I am starting this thread in the hope that, like me, others feel the need to set aside a space to discuss "serious" or quality literature. If not, well, this thread will simply sink to oblivion, but at least I will have tried
I have nothing against escapist or purely recreational reading. For me it has completely replaced television in the last few years. It's great to be able to come home from a hard and stressful day and just pick up an undemanding and enjoyable book.
But reading is also a way to travel in time and space, to expand our horizon, to learn something about ourselves and others. And sometimes also to simply bask in the warm glow of language, wonderful, treacherous, unreliable, musical language.
I am a bit saddened to see that the same books, or types of books, keep popping up over and over in discussions, when there is a whole world to discover out there. We are incredibly privileged to have at our disposal several millenniums of books from all over the world. I don't think any human society has ever had so many, so easily available. Teenage sorcerers, dragon tamers and vampires are great, but there are so many more stories out there!
So let's pick up a fork and dig in! As my mother used to say, don't say you don't like it until you have tried it at least once.
I won't attempt to define "serious" or "quality" literature. It's been discussed before, and I don't think it's very useful really. There is no universal definition, and even if two persons could come to an agreement on that definition, there will always be at least one book on which they disagree. And that's fine! I'm just trying to start a discussion, not a catalog
So, finally I come to the point and start by offering my current read, Roberto Bolaņo's The Savage Detectives
. Here is one book that will make you travel: from the streets of Mexico City to those of Barcelona and Paris, with a lot of topographical details. It's like the author wrote his book with a street map of each city before him, and he describes the characters' long rambling walks so that you could follow it on the map (which I haven't tried but I assume you could).
I'm about halfway through and liking it more and more. The first part was only so-so for me, but the second part suddenly expands the points of view (it's presented as a series of interviews of many different people), and also expands geographically (as I said, between Mexico and Europe) and in time. It's a bit overwhelming at first, but I am now in the thick of it and loving it
So, let's hear from you guys!