Friday, January 14, 2011
"Why do you read the genre that you do? What draws you to it?"
I originally began reading the classics out of worry. I was fairly worried that I would die without having read what I felt were the most important fictional works ever written. What I learned was, these stories and characters are interwoven into our society in subtle ways and they have an impact on our lives, whether we're readers or not.
Now that I have been reading classics for a number of years, I have noticed I have learned a lot about writing techniques as well as history. Because of the bookclub, I generally do additional research on books on topics that I would never have researched into otherwise. This opens me up to a wealth and breadth of information.
I used to take pleasure when people called me 'well-read', but I think I realize now that this compliment holds very little weight with me. My goal is to be a 'well-balanced' person, and I think reading the classics opens me up to new perspectives and enriches my everyday life. I do not understand 'mindless' reading, because for me, reading only has value if it is mind-ful. I am occasionally ridiculed for this perspective, and while I don't mind other reading 'mindless' work, I don't feel there is anything for ME in novels of that sort.
I also enjoy reading business books that deal with the economy and trends that occur throughout the world. Leadership books and general 'how someone got to be rich' books do not interest me. I also enjoy reading non-fiction, but I generally like to have a good classic on the go at the same time. Recent non-fiction reads (Pompeii, as an example) have enriched my life, and I hope to delve further into the genre going forward.
I still worry about not finishing all the classics before I die, but I have learned to let that go by focusing on reading books I really feel guilty for not having read instead of reading books on the periphery of my interests. This is a concept I still wrestle with.
What about you?