What, exactly, is cult fiction? In his book Classic Cult Fiction, Thomas Whissen defines it as “a reader-created genre. A cult book can appear within any type of literary genre–for instance, romance, mystery, science fiction–but will achieve cult status only on the basis of reader response. It has qualities that speak to a reader, who may feel that it has been written for him or her alone; yet this very personal appeal is widespread, and such a book may grow in popularity almost as an underground movement, inspiring a generation of readers and sometimes enduring as a mainstream classic.”
I was inspired to write this post by a list I stumbled across on Flavorwire called “10 Underrated Books Everyone Should Read”. When I scrolled through the list, I was ashamed to say that I had not heard of, much less read, a single one of the books on it. Click on the linked article title to see the full list. The fall reading season is full of author heavyweights such as Michael Chabon, Junot Diaz, J.K. Rowling, Tom Wolfe, Barbara Kingsolver, Zadie Smith, Salman Rushdie, Justin Cronin…need I go on? Sometimes a season filled with blockbuster names needs to be counterbalanced by something a little more unexpected. Feel like going against the grain? Go to RFPL Reads to check out a list of books that many consider to be ‘literary cult classics’ and are guaranteed to satisfy the fiction reader.