Friday, April 01, 2011

Literary Blog Hop

March 31-April 2

The Literary Blog Hop is hosted by The Blue Bookcase!  This week's question is: 

Do you find yourself predisposed to like (or dislike) books that are generally accepted as great books and have been incorporated into the literary canon? Discuss the affect you believe a book’s “status” has on your opinion of it.

I have been a reader since a fairly early age when I found myself growing up in a home with books.  There were books of many kinds and genres, fiction and non-fiction, both lightweight "entertainments" and heavyweight "tomes".  As my reading habits developed I do not remember developing a predisposition toward a particular type of book, however I have developed my personal tastes which necessarily lead to including or excluding certain types.  While my reading life developed in an eclectic manner and I became what one might call an omnivorous reader there were limits which excluded some books.  I found myself wandering through libraries and bookstores looking and, if any book caught my eye, for whatever reason, I might pick it up and read it.  Fortunately, or perhaps not, my universe of potential books to read has continued to expand. 

 An example of the breadth of my reading may be suggested by perusing my recent reading (list at right) which includes classic and contemporary novels from English, American, Egyptian, Hungarian, Indian, Irish, German, Swedish and Japanese authors; nonfiction ranging from history of science to literary diaries, letters, memoirs, anthologies and biography; plus a couple of classic works from Plato and Marcus Aurelius.

When I learned of the existence of a "literary canon", at some unknown moment in my reading past,  I began perusing that genre as well.  By reading works considered "great books" I found considerable benefits accrued from the challenging nature of what were often difficult works to read.  In recognition of those benefits along with an enjoyment from reading many of these works I developed a respect for the literary canon that differs from my views of other genres.  Is my reading any less eclectic as a result?  I think not, rather it probably is more so.  Am I predisposed to like books that are considered part of the literary canon?  Perhaps, but I rather like to think I am predisposed to read new and interesting books of (almost) any kind.


parrish lantern said...

It seems we had a similar start in our reading lives, just reading what we had access to regardless of apparent worth, only learning later of their merit. I'm in agreement with you concerning the idea that this make one a more varied reader, as I think (in my case at least)that because i read all those books early in my life it has given me the attitude that i can read anything, this ability may be based on an ignorance, but has served me well. being an autodidact may have been unstructured, but it also wasn't formulaic.

James said...

Thanks for your observations. The beginning is always important and an immersion in (most) everything is a good place to start - one can always sort the wheat from the chaff later.