Thursday, April 3, 2008

Lit-Ra-Chur - Booking Through Thursday

  • 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!


gautami tripathy said...

Exactly my sentiments! It all depends on the book!

Here is my BTT post!

Anonymous said...

Yes, I think you have this all exactly right - the definitive BTT post this week :)

Well done!

Lezlie said...

Good perspective! It makes the whole concept less inimidating. Maybe more people would give something like "War & Peace" a try if they didn't feel like they "have to" finish it. I have the "I have to finish everything I start" problem. I need to work on that. :-) (Just a side note: W&P really is surprisingly good!)



Jane said...

Very good answer especially about giving yourself permission to not enjoy them.

BooksPlease said...

I agree - I like to try a book and if I'm not enjoying it I don't finish it.

Chrisbookarama said...

Variety! It's the spice of life.

Anonymous said...

That seems like a very balanced point of view and a very good response.

Maree said...

Now that I'm well past university days I don't read books I "should". I read books that interest me, that wake up that little reading gremlin who says "ooohh ... that looks good."

Trisha said...

"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."

I completely agree.

Happy BTT.

joanna said...

gautami - it really does depend... thanks for visiting!

ravenousreader - what a nice thing to say, thanks! :-)

Lezlie - Joe and I are watching the BBC War and Peace (26 episodes!) and I i'm considering reading it at the same time to understand things better. Either that or right after!

Jaimie - I'm that kind of person, I have to actually tell myself that it's ok if I don't enjoy certain things, it doesn't make me stupid or anything!

joanna said...

booksplease - I just don't like wasting my time! Having said that, there are very few books that have been so bad that I really did give up, usually there is at least one thing I like about a book!

chris - it is indeed!

tabletalk - I'm pretty sure that no one has ever used the word balance in reference to me - thanks! :-)

maree - i think that's the best way of doing things!

trisha - Happy BTT to you too!

Paula Weston said...

Great point about not having to like everything classed as a "classic" or "literature". Both of those categories tend to have their own sub-genres (hard to believe The Time Machine, 1984 and Pride and Prejudice can neatly be lumped together as "classics"). So of course we are not going to love everything that's classic or literary.

joanna said...

Paula - well put!

Anonymous said...

To be honest, I am still working on truly grasping the idea that I shouldn't automatically enjoy any classic, unless I am not intellegent or mature enough. I know it most of the time but sometimes, I still try to force myself to read something terrible in the name of reading the classics, at least until I am bored to tears and have to go find a good fantasy book.