Books, Entertainment

Mass-Market Novels & Guilty Pleasures

A friend of mine posted this today about the recent trend away from literary fiction to more mass-market novels.

I’ve definitely noticed the trend. I think it’s just one facet of a trend in general away from true creativity toward commercialized, packageable, marketable art products. The trend can be seen in music, film, TV, and of course, literature.

As much as this idea frustrates and annoys me, especially when it comes to “Christian” art (that’s another topic for another post), I have a love/hate relationship with the mass-market novel.

In fact, one of my favorite series of books was first created in order to disprove his writing teacher’s claim that formulaic series sell better:

“When I finally got tired of arguing with her and decided to write a novel as if I was some kind of formulaic, genre writing drone, just to prove to her how awful it would be, I wrote the first book of the Dresden Files.” – Jim Butcher.

He has since gone on to write the high fantasy novels that he’d originally set out to write. But to be honest, I’ve been so enthralled with the Dresden Files, I haven’t even looked at those yet. So, I guess I’m one of the mind-numbed hordes consuming the mass-market fiction of the publishing machines.

a guilty pleasure
Image by massdistraction via Flickr

At this point in my busy life, I’m okay with that. It’s comfort food, and some of it’s probably more fat & sugar than substance. I will even admit to reading the Twilight series, so low are my standards these days (just to clarify, the Dresden Files kick the snot out of the Twilight series).

But it does keep me reading, so maybe when I get up a bit more energy & courage to dive into something more substantial, I won’t have forgotten how.

Or maybe my brain will develop diabetes…

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2 thoughts on “Mass-Market Novels & Guilty Pleasures”

  1. I am part of that horde too. I read fiction like it is a drug. Hopefully I never have to go off of it or I will have major withdraw. Like you it is comfort food for me. It is my chance to escape. I will have to read the Dresden files though, and I will also say that I think the twilight series is really good. To me it is not really the love story that I like best, it is the history of vampires and werewolves. I kept reading a lot of the time because I wanted to understand their world. I know it is cheesy but it is also the truth.

  2. Yay for the horde! You might like the Dresden Files. I find them immensely entertaining. Part mystery, part fantasy, part comedy. Interesting characters, solid plots, well-built universe, clever dialogue – pretty much everything I like in a book.

    I really enjoyed the Twilight series the first time I read it. I think it was after leaving it alone for awhile and going back to it that the shine kind of faded for me. I do find the vampire and werewolf cultures really interesting though. It’s a unique take on those mythologies, which is cool. The romance, however, is all kinds of messed up, LOL.

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