Monday, August 03, 2009

NPR listeners don't like the genre

NPR recently polled its listeners about the top 100 beach reads. The results are here. While I quite like the books chosen, the list smacks a bit of pretension. Aren't beach reads supposed to be the guilty pleasure, escapist books? This is the time for people to break out the crime, the science fiction the fantasy. Not our NPR readers apparently. There is a Chandler, an Orson Scott Card and Tolkein, of course, but there is only one Stephen King listed? Really?

I may be projecting, but the list looks like favorite books overall or the books people would like to be seen reading instead of the genre. On the genre side, I was a little surprised at the Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett. A fun read to be sure, but I am surprised if it still being read enough to make the list.


christina said...

Haha! I had the same reaction.

Geez, I have the afternoon off to kick back at the beach, sip a pina colada and read. Let me pick up....Gone with the Wind?!?

Uh. No.


Paul said...

I'm an NPR listener (WNYC in NYC) and I see that there seems to be a lot of pseudopretension from listeners. They think they have to be sophisticated all the time. And they actually end up looking like idiots.

There is serious reading, where you can read anywhere I never subscribed to the "This is a beach read and this isn't" mentality, which in and of itself puts restrictions on what is appropriate for the beach. Why can't I read something that isn't fluff or "easy".

Citizen Reader said...

I would guess the Ken Follett is popping up because wasn't another of his books an Oprah choice not long ago? That leads to a bump in all of an author's books, I think.

Citizen Reader said...

Just took a look at the list--I don't think it was so bad. It made me very happy to see "Franny and Zooey" on it, and let's face it, I don't know that the "Thorn Birds" was ever considered real highbrow reading.

I'll take pretentious over proud not to be smart (don't want to be, gasp, elite) any day.

Tripp said...


Good for you for reading while sipping a pina colada. I tried to start the new Carlos Ruiz Zafon literary thriller after a pair of beers and had to switch to watching a movie.


I generally dislike the idea of the beach read and the airplane read as well. The location doesn't matter so much as the mood you have at the time. Sometimes you want heavy and sometimes light.


interesting thought on Follett, that may be it. No, it really isn't so bad, but i do want to see more genre!

kwandongbrian said...

My summer reading choices are atypical. I'm near a small English-language library (I'm in South Korea, so small is an improvement over none) and reading books that are both available and have made news. I am reading (is there an html choice for small?) Twilight, Darwin on Trial, by Philip Johnson and Genome, by Matt Ridley).

Tripp said...

Oh, Brian, I remember my teaching English in China days when the English language books were few and far between. I feel for you!

Twilight, eh? Well it is always good to see what the kids are loving.