Fair enough. There are indeed good and bad books but books also succeed and fail — and are responded to by readers — in relation to the genres they fit into or escape from. Like it or not, literary fiction is a category that we use. And if it is just another genre and needs to get over itself, fine.
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We can identify features of other genres. Aliens and nanobots? SF, more often than not. Guns and hats and dead bodies? Dossiers and dead drops? Spy novels. Literary fiction can, like most fiction, be unimportant. It can also be unserious: some of the best of it is. That may be true, some of the time — but these things are more likely to be symptoms than necessary features.
That can be moral or psychological complexity — crudely, the goodies and baddies are less clearly delineated — but it can also be, and tends to be in the best work, allied to a greater attention to the form and to the sentence-by-sentence language itself. And where I say that it mingles with other genres, the point I mean to make is that just like hats, or nanobots its features can be found in any genre. The examples are numberless. A publishing acquaintance suggests an analogy with music: jazz is more complex than blues.
It simply describes a formal difference between the two. If the author is doing something else, or something as well, they may want to slow you down. They may be interested in a voice, or an atmosphere, or as modernists and postmodernists are in jiggering with the form of the novel itself.
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Marxist critics have made the fair point that a genre frames an account of reality: 19th-century bourgeois realism, say, presents in its very conventions a worldview. It selects — from its subject matter and setting to its forms of narration — a way of seeing things that implicitly normalises them. So the form of a narrative is a political or phenomenological decision rather than a natural state of the order of things.
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Some bestselling literary writers — Ian McEwan, for instance — are full of metafictional touches, embedding books within books and playing around with unreliable narrators. And David Mitchell — as radio-friendly a unit-shifter as literary fiction now has — is forever playing with structure and voice. Cloud Atlas , which was what really put him on the map, is a polyphonic novel of multiple genres structured like a Russian matryoshka doll.
Samuel Beckett, laureate as he was of existential despair, is wildly funny. Darn--and I thought there were only 10 essential characteristics. Maybe that's why I'm no Mark Z. What's both fun and compelling about Kevin Johnson's book is not so much that he comes up with "the right list," but that it's well done and thought-provoking. He categorizes his essential beliefs into useful buckets that include strategy, education, people, finance, marketing and sales, leadership, and motivation.
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I'd say the book is equally interesting for both veteran and first-timer entrepreneurs. If there is another book that has had a greater impact on my startup career and personal life, I can't think of it. You learn a useful framework for constructive, positive negotiations that you'll find yourself applying in business negotiations of all types and also when selecting a restaurant with your significant other.
Do You Talk Funny? Davis Berrett-Koelher Publishers, Johnson Johnson Media, The opinions expressed here by Inc. If we don't move in a year she will get bored and rearrange the furniture in the house.
Pretentious, impenetrable, hard work ... better? Why we need difficult books
Now I used to love this, every move was a new adventure; even when we left the state or country. Is it possible that there is just as much social influence on this as biological? Dear Psych Student, I agree that social is as important as biological and, according to Cloninger's theory, both character and temperament interact throughout life. Hope you will continue in your psychology studies! Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph. Her latest book is The Search for Fulfillment. Back Psychology Today. Back Find a Therapist.
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Are you a neophiliac? Submitted by Kelly Cash on March 6, - pm. Sounds like a vampire in need of a blood transfusion. Is there a 12 step program for it? Biological vs. Submitted by Psych Student on March 8, - pm. Re: Biological vs. Submitted by Susan Krauss Whitbourne Ph. Post Comment Your name.
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