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Read What You Want to Read

By Ava Stern

All over social media, we see books being used as accessories. Whether that be a Colleen Hoover book that has sold millions of copies or a self-published novel by a small author, I’d like to say: read what you want to read. I have seen online discourse regarding the use of books as an accessory and judgment about books that sell and garner worldwide attention.

Personally, I didn't really like Colleen Hoover’s books, but I gave them a try.

The literary community has a bad habit of having an elitist point of view regarding commercial fiction. The internet is a perfect home for unsolicited criticism and so-called “hot takes” regarding other people’s personal choices. In the literary community, there has been a theme of looking down on commercial fiction purely because of its genre. Commercial fiction and YA novels are best-selling books. These books are often not regarded as “serious” or “intellectual”. To unpack what is wrong with these negative connotations and elitist perspectives, we must consider who these audiences are.

The audience of commercial fiction is huge and the demand rises every day. Colleen Hoover’s books, published by Hachette, sold more books than James Patterson and John Grisham combined. She sold more copies in 2022 than the bible. Her influence is crazy and through social media, her fanbase and readers have increased significantly. The literary community has a lot to say about this and has expressed disdain for her books.

Colleen Hoover’s audience is mainly teenage and adult women. This makes sense when you see male literary critics bullying young girls for enjoying commercial fiction. If the audience of these novels were academics, would the response be different? Girls have been criticized for virtually everything under the sun. Language, subject, and author aside, these novels are popular because a lot of people like to read them and tell their friends about them. Let people read, even if it is the worst book you have ever read.

If the book that someone wants to read isn’t as riveting or thought-provoking as your favorite novel, who cares? People should do what they want to do, and honestly, if anyone breaks into reading through a fun commercial novel, that’s great. Despite the negative reputation that commercial fiction has, read what you want to read and don’t let it get in the way of your enjoyment.

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