I’m very addicted to Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. I’ve been reading them all week. It’s funny. I’ve had access to the books pretty much my entire life (through various libraries and such) but I’ve never read them or felt compelled to. Though I do remember that I felt “out-of-the-loop” book-wise for the first time when Wizard and Glass came out. Even people that I’d never seen reading before were scrambing to buy that book. For once I was not the only person carrying books everywhere like a teddy, since everyone around me was attached to that book so much.
In some ways it felt like a failure, to not have read the books the first time I had the chance. For someone whose passion is books, it was something of a slap in the face to fall behind on this one. There was a valuable lesson for me in those circumstances: that no matter how many books I read, no matter how much time and effort I spent trying to keep ahead of the market, there was no way I’d be able to be on top in every case.
For that matter, the popular books are by no means the good books. Some of the best ones I’ve read are ones that no one else has even heard of. There are always going to be the huge bestsellers like Harry Potter or The DaVinci code which the world goes nuts over, but it is important to remember that there are many more books of equal or greater merit which get left behind when the focus is solely on the hugely popular ones. There is still such a thing as literature, and it is important that it is not forgotten in the quest for the “easy-fix.”