Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Like a Novel

I’m reading a non-fiction book with a blurb on the back proclaiming that it reads “like a novel.” This comparison, drawn jillions of times, is considered the height of praise for non-fiction. There’s even a list at GoodReads of dozens of books recommended because they “read like a novel.” 

The book I’m reading is not on that list. I’m thinking of starting a list “Non-Fiction Books with a Blurb Claiming They Read Like a Novel.” Or “Novels that Read Like Non-Fiction.” 

Anyway, regarding non-fiction that reads “like a novel,” what the blurber generally ignores that bad novels enormously outweigh good novels. The blurber never says which novel - “Mrs. Dalloway” or “We Need to Talk about Kevin.”

In that spirit, potential novelesque experiences: 

The shower I took this morning was like a novel, a novel with neither discernible plot nor one 3-dimensional character, delivered to the wrong house. 

Our brainstorming session was like a novel, that novel about some kids somewhere that I forgot the title of because I drank too much grain alcohol in college. 

Lunch with the in-laws was like a novel, an allegorical novel by a contemporary Jewish author from Florida with a graduate degree in esoteric poultry management from an Ivy League university. 

The weekend with Aunt Alexis read like a novel, namely a horror novel. 

Having sex with Geoff was like reading a novel, a lengthy, moralistic novel by a much-lauded Spanish author whose supposed talents get lost in translation. 

Brushing my teeth after dinner was like a novel about a black woman who marries an older, white politician who witnesses a murder on the way home from work that he decides, with fateful consequences, not to report.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails