Armchair BEA: Day 3-Literary Fiction

May 30, 2013 Uncategorized 8

© Tom Gauld |www.tomgauld.com(credit: © Tom Gauld)

Everyone defines literary fiction differently and I’m not going to get into the whole academic argument of what it is. When I think about lit fiction, I think about books in a bookstore that can’t be shelved in particular areas. Take for example, if you were come to across Colleen Hoover’s Slammed at your local Barnes & Noble store, it’s located in the romance section. If you look at Twilight, it’s shelved in the YA section or Harry Potter is in the children’s section. And yet, when you look for let’s say Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander it’s not in the romance section, it’s in the general fiction area. This is why several classic books such as To Kill a Mockingbird are shelved as lit fiction when I think of them as classic books and not general fiction.

I read an article last year and it was about lit fiction dying. I don’t necessarily think it is, but our expectations of what it is, is changing. We have books that don’t quite fit a specific genre. I’m thinking of Margot Berwin’s Scent of Darkness since she uses elements of magic realism in her book and yet she’s classified as lit fiction. That’s also the beauty of the genre, that it encompasses a wide range of fictional elements.

Some of my favorite literary fiction books include David Nicholls’ One Day. Oh did I cry buckets of tears over the ending! I’ve also enjoyed Sebastian Faulks’s Birdsong, Jess Walter’s Beautiful Ruins, and Carol Anshaw’s Carry the One. If we include classic books then Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front tops the list as well as Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms.

As for 2013 lit fiction reads, I haven’t read many, but I highly recommend the Peggy Riley’s Amity & Sorrow (reviewed here) and Tanya J. Peterson’s Leave of Absence (reviewed here). Both will leave you looking at the world a little differently.

Lit fiction books I can’t wait to read: Menna van Praag’s The House at the End of Hope Street, Meg Wolitzer’s The Interestings, Heidi W. Durrow’s The Girl Who Fell from the Sky, and Ned Beauman’s The Teleportation Accident.

What books lit fiction books have you read and have enjoyed?

8 Responses to “Armchair BEA: Day 3-Literary Fiction”

  1. Chris Wolak

    One of my favorite literary fiction writers is Jhumpha Lahiri. Hadn’t heard that literary fiction is dying. I suppose if a writer wants to make serious money, they might have more luck writing a mystery or paranormal romance that’ll become a smash hit. Birdsong is on my TBR list–must check out some of these others that you’ve mentioned!
    Chris Wolak recently posted…Armchair BEA: Blogger DevelopmentMy Profile

  2. Shannon (Giraffe Days)

    A friend recently recommended The Teleportation Accident – I think it was shortlisted for the Booker last year?? – but I haven’t got hold of a copy yet. I finally got a copy of Birdsong this year; I read Charlotte Grey years ago (and must have lent it to someone because it’s vanished from my shelves! grrr) and enjoyed it, but Birdsong is supposed to be his best book I heard.

    Literature definitely includes magical realism, and historical fiction that has some romance in it – you couldn’t put Outlander in the Romance section more because of what’s already in that genre than what’s in Outlander! You’re right, literature is like everything that’s not a specific genre, and I love that – it’s like, you never know what you’re going to get when you open a book. In a way, it’s more freeing and definitely less formulaic.
    Shannon (Giraffe Days) recently posted…Armchair BEA – Day 3: Giveaway & Literature That Rocked My WorldMy Profile

  3. Barbara

    Oh dear, dying? Well I hope it doesn’t die before I do. I’m in my early 60s so I hope it lasts another 25 years. I am intrigued by descriptions of The Interestings. It sounds — interesting. I searching about for other titles right now.

  4. Nise'

    I’ve got Amity and Sorrow on my stacks. The Girl Who Fell From The Sky was good. Have a great week.

  5. Wendy

    Great post. I agree that there is much overlap between literary fiction and genre fiction. You listed some books on my “wish list” …oh dear, my TBR list is growing with all these great posts! LOL
    Wendy recently posted…2013 Armchair BEA: Non FictionMy Profile

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