Friday, December 2, 2011

I can play, too, please?

Literary Blog Hop

I'm new to the book-blogging game, but this community of book bloggers is one of the most incredible things I've found on the interwebs (yes, even better than Marcel the Shell), and I want to set a precedent for being a joiner. And, oh, look! I'm just in time for the Literary Blog Hop! Let the joining begin!

Each month, the folks over at The Blue Bookcase pose a question for book bloggers everywhere.

This month's brain picker is "What work of literature would you suggest to someone who doesn't like literature?"

When I first saw this question, I thought, "Maybe I'll be a joiner next month." This is a hard one for me because I grew up reading the classics (and The Saddle Club series, of course. I'm not a freak.). So it's hard for me to understand the kind of person who doesn't like literature (are you sure that's a thing?).

But then I realized . . . I'm married to just such a person. When we first met, my husband was reading The Art of War (and I said, "Come to mama"). But with 5 years of retrospect, I'm able to admit that he is basically classics averse. He's read a lot of classics, but he gravitates toward Harlan Coben and Robert Ludlum and away from Dickens and Eliot. Also, if he doesn't like what the characters are up to at any point in the story, he tends to proclaim his disagreement loudly, in quiet places where everyone else is being quiet. So the way I came at this challenge was by thinking of what I could recommend to him that would not cause him to yell in public.

1. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. The husband calls this my lady porn, but I do not accept that opinion. True, this one may attract mostly the female set, but its appeal is so much broader. It has The Romance, yes, but it also has The Action and The Historical Settings and The Time Travel (!!). The prose is complicated and smart; the historical aspects are well researched; the characters are relatable. When I wasn't reading this book, I missed Claire and Jamie (OK, mostly Jamie). And the naughty bits are OK, too, I guess . . . if you like that sort of thing.

2. The Princess Bride by William Goldman. No, little boy, this book doesn't have any sports in it. But it has just about everything else. And by now, chances are good that everyone has seen the movie based on this book, and that movie is beloved by all (*glares menacingly lest you disagree*). So that creates a handy bridge that leads straight back to this beautiful book and its beautiful story and its many attractive literary qualities.

3. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess. This is a controversial suggestion, perhaps. The subject matter can be difficult (the shenanigans Alex and his droogs get up to are sometimes hard to stomach). But Burgess sweeps you into this dystopian world with the slang language he created (called Nadsat, a fictional language with linguistic roots in Russian). This is a book that says a lot in an incredibly unique way. Plus, it's so ingrained in our culture that you have to read it if you want to understand the references. So there.


  1. I've not read any of the books above! Actually, I started Outlander and disliked it, but people have told me I should have stuck with it longer. I couldn't make it past page 50. I still own it and may take it up again, eventually!

    Anyway, welcome to blogging -- and the hop! :-)

  2. This was totally one of the easier Literary Blog Hop questions. I normally don't do them because I'm like "aggghh I have to THINK about this?", which is probably not an ideal reaction. Alas.

    I own Outlander, but I haven't read it yet. Looking forward though. And Princess Bride was hilarious and awesome.
    (Reading Rambo)

  3. I also started Outlander but couldn't get into it, unfortunately - maybe I should also give it another try. I definitely need to read The Princess Bride, and A Clockwork Orange is a good choice, I think - it would work well for people who liked a lot of different genres outside literature. 

  4. I remember having a hard time getting into Outlander, too. If you can get to the point where you meet Jamie *fans face dramatically* . . . well, I think you'll be hooked.

  5. They get harder? Noooooooo!

  6. Yes, give Outlander another chance. Men in kilts await!

  7. Burgess is a great choice, although would have gone for something like "Nothing Like The sun" which being about Shakespeare would gain you another writer reference for free.

  8. I've actually not read that one. Consider it added to the ever-growing TBR pile.

  9. Princess Bride is a great choice! I thought about Clockwork but thought the language might turn non-lit readers off.

  10. I agree; Clockwork could definitely go either way. For me, the language was what drew  me in. I always appreciate when an author takes the time to create a legitimate language that follows linguistic rules, like Tolkien did for Lord of the Rings.