2017 · Reading Rainbow

On being fun but not good

A couple of years ago, a friend of mine recommended a book series to me. Well, that’s not true. She didn’t so much recommend it as she talked about it and then immediately followed up with how she couldn’t in good conscience tell anyone else to read it. It was special to her, bad but highly enjoyable and she was more than aware of that fact.

The book series was Nightside by Simon R Green and being a big fan of trash (and the fact that it was cheap at my local geeky book store) meant that I had no choice but to try it out. It was everything she had warned me about, from the not really that great writing to the over the top descriptions of a supernatural noir world. Thing is, in another book by another author this would’ve and have turned me off. I’ve read the first Twilight (boring and overrated, not the worst thing in the world) and the less known House of Night (a garbage fire of Steve Buscemi trying to be cool) and both of those left me feeling uninspired and sad.

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Nightside? Not so much.

The thing about Nightside that really draws me in is that the author seems to so genuinely enjoy writing the books. It’s poorly written but goddamn, it’s such a fun read the bad writing and abundance of adverbs kind of add to the enjoyment. It’s liberating too, for people who write a bit themselves. Here you have an author that may or may not have taken a creative writing class at some point in his life, took one look at the rules of what you can’t do and his response was simply “hold my beer.”

I think it says a lot about how we look at media as having to live up to some kind of artistic standard to be considered good, when we should be looking at what it’s aiming to accomplish. I love reality tv, because it’s trashy and entertaining and fake, just like Nightside is silly and dramatic and aimed to be a fun read and in that aspect, it completely succeeds.

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If I’ve at all convinced you to give this wonderful garbage fire of an urban fantasy novel a chance, I highly recommend that you pick up Something from the Nightside, the first book in the series.  If you’re one of those who fall for the bullshit of guilty pleasures and want to feel a bit better about yourself, order it from your local indie book store for extra karma points. Regardless of where you get it, enjoy. You’re going to have some fun.

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