I’m part of a lovely coven. Um, I mean bookclub. I joined because I couldn’t afford my own book habit and libraries don’t like it if you keep their books. We’re a nice little selection of bibliophiles. Some of us like Jilly Cooper, some of us like Salman Rushdie and some of us don’t even read. All of us like wine.
It’s not very civilized. Everyone talks at the same time. We rarely discuss the books we read, unless they’re controversial or particularly good. We drink vino, we eat food with our fingers and catch up on each others lives.
We also have a black-market book trade that happens between the more voracious of us. A secret swapping of titles that happens under the table.
‘Have you read the Thomas Covenant series?’
‘I’ll bring them next month’
‘Thanks, oh and here’s the complete works of Eric van Lustbader’
I swear, even the most erudite of our readers have been tempted to dip their toes in this perilous undercurrent. Interestingly, it’s mostly the Rushdie readers who are often found with the Cooper books, checking where they fall open.
Which makes me wonder. Why do readers judge other readers on what they read? I’m animalistic when it comes to books. I gobble them up like a savage. I loose sleep over them, I re-read the good ones and I can’t give a single one away. I spend grocery money on books and I’ve banned myself from Kalahari.net. I have an ex libris stamp, for god’s sake. But I still have to defend myself when I’m bust reading Louis L’Amour. Or Marian Keyes. Or James Frey.
So help me out here. As I potter off to bookies to get my fix, I ask this. Is it just me, or have you also been sneered at by a literary snob?