Armchair BEA – Literary Fiction

Posted 30 May, 2013 by Lexxie in Uncategorized / 61 Comments

Armchair BEA - (un)conventional Bookviews

Design Credit Emily of Emily’s Reading Room

Literary Fiction

Today in Armchair BEA, we are discussing Literary Fiction. Literary Fiction isn’t all that different from genre fiction in my mind, but I do see a slight difference, as if literary fiction is maybe a contemporary fiction that might one day become a classic. As I said, this is how I see it in my mind – you might see it quite differently!

So, today we’re discussing books that have somehow changed our lives. Books that touched us in a way that made us see things differently, or want to live our life differently. There are books that have made me feel like something just clicked inside me, as if the narrative shared some deep, universal secret with me during the time it took me to read it.

The Alchemist - (un)Conventional BookviewsOne such book is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. Without giving away the plot, this is the story about a shepherd who has a dream. He wakes up in the barn where he sleeps, in a small town in Spain, and feels as if he has to go to where he saw in his dream. He sells his goats and takes off for Morocco. In his dream, he had seen himself digging in the sand atop some pyramids, and he found so much gold he would be rich forever. His endeavor to get to the pyramids is like a pilgrimage, and he meets many people on his travels.  When he finally gets to the pyramids, a band of robbers attack him, and before they beat him to death, they ask him what he’s doing there, and he tells them of his dream. Which, of course, makes them laugh, and the leader tells him about his own dream, about a barn next to a church, where a shepherd sleeps… But that he wasn’t stupid enough to go to Spain to find that barn and the shepherd just because of a dream. There is a lot more to the story, and to the conversation with the robbers, but in the end, I had this feeling of fulfillment. And being content with my life, because I strive to better myself, and my condition.

Adam Bede - (un)Conventional BookviewsAnother favorite Literary Fiction book for me is Adam Bede by George Eliot. I love this story because of the writing, but also because of the theme that seems so universal. Hester is a young and very beautiful girl. Adam is in love with her, and asks her to marry him, but she is dreaming of the lord of the manor, beautiful dresses and an easy life. She ends up accepting Adam’s proposal, but the lord starts to notice her as well. As an affair between Hester and the lord starts, Adam surprises them one day, and is aghast at the lord’s betrayal, not Hester’s. She is an innocent in Adam’s eyes, and she can do no wrong. Things become even more complicated after this, and something horrible happens with Hester. The fact that this story could have been written today (albeit with more technology included in the narrative) is one of the reasons I love it so much. And also because the female condition has sadly not changed all that much since that time. A girl who does certain things is deemed unworthy, but a boy doing the same things is looked up to. This is slowly changing, but there is still a lot to be done.

Circle of Friends - (un)Conventional BookviewsA Literary Fiction about friendship also deeply touched me, and made me think even more about my friends – my chosen family, I like to call them – and how we interact with each other, the trust we put in each other and how important we are to each other. Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy is beautiful in all aspects. The story unfolds in Ireland, and I loved how the characters met, and were a little weary towards each other, but then, they became a true circle of friends. Some couples were born from that circle, and some very strong friendships as well. There is some jealousy, a betrayal and then because of the actions of one single character, that group will never be the same. This also made me think about how our actions always have consequences, and how important it is to beware of just what those consequences are.

What are your favorite Literary Fiction books? Do you have some to recommend to me?

Lexxie signature (un)Conventional Bookviews

 

 

 

 

Lexxie

61 Responses to “Armchair BEA – Literary Fiction”

    • I think I have read all Maeve Binchy books as well, apart from the very last one that is still waiting on my kindle :)

      Thanks for stopping by Nikk.

    • Yes, and it sounds a little snobbish when saying it’s supposed to be ‘deeper’ or ‘more serious’ or even ‘better writing’…
      Thanks for stopping by Kendal :)

  1. I loved The Alchemist as well. Unless it is paranormal/horror/YA, I don’t tend to classify the books I read. I might make a distinction if it is a classic, but then in my opinion, it would also probably be literary fiction. I’m really enjoying the literary fiction posts – I just keep adding books to my TBR list!

    LLM – ABookGeek
    LLM – ABookGeek recently posted…Black Venus Blog Tour and ReviewMy Profile

    • Yeah, that’s not one of the books that are part of my giveaway, even if there are books by Maeve Binchy included :)

      thanks for stopping by Jennifer.

  2. Let’s see…my favorite “classic” literary fiction books include: the Great Gatsby, The Mill on the Floss (though heart breaking), Catcher in the Rye, Pride & Prejudice, Farenheit 451 (scary how close we are to this), The Scarlet Letter, and To Kill a Mockingbird. I’m certain there are more, but these come to mind first.

