Authors – Why We Love To Hate Them!
Wallace Stevens once said, ‘As life grows more terrible, its literature grows more terrible.’
A few weeks back I shared a post where I asked if we as readers were being too critical of the successful authors whom everyone loves to hate! Continuing on that subject, I wrote this article as a part of my weekly feature in the Bloggers World Forum under “Authors Who Made History” category where we celebrate the life story of any one author who left an impact in the literary world.
However, this week I decided to stir things up a little and talk about the authors, yes, I said authors (plural) who left an impact on the literary world for the wrong reasons! The impact they left being a constant debate among the members of the ‘elite’ literary club and the ‘not-so elite will read anything’ club.
Need I spell out what their topic of discussion would be? That’s right! They debate on how much of an impact these authors make in the literary world; how much did they contribute to it or rather take away from it?
Make a splash into the world wide web and you will see many incredibly articulate works published everywhere from blogs to online magazines debating if the books published by authors like Stephanie Meyer (SM) and E.L. James (ELJ) and their Indian counterparts like Chetan Bhagat (CB) and Ravinder Singh (RS) should be considered as actual literature or just plain trash? Yet another argument that stirs up the debate further is “If they are trashy, then, why are they so successful?”
After spending a few hours reading some of these articles and blog posts, this is my inference of why I think these authors are successful despite writing and publishing what I like to refer as the ‘pop culture literature’
- Market Value versus Literary Value:
The common thought is that these authors write for the masses, not for literature. Their work has no value in literature. They just intend quick fame and money. They get a lot of fan following starting with their debut book.
- The Objectification of Girls:
These books often contain unnecessary accounts of erotica and anatomy, with only female characters as the principal object of description. Even the idea of love in such books is misleading and least like true love, as is shown very clearly in the unhealthy “relationship” between Bella and Edward or Christian and Anastasia in books like Twilight and 50 Shades respectively. This is a sentiment with some basis. It is accepted that while a majority of young females fantasize of romantic love, the majority of young males spend most of their life fantasizing about girls, not romance, and sex, not love.
- Themes Which Suit Movies More Than Books:
The very impression of writing such books are often with the premise of selling them for movie rights. While writing them in form of books is offensive to literature and do not have anything of substance, it is most of the times picked up by Hollywood heavyweights bringing forth the moolahs.
While I have read books like Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight and Chetan Bhagat’s 2 States as a pastime— they are not part of my usual reading habits. I consider myself a sophisticated reader all right, but I do not “love to hate” these authors. I do not like the idea of reading them, yes.
Nonetheless, the authors like SM, ELJ, CB, RS are icons in the eyes of teens and young adults (their target audience), having got for themselves fame and love (well maybe hate too!) for what they like doing best: Writing.
Let’s find inspiration in them, if not their work. Let’s applaud them for their spirit.
Excellent article, with some great observations. I especially like your thoughts about the two kinds of value, and how men and women view love. Since I’ve not read the authors you’ve mentioned I cannot applaud them. But I can understand them better from a cultural standpoint. Again your article sheds light, so thanks.
Thank you, Nico! I am glad you enjoyed the article. I see a lot going on in social media about authors from this genre so felt compelled to write about it.
It’s interesting to read your post, it gives me an opportunity to know some of the authors, I’ve never read their books, I therefore have no idea.
Sometimes I read books which have catchy titles, I’m not always successful, lately I read two books by a Pakistani author, I picked this book because the title was,”A God in Every Stone,” I was curious and bought and read the book. It had good reviews but I did not like it at all. Before I read this one I found out, she had also written another one titled, “The Broken Verses,” it was not available in the store, thinking she must be good I ordered it online. I received this book, it’s slightly better than the former but not a whole lot. I guess I read two books by an author whom I never heard of, and they were a disappointment. But I thought according to the list I was supposed to read a book that had bad reviews.So I fulfilled that part.
Thank you Rashmi for your review of the authors.
You are most welcome, Ranu. I am not recommending these authors to you via this article, because, in all honesty, I did not enjoy their work. Not one bit and I doubt I will read them again. My intention of the article was just to point out that there are people who do, so if these genre of authors do cater to them, then who are we to judge! 🙂
No.I did not mean that, I understood what you meant.
Thank you, Ranu 🙂
Storytelling is the irreducible commonality all humans use to express and derive intent with others. Whenever that message resonates above a certain threshold within us, we are captured. The response is more about the state of the listener than the teller…?
Probably! If that is the case then the success of these authors means that their voice has been captured by many?
Why else would individuals continue to read their work?
You have a point there!
Very well said Rashmi. Like you, I have read a little bit of these, but never got on the bandwagon. Quite often things seem to be provocative simply for the sake of being provocative – and don’t really make any point. I have a low tolerance for that, as well as for writing that is just plain bad! As for the objectification of women, I wholeheartedly agree! I was so proud when my 23 year old stepdaughter said that if she was friends with the main character of 50 Shades, she’d stage an intervention and tell her to have some self-respect and get a life! haha!
I’ve read these books and they are not my go-to books for literal brilliance. The objectification of the ladies actually bothered me a bit, because I’m concerned that a young undiscerning girl would get sucked into this in the belief that it’s how a relationship should be. It’s pure entertainment!
I agree! The fact that these books are so popular especially among young adults concerns me! I can only hope that they don’t base relationship goals based on what they read in such books which are released with only one intention, which is truckloads of money!
A very interesting article Rashmi! I totally agree with the third point, these are the books written with the premise of selling them for movie rights. Though I haven’t read the twilight series or any work from Ravinder Singh for that matter. To be honest for me any genre of book works, I mean till the time it keeps me entertained and makes me forget what’s happening around me. But still I could not tolerate reading books by Chetan Bhagat apart from 2 states and 5 point someone.
The worst of the lot for me was Ravinder Singh, it was the first time I was reading a book by him and it definitely was the last. I struggled to finish the book! Chetan Bhagat, I thought 2 states and 5 point someone was alright, the worst was Half Girlfriend! That is the last book I will read of Chetan Bhagat!
Thanks Rashmi! I am totally going to avoid Ravinder Singh’s book now.
Only those 2 books mentioned are worth a read by Chetan Bhagat.
I agree with your decision!