Defining literary and commercial fiction. We recommend Smarter Faster Better by Charles Duhigg and All Things Cease to Appear by Elizabeth Brundage.
I’ve just gotten over a reading slump. For a few weeks, I couldn’t get into any books or audios. All I wanted to do was watch TV (I binged the first season of Netflix’s Daredevil. Dark and violent, but oh so good!). I eventually broke the slump by continuing to try things, and I didn’t feel bad about not reading.
Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert, narrated by the author, is my pick for this week’s Audiobooks.com Audiobook of the Week.
Special thanks to Audiobooks.com for sponsoring this episode of Books on the Nightstand.
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Commercial vs. Literary Fiction (07:34)
We tackle the difficult task of trying to define literary fiction and commercial fiction. Before getting into those subjects, we define genre fiction which is the term used to describe romance, mystery, and science fiction & fantasy.
Throughout our discussion we mention several times that the defining characteristics of these fiction types are generalizations and they can easily apply to both fiction categories. Also, none of these properties are meant to imply that one of these categories is better than the other.
- A heavy reliance on plot
- Less interior character development
- Much of the action comes from internal character development (“Nothing happens.”)
- More ups and downs from emotions than events
- More complex writing needed to imply emotional states
Two Books We Can’t Wait For You to Read (27:32)
Smarter Faster Better is the newest book by Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit, which I loved. Diving into the research surrounding productivity, Duhigg presents things that were discovered by telling the stories of people and teams encountering problems and solving them. The book’s appendix shows how to put the research and finding to work for you.
Ann recommends All Things Cease to Appear by Elizabeth Brundage, which she says is both literary and commercial (!). A farm in upstate New York is the setting for a murder in the present, and an apparent suicide in the past. How are these events connected and what led to murder?