Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Writing { and reading and publishing } ~

Tag Archives: Readers

Yet More Conversation about Genre . . .


The previous posts in this conversation are Here and Here… Genre Conversation

Those posts had comments that reflected various shades of discomfort with putting books in genre-boxes…

One of the comments, though, stood out by saying:

“A work’s genre is nothing more than a convenient handle to help the reader find his next read. I think of the genre as something useful, not confining at all.”

And, while I respect that viewpoint ( like I must, as a seasoned writer, respect readers’ oh, so various perspectives on books... ), for the sake of this discussion, I’ll share a few excerpts from a post at Literary Hub:

“The entire publishing ecosystem, from authors to publishers to bookstores to readers, frequently have blind spots that separate stories out in ways that exclude readers.”

“For readers who want their personal library to show a healthy variety, finding books outside of your preferred genre is how you can broaden your tastes and discover terrific new talent.”

“By staying in the box an industry creates, a reader will see similar approaches and similar tropes, explore similar experiences and similar results. The hope and aim of reading, drilled into us as students, is that it broadens horizons, but that aspiration then gets undercut as soon as we start reading for fun. Our literary diets narrow, then ossify. By tuning out books from other genres, we cut ourselves off from important parts of the literary conversation.”

“Really, anything that feels a few towns over from where your reading life lives will gift you a new perspective. Because so much of the process before a book reaches your hands is designed to build that box, by simply venturing to another section of the bookstore, you’ll get to experience worlds you otherwise would never have known existed.”

So, we’ve come from comments that blast genre as a ploy of the traditional publishing houses to sell more books, to the idea that “…genre [is] something useful, not confining at all.”, to a caution about the genre mode of classification that encourages swimming in multiple genre-pools…

But, now, I’ll introduce a Marvelous comment on genre, from one of those previous posts, that shatters the mold of the standard idea of a blog comment, while it swims in a meta-pool of meanings…

The Rainbow

Always impressive, the rainbow’s view
Its shades spread across the spectrum
Colors blending from one to the other
Each band’s width wider to some

