Friday, April 4, 2008

Thing 53

This was another interesting assignment. Good to know that there is a web site for book clubs like Litlover; however, I did find it very limited. Litlovers is devoted only to lovers of 'serious' literature. They actually call it "imaginative fiction" as opposed to escapist "formulaic fiction". And, according to the first lit course, they seem to say that all fiction is either one or the other. Looking at the Reading Guides for books, they are further limiting "imaginative fiction" to mainly those books suggested by Oprah's Book Club--must be realistic fiction of any time period, dealing with serious issues.

My main problem with all of this is that there is great literature done in other genres than just best-selling realistic &/or historical fiction. It seems like they are saying any other books are just pure "formulaic fiction". This is a severe limit to the audience for this web site--so many people read mysteries, romance, suspence, thrillers, sci-fi, westerns, biographies, other non-fiction, etc. Many books in these genres are challenging, not written to just one basic repetitive, simplistic formula. I, myself, read a great variety of books. I 'escape' into anything I read. Many times I learn new things from what I'm reading, whether it's non-fiction, biography, fantasy, sci-fi, or mystery. None of the authors I've read for myself are listed on their site. I guess my mistake is that I've never been fond of the books that make the bestseller lists or the 'classic books' assigned by teachers.

In all--I found it a 'stuffy' web site that looks down on other types of fiction. I've come across that attitude before. I once had a class where we were actually assigned to read a science fiction book--one student who did not like sci-fi wanted me to tell her all about the book so she wouldn't have to 'demean' herself by reading it.

For the library, I guess we can recommend the site to any book clubs and patrons working on books promoted by Oprah.


Molly said...
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Molly said...

Hi, Fantasy Booklovers,

Just read your review of LitLovers. I'm flattered that you took the time to give it such an indepth assessment. The site is fairly new (September 07), so I'm grateful for good feedback.

You're right that LitLovers has limited its coverage to generalized fiction and non-fiction. It's a result of limited resources, as well as the belief that other sites cover sci-fi, fantasy, and mystery genres in far more depth than I possibly could.

However, as we grow, I hope to be able to include other genres that are part of the literary tradition. Right now we're in the process of getting up a blog (kudos to you--it's a lot harder than you make it look!); nonetheless, I could start with a few of the most important sci-fi/fantasy authors (Asimov, Tolkein, l'Engle, Rowling...who would you suggest?) and try to get some readers' guides up within the next few weeks.

Thanks again for the very helpful write-up.

Best regards,
Molly Lundquist