Tuesday 11 October 2011

The silly book season

This!!!! Tyra Banks becomes a best selling author

I suppose it's telling that the article is in the Fashion section of the Telegraph and not the Culture section, but...!!! I just want to fall on my knees and scream 'Why!!!!!!!?'

You can see I'm irked by my irrational use of exclamation marks.

Firstly, I'm irked because Tyra Banks is a best seller. Straight away. First book. Bam! Thank you very much, just put all that lovely money over there. Many, many thousands of writers are barely scraping by and Tyra Banks - who's worth quite a lot, I should imagine - just makes a mint.

Secondly, I'm irked because I'm sure - well, I'd bet a packet of Revels, but not a triple chocolate cheesecake - that someone may have suggested writing book to her. Gasp! I'm not sure she's gone home after a hard days modelling, or judging, and poured over a half-completed manuscript, desperate for the right words. Second-and-a-half, I'm not convinced she went anywhere near a pen, not alone anyway.

Thirdly, I'm irked (and I seem to have lost my thesaurus) because her characters are "aspiring models Myrracle, Desperada, Zarpessa Zarionneaux, and Theophilus Lovelaces", and that just smacks of a seven-year-old girl playing dress up.

And lastly, and this is possibly the biggest, I'm concerned that serious literature will get overlooked in the mad celebrity-led publishing party. Who - really! - buys these books, this book? I'm also concerned - as I am with TV news coverage and some newspapers - that we are being dumbed down without our knowledge. If all you see on the shelves are books by Ms Banks, Katie Price et al, that's all you think there is; and finally you'll stop seeking out Margaret Atwood, Ali Smith, Alice Munro (chosen because that's what I can see in front of me - other very good writers also exist!).

Yes, fiction should be about entertainment - but surely entertainment can make you think, empathise with another viewpoint, become irate on behalf of a downtrodden character. Since the days of Shakespeare we've been encouraged to embrace characterisation and plot.

I'm not sure Myrracle or Desperada will find too many issues to deal with.


  1. Alas, 'tis the way of the world these days. Reading books such as these is, and I quote from a literary genius, "Like fitting wheels to a tomato. Time consuming and completely unnecessary".

  2. Even better, it's the first in a series and they might be making a film of it. I love the quote in the comments above.

  3. The fact that she called a character Myracle makes me suspect that this book is rubbysh. Sorry.

  4. Anon - That's a great quote.

    Sarah - yes, the film was mentioned in the article. I'm almost lost for words... Perhaps by actually writing, we're both going the wrong way, we should become models?

    Amy - I wonder if it'll have the same effect as Footballer's Wives where they ironically named characters Chardonnay (and others, I don't know I never watched it), and people actually started calling their poor kids after them. Lots of little Myrracles wandering the streets in 5 years time?

  5. I agree with you, every word. It's the run up to Christmas present time that makes me especially mad. All those books by celebrities will be bought for members of the family and then never even looked at. They'd have been better buying their family triple chocolate cheesecakes!!

  6. Yes, Christmas is perfect for people who don't know what to buy their boyfriend's sister - chuck a autobiography of someone who's only just turned 21 at them!!

  7. In case anyone's wondering, the quote from Anon comes from Blackadder - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=on9U_tdRIeU


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