Friday, January 7, 2011

Literary Blog Hop: Jan 6-9

This is the next question  in the fortnightly series of questions from the fine ladies at The Blue Bookcase as part of their aim to promote literature via their Bloghop. For those not familiar with LiteraryBlogHop-1this hop check out the various posts relating to this or click the link to their site.

How did you find your way to reading literary fiction and nonfiction?

Past Life Regressions.

babybookThis is one of those questions that have appeared on and off throughout  my life - along with its close cousins -  When did you start reading & you read HOW MUCH?. If I answer  the question when did I start  to read with the answer -  that I’ve absolutely no knowledge, that although there must have been a time when I didn’t read, as I’m sure that if I had exited my mothers womb,  book opened at page 67 of the complete works of Shakespeare, someone would have snapped a shot with their Kodak Instamatic, if only for posterity. But if I try to think back to what must have been a seminal point, I can’t find one. As far as I’m concerned I’ve always read, & although logically I understand that this can’t be so, by all other criteria it’s what I believe. As to works of literary fiction - I had no criteria to judge what was and wasn’t of merit, so it wasn’t until I got to secondary school (11+) that I realised that such a standard existed, and that all the books I had been devouring over the years at my Grandparents, from their complete Classic series (or some such name), were books of literary merit. Now this was to cause me problems at school, especially in my dealings with teachers (that & I was naturally Gobby), imagine if the books on offer as part of your curriculum, you’ve already read, not just them but others of their ilk (Brave new World, Island 1984 etc.). So school & myself  had a parting of ways, I avoided what should have been my favourite subject - English Literature - & sought readingsanctuary from the world in a dimly lit cave, that was my local library, a place even to this day that, if I walk in I feel an instant relaxation.


James said...

While my path was slightly different than yours I can identify with your comment about avoiding "what should have been" your "favorite subject." For I too, to a great extent, stayed away from more than the basic requirements for literature in high school and college and pursued my own path of reading. For example, while we had to read George Eliot in high school (Silas Marner) I was devouring Thomas Hardy on my own starting with The Return of the Native. Later on as an adult I grew into Eliot who is now one of my favorites (Middlemarch).

Anonymous said...

Like you, I don't really remember a time when I wasn't reading. I always remember having books nearby.

The hardest part for me growing up were people telling me that the books I chose to read were above me and that I would never get them. That always made me grab more of the challenging classic literature and ignore my English teachers telling me that I wouldn't get it. At some level I think they were right.

Em said...

Hi Parrish,
It's always more fun to read what you're not told to! I can only remember one teacher who managed to transmit a love of reading...

On another topic, how are you getting on with Calvino?

@parridhlantern said...

Hi James. sometimes it seems i deliberately took the difficult path, just to proof a point to my teachers, I remember books were taught a specific way & had just one interpretation, if you queried that viewpoint, by saying that it was open to more than one way of looking at it. Well you just didn't -WHoops.

dragonflyy419. people telling me, this is not suitable, you must not read this, or censorship in any form, just makes more obnoxious & likey to seek it out.(I was quite an annoying child).

My mother was an old school hippy & free thought was like breathing, I was raised to query everything & would pick my battles with teachers who I thought in my young mind were false, who were teaching by rote, so you can imagine how annoying I was.
As to the Calvino, finished it on the train home this evening.

Red said...

I love that without knowing their literary value you were making your way through a collection of classics. It's just a shame your teachers didn't see how great it was you already had a love of the classics

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

I wondered what happened to all the old school hippies. I thought they were in San Francisco, but, no, apparently some went off to raise children like you. Excellent news.

Here is my post for the Blog Hop.

Margaret @ BooksPlease said...

To a certain extent reading books at school was not as satisfying as reading them on my own - too much analysis was the deterrent for me and can ruin a book.

@parridhlantern said...

hi red, I personally think I lucked out on the majority of my teachers, as teaching appeared to be by rote.

Hello Deb, she may not have come from san fransisco, but she definitely had flowers in her hair, and
I was raised protesting everything from anti apartheid through to save the whale.

Hi Margaret, would have loved some analysis, would have been fun, but if I tried to suggest a different perspective it was shot down.

Evelyn @ The Writing Sprite said...

I love it! You are absolutely awesome for reading through those classics! I think we all tend to be a little contrary about where we go with this. I want to read the exact things that people tell me not to! Why?!? If I want to read it, I'm gonna read it! Isn't there a website of banned books? Sounds like a great place to start! :)

Melody said...

I despised my high school English classes...whenever a teacher started to tell me I should do/read something, I'd get rebellious. Of course, it worked the other way too...I didn't have any problem reading Tolstoy to prove that I could.