When it Comes to Books (and TV Shows, and…), Well… I’m Really Just a Fan


Call this a reflection on favorite writers…

There are times when I don’t like our “everyone is a critic” culture. Sometimes, I just want to be a fan of my favorite writers.

Recently, someone slammed a book by one of my favorite authors, saying that he just did not find it valuable.

It got me thinking…

Nero Wolfe Mysteries
Nero Wolfe Mysteries

I’ve read the entire Nero Wolfe collection by Rex Stout, (and yes, the “authorized” additional volumes by Robert Goldsborough after Mr. Stout’s death. Do I like his as much as Mr. Stout’s – probably not. But, he brought Archie back. Yea!).

Are some of them better than others? Yes. Are some of them barely deserving of being published. Maybe; probably…

But, you see, I really like Archie Goodwin and Nero Wolfe. And I’ll take a lesser story to no story… and enjoy every page of it. (If you’re interested, my favorite Nero Wolfe book? That’s tough. Maybe The Doorbell Rang, but more likely, the one I’ll read next, whichever one it is. And, I pretty much loved all of his battles with Arnold Zeck).The Doorbell Rang

I’m currently enjoying Daniel Silva’s Gabriel Allon. I’ve just read a few, and already I’ve discovered that some books are better than others. (Duh… really?). But, you know what – I’ll keep reading, and enjoying. I’ve kind of gotten intrigued by the character of Gabriel Allon.

It's not too late -- bring back Sports Night!
It’s not too late — bring back Sports Night!

And I’m an Aaron Sorkin addict. I can pretty much quote entire sections of Sports Night and The West Wing. And, I do not miss The Newsroom, and loved Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. And I’ve seen all of the movies he wrote, and liked every one of them… And yes, some of his “work” is better than others, but, I don’t care! I’ll take Aaron Sorkin writing a paragraph on the virtues of the now obsolete Yellow Pages over almost anything else.  Especially if it is performed as a walk and talk)…

And, I can’t wait for the new season of True Detective. The last line in the last moment of season one… well, you just kind of sit and marvel: “Well, once there was only dark. You ask me, the light’s winning.”

"The light's winning"
“The light’s winning”

And I’ll read every new book by Malcolm Gladwell, and Michael Lewis, and Daniel Pink. I really like their books. A lot! Oh, and the Heath brothers. And Katty Kay and Claire Shipman. And probably Frank Luntz (even if I don’t like his politics!). Give me a minute, and I’ll come up with more…

But in this “everyone’s a critic” world, I have to be exposed to take downs of authors by people who do not like them, or do not like their latest work.

I do admire people who point us to good books, or away from bad ones. “Professional critics’ in established publications, and “amateur critics” who post their evaluations at Amazon or elsewhere provide a needed service.

And there are some critics and reviewers who have introduced me to some great books – especially business books. I’m grateful. (Thanks, Bob Morris).

But… you know what — who cares about the critics?  Not me!  Forget the critics. If Aaron Sorkin comes out with a new show or movie, count me in. If Archie Goodwin shows up anywhere, I want to hear about it. And when Malcolm Gladwell or Michael Lewis writes another new book, I’ll be first in line.

And if you want to criticize their work, go right ahead. But I’ll just ignore you and your takedowns. Just letting you know…

I just finished they Gabriel Allon volume
I just finished this Gabriel Allon volume

And, of course, your tastes will be different than mine. You may prefer other authors, other characters… That’s ok with me. I won’t tell you what you shouldn’t like – just don’t tell me what I shouldn’t like…

I’ll read and watch what I like — what I want to read and watch, thank you very much.

Maybe what I’m saying is that I’m just a fan…

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