Discussion | Assigning ‘value’ to genre books

This is going to be something of a discussion post, but also something of a wake-up call for myself. It is all spurred on by one particular book: The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren.

(Before we start this: I know this is an incredibly privileged position to be in. The fact that I have the means to buy books at all is a privilege I am grateful for every day. I am fortunate enough to live in the UK, making book buying much easier than those living in countries that don’t have huge book markets. This is an extremely ‘first world problem’ to have. Disclaimer over.)

Me and my friend Liz have both wanted to read Christina Lauren’s newest release since it started making the rounds in the online book community pre-publication. It’s safe to say the hype train on this one has definitely left the station. We’d love to jump on that train too but, like so many other readers, we’re not based in the US, therefore we need to wait until the UK publication date of 2020 which, right now, seems like aaaages away. (We still have our fingers crossed that they’ll push up the UK pub date.)

Now, the ebook is available now via Amazon Kindle, but it’s a whopping £9.99 to purchase. I’ll be honest: ebooks being the same price, or in some cases more expensive than the print version, has always got my back up a little bit for no apparent reason. I think it’s down to the fact that I am stubborn and set in my ways and so I still prefer the tangible ‘pay money for physical product’ strategy as opposed to the whole digital download situation that is happening in all entertainment industries right now. (You can keep your digital copies, thanks, you will need to pry my DVDs from my cold, dead hands.)

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Discussion | Book Genre Snobbery

I am guilty, my friends, of book genre snobbery. I like to think I’m an open minded reader, but there are still underlying prejudices that have been instilled into me through years of secondary, further, and higher education. Literature with a capital L is one thing, commercial fiction enjoyed by the masses is another. Or so the story goes.

Every time I realise I’m getting sucked into yet another young-adult fantasy there is a little bit of my brain that says ‘oh it’s quite good, considering it’s YA‘ which is an awful knee-jerk reaction to have, but it’s inbuilt at this point. Sometimes I feel like I have to justify or apologise for reading YA. Sometimes I don’t even own up to my recent reading including mostly YA fantasy. And it’s because of previous book genre snobbery that’s built up over time. I still feel the need to make a joke or a slight nod to the fact that I’m a 23-year old literature graduate who studied Early modern literature, spent months writing a dissertation about humoral theory, body criticism, and Shakespeare’s Coriolanus, and yet has also read and enjoyed, without irony, Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha trilogy and Cassandra Clare’s The Infernal Devices trilogy. Continue reading