Tuesday, January 31, 2012

THE POWER OF THE STORY

I don't understand the debates over the merits of books. Not any of them. I don't understand literary vs. commercial fiction, realism vs. speculative, in original language vs. translation, paper vs. digital. All I understand is the power of the story.

The political thriller you found on a bench that got you through the six-hour bus ride in the middle of the night so you could visit your brother after his accident.

The romance paperback that you read over and over after a breakup until you could breathe again.

The children's tale of dogs and death that silenced the house raging around you.

The book that taught you about international finance and the importance of the gold standard while you recovered from a broken leg (that was a romance, btw).

Some books contain language so sweet you have to whisper aloud while reading. Some books launch a thousand copycats, and others disappear, leaving behind only a few hundred copies. And some stories will transport you out of the worst days of your lives.

What's worth more, classic you never read or the ratty little book that changed your life?

11 comments:

  1. Absolutely, the story. There are hundreds of classics I've never read and I gave up feeling guilty/inferior for it. Give me my character-driven, riveting plot, dog-eared-from-a-gazillion-readings books any day.

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    1. I have given up the guilt as well, especially over the Russians who I can't seem to get into. But I still try, occasionally, to read the classics I've missed.

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  2. Precisely. However, understand that I worry about all the classics I haven't read, because I am a classics hound, but even among the classics, there are those who look down upon the "sensational" and "gothic" genre.... and those are most of what I read. :)

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    1. I see absolutely nothing wrong with the sensational. :)

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  3. The ratty one. I still re-read some of my favorites whenever I need a pick-me-up. A book doesn't have to leave a legacy with the masses to be important, it has to leave a legacy with you.

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  4. I LOVE this post. The story is the whole point.

    Tweeting this so like, now.

    xoxo
    bru

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  5. Fabulous post and so true! There are books that I drag out occasionally just for the feeling of being home. No matter what I feel about their literary merit, or even writing quality, I'm instantly back to where I was when I first read them.

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  6. "ratty little book that changed your life" definitely. I have one that did just that. My very first ever romance. :) I will never give that copy away. Ever. :)

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  7. Such a great way to look at it!

    ~Zoraida

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