I stumbled upon Glenn Hates Books while preparing to market Simon Pastor. If you don’t have time to visit his blog, know that he doesn’t actually hate books, he just hates the books that he thinks could’ve been good if only they were better. I love that concept and his blog. Whereas my blog, here, has a tough elevator speech, Glenn’s blog has an eloquence that is enviable.
But there’s something more to this man and his blog. He reads the books he reviews. Seriously. He reads them. You know he reads them because he writes brutally honest reviews. They don’t include flowery, all-positive language that clearly identifies him as a friend of the author or someone who worked on the book and stands to benefit from high sales. They also aren’t in the category of “there’s something good to be found in every piece of life.” (I actually can’t stop laughing when I picture his bearded-faced reaction to someone who believes that hocus pocus.)
As a result, Glenn topped my list of reviewers to ask to review the book early on–to set the tone, as it were. And he didn’t disappoint. He hates my book. He hates it because it happens to be depressing as shit. And he reads to escape from reality, not re-live it.
My response? Sincere gratitude. I love his authenticity. If only everyone could write so nakedly. But the fact is that reading purely to escape is childish to me. I read and I write to go deeper. I want to feel more, feel it more intensely, and feel it for longer. Escape from this thing called life? Never. More. More, more, more.
Tolstoy ended one of his early works with the following declaration. I’m including it here just in case I ever forget why I wrote Simon Pastor. He wrote, “The hero of my tale–whom I love with all the power of my soul, whom I have tried to portray in all his beauty, who has been, is, and will be beautiful–is Truth.”*
Amen, Brother Leo. And again I say amen.
*Tolstoy, Leo, Louise Maude, Aylmer Maude, and Nigel J. Cooper. Collected Shorter Fiction. New York: Knopf, 2001. Print.