Does Nobody Care About Literature Anymore?

“Nobody cares about literature anymore. That’s the death-cry heard time and time again about the state of 21st Century reading.” writes Nick Ostdick.

“Sure, studies and surveys continually show the ways in which today’s average reader experiences literature are changing,”

Ostdick continues in his article “Eight Short Stories You Should Be Reading Now” for

“If you only have thirty minutes a day to devote to literature, the short story provides a complete, encapsulated narrative experience to scratch your literary itch…in roughly 3,000 words or less.
Okay, so it’s not quite a Tweet, but it’s not War and Peace, either.”

Do you believe literature going the way of the Cuckoo?

What is your favorite cyber-age method to indulge in reading or writing for?


From what I’ve observed personally, what I’ve read, and from first hand anecdotal stories I’ve heard from published authors, I believe the people who say this consider themselves literary writers, and dismiss all genre fiction as not literary.
I disagree with that position, and point to people like Iain Banks who can do both.
I’ll be cruel and say that to me, literary fiction tends not to have a plot, just a story. I don’t understand why beautiful language can’t be coupled with a strong plot, and even with entertaining and/or likeable characters I want to spend time with.
If ‘nobody cares about literature anymore’, perhaps it’s for good reasons? :face_with_hand_over_mouth:


@Luke stated my opinion almost exactly. To me, literary stories are more interior to the character. Too much thought and not enough action. Also, they remind me of European films from the '60s, where they would just end with no real resolution. If a writer could combine lyrical narrative, character-driven plot, and a satisfying resolution, it would be a bestseller.


So it occurred to me reading this, ‘literature’ is often more interested in the journey, and genre fiction more driven toward the destination. That’s not to say you can’t do both. And not everything IRL has a satisfying ending (quite the opposite), so why should a book?

But I have to confess I’ve read very little ‘literature’ since I finished my first degree.

… when I worked in theatre we treated the classics as living texts for performance not as sacrosanct ‘literature.’


Hello Luke, it’s good to see you here. I definitely agree. I want my cake, eat it, too and a glass of milk.
In my humble opinion, there is no reason we can’t or shouldn’t have it all.

Recipe for bestseller @kellygunteratlas. Agreed.

@rtcatling, makes me think of Mother of Pearl by Melinda Haynes (which is still one of the most beautifully written books I have ever had the pleasure of reading) it is described by one reviewer most accurately as: “Mother of Pearl is a complex, lyrical, emotionally intense novel that doesn’t really fit into any genre category.” I felt as though I could breathe the story in it was so beautifully written. Like other complex and beautiful works of literature, it took on a life of its own. It was all about the journey but did arrive at a solid destination, thus proving your point most intelligently. (I will say it is the only book I can think of that has done that so well, but yes it can and does happen)

Maybe because I am a theater junkie, I believe there will always be a place for literature. As you said “living text” I found myself nodding “yes” classic literature goes far beyond the passion of the written word.


I generally avoid short stories. A short story is typically written to evoke a brief emotional experience. I much prefer the experience of going on a lengthy journey and getting to know a series of characters and their world in the longer novel (and series of novels) format. It’s definitely a matter of my personal preference. I am happy to invite readers, but would never go so far as to suggest they ‘should be reading’ something in particular.


I can see where that might feel uncomfortable to say “should be reading”, perhaps it would be more generous to invite them to read if they’re curious?

Many folks love an opportunity to see new writing in the spirit of comradery and are eagerly awaiting an invitation to explore what fellow writers are producing. Please, do not hesitate to share with us.

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I think beautiful language can be coupled with a strong plot and interesting characters. That’s my goal.


AGREED 100 percent! There is always room for more writing in this timeless style.


This essay seems an appropriate perspective on this topic. The author makes a case for literary fiction containing similar elements like character arc, plot structure and causation being fully present in literary fiction; they are just more subtle and look different in non-genre literature. As a fan of everything having an underlying structure, I enjoyed reading it.

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Thank you. Would you like to see more content like this?

If you mean more articles that suggest the hidden or underlying structure to types of writing, sure. The other takeaway I got from the essay is more elusive and would be difficult for another person to curate for me individually. It’s difficult to predict what turns on a light bulb that sheds new light and a new perspective until it happens. :slight_smile: