Hello Imaginary Friend,
Something has been bothering me lately. The idea of whether a book can be bad and I think my opinion is going to be unpopular.
How a book can be bad
There are two ways I can see a book being bad.
One; they come to life and try to stab people. (Arguably the homicidal books could be considered misunderstood. If people tried to bend my pages and break my spine, I’d be pissed.)
Two; if the book was decomposing and had gone bad. (I swear I will never write another book on banana peels again.)
Academics and Morality
You can analyze a book and come to the conclusion that it’s not of academic importance. Its themes are weak, its ideas cliché, its language reductive, and it’s message garbled. You can then pass judgment on it as an example of poor writing and say it’s bad.
You can also analyze a books Morality and message and find it to be opposed to your beliefs. You can find books reprehensible in their message and morals. Does that make a book bad? Evil yes bad, I’m not sure.
There are examples throughout history of people finding a book academically wanting and of no importance and being horribly wrong. My classic example is Shakespeare’s plays, academics of his time dismissed his plays as useless and base. Same has applied to morality.
Reading is Good
There are a lot of arguments about whether or not the Harry Potter series, Twillight Series, or 50 Shades of Grey Series are good.
There’s one argument that people use to stop discussing their worth. “At least they have people reading.” As an Aspiring Author, this argument makes perfect sense financially for me. More people who read equal a larger possible audience. So consider me biased.
Let’s take 50 Shades of Grey, (sold over 90 million books).
Are there many people who picked up the series, people who have never read before? Possibly. I’d guess there aren’t as many as Harry Potter since it’s aimed at an older audience.
Are those people going to try and find more like this to read? Probably. Either because they were disappointed and wanted something else or because they liked it and want more.
Is a whole group of people looking for something else in the same style a bad thing? I don’t know. I haven’t read the books but from what my sources tell me there are some pretty wrong notions on gender equality and the nature of BDSM. I’m willing to bet that there are some great books in the same genre that would reinforce good ideas and that there will be more people who find them because of it though.
Is it bad for the publishing world? I don’t know and I don’t have an opinion on this.
How can something so crappy be so popular? You’ll hear all sorts of sexist comments on this subject. Try to not punch those who make them. (It’s not worth it.) Something was missing from society and publishing that people didn’t know they wanted until they had the chance.
Whether it was the fact that 50 Shades of Grey wasn’t hiding behind a curtain, or that it made people talk about sex and erotica, I don’t know. But I’m convinced that it wasn’t a fluke but an untapped market.
What’s your point Eric?
Wow you’re impatient today. It’s simple. In my opinion it’s better for people to be reading and getting passionate about books than to never read and not care.
Reading is a great way to relax, learn new words, discover new worlds, and learn more about yourself.
Reading is good. Telling people what to read is bad.
Eric’s Rule about Media
This is something you’ve been told your whole life and it’s simply this:
Consume all media critically!
I’m sure I didn’t come up with this idea. None the less, passively consuming anything is a bad idea. Question what you’re consuming and try to understand what makes you like or dislike something.
By understanding how something makes you feel and what it’s trying to say you are not only helping yourself but you’ll be able to give people a better idea why you like or dislike something.
One last thing
STOP attacking people about what they read!
STOP acting like your preferred literature is better!
(Blogs, books, magazines, social media, newspapers, etc)