now, avoidance of "novel"

ronbutters at AOL.COM ronbutters at AOL.COM
Mon Sep 13 13:58:59 UTC 2010

Odd, because both "non-fiction book" and "work of fiction" sound OK (at least to me)? Even "book of non-fiction" seems pretty much OK to me. Perhaps the problem is that "fiction book" seems redundant (even though it is not). And "fiction book" could be "collection of short stories" (and is thus not exactly synonymous with "novel").
------Original Message------
From: Jonathan Lighter
Sender: ADS-L
ReplyTo: ADS-L
Subject: Re: [ADS-L] now, avoidance of "novel"
Sent: Sep 13, 2010 9:49 AM

An ancient memory has surfaced, which will likely be dismissed for being so
belated, but I'm quite sure it's accurate.

In 1969 I was working for a literary agency in New York. One day an
unsolicited manuscript arrived that was described by its author as a
"fiction book."

That created a degree of welcome mirth to burnish, however briefly, our
Bartleby-style existence. I have reason to remember it, because I was
reproved for creating a memo that followed the author's own odd-sounding

Certainly I never noticed the phrase again until the time I reported
in 2007. I've heard it several times since.


"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

The American Dialect Society -

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

The American Dialect Society -

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