This week, LibraryReads and NoveList offered another installment in our popular Crash Course genre webinars, this time in literary fiction. Presenters Stephen Sposato and Jessica Lin broke down the intricacies of the definition and history of literary fiction, shared ways to help fans of the genre, and gave us a sneak peek into what they’re excited to read this fall. If you couldn’t make the webinar, you can watch a replay below and if you want to dive in and start reading some literary fiction, check out the five starter pack titles Jessica and Stephen suggest:
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
This thoughtful own voices novel follows identical twin sisters who leave their small Louisiana hometown and venture into the world by following two distinctly different paths. Spanning more than thirty years, the story examines identity, race, family, and how past decisions have implications for future generations.
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
Using haunting imagery and lyrical prose, Ocean Vuong weaves an engrossing coming-of-age tale of Vietnamese refugee, Little Dog. In a letter to his mother, Little Dog conveys the traumatic and troubled childhood he endured and his path to becoming a writer as an adult. Readers who appreciate beautiful language will be entranced by this exploration of love, loss, and the power of stories.
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
Rebellious Nadia and sensible Saeed fall in love amid the chaos and violence of war in Mohsin Hamid’s award-winning novel. As their unnamed city becomes increasingly dangerous due to the military conflict, the protagonists must escape using portals to other lands. Both bleak and bittersweet, this allegorical novel exposes the reality of living life during wartime.
Sabrina & Corina by Kali Fajardo-Anstine
For readers who are dipping their toes into literary fiction, this short story collection might be the perfect entry point. Ranging from hopeful to heartwrenching, the stories that comprise this collection examine the Indigenous, Latina experience of women in the American West. Each story is imbued with rich atmosphere and characterization.
There There by Tommy Orange
Twelve disparate people travel to Oakland for the Big Powwow in this dramatic and moving story which focuses on the contemporary Native American experience. Readers come to understand what drives each character to make this journey and what they hope to get out of it as the story moves between various points of view. A dramatic conclusion and shifting perspectives make this fast-paced page-turner hard to put down.
For more title suggestions, trends, and information, please watch the Crash Course in Literary Fiction.