People make my brain hurt. There are the people who don't watch TV, people who don't read, people who only read works published prior to 1947, people who only read bestsellers, only read non fiction, only read fiction, are dismissive of science fiction.....etc, etc.
I hope that we're not heading into the equivalent of fan writing. But I doubt it. There are enough intellectual snobs out there to counter act the brain fluff and vice a versa to keep them both on their toes.
Having gone to school to read all of these books that no one can relate to , I'm a wee bit offended by the concept. There are two great sins when it comes to books, disregarding an genre as something that you are too good for, and disregarding anything because it's a wittle too hard for you to understand. I'm more guilty of the latter than the former, myself.
It reminds me of the time I had a customer ask me to first explain the difference between fiction and non-fiction (which is of course quite easy) and then asked me to define Literature for him. It's not a word that is easy to define, and I think by having the conversation at all the door was opened to expose people's prejudices. I'll be the first person to admit that some Literature is truly horrible. Truly. Beyond words. But a great amount of it has universal themes that reach across time, space, gender and nationality to evoke feeling in all people. At least they would if these people could forget the experience they had reading Arrowsmith as a freaking sophomore in High School and move on with their lives. Rant completed.
"Literature", in my opinion, differs fron genre fiction in that it's usually character-driven instead of plot-driven. There is also more of a tendency to experiment with writing style and voice, etc. As such it may require more attention from the reader, more thought. (I say this as a mainly genre reader.) Couple this with what IMHO is a culture of anti-intellectualism in the US and you get tons of people believing anything that requires effort is bad. *shrug*
If we can't "relate" to particular book, it's OK, that happens occasionally. If we forgo an entire genre based on a stereotype we developed in high school English, or because our families made fun of snobby book people or whatever the excuse is, then we have a problem. We are narrow minded, or worse yet, shallow minded, excluding all from our lives that somehow doesn't directly relate to us and constantly seeking refuge in the familiar. Pity we can't harvest wool from this particular kind of sheep. Unfortunately, people suffering from this condition will never understand the wealth of experiences and opportunities they have deliberately chosen to forgo.
Or maybe I'm just a book snob, pontificating from on high.
I just clicked on the YarnWench link and realized she's the author of the promo sitting on my desk. Another reason to carry her book.
Did I ever get around to my point that Literature should be read? Not every word of it, by everyone, but I think everyone should read something that's more than just a book. You can't expand your comfort zone if you just sit inside of it.