Awhile back I posted on Facebook about how hard it was to find good, light reads that are really worthwhile (as opposed to good, serious books, which seem to be common as dirt), and the responses I got were basically, “If you want to find light reads, then lower your standards and look for things that are just sort of good enough.”
Which is fine. Sometimes people, for whatever reason, want ‘good enough.’ But I feel like all day long I hear people talk about how genre fiction is just as good as literary fiction, and I, most of the time, believe it. But if that’s the case, and if it’s possible for any genre to produce masterpieces, then why should we settle for a vampire romance that simply passes the time? Shouldn’t we be looking for vampire romances that can stand with the best that literature has to offer?
To me, the corollary to the statement, “Any genre can produce really good work” is that we should hold all literature to a high standard. Books shouldn’t be able to skate by because they sort of high the right character points and they sort of remind us of other, better, books that we loved when we were kids. No. All books should be original. All books should be complex. All books should do something new. All books should be good.