Sunday, 27 April 2014

Food For Thought (literally)

What if books were food?

Okay, it is a strange question to ask, but bear with me on this one.

Starting at the top, literary fiction would belong in a Michelin starred restaurant. Here would be the prestigious prize winners and favourites of highbrow critics everywhere. Though with their complex flavours they are certainly an acquired taste and not suitable for all.

Next we have the wide ranging realm of popular publishing. Whether it be a gourmet pub, a roadside cafe or a good, mid-level restaurant, there is something to cater for all tastes and we expect a certain level of quality for our cash. The downside is that with quality control, comes standardisation. As a chef can only cook what is on the menu, it is the publishers and not the authors who have the final artistic say.

Supplemental to the restaurant trade is the fast food industry and this represents the tackier side of publishing. There are successful authors whose name has become nothing more than a brand - a franchise. They produce books at the rate of a dozen a year, using "co-authors" (or ghostwriters) to keep up with demand. It is trashy with no nutritional value whatsoever, yet also highly addictive and consumed by unfussy eaters and readers alike.

Then there is self publishing. Nothing beats a good home cooked meal. Unless, of course, a person cannot cook. This is the area with the most potential, but for disaster as well as success. When it is done well, it can rival or even surpass the food on offer in any restaurant. When it is done badly, it can be so bad that had this food been served in a restaurant, the place would be closed down.

So the next time you are looking for something to read, why not treat it like hunger. Do you want to try something new or stick to what has been tried and tested? Do you want something that is good for you, or just something that tastes good? And finally, is it fair trade - do you want to support the farmers or the supermarkets?

I hope you found this post interesting. If so, you can sign up to join my blog using one of the tools on the sidebar to the right. You can also check out my two lovingly home cooked novels The Outback and Stealing Asia. Both are suitable for vegetarians*. Please click on the links for full nutritional information.

* May contain nuts.

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