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lunababymoonchild

Choice of reading material

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I often wonder if I should be reading more quality literature. Currently struggling with the latest Dan Brown because I've noticed the bad prose and wonder if I shouldn't choose something more intellectual just for the sake of it.

 

I've always chosen what I fancied reading but not many of those were Classics - due to the fact that my mother badgered me about reading them - for instance and I wonder now if I should engage in a program, for want of a better word, of reading high quality writing and just hope that I can appreciate it.

 

Any opinions?

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I don't think there's any point in setting up a structured programme of reading, Luna. That starts to make it a study course, which involves a very different sort of approach and isn't about being enjoyable (it often is enjoyable, of course, but that's not the primary intention).

 

I think it's a good motivation you have there. The more general 'I ought to read more quality fiction' is rarely likely to succeed, because there could be good reason why someone's never really given it a decent go - it's not to their taste. If you've felt frustrated by badly written fiction, though, now could definitely be the time to take the plunge.

 

If you say what types of story you enjoy most I'm sure we could drum up suggestions for quality examples of the genre.

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Luna, I wonder if you've ever thought of doing some sort of course as a way of extending your reading?

 

As David said, setting out to read "quality literature" does make it a course - so why not go the whole hog? You could try the OU, or one of the adult ed courses at Glasgow Uni or Strathclyde. I've always found them to be excellent. The benefit of doing a course is that you get the context of the work, as well as meeting other readers who are also encountering it for the first time.

 

One of my friends took an OU literature course just for fun. She got completely hooked, did a literature degree and is now an English teacher. Not that I'd necessarily say that should be the outcome for everyone who sets out to read more ..!

 

The other way to approach it is just to read a bit out of your comfort zone. I often try to read books /authors which have been nominated for awards like the Booker, the Pulitzer or the Women's Prize (ie the Orange as was). I often find they challenge me a bit as they're doing something fresh and original.

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About twenty years ago I was still only reading mainstream fiction but more and more I was finding the books unsatisfying or repetitive or predictable. Then a monthly magazine was issued called Classic Writers. Each month it gave you a potted history of a writer and a copy of one of their books. So I started getting that and slowly read all of those.

 

There was also at the time a postal book club called TSP ( I think) anyway they proffered more 'intellectual' books Booker winners etc but also included a large selection of non fiction titles.

 

After that I found that reading one book would lead me onto another either by a connecting subject matter or a reference to an author. But at no time was I doing so to improve my mind or my reading ability I was just following my interests which became more and more varied the more I read until now I read almost anything including some of those mainstream fiction novels.

 

I have no answer to your question Luna except I'm glad I branched out to other types of books and I've still not lost the simple pleasure of spending an evening reading a good old page turner. Best of both worlds really. You're in the right place for suggestions of where to start so why don't you give it a go and of course most of the classics are fairly cheap to buy or available from libraries etc so experimenting shouldn't cost a fortune.

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Thank you all for your answers.

 

Taking an actual course hadn't occurred to me so that's a good idea. I was reading out of my comfort zone for a while - the group reads were great for that - but I seem to have stalled altogether. I have read one book this year which is unheard of so I seem to be struggling.

 

Particular favourites are : Raymond Chandler, H G Wells, Robin Jenkins, Richard Stark, Edith Wharton, Ian Rankin

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If you are not satisfied with your present quality of literature, it's certainly time to move on. That's what happened to me. When I first read English novels, they were children's literature and then "easy reading" (beach read/chick lit, whatever you want to call it). I have not been happy with that kind of literature for a long time and have ventured into many different types. I love classics, for instance, and it has helped me a lot with my English.

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