Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Real Meaning of Life.

Do you remember in high school, (do you remember high school at all?) when you read Dickens, Shakespeare and whoever. Then you discussed them. What did they really mean when they had the old lady wait in a decaying house, in her wedding dress, for her lost lover? What it a symbol for the decay of society or moral values of the day?

Or was the author just trying to fulfill his word count, tell a good story, please everyone and get paid so he could support his family. Was Jane Austen really attempting to do a humorous story about her society and the plight of women, or was her main goal to tell a good, hopeful love story with a happy ending.

We have book clubs, many more since Oprah made them popular. But are we encouraging people to read for pleasure or because they feel they "should have read" this book or that because someone else thinks it's significant? Is that wise? I'm all for reading, but I also feel as if it should be enjoyable and not a work assignment. Do it for fun, for escape and because you can't live without books in your life that let you do the impossible.

If you read, you too can be the ER doctor and solve the medical mystery, fly with a super creature, fight off an evil wizard, have a romantic fling with no consequences, buy a house in Tuscany and find love.

That's what it's all about, at least in my fiction world it is.

5 comments:

Tabitha Shay said...

I read and write for the sheer joy and pleasure of escaping into a world I either created or another author created. For fun. For the romance. For the few hours, I can lay all my personal worries and woes aside, but at the same time, all those literature classes in high school helped me along the path to pleasure of enjoying the written word and comprehending exactly what I read...Tabs

Ginger Simpson said...

Carol,
Very interesting post, and thought provoking. I just read an article about reviewing books that says one shouldn't pick books on someone else's recommendation. What you read should be something you enjoy, the genre that normally appeals to you.
I cringe when Oprah gushes over a book. I've read a few of her favs, and honestly, I must have missed all the good stuff she rallies about. Books are like tea and coffee, we all like our drinks served up differently.
As a reader, I've always loved western historical, and it shows, because I can't really sink my teeth into a different genre. I've written, but it's not as enjoyable for me and I have to force myself to write. Westerns, on the other hand, come naturally and I love to have my characters tell me a story without having to choke it out of them. :) AND...I could never write to word requirements which I why I'll probably never achieve my final goal of mainstream publishing. When my story is over, it's over. I refuse to fill it with useless facts because someone believes a novel has to reach a word count to qualify. How silly is that?

Ginger

Carol said...

Tabs, thanks for dropping in and congrats on being #1 and on the front page. We always know you could do it.

Hey Ginger,
I write tight, to I have to write to the word requirements that work for me. I may never do that 100,000 word book. My limit seems to be 60,000 word neighborhood.

I like recommendations from friends who like the same kinds of books. My friend, Rinda, who signed with the Miriam Kriss Agency, got me started reading Patricia Briggs and Kim Harrison. Sara St. John turned me on to Jim Butcher. I've had the same problem with Oprah books, more literary than I like or something.

NoExpertsNeeded said...

I agree that no one 'should' read a book (or buy designer labels for that matter) because someone made you feel obligated to do so, or feel 'less than' if you didn't.

It's taken me a long time, but I've finally learned to listen to the messages sent from my Spirit and then make choices based on what's best for me, what speaks to my life.

That's what guided me to write my book; and now I give away free copies from my website.

"Should" I do that? It makes me happy and that works for me!

She said...

I feel that you should read waht you want to read. I have issues with the way books are taught in high school. I always felt the teachers were so into the supposed symbolizm of the book and the message of the book they forgot the sheer joy of reading the book. I have re-read some of the books from high school and found they absolutely wonderful books. I do belong to three book clubs. I find that I read books because of the book clubs that I would never read otherwise. I've discovered some wonderful books and new authors. I will admit that not every book in a book club is what I like and I don't always finish those ones.

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