While I was thinking about my dislike of the category of chick-lit, I thought of another genre I love to hate. This genre is 'Inspirational'. Again, I don't hate the writing or stories as I hate the title of the category and how pretentious the label sounds. How arrogant the authors or publishers must be to think that people will find a body of work inspirational. A story is just words on paper until the reader picks it up and breaths life into the characters by letting them live in their imaginations. If a story is inspirational it is because of the reader. Another person will think it's garbage, it's all subject to opinion. They both read the same book, one man's trash is another man's treasure, so the cliche goes. It is the reader who can deem a book inspirational, this is not something that can be predetermined. Like telling someone how they should feel about a situation before it happens. How do you know how someone will feel about something before that thing happens? Many will hate the story, even more will dislike it, some will read it and forget, a very select few will remember it for years and an even fewer still will remember it for the rest of their lives. The books I have featured on this blog post are best sellers in this genre. I'm not saying these books aren't inspirational, I haven't read either one. All I'm saying is that how a book will be received isn't the publisher's decision. It is based on the readers very personal set of beliefs. Who are you to tell me what I'd find inspirational?
What you said is true of all written work. The impact and success of the work ultimately is all in the mind of the reader, so you could level the same accusation at other genres. For example "horror" or "thriller" and other similar categories. What one person finds horrifying or thrilling might be a big yawn to the next.
I guess what sets "inspirational" apart is that the other categories seem to work from a widespread common set of foundations, whereas inspiration touches on a much more private and personal part of us.
I find insperational is still a bit boastful of a title.