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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A definition of today's 'good' literature...

After researching this for my thesis, I found a small subjective list of things a 'good' book should be/have. I'm not talking about what some dead guy thought 'good' literature is - that person can't read today's stuff...he's dead. So anyone who died 50 years ago can't really give an opinion of today's books...if you get my meaning...
I also found that there aren't many books which come close to including all 6 'points', with Coetzee's 'Disgrace' only scoring 5 1/2 out of 6 for his stereotypical black characters (yes, I did check to see whether 'black' was politically correct).
So, a 'good' book (in the opinion of linguists, grammaticians, journalists, reviewers, teachers, students, general readers, writers)...
1. must have a collection of elements such as story, plot, points of view and hooks - it's amazing how many self-published books don't have these...
2. shouldn't be 'formulaic', ie. following a pattern laid down in earlier books from the same / other writers...oh dear, that's most of today's market...filled with clones and copies...
3. should have some meaning and purpose beneath the story / entertainment - many massively popular writers have nothing 'underneath', with their readers 'creating' depth from the books, and so making the writers more 'worthy' of other readers' attention than they should be...
4. should give something back to the reader, in terms of something special or a lesson / moral - so many clones give nothing, only their entertainment value, which quite frankly isn't enough...
5. should contain realistic characters based on the experience of the writer - so many writers have stereotypical or 'commonly defined' characters...(before you mention it, no, I don't personally know God or Satan, but I know a few people who act like they are and so I can create characters based on them and call them God / Satan / Lucifer....etc)
6. should be recognised as such, with reviews, complements and awards - saying that, there are some Booker Prize winners who fail this 'good' literature definition due to sensationalism...not naming any names...(me? I have interviews and a few reviews, won a few small competitions...)
So there you go. Look at the book you're reading right now. Check the list of 6. How does it do?
I'll continue working on an OBJECTIVE definition for the rest of my life (1 second - 50+ years), I've already found out how to 'box' writers into 'clone drawers' (ie. this writer has so and so's style, with so and so's lexical items and so and so's discoursal structure...)

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