Friday, June 14, 2013

Truth Is Stranger -- and More Interesting -- Than Fiction

In the New York Times' "By the Book" column, Jeannette Walls answers the old "what do you like to read" question almost exactly as I would.

What kinds of stories are you drawn to? Any you steer clear of? 

I love histories, biographies and memoirs. I’m also drawn to realistic fiction. I’m not a huge fan of experimental fiction, fantasy or so-called escapist literature. Reality is just so interesting, why would you want to escape it?

Do you read a lot of memoirs? Any good ones recently, aside from Lindhout’s? 

I love memoirs. I devour them. “In the Sanctuary of Outcasts,” by Neil White; “The Memory Palace,” by Mira Bartok; “Denial,” by Jessica Stern; “A Long Way Gone,” by Ishmael Beah; “An Unquiet Mind,” by Kay Redfield Jamison; “Chanel Bonfire,” by Wendy Lawless; “The Center Cannot Hold,” by Elyn Saks; “After Visiting Friends,” by Michael Hainey; “The Kiss,” by Kathryn Harrison; “My Stroke of Insight,” by Jill Bolte Taylor; “Couldn’t Keep It to Myself: Wally Lamb and the Women of York Correctional Institution,” edited by Wally Lamb. That’s just a few. There are so many more.

Keep reading HERE.

What about you -- are you more a fan of reading fiction or nonfiction?

1 comment:

Shawn Cullen said...

I can read a small amount of science fiction, mainly short stories, if it's intelligent and not too much on the fantasy side. I love classic ghost and horror stories, but the fantasy genre (imaginary kingdoms and dragon trainers and so on) leaves me absolutely cold. I made it through "The Hobbit" but I couldn't do "Lord of the Rings" (the made-up languages were a huge turnoff). I find historical fiction to be so-so (I'd rather read straight but lively history). I tend to prefer fiction that is by dead authors. Too many times, contemporary fiction has disappointed me, particularly when it is highly touted.

I love history and biography and I'm okay with memoirs as long as the writer has some humor (black or otherwise) and some perspective on their own life and experiences. Shallow I-did-this-and-then-I-met-this-person stuff is not interesting.

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