I had a reader prejudice against Stephen King for a long time. I don’t know why. Prejudice does that. I have several reasons or rationalizations for my reader prejudice towards King. One of them was because I did not like to read anything scary. However, that was a lie, and I was a reading hypocrite because I read at least fifteen Dean Koontz novels in my reading life. Another reading prejudice was due to my false allegiance to Dean Koontz, and I had decided in my mind I could not cross that popular author highway and read Stephen King. Hogwash. I have crossed all kinds of literary highways from genre fiction to literary fiction. From Secular fiction to Christian fiction. And so on.
Prejudice can calcify and one has to face up to it before we let the case we have built up in our minds towards anything we dislike or unknown become permanent.
Well in 2012, I read Bag of Bones. I read it a few days (I’m a slow reader) and enjoyed it. Even the ending (King has been criticized for by readers and critics) was solid. What I realize after reading my first King novel is that he is a fantastic storyteller. I could see why he has so many devoted fans. King knows how to tell a story. I can relate to that.
And to me….that is how a prejudice can be broken. Finding something you can relate to in the person, place, or in this case an author you have created an imaginary (and unfounded) prejudice towards.
Also, I have read The Gunslinger (The first Dark Tower novel). I can write that I’m glad my irrational prejudice (Most prejudices are irrational) of Stephen King is gone. Let me be clear, I get that every book or author will not be for every reader. I’m not saying you have to read books you don’t like. However, I was a bookseller for a decade and I overheard passing comments from readers all the time. I don’t read fantasy. I don’t read mystery. I don’t read classics. I don’t read romance authors and so on. Those comments have always struck me as reader prejudice. I believe reading is the one art form where you can have a one-on-one connection with an author and let that connection take you away into another world. The writer-reader connection will stimulate you intellectually, imaginatively, and emotionally. And it is one of the safest places in life where you can take a risk costing nothing other than time. Who knows you may discover a new author (or genre) and change your entire reading life.