- When somebody mentions “literature,” what’s the first thing you think of? (Dickens? Tolstoy? Shakespeare?)
- Do you read “literature” (however you define it) for pleasure? Or is it something that you read only when you must?
Over the years, my definition of "literature" has changed. I used to associate this word only with classics - stuff that I wouldn't want to read, unless I had to for school or something. But as I started to discover that I actually enjoyed reading some classics and started to think about why I enjoyed it, my deifnition of "literature" changed. Now I think of books that are more 'quality', for lack of a better word. Books that tackle more serious issues, books that will stand the test of time, with characters that future generations will be able to identify with and that themselves may become classics. As opposed to chick-lit, for example, which I enjoy immensely but wouldn't usually classify as genius.
For me, it was heard to get past the idea that if something is classic then you should automatically enjoy it and if you don't then you're not intelligent/mature/etc enough. At some point I realised that there will be classics that I enjoy and classics that I don't enjoy - same as with any other genre. So, to answer the second question, I will read what I think of as 'literature' out of my own free will. I'm the kind of person who needs a lot of variety, I get just as bored with only light books as I do with the heavy ones.
Of course there are books that I only start because I think I should. But I've progressed to thinking that what I should do is start them , try them out, see if I like them. I gave myself permission to not finish them if I'm not enjoying them. After all, there are so many out there!