Monday, April 22, 2013

An element missing from my "english" literature degree

I love to read.  Books like this remind me of why I have always loved to read.  I cannot remember a time in my life where books did not play a prominent role.  This has been floating around my "I would  like to read this" list for a while, and I was really glad that one of my bookclub friends suggested this as a bookclub read rather than me, just in case it didn't live up to the expectations I had for it.  This book totally delivered.  The prose was lyrical, the characters rich, the landscape diverse.  This is the kind of book you want a cuppa beside you, a good comfortable chair, and a few hours that you can steal away from the daily grind. 

I sometimes wonder what direction I should take in the "book blog" element of how I have continued to blog.  Should I provide a synopsis, should I provide a character anaylsis, or should I just shout from the rooftops to announce when I loved book, and when I did not.

This is a book that will stay with me for a while.  I really engaged with the story, and how it was told.  The first 200 pages pretty much deal with the birth of the conjoined twins that, one of whom becomes the narrator of this tale.  Books like this get me thinking about my degree in "English" literature.  I think back of what I read, and we really did read a lot of "dead white guys".  It was very much an "English" canon.  I have loved being a part of a bookclub to take different reading risks, to be exposed to different books and different authors, and to stumble across books I would never have considered in the past.  I think because of how long I took university courses, I did a lot of escapist reading.  What I am reading now is so much more satisfying than what I was reading in the past, that I hope literature programs are evolving in the west, and the east, north, and south to include different voices, and different landscapes.  This needs to be balanced with an appreciation for the local voice - what makes each region unique.  I had to really search out Canadian literature courses, and then, to get courses on BC literature, it was even harder.  We should be celebrating our local, and we should be balancing that with "other" voices.  Within the global context, how can we ever expect things to evolve if we continue to only hear our local voices, or the voices of a bunch of dead white guys, who although were brilliant, and form a great backbone of many literary traditions, should be balanced off with some modern, and some voices from other cultures.  Students should not need a bookclub to think different thoughts.  That being said, pretty cool when you stop and consider how these kinds of ideas are now being shared - with social media, with bookclubs, with informal gatherings.  Pretty cool if you ask me!

To return to the book at hand, this is an exchanting novel.  Exotic, rich, textured, thoughtful.  I caught myself a few times wanting to mark passages to use as references in this post, but alas, life moved on and I am not going to pick my way back through the book to find those passages.  Well worth the time.  Read this.

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