Let’s imagine you are hungry, not a difficult thing to do… Let’s imagine you are not at home, but in the streets, with your friends, after agood night out. You walk along the streets and you see many signs, lots of them in red, telling you that food is available… Now, your friends have left, caught a cab to go home, but you know your fridge is empty, or there is nothing in it you want to eat, maybe lots of ready-made meals that you bought because they were on offer, or because you were in a hurry. So you walk along the streets in desperate search for something to quench your hunger and fill your stomach. You see the famous McCrap, the super-oily FatChicken and a haute cuisine restaurant that serves lobster, delicacies, great food prepared by real Cheffs, and made not only to earn a living, but out of love for food.
Checking your wallet, you realise that you only have some change on you. There’s nothing wrong; we all need to save our pennies, especially if we want to have a life on top of just surviving… You turn back to check the prices: the restaurants is extortionate, you would need to put a week’s wages in it just to sit down. atChicken is very cheap, but you know that the oils in which they downed the poor bird, assuming it was ever a bird and not a rodent, has been in the frying machine since before the Discovery of America; with McCrap, you have some reservations: you know they are mass-produced burgers that contain a fraction of meat, but the overall flavour is something you are accustomed to, and on the whole, you know what you will be getting, even if you know that exactly 17 minutes and 32 seconds later you will be hungry again because that is what the chemicals in the burger are devised to do: fatten you without feeding. You can only afford food from the red-sign eateries, so, the choice is between McCrap and FatChicken. You choose one, that will keep you happy till you get home, where you will be munching on chocolate but you wish you had had the money to at least try the haute cuisine restaurant. Wouldn’t that have been a real treat?
The same happens with books: nowadays, we are flooded with red-sign books, and books that just repeat the same recipe over and over again, with mechanical accuracy, but never give us any real nutrients nor any new experience. If only you could afford a book that is really a treat? A book that is not just written to get the last of your change and which was written with real expertise and love? A book that is unique, original, that says more about your real self than just the fact that you are an anonymous (maybe tipsy) person walking along a street… A book where the writer really meant to share something with you…
Hey, but here’s the difference! For the same price as a McCrap burger, you can sit down, be served and buy lobster! You can try food that is qui query prepared for you! You give yourself a real treat!
In fact, excellent and off-the-cuff books often sell at the same price: some spare change. So why is it that readers often don’t do what sensible eaters would love to? Wy don’t you try an exotic cuisine, whether it is a gay book (really gay, not one of those books that are passed as gay but are not…more on a future post), or a historical novel, literary fiction, something creative, something new, something that will stand out and you will really remember?
In the current market, I believe, I strongly believe that it is hard to remember which book is which. So many red-sign books are nothing biut formulaic ways of emptying your pockets of your spare change. So why? Why don’t read try? The price of a book is the same as a cheap take away, but you may finally discover something new, something important, something beautiful, if instead of the burger you choose the lobster… The choice is yours, readers. Be smart.