Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Literature vs. Entertainment

On the landing at the top of our stairs, are our bookcases - crammed with lots of old favorites, a few new finds (we get most of our books from the library), and some classics that we're determined to read some day.  Three shelves - stacked double in places - are dedicated to Old Faithfuls, those books that we return to again and again when we want an easy, comforting, reliable read.  On Dave's side it's the entire Louis L'Amour collection - always a clean story where good defeats evil.  A few years ago for Christmas I went on a scavenger hunt through e-bay, used book stores and library castoffs to complete his set, and he's read them all - and frequently quotes them to me.

On my side, it's the Cat Who... series by Lilian Jackson Braun.  I have read and re-read all twenty-nine installments several times.  Admittedly, the later books showed signs of Ms. Braun's advancing years (she's now 97) but I feel at home in the fictional town of Pickax City.  The residents have become my friends and it's a relaxing trip. 

These are the type of novels that tend to be frowned on in bookish circles so you hesitate to name them among your favorite authors - the guilty pleasure that you don't admit chosing in place of the summer's hottest bestseller to sit on the porch swing and read with a glass of tea - the books that make bibliophiles look at you over their half-glasses, with a piercing glare and pursed lips.  But while neither L'Amour nor Braun may ever be listed among the giants of "literature", they are fantastic storytellers so we proudly admit to loving them and they keep their prominant spots on our top shelves. 

What "old faithfuls" with worn covers and cracked spines are on your bookshelf?  When you find a story you love, do you re-read?  Are there any books you secretly love, but don't admit to?  Bloggers, do you feel pressure to review "literary" titles rather than fun reads?


  1. Well, as much as I champion the "Classics" I have read far less of them than I have the Dan Browns and John Grishams of the world. And I see nothing wrong with that. Read what you want, when you want. Shout it from the rooftops. If you are in love with Twilight - what do I care? I'm just happy to know you read something. Reading stimulates imagination and that leads to creativity - which extends your life and makes your place in it more helpful. Unless you only read books about how to make bombs - then maybe you should read a little Dickens or something.

  2. I love the "Cat Who" series. Those short, fun books are perfect for a hot summer day; it's cool 400 miles north of everywhere, you know. They may be corny but who cares?