Monday, August 25, 2008

Revisiting John Grisham

John Grisham isn't exactly who you brag about as an English Literature student when people ask you what writer inspired you to major in English. I wouldn't say he is my reason, but he is a pretty big contributing factor.

When I entered high school, we were forced to read a lot of things I didn't enjoy at the time (although I have appreciation for them now); they were people like Dickens, Shakespeare and Thoreau. I don't know if I was just too young for them or if I simply didn't like the idea of being forced to read something.

It was during this period that I was turned off from reading for a few years. My senior year of high school, a political science teacher gave the class a list of books, and told us to pick one and write a review of it; they were names like Clancy and Turrow. Names I had never heard of. One of my mom's friends saw the list, and said she had just finished a book called "The Rainmaker" by one of the names, John Grisham.

It was the first time in sometime that I enjoyed a book, and I managed to finish it in less than a week. For the next couple years, I would continue to read whatever Grisham book was released that year. After, however, I officially became a English Lit major my junior year of college, I stopped reading him entirely. It was partly because I had a lot of other books to read, and partly because I started to think I was beyond Grisham--I had the "Grisham's for sixth graders" attitude.

A few weeks ago, I was at Costco with my wife, and saw a Grisham paperback, "Playing for Pizza" for less than four bucks. I had plenty of other things to read, but the book was cheap, and I knew would be an easy read; I figured why not?

Grisham still is not the best writer in the business, but there's a reason he gets paid millions for his book--he knows how to keep the readers interest. The book was about football of all things (a sport I have absolutely no interest in), but I stayed interested the entire book. The characters were pretty flat; the plot was sort of like a Lifetime movie; but there was a story with a heart, and that story was a fun read.

Lately, I've learned that's it's nice to take a break from reading serious things every now and then and pull out a book that is cheesy, fluffy, and not really about anything. When I'm ready for that break, I know I still have Grisham.

1 comment:

cherrybomb said...

I'm glad you wrote this confessional(?) As much as I'd love to credit Shakespeare or Joyce for sparking my interest in reading as a teen, the truth of the matter is that I ought to give much more credit to James Patterson and V.C Andrews. It's cringe-inducing, I know, but they were fun and easy reads.