At The Literacy Site, Will S. examined:
What Science Is Saying About Fiction Readers
Among other things, he noted that the authors of one study said that what you choose to read is important:
“We believe that one critical difference between lit and pop fiction is the extent to which the characters are complex, ambiguous, difficult to get to know, etc. (in other words, human) versus stereotyped, simple…”
i.e, What they are saying is that it’s literary fiction vs genre, with literary at the top, of course.
Well, some reviewers have said that I write ‘literary genre’ fiction. So there.
But seriously, genre fiction does not have to be – although admittedly it can be – one gigantic trope, or a bingo card where you’re supposed to check off genre boxes. A good book is a good book, and that depends on the writing.
Many genre books that are sniffily dismissed by the cognoscenti are considerably better and more engagingly written than some of the more pretentious literary stuff that is intended to be as woolly, ‘intellectual’ and impenetrable as it can be. THOSE books make you run from reading.
It’s the books about people, about strong characters, about what happens to them and how that changes them, that teaches readers the empathy that science is discovering is one of the major benefits of reading.
A book carried by strong characters who are part of a strong story can be genre, or it can be literary. Anyone who tells me that literary offerings are better than a book by Ursula le Guin, by Guy Gavriel Kay, by Octavia Butler, by Neil Gaiman… is basically an utter pretentious and supercillious ignoramus. In truth, ‘literary’ is just another genre, not superior to all the others.
Not every science fiction or fantasy book is about D&D quests. Not every Western is about shootouts at high noon in a deserted dusty street of a Hollywood Wild West set. Not every book with romance in it is going to be a bodice-ripper. Not every mystery is going to be a straight-up whodunnit.
These books are stories with genre tropes embedded inside. They are no less literary for all that. Read good books, and don’t worry about what “genre” they are. That’s the only rule.
Alice in Wonderland at 150
This year marks the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. But what has it meant to different generations? Rosa Silverman asks at The Telegraph. Is it innocent fantasy or dark and druggy?
Photo: Royal Mail
Walt Disney made a film of her. Jefferson Airplane wrote a song about her. And now Royal Mail has released a set of stamps in her honour.
Alice in Wonderland celebrates her 150th birthday this year and we are still enthralled by her spell – or rather, the spell cast by Lewis Carroll when he wrote the much-loved children’s book in 1865.
This isn’t my usual, mostly book-related fare, but I couldn’t resist these pictures by Kindness Blog that celebrate what humanity can be like at its best.
19 of the Very Best ‘Uplifting Photos of the Day’
Human Beings. Animals. Family. Fun. Friendship. Love. Laughter….What more could you need?”
The 10 Best Short Story Collections You’ve Never Read
At Publishers Weekly, short story author Mia Alvar says that a great short story collection can cover as much ground as an epic doorstopper, one brief vignette or character at a time.
Here’s a list of (my) favorite collections that … share what every great story collection has in common: fully realized worlds compressed into a few pages, and a multiplicity of perspectives shedding light on what it is to be human in the world.
Lend Me Your Character: Author Dubravka Ugrešić herself has described this collection as “stories [written] by altering other stories.” Her sources range from Tolstoy, sensationalist news items, Slavic folk tales, and editorial pitch letters. ‘A Hot Dog in a Warm Bun,’ for instance, channels the absurdities of Gogol’s “The Nose” into…a different member of the (male) anatomy. Her characters—almost all of them blocked writers, fretting over their literary legacies—struggle with the impossibility of creating a truly original story nowadays…These stories were written in a nation “that no longer exists” and a language that “too has divided, in three.” In light of that disruptive and tragic history, Ugrešić’s quirky humor, irreverent feminism, and playful postmodern style often had me wincing through my laughter.
THIS n THAT
NASA’s New Horizons probe has reached Pluto more than nine years after leaving Earth. The spacecraft will perform a flyby of the icy dwarf planet, capturing the most detailed images ever seen. Aboard are the ashes of Clyde Tombaugh, the American astronomer who discovered Pluto in 1930.
To get boys to read
“I have boys, and boys are particularly resistant to reading books. I had some success recently with Sherman Alexie’s great young adult novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian–I told my son it was highly inappropriate for him, and one of the most banned books in America. That got his attention, and he raced through it.”
~ author Nick Hornby in an interview with the Daily Telegraph
The New York Times has removed ‘A Time for Truth: Reigniting the Promise of America’, by Ted Cruz from its bestsellers list, claiming that “strategic bulk purchases,” have skewed the book’s sales figures. Amazon and HarperCollins denied the allegations.
Quote of the Day
Alma Alexander My books Email me
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