Literary Snobbery – What is wrong with a book being fun to read?

I went through a phase of being a stand-up comedian. I really enjoyed it, the instant feedback you get when standing in front of a room of people and immediately knowing whether or not what you had created was hitting the spot.


One of the frustrations, however, was the snobbery among comedians. Most were great people, but there was a continual air of snobbery against the commercially successful comedians out there. Everyone’s favourite comedian was some alternative act somewhere who had endless credibility but no pot to piss in.


My recent engagement in fiction writing based social media has demonstrated similarities in some quarters. Thrillers and crime fiction appear to be sneered at in favour of rich literary works. Even talking about novels that include clear motives, well-conceived and page-turning plots, strong and well-drawn characters, the consensus seems to be that unless it changes your life, it’s a waste of time.


Is it not ok for both genres to be good? Not everything has to be pumped with philosophy and brimming with life-changing anecdotes. Sometimes reading can just be, well, fun. In comedy, off the wall comedians can be good, but so can those observational comics who make you nod your head laughing while thinking, ‘yep, I do that’.


Life is too short to turn your nose up and something somebody else enjoys. Ultimately your audience will decide what they like and what they do not, and pre-empting that with your own opinion on other people’s work could just result in you appearing stuffed with pomposity rather than talent.


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