Tag Archives: Books

2021 Reading

It’s been a weird year for me both writing-wise and reading-wise. Wrote a novella, had a prose crisis, took three months off to read and study, still had a prose crisis, read some more, and did a particularly aggressive tearing down of my own writing.

Prose out of crisis, 32 books later.

Which is… unusual. I stopped reading much in high school, when I developed a particularly nasty short attention span. I’ve read more published fiction this past year than I have between 2010-2020. I don’t really know how to feel about that.

So, naturally, I should have some thoughts on the books I’ve read, right? I do, sort of. I’m a very neutral person and as a result, I don’t really have any strong feelings toward the majority of the books I’ve read this year. I do have some favourites I want to highlight, though.

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Beautiful Losers or How Leonard Cohen broke how I thought about fiction writing

Where do I even begin.

There’s no doubt Cohen is most well known for his poetry, for Hallelujah in particular. He became such an icon in poetry that “poet” was possibly a sexy career choice. He also wrote some fiction, one of which I read a few months ago for a class, and the other novel I had continued to read excerpts of.

Mostly, though, I want to talk about Beautiful Losers.

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The Nitpicks: A Note on Genre Fiction and Elitism within Literary Academia

I’ve written this rant elsewhere, on my tumblr, but this will be a more “polished” version, so to speak. I’ve put it under nitpicks, although it’s bigger than that. It’s more of a criticism of literary academia, which is very big. Something I’m almost hesitant to criticize. But I think as genre fiction and speculative fiction grow, the circle jerk within literary academia and its obsession over contemporary and misery fades a little. Just a little.

I’ll preface this with, I know the community is changing, and I know attitudes are changing with it. But there’s still a heavy bias toward “literary” fiction in the world of academia – where “real world issues” and “real people” are held higher than when issues are raised in a more fantastical setting with more fantastical characters. Anything beyond the “real world” gets thrown under a bus and considered to be, at best, entertainment, and at worst, something to rot your brain over. It might not be changing as much as I would like, but it’s changing. Slowly.

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