• Current Reads

      Life after Life Jill McCorkle
      This Is Your Captain Speaking Jon Methven
      The Starboard Sea Amber Dermont
      Snark David Denby
      Bring Up the Bodies Hilary Mantel
  • Popular Tags

  • Recent Reflections

  • Categories

  • Moleskine’s All-Time Favorites

  • Echoes

    The HKIA brings Hong… on [788] Island and Peninsula 島與半…
    Adamos on The Master and Margarita:…
    sumithra MAE on D.H. Lawrence’s Why the…
    To Kill a Mockingbir… on [35] To Kill A Mockingbird…
    Deanna Friel on [841] The Price of Salt (Carol…
    Minnie on [367] The Rouge of the North 怨…
  • Reminiscences

  • Blog Stats

    • 1,081,386 hits
  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 1,710 other followers

“Popular Fiction”

Here’s an about the myths of popularity in fiction. It’s long but worth a read. That question popular fiction vs. literary fiction comes up again. I know publishers want to make the most profits out of the books, but the whole talk of what is popular and what makes a book popular is rather irrelevant. I don’t think there’s a formula to commercial success, but books that are short on literary elements, like mysteries and thrillers, tend to be more popular in the sense that they are more likely to be picked up and finished promptly. That said, to compare “popular fiction” with literary fiction is unfair and irrelevant, because the non-literary genre pretty much encompasses everything that literary fiction is not. There’s no competition.

Popularity is a myth when it comes to books. To speak of a specific genre is not practical. I can’t say for other readers, but I didn’t buy into any of the Gone Girl doubles after I finished Gone Girl. This speaks the fact that despite the regular conflation of genre fiction witch popular fiction, most genre fiction is not popular at all. What’s popular is whatever you want it to be. Also too often it seems readers’ interest in “popular books” is actually only an interest in books that are popular in the styles they like. So if the focus in the industry is to boost sales and encourage commercial success, it would hurt literature. Why? Because sales have essentially no relation to quality. One way to crack the homogeneity of “popular books” is to read out of our comfort zone and peruse literature on a niche, exploring books from all genres from the world.

Popular Reads, Musing Mondays

Enter the Books Giveaway to win the book of your choice by December 1.

musingmondays1 Monday Musings is now hosted by Rebecca at Just One More Page.

How do you feel about wide-spread reading phenomenons – Harry Potter, for instance, or the more current Twilight Saga? Are these books so widely read for a reason, or merely fads or crazes? Do you feel compelled to read – or NOT to read – these books because everyone else is?

In this post I claimed to be one rebellious child who always wants to be different. Wide-spread reading phenomenons and bestsellers have yet to sway me successfully. It really depends on the source of the hype. Book-blogger hype would be regarded different from critic-hype. Not that I do not give two straws about these books, I find myself to be on my own agenda. Books that have popped up all over book critics’ radar don’t appeal to me as much as the ones recommended by book bloggers. If these popular books do grab my attention, they are usually not high in priority. So, my fellow book bloggers, please convince me to put other books aside to read The Kite Runner or The 19th Wife. Why do you like about them? When The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society first came out, my instinct told me to chuck it because it quickly became the talk-of-the-town type of book, infiltrating cafes, train platforms, steps of Union Square during lunch time and book clubs.

I do believe these books are read for a reason. Something about them—the character, the plot, the whole literary or cliffhanger allure. The decision to read a book would be based on the allure, which for me would be the language, the literary style, and the story, and not where the book stands in the bestseller chart. When Harry Potter and Twilight Saga came out, I delighted in seeing these devoted, high-spirited youngsters who queued in line to get their copies. If these authors can grab the attention of the kids and teens, to absorb them in writing and story, and to lure them away from video games and TV over-indulgence, then the books must be good ones. Fads or crazes, absolutely! Who aren’t fads and crazes for something when they are young?