Today’s Fiction. . .

Heather Sellers posted a dinner party what to read list on her blog, Word After Word, recently. Can’t help but notice that so much of the list is nonfiction–which I find myself drawn to more and more these days because. . .dare I say, I find it’s better written, manages to combine interesting subject matter with elegant prose more than much of the fiction that seems to find its way to bookstore shelves today.

I read an agent quote from a Poet’s and Writers interview suggesting that there was a lot of “beautifully written” fiction out there but it didn’t “grab” the agent.

Surely, there must be submissions that do both. . .I’m reading The Lace Reader for a book club right now and while the plot is decent enough, I can barely get through the writing, first person present tense, pretentious and self conscious. Is it possible that these editors/agents are revealing a bias against good writing in fiction, believing, when they see it, that they just have a “beautiful little nonstory” on their hands.

Interestingly, one of the other people interviewed described watching teenage girls in a bookstore talking about great books that they’d read and then observed, that, come to think of it, “there are a lot of good books in the YA market these days.” Well written books, too, I’d like to add. I’m rarely disappointed in the writing in a YA book, and the burden of a strong plot is on those books just as much, perhaps more, as their adult counterparts.

Food for thought. What do you think?

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Today’s Fiction. . .

  1. I think I’d rather spend an evening with fiction, really. It takes a scathingly good story to rope me into nonfiction.

    And I think there are several links out there I need to pass along, mostly because I meant to do it this morning and didn’t.

    The Ponzi Workshop
    US vs. UK

    …and my favorite…Papers of a Great Writer

  2. Let me try that first one again…

    The Ponzi Workshop

    (I’m learning how to put links in comments. harder than it looks.)

  3. Cindi

    I used to be very interested in non-fiction and then I felt burned out on them! Now, I read a mixture of non-fiction and fiction. I really agree that YA books are very good. I purchase them for my nieces and sometimes, myself.
    Thanks, Cindi

  4. Wasn’t “The Lace Reader” originally self-published? I may be remembering it all wrong, by now. But I do remember hearing about it on NPR and looking for it. I’m glad I didn’t follow through.

    I’m almost always disappointed in the books that get all the raves–the few exceptions being those I read BEFORE hearing all the hype. Thinking about it now, I can see that this seems to suggest more about me than the books themselves.

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