Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Why do you read?

Just last week when I reviewed a Jodi Picoult book I had enjoyed, I alluded to the fact that some literary critics are not her biggest fans. Newsweek must read my blog because they published an article about that very topic this week!

When we talk about tv shows, we all have trashy favorites or guilty pleasures, whether they be reality tv like "Pirate Master" (tragically canceled before even one season was completed) or pre-taped shows like "Gossip Girl." But are books the same way?

What this article asks is an issue I have thought about before. Are extremely popular mass market books like Jodi Picoult's work or the Twilight series just low brow reading that is no better for you than a bad tv show? Is any reading good reading? And more importantly, does it even matter?

I'm of the opinion that any time someone is reading it's a good thing. I definitely enjoy my share of chick lit and Jodi Picoult but I tend to intersperse those books with more serious fare. I get a different type of satisfaction from different types of books. There are classics I have loved (please go read The Great Gatsby and Atlas Shrugged immediately!), those I struggled through (everything by Dickens), and those that I finally gave up after many false starts (Anna Karenina, Crime and Punishment). But I have the same range with lighter reading. I'm glad I have read a lot of the classics because it's fun to understand allusions in movies and tv. Lost fans, I'm talking to you!

So in the end if you come to me asking for a book recommendation you never know what you might get. I'm interested to hear what other people think about this. Give me your opinion in the comments!


nujoud said...

I completely agree. Some supposedly trashy books, I think are great (even if I don't buy into the Twilight series). But I have read a lot of classics and some are absolutely awful. Case in point, Uncle Tom's Cabin. Considered a "classic" because the of the story and the time of release (Civil War anyone?). But the book is absolutely awful in the writing style and prose and everything. I actual question whether Harriet Beecher Stowe knew proper english, that bad.

Same goes for TV, Movies, and generally all arts. It really covers more then that too, I've had plenty of $8 bottles of wine I think were way better than some $30 and $40 bottles!

Heather said...

i agree about anna karenina! could NOT get through it, sorry oprah ;) i agree with what youre saying, but i have to say i dont think it matters. i think its good to read, period! i love reading, and im happy to say ive been making more time for it lately. i should be done with "the book theif" within the next year ;)