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This week’s Booking Through Thursday question:  

  • When somebody mentions “literature,” what’s the first thing you think of? (Dickens? Tolstoy? Shakespeare?)
  • Do you read “literature” (however you define it) for pleasure? Or is it something that you read only when you must?

Actually, if you mention literature, the first thing I think is, “Yeah, I read literature.” I wouldn’t exactly say I’m a book snob (heck, I’ve been known to read some trash), but I do treasure my literature much more than I treasure my trash. In fact, my reading schedule alternates from literature to trash, and if I’m not strict on this, then I find myself bloated with one or the other.

I’m currently reading East of Eden by John Steinbeck, and while this is a re-read, it’s in my top 3 favorite books of all time. How could any book even compare with such a finely written novel? I might enjoy my guilty pleasures, but I savor literature.

That being said, certain books have stood the test of time and have earned their label of literature, but some of my favorite books are more modern day novels that I would consider literature; Barbara Kingsolver, Margaret Atwood, and Ann Patchett are a few that come to mind. Who are some modern day authors you would consider literature?

On the other hand, I have been known to toss a book aside in disgust and wonder who in their right mind was able to get past the first 10 pages, let alone the next 400 (e.g. Crime and Punishment…UGH!).

Give me your two cents on this, folks! And don’t forget to enter my giveaway, and please tell me if you think he’s hot or not. 🙂

| Tags: , , , , 9 comments »

9 Responses to “Lit-Ra-Chur”

  1. Chris@bookarama

    Yeah, C&P is a tough book to get through. Even though someone might classify it as literature, it sure has it’s share of melodrama! Some of it reminds me of Days of Our Lives.

    As for your question, Margaret Atwood and Carol Shields come to mind as literature.


  2. Lezlie

    I have high hopes of adding Paul Auster and Kazuo Ishiguro to my list of “literature”, but I’ve only read one each of the nearly dozen on my TBR list. I absolutely agree with Atwood. I tend to think of Cormac McCarthy, too, though I know many would disagree.


    [Though I might not like Cormac McCarthy, I think his books would definitely be considered literature. There’s nothing fluffy about them! –trish]


  3. bethany canfield

    My take is a tad different. I think you are more inclusive than some…but I tend to be even a tad bit more than that. I hate the idea of just including white Europeans in what we seem to know as lit!!! there is just so much more out there. I see you have included some modern day lit.

    Anyway…check out my response and let me know what you think. I like it, but I know there are many different opinions on this subject.

    [I understand what you’re saying, and perhaps this is my naitivity speaking, but I don’t think any serious reader (including any and all of us who blog) would only include white Europeans in what they seem to know at literature. –trish]


  4. Eva

    Oh! Poor Raskalnikov. I started reading C&P expecting to hate it, but I loved it. Maybe it was your translation? If you ever decide to give it another shot, try the Volokhonsky & Pevear one.

    I tend to associate literature w/ people like Harold Bloom-the ‘establishment.’ I don’t think it’s only classics-Morrison comes to mind-but I think of it as a judgemental term. lol In general, I love ‘classics,’ but a lot of contemporary writers that would be considered literature, like Roth or deLillo, I’m not a huge fan of. I do like Morrison though!


  5. jeane

    I read lots of “literature” in college classes, and loved most of them. But recently whenever I try the old classics, I get stuck. Madame Bovary really lost my interest. I think I just don’t have the attention span for it right now, with a small child at hand.


  6. BookGal

    I agree with Margaret Atwood and Barbara Kingsolver. I also think Cormac McCarthy will stand the test of time. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said well-written.


  7. pussreboots

    I remember enjoying East of Eden in high school but I haven’t gone back to reread it. Happy BTT.


  8. Heather

    I LOVED East of Eden. It was one of those books that was mildly difficult for me to get through, but once I finished it all I could think was “wow what an amazing book”.
    I enjoy how you do BTT every week. I want to get into it more, but every time there is a topic that I can’t think of a creative answer for, I just don’t bother… and it’s been weeks and weeks since I’ve had a “good” answer.
    and yes, I do actually think Simon is sorta hot… in a weird sort of way. I like when he winks at the camera, that is when he is the hottest. 🙂


  9. that neophyte weblogger

    East of Eden is an absolute masterpiece! I read it twice. Not sure if Chaim Potok’s work is considered Lit-Ra-Chur, 😉 but the novel,My Name Is Asher Lev is engaging, also an easy read. One of the most intriguing pieces of religious literature I read was Godric by Frederick Buechner. There is only one paragraph in the book I couldn’t understand! Happy reading!


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