Little known fact: I love crotchety old people. One of my goals in life is to survive to an age where I can angrily mutter, “Kids these days!” It’s just the kind of righteous anger that I find endlessly entertaining and endearing.
So imagine my pleasure when reading Jonathan Yardley’s “Best of 2010” list from the Washington Post. Yardley has included only two novels on his list this year which “reflects [his] disenchantment with what passes for American literary fiction these days.” Interestingly, both novels are historical and deal with the impact of the political on the personal. He then recommends three nonfiction books about World War II. So…he has his specific interests.
“Kids these days!” I imagine him muttering to his computer. “With their fakakta ideas about writing about the present! When I was their age…”
It’s a charmingly inane piece that reeks of snobbery and is deeply out of touch. Such a cloistered consideration indicates a man who is very cozy living within his self-proscribed boundaries. Or maybe he has a real argument and I’m just being ageist. Thoughts?
One thing that makes me grumpy in the present is the news that Jersey Shore’s JWoww landed a book deal—the third for a cast member of the show. I thought we all knew that the only book that needed to come out of this show was Snooki’s!
So tell me: is American fiction dead? And what makes you grumpy about the current publishing environment?