Wow. Surely no reasonable person would suggest that bookstores should peddle only masterpieces. But the post begins:
Should all novelists under 30 be banned from publication? That might sound a bit extreme or even absurd, but let's dig a little deeper. How do you begin to validate such an outrageous proposition? For starters, consider these authors: James Joyce, Herman Melville, Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, George Orwell, Richard Brautigan, Knut Hamsun, Sherwood Anderson and Mark SaFranko. The later work of all these writers is undeniably superior as it is more rounded and contains greater emotional depth.
Most writers take years to get to grips with their chosen craft. And to produce anything of literary worth, they need to have lived a little, taken jobs, travelled, had a series of love affairs, shot a man in Reno. How can you write about life if you haven't even lived it?
It continues in the same obnoxious vein: authors have no business writing, publishers have no business buying, and booksellers have no business peddling books that are not masterpieces. Take a look at this conclusion:
Ultimately, publishers and marketing folk have to take some responsibility for this systematic denigration of our precious culture. Brilliant writers will be lost forever, and publishing young, not-yet-ready authors and hyping them into oblivion does the writers themselves few favours. Where do they go from there? If they are told they are good when they've yet to develop, how can they judge the validity of everything they do afterwards?
Maybe banning all novelists under 30 is a fanciful idea, but if publishers used this awkward notion as some sort of yardstick, our bookshelves might contain a good deal more than just pretty covers, pretty pictures and problematic prose.
Is this guy serious? Does he really believe a book isn't worth reading unless it's a masterpiece? (And whose definition of "masterpiece" is he using, anyway?)
I enjoy fine dining, and have had some meals in five-star restaurants that I've talked about for weeks afterward. But last week I had a really good cheeseburger from Wendy's. The beef was juicy, the lettuce was fresh and plentiful, the onions were sweet and crisp. It was good. Just because it was cheap, easy to obtain, served up quickly, and pretty much forgotten an hour later doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it from first bite to last.
I've read books that were almost as easily forgotten as that cheeseburger--but while reading them, I enjoyed myself immensely. They were, emphatically, not masterpieces, but they had value to me, at least for a time, and I like to think that made them worth writing, worth publishing, and worth the space they once took up on bookstore shelves.
That's why I'm not offended when people criticize my books or make derogatory statements about the genre I write in. Tell me my latest book is not a masterpiece and I'll heartily agree; while I have some small talent, I'll never be a great romance writer. But tell me my book is not worth the paper it's printed on and I won't be crushed because I simply won't believe you. Tell me you hated my book and I won't question the quality of my writing, I'll just wonder what's wrong with you.
An author doesn't write for publication unless she feels she has something to offer the world. Publishers don't buy books unless they believe readers will want them. Bookstores don't stock books unless they have a pretty good idea the things will sell. Admittedly, most published novels don't even approach greatness. But many of them are good. To maintain that such "non-masterpiece" books should never have been written because the authors weren't (or weren't yet) capable of producing "gourmet" fare is just plain dumb.