Thursday, 9 April 2009
Feel bad fiction
I went into Cambridge today. It was weird weather: one minute muggy, the next chilly. Big black clouds trying to rain but never squeezing out more than a few drops. I saw a heron fly over as I walked in across Lammas Land. I'm very fond of herons, and they look so fantastic in flight - like pterodactyls.
I was wandering aimlessly after doing a bit of food shopping and wandered into Waterstones. There was a themed tabletop of books with a little banner in a frame declaring it to be Feel Good Fiction.
I have no idea why I looked at the books. I can think of few labels more designed to put me off than one with Feel Good Fiction on it - bit look I did. The first book I saw was Albert Camus' The Outsider. If you haven't read it, then you will have to take my word for it that you should not come away feeling 'good'.
Nor, with its vision of the future as a 'boot stamping on a human face - forever' is George Orwell's 1984 a book that is ever going to put a spring in your step.
Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale? Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men? Feel Good Fiction? Has anyone at Waterstone's actually read any of these books?