But no one can say where one band begins
And the next color has altered its hue
For changes in the view of a spectrum
Is altered how it’s perceived by you

~~~ Barbara Blackcinder

All it takes to continue this conversation about genre is a comment from you :-)

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Blog Conversation ~ “Serious Writing”


Our last discussion—Continuing the Conversation ~ Reading like a Writer—ended this past Monday since no comments were made… Serious Writing

So…

I get to start a different conversation :-)

And, you’ll notice I wrote it with quotes—“Serious Writing”…

What’s your conception of serious writing?

Writing done with focus and determination?

Writing done for reasons you deem significant or weighty?

Writing aimed toward instilling memorable ideas in your reader’s mind?

Some other type of writing…?

And, there’s the central factor of the conversation—a consideration of what you regard as “serious”…

World Peace?

Proper Governance?

Reducing Crime?

Comprehensive education?

Neighborhood cohesion?

Family unity?

What to do with your free time?

What to do to get more free time?

Other topics?

I just can’t help showing you the word history for “serious”:

mid-15c., “expressing earnest purpose or thought” (of persons), from Middle French sérieux “grave, earnest” (14c.), from Late Latin seriosus, from Latin serius “weighty, important, grave,” probably from a PIE root *sehro- “slow, heavy” (source also of Lithuanian sveriu, sverti “to weigh, lift,” svarus“heavy, weighty;” Old English swær “heavy,” German schwer “heavy,” Gothic swers “honored, esteemed,” literally “weighty”). As opposite of jesting, from 1712; as opposite of light (of music, theater, etc.), from 1762. Meaning “attended with danger” is from 1800.

Another aspect of a discussion about being serious is those folks who just can’t seem to get it together to get serious; or, the people who can get serious but for only a short time or with limited topics…

There are many writers who feel their craft should be used to help others escape from all the serious concerns of our age—there are many readers who want to find those writers…

If most of the writers wrote escapist literature and most of the readers consumed the same, what would be the chances the rest of humanity could effectively deal with or resolve all those serious concerns of our age?

You may have noticed that I’m purposely asking questions and proposing ideas to spark thought, feeling, and conversation…

If you have something you could share about this topic, do, please, leave a comment… :-)
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Continuing the Conversation ~ Reading like a Writer . . .


Reading like a writer And so, we continue from last Wednesday’s post, A Conversation about Reading like a Writer . . .

You may want to see what was said in that post, since two well-seasoned writers are quoted…

But, to continue…

Here’s what a reader said in a comment to that post; and, what I responded with:

“I read anything. I always have, so I read a lot of rubbish along with good writing. It is only occasionally I stop following the story to notice the way the author uses language. That is when I learn how to improve my own writing. I review almost every book I read but I forget them almost immediately after I have read them, with the exception of works by Stephen King. Maybe I should read a book more than once?”

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“Well…the books I’ve read more than once are, to me, quite like the ones I’ve read once—I remember certain scenes and the overall “feel” of the book; but, certainly not the whole thing—that would probably take me 10 readings :-)”

So…

That reader and I are both writers…

We both stop only occasionally to notice specifically what the author’s doing…

Is that a trait of folks who read like a writer?

Do other writers stop and notice more often?

And, is forgetting most of a book something writers have in common with most readers…?

I feel I should share a bit from the post preceding this one—from the book, Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them (P.S.), by Francine Prose:

Concerning writers reading to learn how to write—“…the connection has to do with whatever mysterious promptings make you want to write. It’s like watching someone dance and then secretly, in your own room, trying out a few steps.”

“You will do yourself a disservice if you confine your reading to the rising star whose six-figure, two-book contract might seem to indicate where your own work should be heading.”

“The only time my passion for reading steered me in the wrong direction was when I let it persuade me to go to graduate school….I left graduate school and became a writer.”

So…

The commenter from last Wednesday and Francine Prose say at least one thing similarly:

“…I read a lot of rubbish along with good writing.”

“You will do yourself a disservice if you confine your reading to the rising star whose six-figure, two-book contract might seem to indicate where your own work should be heading.”

Those are similar statements if you can link “rubbish”reading with “rising star six-figure, two-book contract”reading…

Yet our commenter reads a lot of it and Francine merely recommends not confining oneself to it…

Now, I’ll interject a bit more of my own feeling…

Of course, it’s feeling from a man who is officially old and who began writing seriously late in life…

And, it only relates to my current reading-like-a-writer activity…

I’m in the middle of reading at least 20 books (some re-reads, some not…) by my absolutely most-favorite fiction author, C. J. Cherryh

Ms. Cherryh happens to be a Risen Star and morethantwobookcontract author who has never written rubbish…

Plus, I’m only confining myself to her books until I read six books of poetry by various authors…

All that reading because I’m a seasoned old man who loves writing and listens, carefully, to his Muse when he must read like a writer…

Two ideas in closing:

1.) If you share a comment on this post, you’ll help this particular topic continue on Wednesday…
2.) But, you could share a comment about some other topic(s) you’d like to discuss…

Number two should be in the realms of Reading, Writing, or Publishing; or any combination of those realms :-)
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If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
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Fighting Illiteracy ~ WorldReader


This will be the 17th post I’ve done about WorldReader—if you put its name in the search bar up there, you’ll find this post and 16 others…

They sent me an email the other day with this exciting headline: Our Read To Kids Partnership Reaches 200,000!

from WorldReader:

“Two years ago, we asked ourselves a question: could we use mobile phones, local digital books, and local partnerships to get entire communities to read with their kids?

“Today, we’re incredibly proud to announce that over the course of our Read to Kids pilot program, co-created with Pearson, we’ve reached 200,000 families in and around Delhi, India with the life-changing power of reading.”

If you’re pressed for time and not able to take that last link, do, please, watch at least the first short video at the end of this post…

A bit more from WorldReader:

“Thanks to Pearson and to each of [our donors], we’re learning how to support parents to create a culture of reading in the home— a child’s first school. With what we learn, we hope to empower millions more families around the world, from their first days and throughout their lives. Each step gets us closer to realizing our shared vision that everyone can be a reader.”

You can read more about this extremely important program

And:

“Read to Kids is now expanding to the Syrian crisis and aims to reach another 50,000 refugees and host families in Jordan.”

There are a number of ways you can Get Involved


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Wiping Out Illiteracy


Last year I wrote about a major reading initiative in the post, Promoting Literacy by Putting It in World-Crisis-Solving PerspectiveProject Literacy

I recommend all readers, writers, and publishers absorb that post for one important reason:

“Illiteracy affects over 757 million people worldwide and has an impact on global development. Although it is a largely invisible issue, the repercussions of this can be seen in everyday struggles such as poverty, gender inequality, and access to basic civil rights.”

BTW, 757 million people is about 1 in 10 folks who can’t read…

So…

Four days ago, Project Literacy sent me an email—it was to alert me about their Annual Report.

Two basic facts about Project Literacy:

It’s a global campaign founded and convened by the learning company Pearson.

And, if you go to their About Page and scroll to the bottom you’ll see image-links to their 55 collaborating partners…

Apart from encouraging you to Donate, I’ll wrap this up with two videos from them:


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If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
Visit The Story Bazaar

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Google Author Page
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com