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The Changing World of Fiction

A reader asks:

I have a shelf full of women’s fiction I read in the seventies and saved (because I loved them then). What do you think has changed in the definition since then?

I think everything has changed since the seventies. In fact, everything has changed not just in women’s fiction, but in all fiction in just the last five years.

As the world changes, fiction will change. We would (or at least should) no longer accept a book where the norm is racist thoughts and comments like those of Laura Ingalls Wilder or Scarlett O’Hara and we no longer accept the “romantic rape scenes” in romances like some of those by Kathleen Woodiwiss. In fact, I’ve noticed how the changing world has dramatically changed the way I view not just the books I am wanting to represent, but the books I’m reading for pleasure.

Fiction has always reflected the world the writer, and reader live in so it’s completely natural that what you read 40 or so years ago is going to be very different from what you read now.

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2 comments

  1. If it’s a book I grew up loving (like Laura Ingalls Wilder) I can reread and still love – probably because of the familiarity with the characters and the memory of the love I had for it when I was younger. But if I read a book for the first time that was written many years ago I often find I put it down because I don’t like what is being portrayed (especially those old Harlequin books with their “romantic rape scenes”). Thank goodness books do change because they reflect how society has changed!

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