I would like to talk about some things I do not understand.
What, exactly, makes a book “young adult”? Just what constitutes “literary fiction,” and what do I call a book that’s not that but not quite anything else? And what are other terms that mean the same thing as “narrative nonfiction,” so that I can find more books like Devil in the White City?
When we started blogging, I finally started tracking things on Goodreads, like Amanda had been telling me to do FORever. Recently, I started trying to add to my currently-reading, to-read, and read shelves with more some more detailed shelves.
I can do “fiction” and “non-fiction.” I can do “fantasy” and “historical fiction.”
Beyond that though, I get confused.
In my mind, the difference between a book that is categorized as Young Adult versus a book that is not is the discussion of s-e-x in the book. Right? But that must not be right, because there is some of that in books like The Lumatere Chronicles and His Fair Assassin and all things John Green.
So then I’ve heard that the difference between YA – Young Adult and NA – New Adult is the age of the characters. However, I’m also pretty sure that NA was just made up to write books about college-age kids (books with s-e-x in them)… so that is confusing when there are also books about college-age kids that are YA (and sometimes involving s-e-x.)
Can’t we just call them all, well, books? Or at least use the “genres” instead of age-classifications? Or is there some other telltale giveaway that I’m missing when it comes to age-divisions?
Sigh…and then the genres. I can get behind classifying fiction into different categories, but then I get stuck on “literary fiction.” Ha, according to wikipedia: “Literary fiction is a term principally used for certain fictional works that are claimed to hold literary merit” – which is basically an “I know it when I see it” definition. And sometimes I know it – but, what does one call a novel that does not fall into a particular genre but uh, does not hold literary merit? What do we call that? Or do we need to call it anything?
I suppose it helps to have genres when trying to find books-like-other-books. And I really like nonfiction books that read like novels – but I’m not always sure what to call them. Creative nonfiction? I heard “nonfiction novel” on an episode of Literary Disco talking about Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, but I don’t think that term is used much nowadays (it’s attributed to Truman Capote and In Cold Blood). Perhaps narrative nonfiction is the label-of-choice these days – but are there a bunch of subgenres here too? I found this list on Goodreads called “memoirs, narrative nonfiction and other (mostly) true things.” Perhaps that’s where I need to start to look for more books.
However, I still have no clue to how organize my own Goodreads shelves.