Friday, November 19, 2010

Literary Blog Hop

Literary Blog Hop

It's Literary Blog Hop time-a new weekly hop from The Blue Bookcase.
This week's question is: Is there such a thing as literary non-fiction? If so, how do you define it? Examples?

I think there most definitely is such a thing as literary non-fiction. I define it as when an author paints a true event or experience with rich detail and literary prose that it reads like a novel. I wouldn't count your typical dry history book, full of facts which, while interesting, don't move a story along. I do however count many memoirs into this category. For example, I recently read Italo Calvino's Road to San Giovanni, which is a collection of five "memory exercises" about his past, written down in such vivid detail with a healthy smattering of philosophical waxing. While the heart of the book is non-fiction, the book is just as literary as his novels.

So how about you? Does literary non-fiction exist in your reading experiences?


Janna said...

Howdy! Found you via the Hop and I'm a new follower.

Happy Friday!

Coffee and a Book Chick said...

I've not see Italo Calvino before, will have to look into it. Here's my Literary view...: Coffee and a Book Chick -- Literary Blog Hop...

Audra said...

Woolf comes to mind (A Room of One's Own) as well as Milan Kundera (I think the book is The Art of the Novel?). I even think some biographies can really trend toward literary non-fiction. Diana Souhami's Wild Girls was interspersed with some poetry and creative non-fiction about her own relationships as she told the story of Natalie Barney and Liane de Pougy.

Bethany said...

Hello! Found you via the literary blog hop! :)

I do read lit non-fic, but not very often. It doesn't hugely appeal to me.

parrish lantern said...

I love Italo Calvino,yet not come across, Road to San Giovanni, this will have to change.
Thanks for the heads up

JoAnn said...

I really like your definition! Have never read Italo Calvino... didn't realize he wrote nonfiction.

leeswammes said...

I think there is a lot of literary non-fiction, which is easy to find when you take a literary writer (like Kingsolver, as I did) and see whether they have any non-fiction. This is most likely to be literary nonfiction. Leeswammes (Judith)

readerbuzz said...

I like "memory exercises". Much better than memoir. Much more tentative.

Here's my post on literary nonfiction. I'd love to hear what you think.

And if you have read any wonderful literary books
published in 2010, I urge you to nominate your favorites
for The Independent Literary Awards. The awards
include categories of Literary Fiction and Literary Non-Fiction.
Nominations close December 15.

IngridLola said...

But do you think that the added details to the memoirs you mention make it seem more like fiction, and that's why they are more interesting to read? How do you know that the author isn't taking some artistic license and fictionalizing certain parts to make it more interesting? Ultimately, is it the "fiction" parts that make it "literary?"
Just some thoughts.

Thanks for participating this week in our Hop!

gautami tripathy said...

I have not heard of Calvino before this. I will check out his works..

Here is my Literary Blog Hop post!