Great quote by Stephen King:
There are books full of great writing that don't have very good stories. Read sometimes for the story... don't be like the book-snobs who won't do that. Read sometimes for the words--the language. Don't be like the play-it-safers who won't do that. But when you find a book that has both a good story and good words, treasure that book.
There's so much richness in that quote I could discuss (and probably will, in the future), but I'd like to focus on the "book snob" part right now.
Three semesters ago, one of my Creative Writing students raved and raved about a certain book called Twilight. Yes, that vampire young adult book that's sparked a HUGE fan base and movies and memorabilia. Back then, I had never heard of it before. She loaned me her copy, and I read it. And the next one, and part of the next (I still haven't finished Book 3).
I've never met a lukewarm Twilight fan - people are either UBER-fans or UBER-haters of that series. But I, myself, am a lukewarm fan. I'm not crazy about the writing, itself (I think it's too simple and repetitive and could be edited/tightened). But, I do appreciate the story and can understand the appeal of the plot: Vampire meets human girl. Vampire falls for human girl (and wants to eat her). And so on...
More than anything else, though, I love that people are READING. To me, that's the beauty of Twilight. Or Harry Potter. Or Stephen King books. Or any other highly-commercialized, ridiculously-popular, best-selling book. It gets masses of people (many who don't consider themselves "readers") excited about the act of reading, of turning pages. Which, to me, is priceless.
So, even though I teach Shakespeare and Hemingway and Dickinson, I'm certainly not a book snob. I fully respect everyone's right to enjoy any type of book he/she wants to enjoy. And, to WRITE any type of book he/she wants. Because individuality is what keeps the world interesting!