Fiction and the Media in the English-Speaking World

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There has always been somewhat of a schism between so-called serious readers of fiction and media treatment of the same. Books that make the bestseller lists and stay there include everything from Toni Morrison to Zadie Smith to the likes of American trash-romance writer Nora Roberts or mystery writer John Grisham, bestseller lists and are a nuanced reflection of the public value of fiction.


The media, as it is a mass-produced, mass-circulation endeavor, concerns itself with accessibility in literature and its connection to its readership. If the average reader of The Guardian can't understand a particular work of fiction, than The Guardian, in the interest of its readership, is apt to forego it in favor of another, more accessible title. While there certainly exist nuanced and talented book critics writing for the major news outlets, bestselling lists are indicative of the most accessible tastes of the fiction-reading public.
American media giant Oprah Winfrey publishes a highly-circulated book list called Oprah's Book Club. Books appearing on the Oprah's Book Club list have several characteristics in common: many address the 'feminine condition', the lives of Black women, and they all are emotionally and culturally substantial. ...
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