I am not a critic; to me criticism is so often nothing more than the eye garrulously denouncing the shape of the peephole that gives access to hidden treasure.
Djuna Barnes. “The Songs of Synge: The Man Who Shaped His Life as He Shaped His Plays”, in New York Morning Telegraph (18 February 1917)
I love a lot of books. Some the critics hate, but I have forged connections with them, and so they speak to me. Some books, the critics love, and I hate with an abiding passion. 100 Years of Solitude is one. I don’t relate to any of it, and the fact that half the characters have the exact same name is exasperating.
I love the Twilight Saga. At present, it’s not cool to admit that, and someone who is an English teacher is supposed to be distracted by the poor writing. I didn’t find anything so terrible that it distracted me from the story. The story and the characters I could relate to. I recognized the dilemmas and the challenges. I respected the characteristics that don’t meet the societal norms. I loved them, critics (or cool kids) be damned.
Someone did a poll on Twitter asking whether we want to be critically admired or on a best seller list. I’m not sure that the two concepts are mutually exclusive, but I would be quite delighted with readers over awards. On the other hand, I’d be very proud of awards. We write to be read, though. If our words speak to the people, but are panned by the critics, then perhaps the critics are out of touch?
What about you? Would you rather be read or lauded? Do you read books recommended by the critics or by your low-bred friends?
(Lord David, you can’t answer than one, since I’m sure all your friends are high-bred!) ;-P