Monday, February 03, 2014

We Can't All Just Get Along

Last week, I heard something about an accomplished literary novelist who had just published a mystery but oddly disdained the genre in an interview about said mystery. Many friends and luminaries in the mystery fiction community leaped to the genre's defense, pointing out that said literary novelist's mystery was a poor example of the form.

I paid neither side much attention. This isn't the first time a writer of one genre—literary is a genre—has bashed another genre. Animosity from all sides gets us nowhere. Writers are drawn to write what they like just as readers read what they like. If someone isn't into a particular genre, there's little chance a fan will convert her.

Everything I read for pleasure now I would have enjoyed thirty years ago, too. I read my first thriller, The Fifth Profession because I recognized author David Morrell as the creator of Rambo. I loved Star Wars and Superman as a child, and now I enjoy Firefly and James S.A. Corey's Expanse novels. Clearly, my choice of reading pursues the pure joy I felt in my youth. As I've aged, I've spent my free time exploring why I enjoyed what I did as much as I did. We're all pursuing happiness, but different things make different people happy.

I feel no animosity toward people who don't enjoy what I enjoy. I feel no need to defend what I enjoy; it speaks for itself. Often I appreciate it more when others don't enjoy it.

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