koontz for educative and entertainment value, but I never like to enter into any debate on mere matters of opinion. And I didn’t want to lose an argument. I couldn’t even win on wordcount. Her book didn’t look very short to me, with its depressingly dense text. Unlike the Dean Koontz, printed for myopic fifty-somethings.
I pointed out to her I had already read an even shorter introduction to Kant, and had once considered looking at his work in the original German. I reminded her of the hours she spends gazing at Heat and Closer magazines, which don’t appear to demand reading skills of any sort. And I returned happily to my book, secure in my addiction to thrillers of all types.
Later I remembered a not dissimilar challenge from my husband a few weeks earlier. He’d just finished the Booker prize-winning novel The Sense Of An Ending by Julian Barnes, and was agitating for me to read it quickly so he could discuss it with someone. At the time, however, I was happily engrossed in John Grisham’s The Litigators. This was an excellent and hugely entertaining read which I can’t recommend too highly. It was Waugh-esque in its satirical attack on ambulance chasers and the nastier side of litigation.
When I finally picked up the Booker prize winner, I was sadly disappointed by it. I actually usually like Barnes’ work, but after the gripping high jinks of the Grisham, The Sense Of An Ending was a comparatively uninspiring read. I loved the atmosphere and writing if the first few chapters, but it then seemed to dissolve into a careless predictability.
My husband was horrified by my lukewarm response, but even more horrified by my unwavering assertion that The Litigators was a better read.
Oh well. It’s all just a matter of opinion. I reckon I get through enough exceedingly worthy material to compensate for the hours I “waste” greedily consuming the latest thriller.
And my lowbrow habits clearly haven’t affected the rest of the family in any adverse fashion.