They can print a thousand pages
All the paper filled with words
And a multitude of metaphors
That I have never heard
Makes no difference to me
In the end, well, I’ll say “I’ve read it all”
– Josie Vanders, Literature Lovers
I really enjoy reading formulaic, entertaining crime thrillers, particularly Scandinavian, French and British ones. I don’t consider this a guilty pleasure because I don’t think any pleasure taken in reading should be considered “guilty.” As someone who loves literature, I can’t write this without acknowledging that (in my opinion at least) there are “better” works of literature. I think that whether something is “good” or not transcends genre, and is about something else entirely.
In every genre- be it social commentary, literary fiction, Young Adult fiction, poetry or plays, I appreciate language. I appreciate the use of the vernacular, innovation and even sensationalism where it has its place (I’m looking at you, 18th c. Gothic). I like the elements of writing that capture the time and place of writing. I like those with an eye for the ridiculous, I like playfulness, I like plays on words, I like “abuses” of language and I like the influence and use of other talents (Blake was a trained engraver). I like comic books and “postmodern” allusions to them. These irreverences and innovations are how great art is made. My literary heroes have choices to defend. In a sense, so do everyone’s: some literature is not built to last, so the writing we now consider “classic” is made up of novels and poetry that have survived because of the very differences I just talked about. This is important. I don’t think a book should ever be a classic just because it’s old. It needs to actually mean something, otherwise it deserves to fall into obscurity in the way that I (sadly) expect my favoured crime thrillers to fall into.