Saturday, June 11, 2011

Literary Blog Hop

Literary Blog Hop:
 June 9-11

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

What other outside influences affect your reading experience? Do you think these influences enhance or detract from the experience?

This seems to me a fairly broad question that, as intended, provokes many different avenues of thought about my reading experience.  One of the most important influences in recent years  since I have been writing about my reading has been the group discussions in which I have participated.  These discussions, which have varied based upon the type of group, have included: formal class settings, informal study groups, and even more casual reading groups.  The influences have included guiding me to particular books and authors, providing a wealth of different perspectives on the texts read and discussed, and spurring my own thoughts regarding other authors and ideas to pursue on my own.  
For example, I recently participated in a class where we read and discussed Vikram Seth's magnificent novel A Suitable Boy and a collection of short stories, Malgudi Days, by R. K. Narayan.  Reading and discussing these books indirectly led me to a comic-satirical Indian novel that I have just finished reading, English, August: An Indian Story by Upamanyu Chatterjee.  I was better able to apprehend and enjoy this book as a result of the class discussion of the Seth and Narayan books:  not to mention that I probably would not have sought out and read the book had I not participated in the class.
The influence of these group discussions upon my reading experience has been both positive through providing discipline to read more and different books than I may have on my own, but also negative as I seldom have sufficient time to read books for my own leisure and enjoyment apart from the groups.  Overall the benefits have far outweighed the disadvantages and the influences have been well worth the time I have invested in these discussions.


To set your wisdom (holding not a doubt of it, Although in truth there's neither bone nor skin to it) At work upon a book, and so read out of it The qualities that you have first read into it.”
- Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary


parrish lantern said...

As I've said before that not having had a formal route through literature, my guides have tended to be the books & their authors, by this route I've explored this globes literature and although this has been without a structured path I don't think its necessarily been detrimental as it has led me down varied trails that I may not have explored otherwise.

James said...

Book & their authors are indeed admirable guides to expanding one's literary experience. I have increasingly found interesting the reading experiences of literary characters to be a source of both greater understanding of the book I'm reading and a further opportunity to enlarge my reading experience.