During a discussion the other day my favourite authors and books came up as a topic of conversation. Needless to say I listed off writers like Lee Child, Matthew Reilly, Robert Crais, Matt Hilton, etc. Now these people weren’t exactly literary snobs, but they did respond as if I was supposed to list the authors of classic literature and contemporary literature.
Can we all stop pretending that there is something superior about literary fiction. I’ve seen discussions of social problems in crime fiction, fantastic use of literary techniques in horror, exploration of character and humanity in science fiction; all performed with more skill and insight than I have seen in the literary genre.
How about we go back to judging a book by its cover.
4 thoughts on “Genre vs Literature”
People are funny about that stuff. It’s ridiculous. To be honest, none of my favorite authors would fall under the classic or contemporary literature umbrella. I find those books boring. I’ll stick to my romance novels.
Genre drives me crazy. Agents and publishers always want to slot your book within the first sentence of two of the pitch. But most of the best novels defy stereotype because they’re original (duh?). Any well-written story with great characters is good literature and transcends its genre. And lo and behold, a Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings is suddenly read, not just by YA or fantasy readers, but by everyone.
That’s because book stores have categories to shelve books in. They need to know which shelf your book is going to sit on. For the mega-hit novels it doesn’t matter, because they sit at the front of the store with James Patterson and the cook books.
I feel like reminding people that the highest grossing film of all time had a plot that could be written on a matchbook and character development straight out of a cookie cutter. So clearly it is about enjoying the experience of entertainment and we have to stop being snooty about this.