Today I was talking with a woman in the locker room at my health club, when the conversation turned to books. She asked what I had read recently and liked, and I mentioned a few titles (I won't repeat them here, check out the sidebar). She told me she hadn't liked The Help as much as she'd expected to, with all she'd heard and read. When I asked what one of her favorite novels was, she said Midnight's Children, by Salman Rushdie, one of my favorite novels.
Surprising--mainly, because I assume (silly me!) that nice little older ladies don't read/like Rushdie, but also it's just surprising to meet readers of literary fiction at all...Or writers, for that matter...
This weekend at SCWC was a love-fest of both the above. Though there are always lots of authors (and wannabe authors) of genre fiction at writing conferences, there were quite a few literary authors, and new books, as well. I picked up Midge Raymond's new collection of short stories, Forgetting English , and devoured two of the deliciously evocative tales already.
Not to diss genre fiction, because I also saw some fine writers from that camp--like Ken Kulken, author of the Vagabond Virgins, which is an excellent example of how a genre novel can transcend its category. Set partly in Baja, Mexico, that book is full of history and culture as well as an intricate, thrilling plot.
There was a new literary review out too--the Hummingbird Review--in its premiere volume, so I have enough stories to last me a while.
Speaking of story collections, tonight is the launch for the new San Diego Writers, Ink, anthology, A Year in Ink, vol 3, so that will end up the weekend with a bang. All the contributors, save a few, will attend and read--an exhilerating experience for all, no doubt.