I’ve mentioned before about picking random books up when visiting the library. Just by going to a shelf and selecting a book – any book – I have found new authors and new favourites.
Not so this week. The two books I picked at random were about terrorism and torture. This is one of the reasons I left my book club. We had six depressing books in a row. Far too many for a sensitive soul like me to cope with.
Why, when the world is in so much turmoil, do writers insist on making things worse? Where’s the escapism? Who is going to give a brighter side to things, some hope for the future?
Why are doctors supposedly suggesting reading as a cure for depression? The book club’s offerings made me feel miserable. My random choices from the library made me feel the same. (Thank the Universe for Laurie Graham and those like her.)
As a short story writer I have judged competitions and found many depressing stories, often about what’s happening in the world at that time. I was a judge when Madeleine disappeared and half the entries were about abduction. Lately, judges have been complaining about the number of depressing stories. It would appear that the same doesn’t apply when it comes to novels. Make your reader unhappy, miserable. Show them the horrors of torture in graphic detail and sign your publishing contract.
I’m packing my bags and setting off to live in People’s Friend World.