Saturday, February 06, 2010

I almost deleted this whole thing last week. Then over the weekend I was considering just deleting back until last fall sometime. Too much angst in my life right now. But, hey, lighten up, right? To delete it in a fit of self-disgust would only give it more importance than it's worth. Or that's what I'm telling myself anyway.

So I'm fighting a losing battle here on the literary vs. genre fiction and I know it. I just don't want to admit it. but honestly. Here is the last sentence of the Book Shop: "As the train drew out of the station she sat with her head bowed in shame, because the town in which she had lived for nearly ten years had not wanted a bookshop." What is that? Is Fitzgerald making fun of her character? It very nearly sounds like it. Or is she really convinced that the actions of a courageous, sensitive person are bound to end in shame and humiliation? Do the turkeys always get us down? I wish I could ignore the whole thing and just work on finding, reading, and writing some sort of hybrid where the whole of human experience is acknowledged and not just the sordid depressing bits. But unfortunately I've chosen to re-enter the academic arena and ignoring it is not exactly possible in an academic setting. Or at least not ignoring it in the way that I mean. They would certainly allow ignoring genre fiction.

And truth be told, I can't entirely blame them. I came up with a list of a dozen genre books worth reading from the ones I read last year, but that leaves out the DOZENS of books that I read that weren't worth reading at all-- more than a few were downright awful. I'd read 20-50 pages and throw them back in the bag to go to the thrift store. Some of them were so bad that you just are embarrassed at the waste of paper and ink.

So I'm done with this topic. I think. I hope. :)

hope is the thing with the feathers. --Emily Dickinson
not exactly related, but I love that line.



  1. The best of genre fiction is always less work to read than the "best" of literary fiction.

    But the worst of both have this in common - the assumptions about worldview that they bring to the story dominate the story in a way that makes the piece unpleasant to read. Bad genre fiction is pollyanna-ish and bad literary fiction is just waaaaay to "realistic".

    Truth is that sometimes I don't feel like working when I read. And the best of genre fiction can teach me something about the human condition while I'm relaxing. Literary fiction -- eat your heart out.

  2. EXACTLY. How come you aren't writing this blog?