Who’s In Charge?

I’m going to have to “pick on” another one of my literary buddies. We are both just too opinionated about books. You see, he likes to talk about how old novels, Sci-Fi novels in particular, are the best and standards keep going down, because authors have started to cater to what readers want instead of trying to get across any deep, profound messages.

He has a good point. Popular literature has changed over the years, and that has to do largely with public tastes and current events. However, I think he is too quick to completely dismiss modern literature.

We’ve had countless conversations like this one. More than a few times, these conversations have hit a dead end with this question: Do authors impress messages on their readers, or is it the other way around?

This is an important question that I’ve about many times throughout my  life as a book lover. 

I think I can sum up my answer by how I responded to a post I recently read on Facebook. Apparently, someone was trying to blow everyone else’s minds with the fact that our government is similar to the government in the young adult dystopian series, The Hunger Games. They were shocked that people couldn’t see that focusing on the love triangle more than the harsh treatment that the main characters are faced with mirrors the attitude of the capitol dwellers.

One one hand, I’m impressed that someone is looking at it from that angle. On the other hand, I’ve always thought that was kind of the point of the book. The series takes some of the dangerous trends in today’s society a step farther to show everyone a society in peril. The author did that. However, if readers don’t pick up on that message and really take it to heart, then it doesn’t have real meaning. Authors bring their books, and their messages, to life, but it is readers who set the spark free and keep the story alive.

So I guess my answer to the above question has always been: Yes, to both. 🙂 It’s a crucial partnership. And I believe that’s true for every literary work, classic or modern.

What do y’all think?

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