Search This Blog

21 May 2013

'Stonemouth' by Iain Banks

This book is a jewel... the sort of story that I read for the love of reading. Thank you Mr. Banks I am going to miss you

I read different genres.  I like fantasy, I like science fiction, crime not so much but sometimes it is tempting, romance I read rarely.  I like non fiction as well and all the sciences.  Then we come to fiction, just fiction.  Some dude has a story to tell in something resembling our world and our time and so writes it down.  Publishing houses are often tempted to add a bit of help here, humor or action will appear next to fiction.  Sometimes, like this time, fiction will just sit there alone, defiant; a good story does not need a tag.  Mr. Banks has a story to tell and hopes I will enjoy it.  Oh good....

So I met Stewart up a bridge on a damp Friday night.  Stewart has returned home after five years in order to attend a funeral.  The book is divided into the four days this visit is supposed to last.  I could describe the story but that is not the point.  There was excitement, mystery, love, regret, death, redemption... just the kinds of things you hope to read in a good story.  This is my point, Iain Banks can tell a good story.  He captured my imagination and quickly made me care about the protagonist.  A story teller without a gimmick... and how did he get past the gods of publishing?

These days everything is about marketing.  The cover jacket; is it feminine or masculine; are the blurbs placed well? Is the book labeled to attract its target audience? I cannot imagine what goes on between the editor, publishing house, author, etc... to produce a marketable book.  Which takes me back to the simple labels like Humor/Fiction or SciFi... I understand this may make it easier for me to find books similar to say, Isaac Asimov's, but a humor label may discourage me from reading someone just as good, only a lot funnier.  I have no solutions here only questions.

The mechanized book shopping of today with e-readers and book searches that narrow my choices based on what I have purchased or browsed before would never have handed me this book.  And this book is a jewel.  A lot of books are never published because the companies cannot afford to publish them and so we come to self-publishing and coming to a lap top near you, professionally published books that will be printed only after a certain amount of success.  I am sure many of them will be jewels as well.  How sad that I will be pigeon holed into being a certain kind of reader.  Google is already useless for me because the search results it gives me are so predictable and narrow (or trying to sell me something) that I cannot use the information provided.  If I knew the answer I would not be doing a search, so I have moved on to other search engines.  Amazon has already frustrated me as well.  These days I look for books on the Waterstones website...  But when I can walk into Hatchards or Mayersche then I manage to pick up jewels.  Stonemouth is a wonderful story.  It is the sort of story that I read for the love of reading.  Thank you Mr. Banks, I am going to miss you...

Iain Banks 
ISBN: 9780349000206 

No comments:

Post a Comment