It's an odd animal: women's literary fiction -- NOT erotica -- with a brazen, sensual and deeply flawed main character. Carmen is perpetually concerned with, touching and baring her body. Yet the sex never becomes the story; it isn't that sort of book.
I've read great books, good books, mediocre books, and books so awful they damaged my eyes, and it wasn't genre that determined their ranking. Which formative reading hours would I have lost if the book police determined my choices?
In Miss Fuller, April Bernard takes a speculative scalpel to the life of Margaret Fuller, offering a narrative of her experiences that shines a harsh and unbecoming light on the male transcendentalists.
Genre labels can kill books, and oversimplify narratives. If we aren't to group books into categories with such prejudiced or dismissible undertones, then how else can we label literature? Here are a few suggestions.
Le Carré succeeds in what most authors dream of but few achieve: he creates fully realized worlds inhabited by complex human beings (well, men) dealing with complex issues. He manages this without resorting to infodumps or appendices.
Novels and memoirs about the damages of childhood beg to become tear-jerking orgies. What kept me reading was Torres' dry-eyed control over his material. Edited with obsessive care, he hasn't allowed that to happen.
The appropriation of a piece of literature to a certain genre is a process descriptive of the political moment in which the text finds itself; it's indicative of what's permitted to be described as fact in a particular cultural atmosphere, whether it's intended to be or not.
Pew's findings are a tribute to the resilience of our super-size ego. It shows that most of us are quite pleased with ourselves. Why analyze anything, or learn from our shortcomings, or examine our mistakes, when we can just tell ourselves how superior we are?
Over the thirty years of my publishing career, I've learned that book snobs come in all shapes and sizes. And their snobbery often seems more about them than the genre they've picked for their disdain.
It may sound silly or difficult to understand to someone who hasn't gone through a life-threatening illness, but I made my way through my healing, and through my cancer treatment, by treating it as if it were a sacred act.
I wonder whether writing fiction matters in a digital age. Truth is, between emails, text messages, Facebook status updates, and tweets, we are all writing quite a lot these days. We are often overwhelmed by words.