M Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction and Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel and post Colonial Asian Fiction are some of my Literary Interests

de classics, modern fiction,

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Literary Book Blog Hop March 31 to April 2

"Welcome to the Reading Life"-Charles
To me the Literary Book Blog Hop is a great international community building  event.    This week's question is a very interesting one.

Do you find yourself disposed to like (or dislike)  books that are generally considered great books and have been incorporated into the literary canon?   Discuss the effect a book's status has on your opinion of it.

When I read a canon status book and I find I do not like it I look within myself first to figure out why I do not like it.   Clifton Fadiman in his preface to his original  Life Time Reading Plan  said if you do not like  a classic, put it down and try again in ten years.      In someways reading canon status literature is like looking in a mirror.    Of course the notion of a canon is a tool  of academia.

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leeswammes said...

I think that's wise advice. Sometimes you're not in the right part of your life for a particular book. Or not in the right frame of mind.

Toni said...

Hey, I love that quote! I'm going to write it down :D

Interesting about reading the classics being like looking in a mirror.

You've given me a lot to think about tonight. Happy hop!

BookBelle said...

I absolutely agree to look within myself before I toss the Great Book aside. I mentioned this in the last hop, I never finished Anna Karenina and I believe that's because I was not yet ready for its words.

Here's my answer:


I am a new follower. I love your blog header - it's very dramatic.

Good day.


Ben said...

...if you do not like a classic, put it down and try again in ten years.

I like that line. I don't think that maturity can help liking a difficult book, but reading experience and perspective can certainly help.

Darlyn (Your Move, Dickens) said...

Great quote. Thanks for sharing. Personally, I view all classics with reverence, until I actually start reading them. While reading, the "this-is-a-classic" mindset leaves me, and I can figure out for myself whether I like it or not. :)

parrish lantern said...

great answer, my conclusion was similar, I thought that status can be a good signpost, especially if you've no formal guide through literature.

dragonflyy419 said...

I like the thought of coming back to the book in 10 years if you do not like it. This is such a true thing because of how much your mindset changes. I love the way you say it is like looking in a mirror -- it is a very interesting point.

As the Crowe Flies and Reads said...

Part of me really likes Clifton Fadiman's quotation and part of me wants to call him on hogwash, I'm afraid. I think for too long only one kind of person (white, educated, privileged, Western, almost always male) was decreeing was was Canon, so naturally if your experience falls outside of that, it's much more likely that the so-called Great Books won't move you in the same way.

Fortunately now the canon seems to be more inclusive than even 15 years ago when I was in grad school, which means there really *is* a classic out there for every reader.

Letter4no1 said...

That is pretty great advice. I'll have to try Dickens again when I'm older, maybe I won't hate him as much then!

Risa said...

I guess that's very true. I find myself ready to read classics that 10 years ago I could never appreciate. Perhaps 'experience' and 'maturity' is also something that helps us grow into the classics?...

mel u said...

Risa-also reading 'easier' classics like Steinbeck or Jane Austin prepares us for Faulkner and Elliot-or so Clifton Fadiman and others tell us-it is my experience

Ali said...

Great quote : )and very true. I read some Elizabeth Bowen and Edith Wharton many many years ago - and was left with little memory of them. Recently though have tried again - wow! what was I missing?