My New Book!

My New Book!
My New Book!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

March 9-10, 2013: Crowd-sourced Popular Fiction

[In this week’s series, I’ve considered some authors, texts, and contexts related to a much-maligned (in certain circles at least) but vital part of American literature: popular fiction. This crowd-sourced post is drawn from the responses of fellow AmericanStudiers to those specific and general topics—please help make it extra popular by adding your own takes!]

In response to Monday’s series-starting post, Matt Goguen writes, “Oprah's Book Club definitely deserves a mention here. It has definitely been a catapult for many authors, living and deceased. In addition to the Jonathan Franzen controversy, there was a well-known controversy around the book, A Million Little Pieces which was first publicized as a memoir but soon found to be near-complete fabrication.”
Matt follows up Tuesday’s post on Christian fiction, writing “I'm sincerely glad you mentioned the Left Behind series! I haven't read them personally but I did know a lot of born-again Christians in my area who have. They were big fans and it's very important to acknowledge the popularity of those books, even if they were not as ‘mainstream’ (how is 100 million copies sold not mainstream?) as Twilight.”
Heidi Kim also follows up Tuesday’s post to remind us also to consider “Christian-themed [fiction], like Dan Brown.”
Irene Martyniuk follows up Thursday’s post on guilty pleasures, writing “about the genre of ‘war porn’ that has been around, I’m sure, but I’ve been ensnared through Afghanistan. Too much to say here except that I can only read one bit every so often because these best sellers are so mind numbing in their xenophobia and misogyny (Vince Flynn is the main offender). I also wanted to mention Harlequin romances—much studied but I got into the Sheikh side of it in December, even read The Sheik which was the basis for the Valentino hit movie.” She also highlights a recently scholarly work that deals with those topics, Hsu-Ming Teo’s Desert Passions.
On Twitter, Thomas Ruys Smith passes along info about his new co-edited collection on American popular fiction, Must Read: Rediscovering American Bestsellers from Charlotte Temple to The Da Vinci Code (2012).
Next series starts Monday,
PS. So what do you think?


  1. Just finished re-reading Chuck Klosterman's _Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa-Puffs_. Might be up your alley. Klosterman, who has written for Spin, Village Voice, and the "hipster" crowd validates the use of deconstruction on topics as lofty as _Saved By The Bell_. Not intending to be glib, he actually VALIDATES the use of that lens on those texts! It's hilarious, insightful and a fun read. May want to check it out, but I fear it's not in your topic.

  2. Thanks for the comment! I think I've read parts of that--a Val Kilmer piece, for instance; maybe it's in a different collection--and do find Klosterman to be a pretty compelling pop culture AmericanStudier. I'll give the whole thing a read, and I appreciate the recommendation!