I talk about Beach Smut on the blog sometimes, and it dawns on me that this is a term much like “Space Chicken” – my family uses it and everyone else has no idea at all what we mean. (Space Chicken, by the way, is a supermarket rotisserie chicken in a plastic dome. All ready to go into space in its own little ship). But Beach Smut is an important thing to know about.
To qualify as Beach Smut, a novel can have no redeeming informational value. It has to be for fun only. No thoughts or deep meanings required. Only feels. If you’d never tell your English teacher about the book, but you’re LOVING it anyway, you’re probably reading Beach Smut. In short, this is a genre that’s perfect for when you’re sitting and sunning yourself on the beach. It’s vacation if you’re sunning yourself on the beach. No high thoughts, morals, or meanings allowed.
I consider Twilight to be the pinnacle of the Beach Smut genre, although there are others just as good. It’s a quick read, a little salacious, with plenty of Vampire/Werewolf drama. It’s easy to identify with Bella, and it’s hard to take seriously. There are four whole books, so you don’t even have to think hard about what you’re reading next. Perfect. Dive right in. Others that qualify are Kiera Cass’ Selection series, any Anne McCaffrey novel, and things labeled “Aunt Dimity.” I’m sure you can think of a host of others.
We all read them. And their quality has to be judged differently from that of more serious books, because the aim of the author is different in writing them. You can’t fault Twilight for not being The Fault In Our Stars. It isn’t fair to either book, and it isn’t fair to either author. They’re a totally different thing and they each have a valid place in the world.
So there you have it. And when I rave of the Beach Smut merits of a particular book, you will know what I mean.