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ABOUT BOOKS AND READING > Another Genre: Creative Nonfiction

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message 1: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Jan 17, 2009 03:21AM) (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments I recently came across the term "Creative Nonfiction" and was curious about it.
You might be too. If so, the following links may interest you:====>

1. http://www.creativenonfiction.org/the...
(See also the links to the audio excerpts at bottom of the webpage above.)

2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creative...

The article at Wiki says:
"Creative nonfiction (also known as literary or narrative nonfiction) is a genre of writing which uses literary styles and techniques to create factually accurate narratives. Creative nonfiction contrasts with other nonfiction, such as technical writing or journalism, which is also rooted in accurate fact, but is not primarily written in service to its craft. As a genre, creative nonfiction is still relatively young, and is only beginning to be scrutinized with the same critical analysis given to fiction and poetry."

Examples given as Creative Nonfiction are: ====>

Down and Out in Paris and London (by George Orwell)

Notes of a Native Son (by James Baldwin)

Death in the Afternoon (by Ernest Hemingway)

The Right Stuff (by Tom Wolfe)

Shadow Box by (George Plimpton)

Paper Lion Confessions of a Last-String Quarterback (by George Plimpton)

On Boxing by (Joyce Carol Oates)

Have you read any of these books?
What did you think of them?

Note: The controversial book, A Million Little Pieces by James Frey, has crossed over the line between fact and fiction. It is not nonfiction. I've heard it called "faction".


message 2: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 6311 comments "A Million Little Pieces" is the only one of that list that I read. The first part of it was very well written. Frey captures the experience of addiction well & describes it so so well a non-addicted person can almost understand it.

Once he goes to rehab, it is the most vile pack of lies ever written. It's dangerous & Oprah was an idiot for ever promoting the book. Her medical expert told her it was a pack of lies. It's obvious to anyone who has ever battled an addiction.

Frey's will power & best thinking got him down far enough to need rehab, yet he goes there & runs his own program. He flouts rules that are 'instant outs' & gets away with it time & again. It's pure crap, an adolescent's dream. It's exactly the kind of wishful thinking an addict in recovery must avoid.
--------

Joy, I've always enjoyed semi historical novels such as those written by Harold Lamb & John Jakes. The first wrote great books on Omar Kyham, Tamerlane & such. The second wrote the Bicentennial series following the Kent family through the founding of the US through 1900 or so, I think. How are these categorized?


message 3: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Jan 17, 2009 11:27AM) (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Jim wrote: "How are these categorized?"
That's a good question, Jim.

Wiki says: "For a text to be considered creative nonfiction, it must be factually accurate, and written with attention to literary style and technique."

In the article by Lee Gutkind, which I referenced above ( http://www.creativenonfiction.org/the... ), he states: "There is, it is true, controversy over the legitimacy of creative nonfiction, both as a term and as a genre."

So I imagine there would be differing opinions as to which category certain books would fit into to.

At present, I'm reading The Soloist A Lost Dream, an Unlikely Friendship, and the Redemptive Power of Music and I'm wondering if it would be considered creative nonfiction. It seems to be factual, but is written to have the appeal of a story. The author has a good literary style, IMO.


message 4: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 6311 comments I think I'll just keep my own opinion, then. I can't separate books into categories very well. I lump philosophy, religion & mythology all on to one shelf, separate from fact or fiction. I've never been able to separate fantasy, SF, Sword&Sorcery & adventure.


message 5: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Jan 17, 2009 05:24PM) (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments I've been wondering how the Library of Congress categorizes books. I suppose that would make a categorization official.

When I inquired about the category of _The Solist_, someone told me that the Library of Congress lists it as biography. So whether it's "creative biography" hasn't been answered yet.

If you look on the copyright page of a book, there may be a indication of how the Library of Congress categorizes it.


message 6: by Becky (new)

Becky (beckymurr) How was Tuesdays With Morrie listed?


message 7: by Becky (new)

Becky (beckymurr) Becky wrote: "How was Tuesdays With Morrie listed?"

biographical novel


message 8: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Jan 17, 2009 06:32PM) (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Hi Becky. _Tuesdays with Morrie An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life's Greatest Lesson_ was a true story.

To me a novel is fiction. Where did it say it was a "biographical novel"?

I would call it nonfiction, definitely biographical.


message 9: by Becky (new)

Becky (beckymurr) Well that is what The Soloist is, isn't it....I used Tuesdays because I thought that was kind of the same idea as The Soloist...a true story with some flair added to it...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuesdays...


message 10: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Jan 17, 2009 06:57PM) (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments I was really surprised to see that, Becky. Sure enough, the Wiki link you gave says:
"Tuesdays with Morrie is a 1997 biographical novel by American writer Mitch Albom."

Now I'm really confused. LOL

I think I'll stick to Fiction and Nonfiction as categories. LOL


message 11: by Becky (new)

Becky (beckymurr) Joy H. (of Glens Falls) wrote: "I was really surprised to see that, Becky. Sure enough, the Wiki link you gave says:
"Tuesdays with Morrie is a 1997 biographical novel by American writer Mitch Albom."

