Armchair BEA Day 3: Let's Talk Literature!

May 30, 2013

I have a confession to make. This probably looks bad with me having a book blog and all, but I had to Google 'literary fiction' to find out exactly what it is.

I did have a vagueish idea about what it entails, but I wasn't very sure, and hence I turned to Mr.Know-It-All, Google. Sadly, Wiki wasn't very precise either, with a couple or so descriptions, so I'm going with my got on this one, and a mixture of what I found out.

My definition of a 'literary work' is any work that is critically acclaimed, that is complex, that is unique in its story, style, language, and makeup, and widely read.

Classics make the cut automatically (in my opinion), if solely for their 'immortality' factor(can you call it that?). The others, I've picked for the above mentioned reasons.

I was going through my Goodreads list to pick out the book to use here, and I found a sad lack of many such books. I read several books, of several genres, but it appears that they're not all that very good. I've become very aware of that fact recently, when almost every book I read is another wannabe which lacks sorely in several ways.

I do pick my books very carefully, after reading a lot of reviews, but somehow, they end up being unexciting. And there are several that are good, but even then, there is always that little something that's missing; character building, dialogue, world building, 'realness'...something. But maybe I'm just really picky.

Anyways, the point I'm trying to make here is that I haven't read many literary works *by any definition). And I've made up my mind to change that. I've signed up for The Classics Club (Classic lovers, this is for you!), so hopefully, that should go some way in fulfilling this goal. I really want to read the big ones, like J. R. R. Tolkien, the Narnia books, etc. Oh, and I've signed up for The Fiction of Relationships course at Coursera, and the study material is bound to contain literary stuff, so yay!

Speaking of goals, I've completed my Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge, y'all! I started out with a goal of 50 books, and I finished that around March. So I increased the goal to 100, and I completed that as well this week. So now I've decided not to increase my goal again. I think I'll just keep reading, and see how many books I've got at the end of the year, instead of working towards any particular goal. Plus, it also looks cool, dont you think, when you see the number of books someone has read more than his/her goal? It always makes me go, 'Wow'! :D

Okay, I better get to the listing, before you get bored and go away! ;)

Top 10 Classics
Classics, like I said in Day 1's discussion, is one of my favourite genres. These are the very best of what I've read (from my meager collection). A few may not be very well known, but I do believe that they hold merit and hope to get you to read them, if you haven't.

1. Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare
2. King Lear by William Shakespeare
3. The Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
4. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
5. The Turn of The Screw by Henry James
6. The Blue Castle by L M Montgomery
7. Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
8. Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
9. The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy
10. Rilla of Ingleside by L M Montgomery

Top 10 Contemporaries
These are pretty mixed up, with different genres thrown in, but there'll all wonderful books that change lives and make you think and open your eyes to various unexplored possibilities.

1. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
2. Anne Frank: The Diary of A Young Girl
3. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
4. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
5. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
6. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
7. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
8. Harry Potter series by J K Rowling
9. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
10. Inheritance by Christopher Paolini

Never Before Seen
The following are really unique books that I've read. They stand out either because of their format or story line, and they're all must reads, people. Really.

1. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
2. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
3. The Lovers Dictionary by David Levithan
4. Wonder by R. J. Palacio

Just Because I Do
Last list. I promise. Okay, here are a few books that cannot exactly be classified as 'literary fiction' (why dose that sound stuck up?), but if it were up to me, they would. These are some of my absolute favourite books, and they're the kind that bring the characters alive for you, so that you cry, laugh and be happy with them. These are books that just suck you in, and keep you coming back for more. I would definitely recommend these to anyone. So read, and enjoy! :D

1. The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay
2. Hopeless by Colleen Hoover
3. Love Story by Erich Segal
4. Slammed by Colleen Hoover
5. On The Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves
6. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
7. Amplified by Tara Kelly
8. Delirium by Lauren Oliver

So tell me, what do you think is 'literary fiction' and what are your favourites?


  1. I loved the Kite Runner, and I cried so much reading that book!

    I love that you have made different lists! I only posted about my three favorites - but you have given me some to consider.

    Here's my Literary Fiction post.

    1. I enjoyed it too! Much more than A Thousand Splendid Suns.
      Haha I'm glad you didn't get bored with all the lists! :D

  2. Awesome that you've achieved your reading goal twice already this year!! Maybe you need to set the bar higher next year?


    1. Thanks! Yeah, that's what I'm thinking of doing! :)

  3. I knocked my GR reading goal out early too, so I did up it, but won't do so again.

    Also - great list! I've read several "classics" and have to say I am not a fan. If that makes me low brow, then so be it. I am ok with that. :-)

    1. Haha you read because you love books, so it only makes sense if you read what you love! Congrats on the GR list! :)

  4. I had to google it also. Good old Wikipedia :-) On your top ten classics list I noticed Rilla of Ingleside. I think that is quite possible my most favourite of the whole Anne of Green Gables series. I have read it so many times :-)

    1. Definitely! I learned so much about WWI from it, and it actually helped me from getting into trouble in class once! :D

  5. Yay for signing up for the classics club! :)

    I don't think there is any firm definition of literary fiction, and to me it's definitely not 'better' than genre fiction. I enjoy both, just depends on what kind of mood I am in!

    Your post has reminded me that I definitely must read Turn of the Screw this Halloween.

    1. I totally agree!
      God, Turn of The Screw... just the name can make me shudder!

  6. The Diary of Anne Frank is such a moving read, I can't believe I forgot about that one. Love all the lists you have! I haven't heard of a couple of the books, I need to go check them out. I had to Google/Wiki as well. :-)

    1. lol I'm glad you didnt find them tedious! :)
      I know, looks like a lot of people had to do that!

  7. Well most of my literary fiction picks are classics. I can see that our bookish tastes are somewhat similar, I've read and enjoyed most (if not all) the books listed on your lists!

    Here's a link to my Literary Fictionpost

    1. That's great! I love meeting people who've read the books I have! :D

  8. Woohoo! Congrats and thanks for sharing your amazing list :D

    1. Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it! :)

  9. Congrats on reaching your goal already and for increasing it further.

    1. Thanks you so much! I'm glad you got to stop by and visit! :)

  10. So so so many great books on your list here! My Goodreads list is getting insane =)

    1. Haha I'm glad you're finding new books to read! Love when that happens! :D

  11. You have a lot of great books! I loved HP, Pride and Prejudice and Delirium.

    1. Thanks! And totally! They're the best! :D


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