As an avid reader (you might say I devour books), and a published poet working on her first novel, I haven’t missed the fact that book markets, not to mention advice-columns, blogs, ecourses and websites for writers, favor non-fiction more than ever these days.
One blog for writers, Expert Publishing, Inc., sheds a bit more light on some of the reasons that buyers’ eyes light up and are drawn to shelves, stacks, and (of course) web pages packed full of the likes of how-to’s, memoir, spirituality, and self-development books. Can you hold it against the buying public? Of course not. I enjoy a good memoir, or a useful nonfiction read, as much as the next blogger (or aspiring song-writer, or human-in-need-of-motivation).
That being said, I’m also that person–the one who not only got a Bachelor’s degree in English, but went on to get my Master’s in the same subject–with a focus on creative writing, and a sub-focus on that most dangerous of genres (if you wish to publish a book)–poetry.
This means that I was the girl who sat under trees on campus, oblivious to the students and faculty bustling to and from classes and the bikes whizzing by at break-neck speed–rapt at attention with the dog-eared novel that I balanced against my bent knees while using one hand to sip black coffee.
I still am that girl, albeit more woman than girl now–I love a good tree, or couch, or seat at an airport gate. For the sake of losing myself in the world of a novel, any semi-comfortable place will do. Kindle? E-books? Chicken Soup for Dummies? Sure, these are markets that I (mostly) support and admire. I’ve bought e-books and this year I finally folded and got myself an e-reader.
It’s nice to carry an entire library in that flat little piece of electronic genius.
But nothing could replace the original, vintage copy of The Catcher in the Rye that I found in my parents’ basement at the tender age of 12 (and then proceeded to read and re-read and dog-ear and underline and love all through middle school and high school). At eight, Anne of Green Gables enthralled me time and again. As a graduate student, I may have been the only person in my feminist lit class who actually did finish Middlemarch, and kept my copy as well. (It’s still holding its hallowed place on the bookshelf between my kitchen and living room).
My prayer for the likes of us–fiction writers, poets, and lovers of novels (and the pulpy feel of paper pages turning in our hands), is that we will keep buying novels, keep reading them, keep loving the story for the sake of the story.
Keep coming back here, because you will find numerous reviews of novels. I go through them like water.
In the meantime–are you an aspiring novelist? There are websites and ebooks and advice blogs for you, too. Let me name a few:
Check out K.M. Wieland’s site, one of my favorites.
For good measure, hop on over to Courage to Create, where Ollin Morales shares the story of his own journey of novel-writing (and life getting in the way).
This morning, I lift my coffee cup to all those who love novels–and those who write them. Keep it up. I love you guys.