Thursday, July 23, 2009

In my last post, I asked the world, "What do the classics and zombies have in common?" The answer lies in the latest issue of "B00ks", a fairly new trade magazine. An article by James Sturdivant gives us the scoop about a writer's phenomenal success with a title called "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies". It apparently combines scenes of zombie rumblings with the romance of the Victorian classic. Not only has the title had huge sales since its publication in late winter, Sturdivant says it has been adopted by several university English departments. It currently stands 8th on the NYT paperback trade fiction list. Is this for real? Schlock and classics can actually meet and still call itself a book?
In our zeal to be "new" and "adapt" to the online world, we publishers are crossing the line from producing quality books that will last in favor of generating "buzz" and competing with video games. Not only are we entertaining ourselves to death, to quote Neil Postman, but we are dumbing down our culture and our literary future. David Borgenicht, president and publisher of Quirk Books, the small company that published "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies", is engaging in garbage peddling. So much for him. But what about the reading public? Since when was consuming eggshells and day-old fish tasty?