Monday, September 28, 2009

Joining the mainstream

Late last week I popped in to one of Sydney's larger bookstores and was confronted by a table piled high with paperbacks and a large sign - 'Cool Scandinavian Crime'.

3 books

I think we need a word to describe the feeling you have when you realise that something you thought you had 'discovered', and that you prided yourself was a sign of your fine discrimination, has become a mainstream commercial trend.

I've blogged a couple of times about my liking for Scandinavian crime fiction, and I've even spent time speculating on why I like it and what it has to offer that is unique and different. But suddenly it's become a marketing ploy. A way to encourage people to buy a job-lot of cheap books. It's mainstream! If I were more generous-spirited I should feel pleased that other people have also found the pleasures of Scandinavian crime fiction - but I just feel miffed that my tastes are, after all, commonplace.

I wasn't so put off by this sudden popularity that I resisted the offer of three books for $50. Not a great bargain when compared with my normal buys from the bookshop of doom in the Devonshire Street tunnel, but the combination of some authors I'd not encountered elsewhere, and Arnaldur Indridason's 'Silence of the Grave' made the offer irresistible.

I've already whizzed through 'Silence of the Grave'. Indridason's novels are set in Iceland and the stories often deal in subtle ways with notions of continuity and the impact of the past on the present; of leaving and returning; and of the influence of the 'outsider' - for both good and ill. I'm reminded of another of my likes - Danish crime series on TV - and 'The Eagle' whose eponymous hero is an Icelander.

So, I'll now have ready access to a greater range of authors and novels to feed my Scandinavian crime addiction. But on the down-side, the thrill of the chase, of searching out and discovering new titles in unexpected places has gone. And I can no longer pride myself on a relatively obscure and discriminating taste.

Pride, however minor and harmless, goes before a fall.


Rose Red said...

My pride would be a bit miffed tool.

I still think you are the leader of the pack!

Kris said...

I just wanted to say that I'm going to be calling it the "bookshop of doom" from now on.

Bells said...

Oh I hear you. I know that feeling.

But I have to say I'm intrigued. I have always been fascinated by Scandanavia. I think I'm going to have to seek one out!

Yarna said...

Oh I do sympathise! But I think that you should take comfort in how avant garde you are !

Taphophile said...

You can take comfort in the knowledge that you're an early adopter and trendsetter.

Sel and Poivre said...

My first visit here - over from Ravelry - hello from Canada!