November 29th, 2008

books in a stack

The good, the bad, and the useful?

A friend sent me a link to a post on the Guardian Book Blog that took an interesting perspective. Blogger Stuart Evers celebrated the value of bad books in illustrating "what fiction looks like when it's malfunctioning, when all its wiring is hanging out." He's careful to state that he's not talking about genre books that might be merely formulaic in order to meet reader expectations. His definition of a bad book includes a requirement that it must "aspire to be literature, rather than simply product." If you substitute "a good story" for "product," I can agree with him.

He lists some specifics if you want to know of whom he speaks. My favorite quote from the article: ". . .novels that are so self-absorbed probably don't care about their readers." Now that is a sentiment I can endorse.

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