This blog explores, reviews, and analyzes literature and literary topics. I also intend to write about film. My intellectual interests extend to history, math, science, music, education, religion and philosophy. So I may write posts on those topics as well in the future.
Most of my posts will probably be about the books I’m reading. My style is to summarize the basic plot of the story (usually with spoilers, so this is not the blog to read if such things bother you), and then include some analysis of the story’s larger ideas, personal reactions, and occasional references to style, literary techniques, and literary devices.
I am writing this blog in part because I find writing my thoughts about books forces me to think about them more deeply and gather my thoughts in a more cohesive way. We all miss things. This is why discussion can be fruitful. This is also why it is worth reading art criticism. So please feel free to share your ideas.
So who am I?
I have two Masters Degrees: one in English and one in library science. As an undergrad I majored in English and minored in history. From my background you might assume that I’ve always loved reading and am a super snob who looks down on any who dislikes the classics, but nothing could be further from the truth.
Even though I write a book blog, I haven’t always been passionate about the “classics.” In fact, when I was younger I didn’t enjoy reading much at all. I grew up more interested in video games than in books, and when I did read it usually was poorly written fantasy novels or Star Wars books. In high school I disdained the classics as a waste of time; too esoteric, too difficult. My initial interest in literature was in the area of creative writing; my desire to take more creative writing classes was what led me to become an English Major. This required me to take more literary courses as well. As I gained more life experience and I read more books considered “great literature” as part of required college courses, I found myself warming up more and more to these books I once disdained, to the point where I now couldn’t picture my life without devoting my time to reading the great books.
What is the purpose of art?
While I think art begins as entertainment, I don’t believe art is merely entertainment. Simultaneously I don’t think the purpose of reading a book is to discover the moral of the story. While some books have straight-forward morals or lessons, often a book’s meaning is more like hearing a new perspective on an old issue or a thoughtful question you hadn’t ever considered before. A good book raises questions and nudges perspectives, forces you to consider your quotidian existence anew and revisit old ideas and think them through again, but it doesn’t necessarily demand you agree, it only asks that you consider. This is what I think works of art at their best do. Basically they dramatize our reality so we see certain aspects that we have become desensitized to in a fresh light. I also think literature enhances our experience of reality. When I read a good poem about a hill, every time I go out into the world and see a hill I think of the words of that poem, and the hill seems more beautiful because of it; likewise, when I go back to the poem I remember my own experience at the hill that filled me with pleasure and this experience increases the personal significance of the poem for me. I see art and reality as being in a dialectic relationship. Basically the arts is a kind of experience that relates directly and comments on our experience in life.
I am a big proponent of free speech. Basically if you wish to comment on my blog please do so.
1) make some sort of attempt to treat others with respect when responding to them.
2) Please stick to the topic at hand, although I don’t mind tangents, but it has to be an obviously related tangent.