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Books on the Nightstand published our final episode in July 2016. This is a place for listeners to find old episodes. 

I'm sorry that we don't have show notes for all of the episodes, and that the episodes do not have consistent filenames. Still, we hope you find that the content is valuable enough to overlook those annoyances.

Thank you to all who have listened to BOTNS over the years and for those who are just discovering the podcast. 

Mar 15, 2016

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.


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.

Commercial Fiction
  • A heavy reliance on plot
  • Less interior character development
  • Page-turner
Literary Fiction
  • 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)

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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?