More and more I hate it when readers refer to popular fiction books as
- A Guilty Pleasure
- Brain Candy
And even beach read or comfort read while not as bad, (and I’ve used those terms myself) have a certain ring to them. Literary fiction or classic literature is seen as ” what the discerning reader” picks up to read. Really! That annoys me. Mostly because it’s said with a certain tone or attitude as well. Said without attitude, then maybe I could accept it.
If they were to say “I prefer to read classic or literary books” or “I like a mix of classic and popular fiction” – no judgement in tone – fine!
One reader’s trash might be another person’s treasure! And I’ll just whisper this! Sh! I am more likely to put literary books in the DNF basket! Well I find them boring or so uninspiring … it takes the pleasure of reading away from me. But if its for you – go ahead, enjoy it. Just don’t go all snobby on me.
Ah yes! I have read trash – believe me! From 8 or 9 year old boys, who bored me silly with stories that go on page after page of guns and fighting. What is that! Or one boy who insisted on calling every character in his story Bob and wouldn’t shift! Well his family shifted away – thank goodness! That was in my early days of teaching, I soon learned to steer students away from writing more trash than I could bear!
Popular fiction sells! So there must be others out there like me who want to get lost in a book that they enjoy. I read for entertainment – sure. But in the books I read I am not only entertained. I am made to think, and to experience so many diverse points of view, I love the values that are embodied. Often my heart is opened in compassion.
The struggles of characters and the challenges they face engage me. The hope popular fiction brings, the way goodness is valued. I love the imagination and creativity that an author brings to writing popular fiction. These authors are writing excellent novels in their own right. Such talent. Their voice rings out. Maybe one author’s voice appeals to me, another to you. Whatever! I respect them whether its to my taste or not. You love a cozy mystery, someone else appreciates a thriller and I love a good romantic suspense.
I’ve always had a penchant for a satisfying romance novel. Maybe a discussion another day on that genre, it warrants a discussion all by itself.
Maybe I’m a bit too sensitive. Perhaps I fear being “looked down on”. No – I know I do! However that acknowledged I believe popular fiction is not given the respect its due. Smart, intelligent people write these books and as a reader I’m not lacking in intelligence either. One author whose work I love and respect was told by a good friend that her books were good and she’d probably be able to write a real novel if she tried!! A backhanded compliment but this author already writes real novels.
Your viewpoint? Your experience?