READING: Saw the heading “The genre debate: Literary fiction” and I was hooked when Austen aficionado and author Elizabeth Edmondson said “literary fiction is just clever marketing”.
In the third of The Guardian’s series on literary definitions “Jane Austen never for a moment imagined she was writing Literature. Posterity decided that––not her, not John Murray, not even her contemporary readership. She wrote fiction, to entertain and to make money.”
“Genre fiction is a nasty phrase––when did genre turn into an adjective? But I object to the term for a different reason. It’s weasel wording, in that it conflates lit fic with literature. It was clever marketing by publishers to set certain contemporary fiction apart and declare it Literature––and therefore Important, Art and somehow better than other writing.”
“Which brings me to the touchy subject of literary snobbery. Perhaps I should call it LitSnob. Lit fic: good. Popular, commercial, trash and pulp fiction: bad.”
Worth reading even if it makes your blood boil––includes 110 comments!
The Guardian report is from her speech given at an Oxford Literary Festival debate and was first published Monday 21 April 2014. Sadly Elizabeth Edmondson (Aston) passed away 11 January 2016. GBW.
LOOKING: Love reading the adult works of author Nick Earls and can brag that I had tenuous, almost ethereal, contact with the man at a book-related charity event. Okay, he was in the same room and he did nod hello. By some weird default in the booking system, I was seated at the head table with Mr Earls and treated like a VIP. I kept getting covert glances from the other diners, socialites wondering who the heck I was. I felt nervous but not intimidated.
Anyway, I have just enjoyed watching a short YouTube video of Nick Earls talking about his children’s book series “Word Hunters: The Curious Dictionary” co-written with Terry Whidborne. Also, author and blogger Kate Forsyth did a good book review.
Promo blurb reads “Twins Lexi and Al Hunter stumble upon an old dictionary and the world as they know it changes. They are blasted into history to hunt down words that threaten to vanish from our past and our present.” And use word nails – sorry, the video is no longer available but you can read the publishers PDF notes for teachers here. GBW.
THINKING: (My apologies because part of this post was accidentally released earlier) Reusing old books, repurposing their mellow covers and yellow pages into something other than pulp––there are good illustrations on this subject but I was musing about reusing the forgotten cotton carry bags in our car boot. Whatever we buy, potatoes, pistachios, mangoes or marshmallows, we will need to bring our own grocery bags to supermarkets in Queensland from 1st July 2018. Plastic bags are banned. The perfect opportunity to reuse single-use carry bags with huge logos on them, like the paper Folio Books bag in muted charcoal with strong handles which currently houses old draft manuscripts.
I’m sure my grandmother’s 1950s wicker shopping basket is in the garage somewhere. It’s the original multiple-use item. Imagine me with the arched handle hooked over my arm, resting in the crook of my elbow, as I peruse the iceberg lettuces for just the right one. A chip off the old block? That’s how my grandmother used to shop with nary a polyethylene-sealed item in sight.
Here’s to the olden days and onward to a cleaner, healthier environment! GBW.
POSTSCRIPT: Every Saturday I change my Home page Photo Of The Week.
Remember, one post with three acts READING, LOOKING, THINKING an idea started by Book Jotter, innovative blogger Paula Bardell-Hedley. Her invitation to participate offers a slight change from ‘Thinking’ to ‘Doing’ if that suits your purpose but I’m sticking with the first format. I can love, like or loathe in three short bursts!
♥ Gretchen Bernet-Ward