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Sometimes you need to see the funny side of life as a writer: "Gimme the books ... I was an int


There seems to be a following online for creating imaginary 'pulp' novel book covers. They make me break out into a big grin if not an actual chuckle. (Some times even a full blown belly laugh). What impresses me most is not simply the humour but the message in the medium. Simple yet so effective in a pointed way. The way it should be. So let me drop the first one before your eyes.

One of the limitations of sharing your time between two homes (flats in UK and Spain) is where do you keep your books? Having returned to the UK a few years ago I still have a 'library' overseas. I also have books here with me in the UK and nowhere suitable to keep all the books I need to use for reference. Truth be told I no longer hoard books, least of all fiction. I do keep some fiction, Mod/Existentialist related fiction that is but anything else goes to the charity shops. Space prohibits me from becoming an obsessive collector again. Books, like vinyl records, stamps, coins, etcetera can lead to obsessive behaviour. Worse still, it can lead to piles of unread books and that is a greater tragedy. An unread book is the equal of a dust gathering ornament so blended into its environment it is no longer appreciated or loved.

Okay, so for my second interesting variant of an imaginary 'pulp' fiction cover let me offer up this for your delectation.

Literary Fiction authors aspiring to greatness will nod sagely and quite possibly, in their serious ivory tower intellectual aspirations, even treat this seriously. Some may even treat this 'book cover' as a poster to fight the good fight! (No doubt failing to realise the urine extraction behind its intent). Here I have to admit a slight delight knowing that literary fiction market is collapsing. Readers are becoming disenchanted with the numerous rumination issuing forth from the many bright young things. Intent on becoming the next James Joyce or Virginia Woolf (insert your choice of names at this juncture) their efforts would be better rewarded writing something someone does want to read. Frankly it's rare these days that anything labelled "literary" is a read I enjoy. Ah! Now that's an important word in my limited intellectual literary aspirations. Enjoy.

The problem is the Mae's of this world. (Who? Take a closer look at the book cover and let me pre-empt before going further: male as well as female Mae's, so don't accuse me of sexism).The Mae's are out there clicking away at their keyboards writing the next great literary novel of their generation. Or worse still trying to make a living as literary agents looking for the next award winner. Or even sitting in a publishing house wondering why all this marvellous literature of their choosing isn't cutting it anymore? The Creative Writing Degree courses encouraged them to become the next generation of literati, the gilded youth of aesthetes, yet failed somewhere in the process to tell them sad stuff sucks. And the worst of it is most of these young literati swallowed what they were told hook line and proverbial sinker.

What's my answer? There's precious little of what arrives in the book shops these days that is truly uplifting for many readers. I have a simple philosophy when it comes to what in my opinion constitutes a 'good' book. It must includes these 'E' words tumbling from my tongue when I finish: enjoyed, entertained, excited, elated, elevated, educated. Of course we can dispute the context of those words until the bovines return from the pastures, but the readers out there know exactly what I mean and from where I'm coming.


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