You’ve been shipwrecked amid the strange seas of the Internet and have now arrived in this lonely place. You are probably asking yourself:
Where Am I and What Am I Doing Here?
Allow me to explain.
This is a blog dedicated to reading literature, all kinds of literature great and small but definitely literature and not just books. How do I differentiate between a work of literature and a book? Well, I don’t think there is any clear distinction. Instead it has to do with how we read and how we appreciate the words that have been brought together to tell a certain story. You read a book. You are wrecked by literature.
Will I be talking about my love of Proust (as I attempt to finish reading In Search of Lost Time)? Almost certainly. Will I be wading in the murky waters of contemporary literary fiction? You betcha. Will I also be reading and reviewing high fantasy series like Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time? Heck yes. I will even be writing about my own area of expertise (albeit quite limited expertise at this point) – early modern drama and early modern women’s writing. And in true book-blogger-style, I will of course spend some time with the ever-so-popular Young Adult genre. But whether I’m reading Nabokov or Lucy Hutchinson or Zadie Smith or the latest paranormal/dystopian/whatever the newest YA fad – I will not just be reading for enjoyment (although of course that is the first and foremost reason all booklovers read). I will be reading critically and with an appreciation of the craft of writing, interacting with the texts just as every English professor entreats their disillusioned, apathetic 100-level classes to do. A good story and a good work of literature (be it a YA romance or a ‘classic’) makes the reader think, opens the mind. And a truly great work of literature can wreck you, leave you shaken and gasping for breath in a strange new land.
All of this sounds quite rich, hell you can say it – pretentious. But I am sincere. I have even decided to devote my life to the study of literature, in the least ‘cool’ way as well. I’ve chosen academia over publishing (the darling career of so many booklovers). Currently I am working on my Masters dissertation and I am planning to go on to apply to PhD programs. Maybe I’ve let my academic tendencies take over, but I’ve found that my recreational reading often leaves me wanting more. I’ll read a book and immediately wish I could engage in an intensive discussion about all of the thoughts and feelings I am left with. But I want something more than the average book club. I crave a different level of depth and more intricate analysis. And so I’ve turned to the Internet, the blogosphere, where all aspiring writers end up shouting into the cacophony of over-earnest voices.
I’ve set a high bar and I will strive to live up to it. After I complete my dissertation, I will have a gap year – the first time in my life I will not be studying. That potential for idleness along with a general terror regarding my career has led me here, to this little corner of the blogosphere. Here I will exercise my reading skills and my writing skills and maybe I’ll end up with something I can be proud of. There’s that little voice in my head that keeps asking, ‘If you love literature so much, why don’t you do something?’ So here I am, doing something. Because academia is certainly the safe-route, my comfort blanket. I love to read and I love great literature and I want to be doing something more to honour that, something broader and more communal than my very narrow and lonely academic research.
In practical terms – this blog will consist of book reviews and other posts about books/literature. Will every post be the equivalent of a A* essay for an English degree? Dear God, no. Sometimes I will just be posting observations and thoughts, musing on anything book-related. I am only hoping for this space to become a literature-haven, somewhere for me to come and honour my life’s passion. My own little island where I will happily be shipwrecked (lit-wrecked?) again and again.