Monday, March 16, 2009

Literary genres aren't like beers

It’s true the world doesn’t need more novels of any kind. The act of writing them can sometimes feel like trucking sand into the Sahara, but we have an innate desire not only to repeat the same stories, but to hear variations on them again and again. It’s probably a survival instinct, designed to ensure we remember the one about not poking the sleeping boar with a stick. If you’ve already read an English family drama that doesn’t mean you won’t thoroughly enjoy reading The Northern Clemency, and if you’ve read Foer’s book (which has a similar plot and structure to The Lazarus Project) that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t read Hemon’s. Literary genres aren’t like beers from around the world, to be crossed off one at a time until the bartender presents you with a valkyrie helmet.

--Kevin Guilfoile, in today's commentary on the Tournament of the Books


  1. This same line struck me when I read it yesterday. I do think it's a little insulting to beers from around the world though.

  2. Not to mention how belittling it is to valkyrie helmets.

  3. Well said, well said!
    And saying well-said once does not mean one should not say it again!

  4. Anonymous9:24 AM

    Oh that's good. It also made me think of those US maps you see on the back of motorhomes where they color in the states they have been too. Just because you've been to Disneyworld doesn't mean you know anything about Florida.


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