Saturday, October 1, 2011

Genre Books=Accessible Literature

La Cabeza--Niki de Saint PhalleI was reading the paper yesterday morning and saw an article by Steven Brown at The Charlotte Observer. He usually reviews our local symphony and opera group, so I was a little surprised to see him reviewing a visual art exhibition.

The art is unusual, as you can see. It’s a traveling exhibit and is making its way through American cities.

Steven Brown stated in his article for the paper:

“Here's what I see most every day. People stop. They look....They step inside "La Cabeza" and peer out through its teeth.”

He makes the point that some more traditional-looking sculptures around Charlotte are passed by, unnoticed by people walking by.

And…I agree with him. When I took my children to uptown Charlotte to have lunch with my sister, they went inside the skull—checking it out from all angles. Even my teenager. They were positively drawn to it. And…it’s art. It’s not art that everyone might like, but it’s art that’s getting their interest and attention. It’s accessible.

In a way, I think genre fiction fills that need in the book world. Genre fiction writers are bringing books to the people—books that are usually easily-understood, accessible, interesting, and fun. If someone doesn’t think of himself as a reader, maybe a genre book in a subject interesting to him, can put him on a path of reading that can also branch into more literary-reads.

Frequently, print reviewers pick literary fiction as more of the focus. And it gets a lot of praise…well-deserved, of course. But in sheer numbers, genre fiction is responsible for a majority of book sales.

Here are some interesting posts on genre that I’ve been reading lately:

13 Ways to Add Depth to Your Genre Novel—Victoria Mixon’s look at giving your book some depth.

When literary authors slum in genre—Tor points out that genre writers are starting to get more respect.

The Two Worlds of Literature: What Serious Writers Can Learn from Genre Comrades in Arms—I love this article on e-reads about where genre writers excel.

I think there’s an important place in our society for high art—in reading, music, and art. But I think it’s also important to provide art that’s accessible to everyone.

Are you a genre reader or writer?