You all know I’m a book nerd, or as I prefer to call myself, a lover of literature. Reading, in my opinion, is not just one of the many forms of entertainment in this world, but a vital, essential part of the human experience. And not just the mandatory reading required for day-to-day living (i.e., textbooks, operating manuals, traffic signs, etc.), but reading novels, memoirs, short stories, poems, song lyrics, novellas, graphic novels – storytelling in all its lovely forms.
I’m currently a quarter of the way through Zone One, a post-apocalyptic novel about a member of a sweeping unit in Manhattan out to rid the island of “skels” – zombies, basically, that will turn or kill whomever they encounter. Though I love a good zombie movie, I admit I’ve never before read a book in which zombies were a part of reality but this one peaked my interest because it’s been described as a literary zombie novel. And I tend to read more works of literary fiction than any other genre. I do read the occasional memoir, thriller and Young Adult novel, but literary fiction is what I always return to. I know there are plenty of folks out there who criticize literary fiction novelists for taking themselves and their stories too seriously, for being too artsy, too wordy, too damn heavy. Some even say they’re the snobs of the world of literature. On the other hand, fans of literary fiction complain that mystery books, courtroom dramas, romance novels and crime thrillers are too predictable, too formulaic in their telling. While I think each side has its valid points, I think it boils down to nothing other than personal taste.
I prefer literary fiction because I am a lover of language. I don’t want simply to read a story; I want to be dazzled by the creative use of words, by pretty adjectives and stunning sentence structure. Symbolism, alliteration, metaphor, imagery – they all have their place in literature, as far as I’m concerned, and the writers who utilize them most effectively are the ones I prefer to read.
Today, for my own curiosity only, I’d like you to participate in a poll:
(Note: If you choose Other, please elaborate in the comment section.)