crass snobbism (was starting Abhorsen discussion)

Ian W. Riddell iwriddell at
Sat Apr 26 11:09:30 EDT 2003

>Melissa wrote:
>>I was thinking of things like:
>>--Very long series (i.e. Magic Tree House, Bailey School Kids, etc.)
>>--Marketable spinoffs, like with the American Girls catalog--anyone else get
>>these?  I'm on the Mailing List from Hell
>>--Low-quality prose with lots of the things you're not supposed to do, like
>>adverbials and whatever it's called when you use any verb but "said"..."said
>>bookisms"?  It's nearly three in the morning and my brain's reverted to
>>swiss cheese
>>--Lots of similarities in subject to other successful series (a million
>>_Goosebumps_ clones, etc.) (and this is how you can tell that Junie B. Jones
>>is NOT a mass market product)
>>--Stupid cheesy premise--if you ever find any kids' books called "Jewel
>>Kingdom," cover your eyes and run, RUN, in the opposite direction screaming
>>"Unclean! Unclean!"  And for heaven's sake DON'T watch the video unless you
>>need to shed some of those pesky IQ points.
>Oh. Gotcha. I don't call those things "mass-market" because I'm used 
>to the term "mass-market paperback" as meaning "small paperback that 
>will fit on the drugstore racks, as opposed to trade paperback". 
>Which is really a dumb name for it, now that I think of it, and why 
>don't they call them "small/big paperbacks" or "Paperback Classic vs 
>Paperback Supersized"....oh well, who expects the publishing 
>industry to make sense?
>Anyway, my circle calls such things BSO's, short for Book-Shaped 
>Objects. See, our snobbery is right out in front.

And not alway's Book-Shaped, actually. You try to get the 
aforementioned "Jewel Kindgom" books (which had some of their covers 
"enhanced" with plastic jewels) or the series with the lockets on a 
shelf with other books and have them look like they're at all 

(who was constantly steering kids away from these books and toward 
Junie B. Jones or Cam Jansen or the Great Brain or Encyclopedia Brown 
at least!)
It wasn't only wickedness and scheming that made people unhappy, it 
was confusion and misunderstanding; above all, it was the failure to 
grasp the simple truth that other people are as real as you.
Ian McEwan Atonement

Ian W. Riddell
iwriddell at
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