Because my work involves so much mandatory reading, I don’t get to do a lot of pleasure reading. There is just too little time for short stories or poetry. I typically only get to the things friends have already read and recommend to me. They are my book reviewers. They keep me from wasting time.
My favorite popular writer is John Grisham. He is the author of twenty-two novels, one work of nonfiction, a collection of stories, and a novel for young readers. I respect good story-tellers, and he knows how to tell a good story.
Although his books have sold some 300 million copies, people sometimes pan him. “He’s no Hemmingway or Faulkner!” says one reviewer. “He is not a particularly good writer,” pontificates another, “and it is unlikely that anyone will be reading his ‘potboilers’ in another generation.”
Sour grapes! Some of the people writing that tripe would kill to have just one book that sold half as many as his slowest title. But that’s ...