Tag Archives: why we read fiction

New Award for Literary Fiction

The greatest fault of literary awards is that they, like the review industry, are largely directed at new writing. There is no reason why the “best” books should be “new” books. Whereas commercial fiction is topical, trendy, and has a very short shelf life, literary fiction is not. If an industry supporting quality writing is to succeed in this changing publishing world, it must distinguish itself from the fashion industry where being “the latest” is every thing. A new philosophy for literary fiction publishing must focus on the maturing title as well as the new one. Continue reading

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What is literary fiction?

Literary fiction is often linguistically difficult, or unusual, in the way that poetry is. It often contains unfamiliar words or supports political, ideological, religious positions that are not widely accepted.  It subverts sentimentality. It makes people think.

Non-fans of literary fiction tend to complain that it sends them to the dictionary (or tries to).  They claim literary fiction is guilty of affectation, a term which seems to have changed its meaning of late:

Main Entry: af·fec·ta·tion

Pronunciation: ˌa-ˌfek-ˈtā-shən
Function: noun

1 :displaying extensive knowledge acquired chiefly from books : demonstrating profound, recondite, or bookish learning

2 :speech or behavior relating to, or characteristic of poets or poetry Continue reading

Candy Girl by Diablo Cody

In response to a reader who asked me to compare my novel, Trixie, to Diablo Cody’s Candy Girl: A Year in the Life of an Unlikely Stripper, I looked it up. This is what I found.

There is a long tradition of confessional “novels” about stripping by Harvard grads, clever journalists, med students, and, as Cody calls herself, otherwise “unlikely strippers.” In addition to these confessional, somewhat fictionalized memoirs–for they cannot be called novels–there is also a slew of scholarly works on the topic (for example Stripped: Inside the Lives of Exotic Dancers by Bernadette Barton), also undertaken by bright, clever, and adventurous women who probably didn’t mind the “research” work. Apparently, Cody’s smart-girl type is more likely to try stripping than she wants us to think. Continue reading

What is Literary Fiction?

Literary fiction is often linguistically difficult, or unusual, in the way that poetry is. It often contains unfamiliar words or supports political, ideological, religious positions that are not widely accepted.  It subverts sentimentality. It makes people think.

Non-fans of literary fiction tend to complain that it sends them to the dictionary (or tries to).  They claim literary fiction is guilty of affectation, a term which seems to have changed its meaning of late:

Main Entry: af·fec·ta·tion

Pronunciation: ˌa-ˌfek-ˈtā-shən
Function: noun

1 :displaying extensive knowledge acquired chiefly from books : demonstrating profound, recondite, or bookish learning

2 :speech or behavior relating to, or characteristic of poets or poetry

Continue reading

The Choice Issues in the Health Care Bill: eating meat and reading literature

Two extremely important issues–that are not strictly health related–are holding up the health care bill. These are: whether the government should help fund abortions and whether the government should help fund end-of-life consultations between patients and physicians. Anyone who knows my novels knows that I’m a feminist and so would expect me to support Pro-Choice, and I do. Anyone who has read Naked Singularity knows that I would fight for choice on the issue of euthanasia too. Nevertheless, I think both should be withdrawn from the bill. Here’s why: Continue reading