The Weekly Debate (6): Subject Matter, Does It Matter?

This week's question: Are "deep" books better?

Better is vague, but it's vague for a reason and not just due to my lack of better words; how does the subject matter affect the overall reading experience for you? For me, deep, touching material definitely does not make a book, and I would like to say books that I categorize as "deep" are at the same level as "light" books... but that's not exactly the case. Before I move on, let's define our terms, shall we?

deep book - noun. a book that deals with the rawer emotions and subjects, often relating to sickness, disasters, or loss (and no, Bella-losing-Edward loss does not count); 9 times out of 10 makes the reader think "ouch" or cry in sympathy

--> ie. Hate List by Jennifer Brown, Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

light book - noun. acronym of a sad book; might contain some sad portions, but generally lighter subject matter and scraping the surface of those negative emotions that we all don't really like to think about 24/7 (clarification: hate for the girl who stole your popularity is classified under a "happy book")

--> ie. Cindy Ella by Robin Palmer, Prada and Prejudice by Mandy Hubbard

(Now that we have those semi-cleared up, I feel a whole lot less stupid for repetitively calling books "deep" and "light," though I'm having a hard time not placing quotes every time I say those two words. Darn those English classes that teach us to be intellectuals.)

I have an unspoken rule that light books will rarely receive a 5 stars. Though if you're a chick-lit writer, I'm by no means trying to insult you! If there were no light, fluffy books, I'm sure I would be depressed after reading tome after tome of books about anorexia, death, etc. However, the fact remains that it's uncommon for light romances to pack that extra "omph" that secures a 5-star rating from me. That doesn't mean that all deep books are good, but it is true that deep book often leave a larger impression on me. They often open my eyes to the harsh reality of life and make me appreciate everything I have.

Final Verdict: Deep books generally have the capability to receive a high rating, but not solely because they concern harder to talk about material; it's rather because they're more moving and therefore leave a lasting impression. As for whether they're better, in terms of writing quality, character development, and etc., they're not. Deep subject matter does not equal quality writing, and I highly doubt it every will. I can't imagine a world without the occasional fluff on top and I wouldn't have it any other way. :)


Interested in more questions, more fun? Check out Eleni's latest Monday's Question of the Day!