[lit-ideas] Re: Just read a novel

  • From: "Andy Amago" <aamago@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "lit-ideas" <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 18 Oct 2006 23:28:27 -0400

I can relate to this.  It seems to me that there's so much in the world to
learn that I don't want to waste my time reading something that's made up. 
I was an English major once.  I remember being in a bookstore as an
undergraduate (hadn't yet declared my major) and was looking through the
novels, and I *wanted* to read those books.  For whatever reason, that's
long gone.  I read only nonfiction, and if I read fiction, it's only of the
tried and true variety, the way we did on phil lit, where there has to be
something in it, whether symbolism or a statement on human behavior or
images that pull together or something.     

I finally finished that girl book that my neighbor gave me.  After a while
I got pulled into the story and wanted to see what would happen to the
characters, but, unfortunately, it had a fairy tale ending.  That turned me
off completely. It dripped with contemporary psychological awareness, but
it was pure brain candy.  For better or for worse, I don't like candy,
never eat the stuff.  Lately, though, I feel like what's the point?  I've
read myself stupid on nutrition, on international affairs, on psychology,
on other things, and I think, yeah, so, now I know this stuff and so what? 
Who cares?  How is my life any better for knowing it?  We're all going to
die, so why not some brain candy?  But I can't do it, even if in the end
nothing matters.   

I think the book you read is a mystery.  That's just pure entertainment. 
Doesn't sound like you were very entertained though.  I think that if
you're not clear on whether you liked it or not, then you probably didn't
like it.  I would imagine that if you get pleasure from pure philosophy
(it's not connected to reality that I can see), then a lowly mystery
wouldn't be very enticing, unless you like a piece of candy now and again.  

> [Original Message]
> From: <wokshevs@xxxxxx>
> To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> Date: 10/18/2006 1:20:25 PM
> Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Just read a novel
> A little while back, a friend presented me with a novel for a gift. At
first, I
> didn't know what to do with it. I decided to leave it on the night-table
> to the bed. Over the past 6 weeks, I would read a page or 2 in bed to
help me
> fall asleep quicker. Last night I finished it. The title is *The Sunday
> Philosophy Club* by Alexander McCall Smith. I'm just wondering: now that
> finished the novel, what does one do? Is it a good novel? How does one
tell? I,
> myself, am not clear on whether I liked it or not. Nor am I clear on
> I've benefited from that literary experience. Is there a point to novels
> missing? (And how is it that at some universities today, you can write a
> instead of a dissertation for a doctoral degree?? Does literature actually
> count as a form of knoweledge in these pomo days?)
> Perplexed in St. John's, NL
> Walter O.
> Memorial U.
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