Friday, November 19, 2010

Literary Hop - Nonfiction Style

I've been a bad blogger. I had hours yesterday to work on this post and just kept putting it off - blaming it on how excited I was to see Deathly Hallows Part 1, or on being sleepy, but really I just didn't have a dignified answer to the question for this weeks Literary Book Blog Hop (hosted by The Blue Bookcase)

Literary Blog Hop

The question was: Is there a such thing as literary non-fiction? If so, how do you define it? Examples?

My hesitance to answer this question wasn't based on categorizing non-fiction as literary. For me, a literary work shows a beautiful control of wording and a innovative story. Ok, I'm simplifying my qualifications for the word 'literary' but I'm going to ask you to forgive me. Back to the point I was making; of course literary non-fiction exists. I'm just not sure if I've read any literary non-fiction. Looking at the non fiction I've read this year, it hasn't been very diverse 
Moab is My Washpot - Fry
American On Purpose - Ferguson
Running with Scissors - Burroughs 
How Did You Get This Number - Crosley
Sleepwalk with Me - Birbigglia. 

So, to break it down, that's three comedic memoirs, one generally funny memoir and a set of personal, and supposedly funny essays. Last year was no different. I think all I read was David Sedaris. But you can see that my foray into non fiction isn't usually for literary merit, but instead for a good laugh. I rarely read down the road to self help books, histories and general awesomeness that can be encompassed in non fiction. But with a category so vast as non fiction, I have to believe that at least some of it contains literary merit. 

In other news-
Since finishing Persian Letters, I have a chance to actually catch up on things I want to be reading. I still have to work through Things Fall Apart for class, but I'm excited for it. It also feels like an even switch since I made my old roommate read my favorite non-American book last year (Kundera's Unbearable Lightness of Being) and this is one of her favorite books by a non-American author. 

I'm also excited to finish rereading the above mentioned Unbearable Lightness of Being, as well as The Forgotten Garden, Stardust, The Virgin Widow and Starter For Ten. I think this is a good list to get me through Thanksgiving. What about you guys? Any big reading plans for the forthcoming holidays? Maybe a holiday favorite or a new release you can't wait for?


bookaddict4real said...

I read "Things Fall Apart" it was really good I think you have a good list going there. I m trying to finish the books I"have to " review versus the ones I bought for myself like "Shanghai Girls".I think I will have to check out "unbearable Lightness of Being"

parrish lantern said...

A good Non fiction is Murakami's Underground, this is attempt to understand his society in light of the attack on the tokyo subway. on a different note, Love Kundera's work.
Enjoyed your write up

Melody said...

I'm hoping to get a good amount of reading done in the next week...we'll see how it goes!

JoAnn said...

Haven't read any of the books you listed, but I do enjoy David Sedaris! Sounds like some good books lined up for the holiday... not sure if I'll get much time to read next week or not.

Rose City Reader said...

I laughed when I read your answer. I enjoy comic memoirs myself -- and David Sedaris. Sometimes it might be a stretch to call them literature, but literature can be funny!

I can't decide whether to indulge in escape fiction over Thanksgiving weekend, or take the time off to read some huge, heavy tome that I've been putting off.

Rose City Reader

readerbuzz said...

It's okay that you feel you've not read much literary nonfiction. Don't forget about it, however. It can be especially provocative because it really happened. To me, it makes it doubly wonderful.

Here's my post on literary nonfiction. I'd love to hear what you think.

And if you have read any wonderful literary books
published in 2010, I urge you to nominate your favorites
for The Independent Literary Awards. The awards
include categories of Literary Fiction and Literary Non-Fiction.
Nominations close December 15.

IngridLola said...

So ... what did you think of Deathly Hallows?

gautami tripathy said...

I gotta more of read comic memoirs. Persepolis does qualifies as one and so does The Imposter's Daughter by Laurie Sandell. I have read both!

Here is my Literary Blog Hop post!

Heather said...

I really liked Stardust-I'm pretty much enamored of all things Gaiman. I think that some of the memoirs you read this year would qualify as literary. Running with Scissors may be hilarious, but it only comes across that way because of Burrough's way with words.

meags222 said...

I definitely think there is such thing as literary non-fiction. I haven't read any of those on your list but I have read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou and I would classify that as literary.
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