Thursday, December 1, 2011

What Work of Literature Would You Recommend to Someone Who Doesn't like Literature?



This question is part of the Literary Blog Hop, and it is definitely not an easy one.

If someone doesn't enjoy reading literature, how could you fix this "issue"? A work of literature cannot truly and entirely be revealed unless one finds pleasure in solving its mysteries page by page.
And yet, if there were a book that could turn a non-lover into a passionate lover of literature, that book should be THE BOOK. Is there such a thing? Well, (un)fortunately, not really. Surely, we can recommend our favorite books and that might work, but the true spirit of literature lies in every single book worth reading.
How could anyone not recommend one of Shakespeare's plays (and how difficult it would be to just choose one) or a poem by Wordsworth? They are not among my favorite writers, but can we skip them? Wasn't their writing and our reading that brought us closer to what we now call our favorite writers? How can we say that we like Ionesco if we haven't read any other play? Could we recommend Jeanette Winterson and completely forget about Virginia Woolf? Is that even possible?
To sum up, any work conveying literary value is worth reading in order to savour literature, but one is never enough to fully discover what lies beneath this word: LITERATURE.

23 comments:

Mihai said...

That photo is soooo hillarious!!!! =))

Christine-Chioma said...

Well hopefully they would read Virginia Woolf and then like her so much that they ventured into George Eliot or something. But you do make a good point.

Ally said...

MIhai, you forgot to praise the post as well :)

Ally said...

@Christine Chioma: Once you discover female writers, it is hard to move to "something else" :)

Rikki said...

This IS a difficult question. Generally I would say that to a non-lover I would never recommend anything that would scare him off, so I would start with something rather light and airy. There definitely is not THE BOOK, we can see that easily since even literature lovers often don't agree 100% on any given book.

LBC said...

If I were to recommend Shakespeare, I would probably recommend that someone go watch a play, preferably a comedy. Watching Shakespeare brings it to life, and might make a non-reader want to dig in a little deeper to see the text of those jokes the actors were making on the stage.

Becky (Page Turners) said...

Love the cartoon :-) I don't think there's a book you could recommend to someone that would convince them that all literature is good - but there might be a book you cuold recommend that might convince them it isn't all bad.. and that would be worth something. You would have to make a careful recommendation though

mel u said...

I love your totally unique header pic! I decided that I would follow your blog to see the ideas of the person behind it!

CHE said...

Very well put. Recommending literature is a tricky business but its always tempting to try and pull someone over onto 'our side' is it not? :)

Mihai said...

I do believe there is such a thing as THE BOOK, but it is different for each and one of us. The only way to find IT is to keep on reading. The journey might be long but clearly insightful. I consider myself lucky to have someone help me on that path, recommending really good books by different writers ;)

Ally said...

@Rikki: light literature, now that's something new to me :)
@LBC: Indeed, seeing a good adaptation of one of Shakespeare's plays can be a better way of discovering him.
@Becky: The problem with me is that I find it hard to be objective when it comes to books, so recommending just one might be an easy task if I go with exactly what I like best :)

Ally said...

@mel u: that person behind it is a very busy one, always on the run and longing for a few days off work :)
@CHE: my business card should say "read a book or die trying!" :))

Ally said...

Different writers? I only have two favorite writers! :))

Parrish Lantern said...

I've learnt that what you enjoy & would consider a fairly light read, others would describe as weighing somewhere in the region of a couple of apartment blocks.

Ally said...

@Parrish Lantern: True! :)

Corri said...

Love the picture! As far as literature is concerned, I think you could start anywhere and it would not have to be Shakespeare! There are so many good stories well told that there is no need to frighten off anyone. I can imagine that someone might be more turned on by LeCarre than by Shakespeare and that's fine! There are so many books that you cannot read them all anyway!

Judy Croome | @judy_croome said...

Ally, you've made a valid point. We can only recommend our personal favourites. Reading is such a subjective experience what a book that affects us deeply may not touch another reader in the same way. But, who knows? The classic literature we recommend may be that one book that changes a non-"literature" reader into one who loves the classics.

I'd recommend the DVD of Leonardo di Caprio/Clare Danes Romeo & Juliet (to show how Shakespeare is as relevant today as he was in his own time) followed by a reading of Hamlet or MacBeth. I'd add in J M Coetzee's "Waiting for the Barbarians." (And that's just for starters...!)

Judy, South Africa

Ally said...

@Corri: I gave Shakespeare as an example because I consider him one of the greatest pillars of universal literature, but sure, others qualify as well :)

Ally said...

@Judy Croome: Excellent idea about the Romeo and Juliet dvd! i saw the movie and it was impressive! definitely an excellent starter to discover the great Will :)

Fiona said...

I'd recommend that people just watch a BBC adaptation of something... like Pride and Prejudice, Bleak House, Wives and Daughter, North and South, Our Mutual Friend, Tom Jones and all the others I haven't named.

They are usually very good, pretty accurate and the only reason why I've read half the classics I have is probably because I grew up on a diet of good, decent drama from the BBC instead of all that reality rubbish you get now.

One of the problems unfortunately is that I know the story to a lot of them now.

Ally said...

@Fiona: what a fantastic idea, especially since I really admire the BBC productions. Have you seen their latest "Jane Eyre"?

Fiona said...

@Ally: The one with Toby Stevens? (Maggie Smith's son, I always knew he was familiar looking!) Yes I have and I thought it was very good and close to the book. But I prefer the 1983 version with Timothy Dalton. He looks more like Mr Rochester to me. More rugged whereas Stevens is too young and handsome in the dashing way. I guess it all depends on your taste in men! I thought Dalton had the more natural charisma that Rochester eminated.

I've avoided seeing the recent film. I love Jane Eyre but sometimes I wish the BBC would try other authors rather then re-hashing Dickens or Austen, over and over.

Ally said...

@Fiona: i don't think it's that one; here's the link to the newest adaptation I saw
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1229822/
have you seen Wuthering Hights with Ralph Fiennes and Juliette Binoche? How I adore that version and the two actors! :)