    With regards to more contemporary literary fiction…that’s a bit harder, Mama Day and Linden Hills by Gloria Naylor, Possession by AS Byatt, On the Beach by Nevil Shute, and And Ladies of the Club by Helen Hooven Santmyer (this last was my first extra hefty tome). Others I thought of might fall better in the category historical fiction.

    • There are a lot of books, and I haven’t read any of your contemporary literary fiction books that you mentioned. It’s amazing, really! I need more hours.

      Thanks so much for commenting, Xyra :)

      • Yes, so many books, so little time is quite an accurate statement.
        I loved And Ladies of the Club…read it in high school and it took me all summer. Follows the lives of two women from the Civil War through industrialization. They (with their friends) started a subscription library in their town. Each section starts with a list of members. In my youth I did not catch everything though – when my office manager read it she didn’t like it because the one man male character was a philanderer…I had no idea. :) Ah, youth.
        The Possession has been made into a movie. Two professors research a relationship through the correspondence the couple left behind. You get the current relationship and the story built by the letters. Very cool.
        Linden Hills has a Dantesque structure…think Inferno. Mama Day was just a very strong character.
        On the Beach (I taught this one), also was a movie (1950s or 60s). About the world dying after an atomic war. Pre-apocalyptic if you will.

    • I think it is amazing that words written in a book have made me see things differently, but it’s really true!

      Thanks for stopping by Sam :)

    • Circle of Friends is even about a bunch of young adults and how they adjust to life in university, moving away from their hometown and finding new friends :)
      Thanks for stopping by.

    • Adam Bede really is a classic, though, but for me it’s also really a good example of literary fiction :)

      Thanks for stopping by Michelle :)

  3. I am not a literary fiction fan and can’t really say I have read anything recently of that genre that I can talk about. I have seen the movie Circle of Friends, but didn’t know it was based on a book. :) I think with this sort of genre for me it’s easier to watch the movie than read the book..lol. Like The Kite Runner, watched the movie. :) (didn’t like the movie either. :( )

    I guess I don’t like books that narrates a story to me like some of these literary books do..I much prefer to be off in a magical world that has nothing to do with real life…LOL :)

    Happy Reading!
    Stormi recently posted…Book Review: School Spirits by Rachel HawkinsMy Profile

    • I tend to agree with you. Current literary fiction leans toward a heaviness of subject and tone that just isn’t always appealing. When I read I like to escape the heaviness of the real world to a world of fancy (even if that escape is into a war between good and evil dragon riders).

    • I can understand that. I didn’t know that The Kite Runner was a movie – and I don’t think I could actually watch that – so many difficult things to read, not sure I could actually stomach to see it play out on the screen.

      I admit I read a lot more paranormal or magic books than literary fiction. I read to experience something I don’t experience normally :)

      Happy reading to you, too, Stormi!

    • I think that as long as we keep reading, there are no ‘wrong’ books! So if you feel like reading one book, even if you have other books you had planned to read first, you should just go for it :)

      Happy reading, and thanks for stopping by!

    • Too bad you didn’t like the Alchemist! I am always sad / disappointed when I read something I don’t like.

      Thanks for stopping by Michael.

  4. Oh, Lexxie- I loved the Alchemist! It was such an incredible book with an amazing journey. I remember my friend recommended it to me in high school and was so obsessed with it, I had to give it a read! I’m so glad I did!

  5. I think I agree with your definition of literary fiction, Lexxie. And I love your choices too…I’m particularly fond of Maeve Binchy. ;) I was trying to think of something I could recommend to you but the first two that immediately came to mind are historical fiction – U.S. historical fiction – so I’m not sure if you’d like them. But I’ll suggest away! ;) I love Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women and I was thrilled reading Geraldine Brooks’ novel, March. It tells of Mr. March’s travels while away from his girls. I thought is was fascinating. The other book that came to mind was Jim Fergus’ novel One Thousand White Women. It tells of a treaty between the U.S government and a particular American Indian tribe and the repercussions of it. This is supposed to be fiction, but I feel there might be some truth. :)
    Bookworm Brandee recently posted…**Blog Tour & Giveaway ~ Fierce ~ Ginger Voight**My Profile

    • Historical fiction can be good! And I believe Little Women is on my TBR, but it’s not all alone, so possibly not too sad about being there ;)

      As usual, though, you’ve helped me add more books to my TBR, as I’ll put both March and One Thousand White women on there.

      Thanks for stopping by Brandee!

  6. I like your definition of literary fiction – that one day it could be a classic. So many of the really great literary fiction writers have written what I consider “modern classics.” They aren’t old enough to be “classics” but they will be one day! I love your books which changed your life!
    Wendy recently posted…2013 Armchair BEA: Non FictionMy Profile

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge