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Old 02-24-2013, 07:38 AM   #196
orlok
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My guilty reading secret is revealed when people visit our home and see the floor to ceiling bookshelves in our hall. "Wow," they say, "You can't have read all these books, can you!?" I just shrug and say "Well, most of them." I daren't tell them that those on display reflect a small fraction of the books I have actually read, or that there are boxes and boxes in the attic that I don't have room for on the shelves.

It seems to me that *most* people just don't read (my brother has only ever read one book in his life), and they are slightly contemptuous of those that do. It's a wonderful thing to find another reader - the person I get on best with at work is someone I found out latterly is an avid reader with similar reading tastes to my own.

So to answer Dr. Drib's OP, I have been the subject of inverted snobbery I think, where the fact that I read is seen as slightly peculiar. Even from my own team at work - I posed the question at a recent Christmas lunch "what do you all enjoy doing most?" and I was the only one who said reading. They were all incredulous that I had read over 100 books the previous year, almost like there was something to be ashamed of in so doing.
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Old 02-24-2013, 08:27 AM   #197
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I currently live in Peru, but have dual residency both here and in the U.S.A. I lived for 30 years in a southern state and (before Peru) in Cincinnati for 10 years. Here is my observation about reading and literarcy, based upon my own experience (too, I'm a teacher), one not verified by any scientific studies:

1) Peru is a third-world country. Reading is a luxury, since so many millions of people are simply trying to survive from one day to the next. Reading snobbery isn't much of a concern, since so few people read here. The one's who do read are the educated (those educated in a formal schooling environment.)

2) The southern state I lived in for more than 30 years is a farm state. It's a poor state. Reading is important to some but, as mentioned, it's a state that is poor and it's a state that relies mainly upon farming as well as tourism. The farmers lead hard lives just surviving. Reading snobbery is not relegated to a genre; rather, many people in the Ozarks have no use for reading at all. They see nothing in it. (Again, I must emphasize that I'm speaking of my own experience, and am not attempting to condemn or make conclusions about a group of people.)

3) The mid-western state I lived in for 10 years (city: Cincinnati) seems to have much more literacy and a greater number of literate people. As a collector of books, it was a goldmine to live there. I found typed manuscripts [not carbons] of such writers as Robert Silverberg and William Tenn. I found collectible - and valuable - books all over the place. The place 'reeked' of literacy. Cincinnati was more sophisticated and the literacy level more pronounced - again, in my experience of having lived there for 10 years.

Here's a question I pose:

Does location play a part in reading snobbery?

My answer is 'Yes,' at least in my experience.

Perhaps your experience verifies this, as well? Or perhaps not for you?




Don

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Old 02-24-2013, 09:40 AM   #198
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I'm French and I've been in the UK for about 20 years and I think there's a quite difference in what people read in those countries. Yes, the Twilight and 50 shades type books sell well in France I'm sure, but I think that over there people do also tend to read more literary fiction (or at least these books are more readily available) than people do in the UK.

I do remember that I had a bit of a shock the first time I walked into a UK bookstore and saw what they had available (except places like the very large Waterstones on Piccadilly which has a lot of everything). I still buy plenty of French books too because 1) they don't get translated and make it to the UK and 2) I'm obviously not going to read a translation when I'm able to read it in the original language.
I've also noticed a few strange things with translations. For example, let's take one of my favourite authors, Ismail Kadare, who writes in Albanian. All of his books have been translated into French but only about half of them are available in English and the translation is from the French version rather than the original in Albanian. Now I'm not saying there's problems with the translation but to me, 2 layers just seems a bit "remote" shall we say.

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Old 02-24-2013, 10:10 AM   #199
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Based purely upon your post, I just now purchased 'Chronicle in Stone,' by Ismail Kadare. (I read only in English, however.)

Thank you.



Don
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Old 02-24-2013, 10:23 AM   #200
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*squeeeeeeee*

Seriously, I hope you enjoy it and out of his 40-odd books (in French ) there's only been one which I didn't like and that was "The Accident". The first one I read some 25 years ago was "The Three Arched Bridge" and I was hooked on his books after that...

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Old 02-24-2013, 10:31 AM   #201
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Drib View Post
Based purely upon your post, I just now purchased 'Chronicle in Stone,' by Ismail Kadare. (I read only in English, however.)

Thank you.



Don
Chronicle in Stone was on my last year's "Ten Best" list. Fantastic.
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Old 02-24-2013, 10:31 AM   #202
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Interestingly, that very novel is often referred to by critics as "great," yet it is listed on Amazon under Fiction > Genre > Historical. That alone tells us the distinction between genre and literary is too arbitrary to focus on either way.

Some of the most respected writers I've known are the very people who got me to read specific genre novels. Recs from writers generally celebrated as literary include Mantis, by J. W. Jeter, La Brava, by Elmore Leonard, Red Harvest, by D. Hammett, Code of the Woosters, by P. G. Wodehouse, A Hell of a Woman, by Jim Thompson, everything by Patricia Highsmith (whom novelist Lynn Tillman feels is the best modern novelist on the subject of guilt), Black Friday, by David Goodis, short stories by Ramsey Campbell generally and Killer on the Road, by James Ellroy. My best friend (who had written eight published novels at that point) even recommended a book by Mickey Spillane, but I must confess I've never been able to read it.

I grew up in a houseful of literary classics collected by my English-teaching mother and grittier modern lit favored by my father (Selby, Sartre, Rechy, Henry Miller, Mailer, William Burroughs, Genet, etc.).

My older brothers, however, read a lot of SF. The books they left behind comprised my only real exposure to genre fiction until certain writers I knew personally suggested I pay attention.

So whenever someone teases you about reading genre fiction, remember that the books they do read might have been written by genre fiction fans.

Remember, too, that books which seemed lurid, pedestrian and declassé to readers in the '50s and '60s are often considered literary classics today.

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Old 02-24-2013, 11:10 AM   #203
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I must admit I have been scornful of people reading that 50 shades drivel but i think people should read whatever turns them on lol TBH it works both ways though and i have always been sceptical of people who have unread copies of war and piece on their shelves
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Old 02-24-2013, 11:13 AM   #204
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My parents both worked in the education field. As the youngest of four and the only reader they always loved pointing out the quiet kid in the corner reading.

Flash forward a heck o' a lot of years. The 92 year old ex-history teacher turned administrator says what he thinks (as most at that age do):

"Why do you waste so much time on fiction?"
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Old 02-24-2013, 11:19 AM   #205
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"Why do you waste so much time on fiction?"
Because the depiction of an alternate life is a criticism of the one we happen to live. Without fiction, we might never have imagined a more humane existence.

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Old 02-24-2013, 11:26 AM   #206
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My parents both worked in the education field. As the youngest of four and the only reader they always loved pointing out the quiet kid in the corner reading.

Flash forward a heck o' a lot of years. The 92 year old ex-history teacher turned administrator says what he thinks (as most at that age do):

"Why do you waste so much time on fiction?"
Why is it a waste??? It's my time anyway, I've worked hard enough for it... and if that was a serious question then I'm wasting my time anyway...
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Old 02-24-2013, 11:39 AM   #207
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It was a serious question where he was concerned. I just told him I'd waste my time the way I wanted, thank you very much. :-)
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Old 02-24-2013, 12:21 PM   #208
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LITERARY POLICE WARNING: Vee haf ways of making you read great literature.
Most great literature is supposedly great writing and the plot is irrelevant.
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Old 02-24-2013, 12:24 PM   #209
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Originally Posted by copyrite View Post
My parents both worked in the education field. As the youngest of four and the only reader they always loved pointing out the quiet kid in the corner reading.

Flash forward a heck o' a lot of years. The 92 year old ex-history teacher turned administrator says what he thinks (as most at that age do):

"Why do you waste so much time on fiction?"
In my case, it's because I live fiction every day. I often want some quick reading without overly complicated plots, and books that are not 1000 pages long, and I like the story to be as far removed from my own life as possible.

So I often just read to entertain myself. It's the reason why I like (Forgotten Realms) fantasy. Is that stupendous literary writing? With an exception here or there, it's not, but it *is* entertaining, for me.
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Old 02-24-2013, 12:35 PM   #210
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That's not necessarily true.
It doesn't *have* to be totally true.
The objective of the exercise is retaliation, after all.
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