An article in the Guardian is stirring up a bunch of attention. I definitely will not be the only writer writing on this one this week. I have seen writers trashing it while others support it.
The thing is, it gets me to wondering. Where do we get off? I mean really? Who sets the standards that make something literature or alternatively, just the usual best-seller?
We all have our own tastes in books. That goes without saying. But critics don’t seem to determine whether something stands the tests of time. Nor evidently does popularity in fiction necessarily make something last.
I’m finding myself in the unusual position of wondering whether how we write something matters as much as whether we strike a chord somehow.
Okay, so this guy is thumbing his nose at Larrson’s books and semi-implying that they would not have been so popular if the author hadn’t died. And comparing him to Dan Brown in the bargain. He comes right out and says, that both author’s books are “mesmerisingly bad.”
Frankly, I haven’t read any of Larrson’s books. I have read, and taken apart for my own education, Brown’s. I wouldn’t say that. At all. The guy has a technique of keeping it short and leaving the reader on a cliff hanger. Each and every chapter.
It works. I wanted to read on. And I wasn’t alone. I don’t make it a habit to read everything the man has written. But I read a couple of his books to see how it was done. And it was an entertaining education.
So to me, it still comes back to striking a chord. Some books will resonate. If they resonate with enough folk, they become popular. If they resonate for long enough, they stand the test of time.
But I don’t really think that anyone can predict that or that some critic’s words can be taken to heart on how to do that. (Nor do I believe that it’s all sour grapes on the critic’s side.) Which I guess is why writing is an art.