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Old 03-06-2013, 12:01 PM   #33
sun surfer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by issybird View Post
Excellent. And applying some self-criticism to the current nominations, I feel confident that Incas qualifies, but France probably does not.
Quote:
Originally Posted by fantasyfan View Post
From the descriptions given, I believe all of the works are safely within the literary zone--though I know that Hemming's book on the Incas is the major contribution on that subject in over a century and very impressive.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bookpossum View Post
Ha! As I said earlier, what I like about this Club is the courtesy of the members, and speaking personally, I would be happy to accept the group's verdict that a book does not qualify as literature.

Of course, the other way is what happened with this month's vote, where a book perceived by people as not qualifying as literature simply didn't get up.
Since we're discussing honest evaluations of literary merit here, I would actually say that based on their blurbs, almost none of the nominations this month seem especially literary. But I will qualify that by saying that they do all seem like non-fiction books of the highest standard, and that literary non-fiction is trickier than other literature, so this month is one of the trickiest.

I think of literary non-fiction as non-fiction that is experiences and observations written artistically and eloquently. For instance, I'd say only one book from this month's official nominations applies and that book didn't make it to the run-off - Goodbye to All That (In Cold Blood and Just Kids also seem literary but neither of them made the vote). Last non-fiction month (which took place way back in September 2011), the official nominations were very literary - The People of the Abyss, Insurgent Mexico and Christ Stopped at Eboli all seemed to be written with the language and beauty of the work in mind. LOL, those were 3/4 official nominations that month...and the one other nomination which wasn't literary won.

That's not to say that the type of books nominated this month aren't great books. But reading their blurbs, I think most of them are more reporting, facts and intense research. And I'm sure they're all well-written, maybe even very well-written, but they seem to be less artistically written than what I would consider literary non-fiction.

I'm sure I'll get some disagreements since I'm saying most of our (great) nominations this month aren't really literary, especially since literary non-fiction is harder to define than the already hard to define literary fiction, but nonetheless I think looked at objectively, they really don't qualify.

This isn't something I've been thinking all during nominations. I've blithely enjoyed the nominations so far, and only thought of it on reading the quoted posts. And, whichever book wins, I'm going to enjoy reading. But perhaps, I could add a guiding sub-header to the Non-Fiction category for next time, something like "Experiences and observations, artistically and eloquently written" (any other suggestions welcome).

Last edited by sun surfer; 03-06-2013 at 12:16 PM.
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