Now I'm really confused. LO..."


Me too!! LOL




message 12: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Jan 17, 2009 11:06PM) (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments I think we're going to have to call in a "genre expert" here. (g)

Do you think the book _A Million Little Pieces_ might be too current to be considered "historical"? Seems more biographical to me. How about "fictionalized biography"?

Biography is a form of history, I suppose.

Where's a genre expert when we need him? :)
Is there a genre expert in the house?
Calling all genre experts!


message 13: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 6311 comments "A Million Little Pieces" is a fictionalized autobiography - "A Million Lies" is a better name for it.

I really don't care about people lying about themselves, except in a case like this. Getting clean/sober is hard enough & complete honesty is required. An addict/alcoholic fools themselves in numerous ways to keep using.

A rehab is not like dropping by the doctor's office. This particular one is a month long session where you're completely off the rest of society's grid - no real contact with family, no job or friends, except within that community. The next step is jail, psyche ward or death for most. It's a LAST resort. The alcoholic/addict has to be beaten & accept a new way of looking at the world.

Frey obviously didn't & it's crap - dangerous crap for those who believe him. It will get someone killed. Whether by the addict/alcoholic believing him or giving his family the wrong idea. It's not a pretty death, if there is such a thing.

Watch a woman, who was once pretty, puke up blood in front of her young kids or find her passed out on the floor when they get home from school. See a young guy in a hospital, in diapers & drooling, with wet brain. Pull a guy shivering in fear from his closet or walk into his room & find he's blown his brains out. If there are more disgusting & horrifying sights in this world, I don't want to see them. I couldn't bear it.

If you haven't guessed, I've been sober now for over 20 years & went to the same rehab that Frey did. Part of staying sober, for me, is working with others who are trying to get clean. While I prefer to see success, those who don't make it do more to help keep me sober. "There, but for the grace of god, go I..."


message 14: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Jim wrote: "'A Million Little Pieces' is a fictionalized autobiography..."

Thanks for the correction, Jim.

Thanks, too, for telling us about your experience. You're a wise man.


message 15: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 6311 comments In re-reading my post, it's a downer & ruins all basis for further conversation. Sorry, the whole thing really pushed several of my buttons, obviously.

Wise? If making mistakes & getting beat up makes one wise, then maybe a little. Better off today than in times past, certainly. I'd like to see others get that way too.


message 16: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Jim - It sounds like you've learned from experience. Your posts show so much wisdom.

"Experience is not what happens to a man; it is what a man does with what happens to him."
-Aldous Huxley


message 17: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 6311 comments Joy, you're sweet. My wife says I'm just crotchety & opinionated. I like your take much better! ;-)


message 18: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Jan 18, 2009 06:18PM) (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Jim wrote: "Joy, you're sweet. My wife says I'm just crotchety & opinionated. I like your take much better! ;-)"

Crotchety & opinionated? I have a son like that! LOL
He's very smart but he's a curmudgeon. (Born in 1961.) They say he was born forty. (g) I try to impress on him the following quotation:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"A cynic can chill and dishearten with a single word." -Ralph Waldo Emerson
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
But it doesn't help. :)

This is the look I give him when he bothers me: (g) ====>
http://pic20.picturetrail.com/VOL25/9...


message 19: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 6311 comments Must've been the era - he's only 2 years younger than me. Wow! What a mother's look! Yes, Ma'am!


message 20: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Jim wrote: "Must've been the era - he's only 2 years younger than me."

He's already getting gray hair. It's strange to see one's child have gray hair. (g)


message 21: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 6311 comments There's not much else but gray on the floor when I get a haircut. At least it's mostly all still there. My family grays early on my Mom's side, though.


message 22: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Jim wrote: "There's not much else but gray on the floor when I get a haircut. At least it's mostly all still there."

Good point, Jim. My dad was bald and I've wondered if the baldness gene would be inherited by my 4 boys. I notice that one of them has thinning hair, but he keeps it long and it's curly. So it's hard to notice the thinning out until you look for it.

Some of my sisters' sons have become bald at an early age.

Here's pic of my dad walking me down the aisle: ====>
http://pic20.picturetrail.com/VOL25/9...




message 23: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 6311 comments he doesn't look like a happy camper, Joy. My mother's father had thin, gray hair until he died at 84. I notice I like a hat more than I used to.


message 24: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments He probably felt a bit uncomfortable with so many in-laws sitting in the pews. (g) My wedding album shows him smiling as he danced at the reception. We really have to get around to scanning more photos.

Here's a pic of him with hair in his early twenties around 1920:
http://pic20.picturetrail.com/VOL25/9...
(He was a West Point cadet in this photo.)


message 25: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Jan 19, 2009 12:27PM) (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Speaking of hats, you might enjoy the following album called: "Hats":

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
http://good-times.webshots.com/album/...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Back in 1999, just for fun, one of the newsgroups had everyone submit pics of themselves in hats. This album shows a variety of hats and amusing photos. (g)

PS-Eddie is the one in the fez. Also in the horns. (g)
My user-name was "Karen" at the time, not Joy, because there was another person named "Joy" at the newsgroup.


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