Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Why Isn't It Fun To Read?

Why Isn't It Fun To Read?

Suspense writer Ed Gorman pens this post arguing that American literature is on "a suicide path" because of the boring nature of literary fiction.

I couldn't agree more. While much literary fiction is very good, most literary authors seem to disdain "page-turnability" as a critical component of their work.

I have a strong background in English literature (and the degree from Stanford to prove it), but I've said on many occasions (and in many a writing workshop) that the literary obsession with inner conflict and turmoil is unhealthy.

As I told my classmates after reading "Best American Short Stories 1994," "After I finished the book, I felt like committing suicide. Man, what a downer!"

If you are interested in reading thought-provoking books that combine strong characterization with page-turnability, and you don't mind reading "genre" fiction, I highly recommend the work of Lois McMaster-Bujold.

1 comment:

MJ said...

Not sure I agree with your post 100%, but I know the argument. Some good, page turning, non-genre writers include:

- Richard Russo
- Jonathan Lethem (esp. "Motherless Brooklyn")
- David Liss (OK, this is genre[historical mystery], but it's good)
- Lee Siegel
- Gary Shteyngart
- Louis De Bernieres
- Carl Hiassen (OK, genre again)
- Umberto F'ing Eco, baby!

Or maybe I have a different definition of page turning than some...