Illuminations of Desire

LesbianI was watching an independent film titled Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same when I stopped to consider whether Barnes and Noble has a marked-out section for Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Fiction. Then I asked myself the question: should B&N strive for genre exactitude and expand the signage in their stores or should they continue with a reasonably limited collection of genres that will avoid the clutter and confusion of too many categories but at the same time will allow for many worthy titles to be lost in the morass of titles that are mistakenly related: Fish For Sashimi filed in the Aquarium section; The Great God Brown lost in Speculative Religion; Stephen King mistakenly placed in with the good books; Rikki Ducornet sorted under Hot Authors.

We seem to get into a discussion of genres at  least once a year. I personally subscribe to the theory that genres were created so that booksellers would know where to exhibit their wares. For most readers, if they enjoy reading, say, Science Fiction, then if someone tells them a book is science fiction, they will read it. Besides, where do we slot Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same: under Psychology, under Sexual Preferences, under Science Fiction, or even under Stationery Stores.

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An ice-axe to break the sea frozen inside us

imaginationThe New York Times continues to offer age-old questions that can be answered in as may ways as the wind blows. This week it was Should Literature Be Considered Useful? This, of course, begs the question of whether we should consider this question useful, let alone ask what we mean by literature. I suppose no one would even consider asking if art was useful (a good painting can hide those pesky nail holes left by the not-as-good painting you gave to the Animal Shelter for their annual fund raiser).

Doing a mind dump about literature I know that it generates many jobs—writer, publisher, editor, bookseller, etc.—and has a huge secondary market in the folks that purchase the books, read the books, and study the books in school (not to mention the billions and billions of reading groups on the internet). But what do they say in Bookends?

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