Book Hipster

I didn’t set out consciously to be a book hipster. I started out as an omnivore, cheerfully reading anything that I could get my hands on. Some years ago I started noticing a thing – namely that bookshops made me feel depressed. The TV and movie tie ins, the ghost written celebrity fluff on the front tables, the way in the speculative sections everything looked like everything else… and then the internet and ebooks came along (it was a long time ago!)and I was saved.

I don’t buy or read much from the big publishing houses any more. They just aren’t putting out material that interests me, for the greater part. Instead, I pick up books from small publishers, and self-publishers, and that’s been a joy. I have the advantage of being a reviewer known for doing this, so the books I want quite often come and find me.

Mainstream publishing is a mess, because the decisions are driven by the desire for profit, not the desire for good books. Smaller houses and self publishers can of course be trying to do the same thing, but many aren’t – there’s not much scope for wealth at that scale, you may as well write what you love.

I want to be surprised by books, not locked into a familiar formula. It’s really that simple. When publishing is run by the accountants and the marketing department, you mostly get things that are already famous (and therefore familiar) or you get things that are just like things you already know about. It’s the exact opposite of what I want.

This year I decided to start identifying as a book hipster. I was in a conversation at an arts centre, and someone asked me who I read. I paused, and then I said ‘you won’t have heard of any of them’ and there was really only one way to go after that. Unlike other hipsters, I’m prepared to get excited if more people find the things I’m into. Also, I figure I can probably annoy the other sort of hipsters while I’m at it, which is bound to be fun.

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About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, wife to the most amazing artist -Tom Brown. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

4 responses to “Book Hipster

  • Mary Walker

    This strikes a chord. For the last several years I often went into a bookstore and came away with nothing. Nothing at all. Twenty years ago I would have come out with an armload–or a shopping bag full. The tie-ins, the series books I have long ago lost interest, the fad topics–all have turned me off.

  • landisvance

    I love it! Book Hipster – brill! We have certainly found the same things to be operative here in our elections the way Donald Trump gets loads of press because he makes the news outlets money, while Bernie Sanders gets no coverage at all even though he has generated the same excitement and numbers on the other side of the political spectrum. I know that the sleeping giant of the vast American public is finally aware, at least politically, of this and now the question is how to demand change without shooting ourselves in the collective foot (as we seem to be doing). The white majority hasn´t demanded change in a long time and so is a bit rusty as to how to go about it.

  • Accidental Hipster Mum

    What are your hipster book faves? X

    • Nimue Brown

      This year Carol Lovekin has been my big find, been reading a lot of Anthony Nanson, very into the poetry of Lorna Smithers, Matlock the Hare is amazing… can’t pick a favourite.

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