A lot of years ago I was studying for some English Literature papers. I had a holiday booked, and then discovered the exams started the day after I came back. I studied up on all my notes before going on holiday, (yes I was a swot!), and took the books with me to read one last time. As far as I recall they were: Macbeth, D.H. Lawrence, T.S. Elliot, and Wordsworth.
The reaction of other beachgoers, people at adjoining tables in cafés etc. was very interesting, and I lost count of the number of people who asked if that was my usual holiday reading. Umm, no. A swot I might have been, but holiday reading, not usually.
Which begs the question what is popular holiday reading now. Not much different I think. Updated maybe, but the same themes are there. Look around most airport bookstores and we see: romance and sex, or murders, bombs and a race against time. Sometimes all these ingredients packed within one cover.
It often feels as though genre writing is less than literary writing. That it is looked down on as a poor relation. From my humble position all I can say is that I’ve read beautiful literary books that sang to me, as well as ones that took a lot of words to say very little. I’ve read genre books that have kept me up hours after I should have gone to bed, that have tugged at my emotions and remained with me long after I finished the last page, as well as those that were cliché ridden and so badly plotted I couldn’t even finish them, and I hate giving up on a book.