The New Vanity Press

Is it true that there is an App for my iPhone which is capable of generating, in the manner of Ad-Libs, a passable novel capable of selling for $4.99 at the biggest online bookstore? It must be true. That book seller tries to get me to read these hollow weinies every month by conveniently offering free samples, like a drug dealer.

Have you read any of these titles? Do they have real authors?

Okay, I’m a literary snob. I was educated to understand and appreciate poetry and other sublime literature. I find science fiction tedious but detective stories fun and engaging. Ulysses goes with me to the islands but I also revere Pope, Milton, and Flaubert. Somewhere along my life I stopped watching television, drinking beer, and worshipping sports figures. I read too much but also have found time for the newer short-form online series, but no fantasy or science fiction. I have reconstructed the memory of every sexual encounter going back to the late 1950s and in each case have noted where I went wrong or how much further I could have gone.

I’m old and a tad out of date.

But the crap being foisted on the reading public today is sad. I would go so far as to suggest that the current big-box online bookseller is doing more to shave points off the nation’s literary I.Q. than Carlton Mellick III. An episode of Little Annie Fannie has more literate content that a whole month’s worth of free fiction from Amazon. Who said there wasn’t a market for pedestrian fiction that is not thought well-enough of even to fund self-publishing?

Is Amazon the new Vanity Press?

I’m pretty sure all these titles can be found on Amazon. but does this month’s reading list contain any.duds of the $4.99 variety?

  1. A Man Called Ove: A Novel — Fredrik Backman
  2. Drop City — T. C. Boyle
  3. Lost Light — Michael Connelly
  4. The Empty Chair — Jeffrey Deaver
  5. Siege of Krishnapur – J. G. Farrell
  6. A Column of Fire — Ken Follett
  7. Independence Day— Richard Ford
  8. Château d’Argol — Julien Gracq
  9. The Princess Cassamassima— Henry James
  10. The Dark Horse — Craig Johnson
  11. Who Killed Palomino Molero — Mario Vargas Llosa
  12. Robert B. Parker’s Fool’s Paradise — Mike Lupica
  13. Beowulf For Cretins: A Love Story — Ann McMan
  14. The Prestige — Christopher Priest
  15. The Captive — Marcel Proust
  16. Red Mandarin Dress — Qiu Xiaolong
  17. The President’s Gardens — Muhsin Al-Ramli
  18. Lincoln In the Bardo — George Saunders
  19. Red Square — Martin Cruz Smith
  20. Cryptonomicon — Neal Stephenson

What are your thoughts on this?

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