Book Snobs

I’m ashamed to admit that I can be a book snob. When people ask me what I’m reading, I want to be able to throw out something impressive. “Oh, I’m finally making me way clear through Joyce’s Ulysses. I’ve been meaning to get to it for such a long time.” In 1999 I found a list of the top 100 books of the past century (who’s qualified to make that list?!?) and I carried it around for a long time with the books I’d read highlighted. My goal was to read them all. I never did finish.

I have a degree in English, I’m supposed to read literature. And as a Christian writer, I’m supposed to read in my genre–contemporary Christian fiction. No tawdry romance, no Stephen King and certainly not someone so mainstream as, say, John Grisham. But mom sent me his latest, The Confession. So, what the heck, I started reading it.

There is a reason Grisham has written around two dozen books that have pretty much ALL been best-sellers. There’s a reason several of his books have been made into movies. There’s a reason his books are wildly popular around the world selling in the vicinity of 250 million copies. Strong characters, masterful plotting, pacing that keeps the reader engaged and stories that entertain while offering up some nuggets of truth.

I don’t know that Grisham has ever won a literary award. In 2007 he won a British lifetime achievement award and said, “As a writer of popular fiction I do not pick up many awards.” Well, maybe he should.

I’m very much enjoying The Confession and hate to see it end. There are even some Christian themes with a pastor who becomes unwittingly involved in a death penalty case. There’s so much I can learn from Grisham. If only I’m not too proud to do it.

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