Armchair BEA 2013: Literary Fiction

Ugh, I have such a chip on my shoulder about literary fiction. In fact, when I say it, I make it sound all fancy and hoity toity. You know, ~*literary fiction*~ that beautiful special snowflake.

I realize I have issues. Most of those issues, I think, stem from all of those years of studying lit and then doing the creative writing MA. You may not know this, but, in a lot of creative writing programs, the goal is to produce literary fiction, and genre fiction is pooh-poohed. In fact, in my undergrad creative writing classes as well as my graduate ones, we were often explicitly told not to write anything but literary fiction. And all we read as examples was literary fiction.

Which led to me becoming sort of a reverse snob. I tend to avoid literary fiction on purpose. If critics love it, if it’s lauded as a feat in literature, I’ll avoid it. I find a lot of those kinds of books boring and overworked and annoying. And I’m also annoyed that people tell me they’re supposed to be good when I tend to enjoy, say, young adult lit or even chick lit more.

Like I said: issues.

(Side note: If you ever needed another reason not to go to grad school, now you know it makes you crazy in so many ways. I haven’t even really talked about my experiences studying lit yet.)

ANYWAY. All of that said, I do find myself enjoying literary fiction from time to time. I classify literary fiction as adult realistic fiction that doesn’t easily fit into a subcategory. So! Some I have read, reviewed, enjoyed:

14 thoughts on “Armchair BEA 2013: Literary Fiction

  1. It’s funny, by your tag line – read like an english professor – i would have thought you’d have a lot to say about literary fiction. I guess you can’t judge a book by its cover or a blog by its tagline.


  2. Interesting that your views are “reversed”. I’m more along the lines of still unclear of the line between literary, classic and genre fiction, and also after reading your post, as a writer, I’m trying to figure out how to make what comes out on paper not be genre fiction and force it into literary submission!


    1. Most of the writers I follow say to just write your story and then you’ll find the person who can best sell it, and THEY can figure out its genre. But it is nice to know as writer where you’re hanging out.


  3. I’ve been wanting to read Juliet, Naked for a while! I’d like to read some of the others! I can see why you would kind of become a reverse snob! Really interesting post!


    1. Yes, exactly! Some of the best books/movies are the ones that haven’t received critical acclaim. They just resonate in a different way.


  4. I’m enjoying reading all the posts on literary fiction – which I love, but I also read lots and lots of genre fiction that I also love…and really, it is just a way to categorize books. I read Silver Sparrow last year and totally loved it (I also met the author and she is really a cool person!). Will need to check out your other recommendations!


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