Monday, October 17, 2005

You'd better recognize

Peter Preston, writing in the Guardian, argues that the book world's genre ghettos have got to go. He points out that any list of the best movies of the 20th century would include the Searchers and the Godfather, genre items both. He also points out that genre writers like James Ellroy and Dennis Lehane write as well as any literary writer and have more to say about society. I do think that both mystery and science fiction writers are actually better social analysts than the mass of literary writers. Literary fiction is increasingly focused on person to person relationships. Of course there are literary writers like Jonathan Lethem and Margaret Atwood that manage to genre hop at will, but many genre writers are kept outside the fence.

Time has fired a volley to help break down the wall. Their Top 100 novels since 1923(?), includes a Neal Stephenson and even a graphic novel, The Watchmen! The list is heavily biased to the last 20 years, but does include books like Blood Meridian and Revolutionary Road, which more people should read. Anyway, chances are there are some books you have missed on the list, so take a look.

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