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Is Light Literature Out of Fashion?

1 Oct
Is light literature out of fashion? So often, in perusing reviews of new release, I come across the words ‘dark’ and ‘depressing’. Some, if not most, current best sellers have been described in this manner. Does this mean ‘light’ literature is not longer in vogue?My own literature has been described as the antithesis of bleak and depressing. Does this mean its audience will be extremely limited?Why are readers choosing tales that may well disturb their psyche, instead of perhaps uplifting it? Is this a reflection of modern society? Do we enjoy being confronted by misery?

Is it time we all sat back and analysed the reasons behind our reading choices? Are we reading to be part of the mob, or are to satisfy our own innate desires?

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What I Love about Reading

24 Aug

What do you love about reading?

There’s so much to choose from: its value runs through many strands .

As a source of information,  it gives us the chance to find out so many things, in so many topics. Health, sport, society, history, religion, economics, politics: you name it, it’s been written about. And the beauty of the written word is that so easily it’s there to go back again and again, at our will: to savor, to reconsider, to imprint into our minds.

For many, reading for enjoyment forms a cornerstone of their lives. When we read, we focus on something else: sometimes,  something quite out our own personal experience. The writer’s skill is often tested and measured by the degree of empathy they engender. Evocation, too, is another critical component.

Focusing on something outside our own lives can be, and I dare say often is, therapeutic. Released from its burden of care and worry, even if only briefly, our minds are given a chance to recover and, later,  re-focus on our own problems.

Perhaps our reading has shed light on a new insight into relationships, which are sometimes fraught with difficulties.

Who know what we will unearth, on any topic?

Finally, reading gives us the chance to know intimately the minds of great and educated people. We can marvel at the beauty of language: the importance of word order as a tool of evocation. We can (almost) live the lives of people, past and present, in cultures like ours, or quite dissimilar.

To instil a love of reading into the minds of our children is surely one of the greatest gifts a parent can deliver.

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What Determines Taste in Literature?

7 Jun

What determines taste in literature?

I suppose out there are texts written by learned folk, backed up by research on this subject. Without easy access to such sources, I can only offer suggestions.

My gut feeling is that taste: in literature or in many other things: is determined by the personality of the individual. Sure, there may be other influences such as peers , teaching, or the media, but a strong person who is true to their own beliefs is likely to shun these factors, at least to some degree, and like what they like because it appeals to them, and not because their liking  seems to help them fit in with the crowd.

Good taste in literature is fostered by wide exposure to many styles of writing.  Even small doses can be enough to sway a person one way or another. Isn’t the appreciation of what is perceived as ‘good’ heightened by exposure to what is perceived as ‘bad’?

Parents have a huge role in steering kids into a love and appreciation of reading. Choose well and wisely, and hopefully your offspring will carry a love of reading with them throughout their lives.

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What’s So Good About Writing?

30 Jan

What’s so good about writing?

I can think of many virtues.

Firstly, the process of writing is both interesting and absorbing. More than most activities, to be effective, it requires concentration:  stimulation of the little grey cells. Its degree of intense focus carries with it, I believe, the potential for therapeutic benefits, since it tends to rule out the mind’s ability to drift back to other, unrelated issues. In other words, if you are overwhelmed by problems, and you decide to write something on a topic without any links to whatever it is that troubles you, chances are you’ll feel better: more relaxed: by the end of it. I base this proposition on personal experience.

Secondly, writing tends to satisfy our urge to create. What’s more satisfying than reading, and re-reading, a page well written by yourself? Doesn’t it tend to foster self esteem? Doesn’t it help you to believe in your own abilities, your own virtue? To love yourself, as some analysts advise?

Thirdly, writing gives us the chance to reach, influence, and perhaps inspire others. Whether it be a serious article, a humorous story,or a piece of poetry, the potential for it to be read by, and therefore connected with, another human being makes it a mind-boggling tool. As someone once observed, “The pen is mightier than the sword.” What a powerful instrument!

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