The Problem With Some Literary Criticism

Have you ever heard someone mutter, “How could someone give _____ a book deal?” I know you have. Or they’ll question why anyone would read a book by ______. But those criticisms all miss the mark.

I have no issue with disagreeing with the views of someone. I have no issue with disagreeing with the content of a book. But once we get into this discussion as to who deserves to have their name on a book we delve into a discussion that really boils down to censorship.

Don’t like Bill O’Reilly? Don’t read his books. Don’t care for Bill Cosby? No one is forcing you to read his work. And this is the same in every case. Politicians, celebrities, whomever. If you feel so strongly about someone having a book, then speak out about it. Tell why you feel the way you do. Heck, write a book of your own. But we tend to criticize countries and governments and societies that censor their books, let’s not mistakenly aim to do the same because we have negative feelings toward someone.

Goodreads…For Love?

Guys, this is probably going to sound stupid to some of y’all. Fair warning.

I’ve never really had a real relationship with anyone before. There are a number of contributing factors to this statistic of mine, but I believe I know the top one. I’ve never really wanted to be in one. You know those people who are ALWAYS in a relationship? Like, they’ll be with someone for a year, break up, and then a month later they’re with someone else. Oh boy, do I know those people. Lots of them. Just think of me as the complete opposite.

When I think of my priorities right now I come up with a few. Travel. Learning. Improving. See, even as I write this I wouldn’t list a relationship anywhere near the top of my list of things I want to do. But I can see your all-knowing gaze. You’re thinking I wouldn’t be writing this if I wasn’t feeling more open to the idea, right? Welp. You caught me.

When I think of myself and the whole dating scene I’m just like “WHAA?”. And when I think of all the so-called dating apps I’m just like šŸƒ. That’s me running away for those of you on a computer.

We have dating apps for everyone. Farmers. Christians. Different ethnicities. Sexual preference. Casual sex. Over 50. And on and on. Why hasn’t someone developed an app for people who may or may not be obsessed with books!? This is a serious question. That’s an app I’d download and fill out a full profile for. I mean, why not? Other dating apps oftentimes have questionnaires in order to “match” users. I’d rather compare my responses to book-related questions than the crap that gets asked in other apps. I’ll even offer some easy starter ones to get you and your developer friend off the ground running.

“Have you read Fifty Shades of Grey”?

“Do you rate every book you read 4 or 5 stars?”

“How often do you give books as gifts?”

“When was the last time you started and finished a book in a single day?”

“Rank these in order of importance: books, oxygen, water, shelter, food.”

I mean, tell me this isn’t a fantastic idea! I want this app. I want someone to read this and believe it could work. Then I want someone to develop it. Then I want to download it. Then, well, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves here.

Are you aware of any literary-centered dating apps currently available? If yes, tell me. If not, go find one. šŸ˜Ž

UPDATE: After writing this but before publishing I discovered that there was a dating site devoted to book lovers. It was called Alikewise. It shut down last year. Guys, I could have missed my opportunity to find *gulp* “the one”. I’m sad.

A Different Kind of Book Festival

An edible one. I’m just reading some articles this Sunday morning and came across an edible book festival that took place in the NJ area. I read about it and thought it was interesting enough to write about on here, so I searched for more articles about it. It turns out that this is fairly common!

The one I read about was simple. People created edible delights based on books. I imagine the others are similar. They’re then judged in different categories with hopes of winning a small prize. We have so many creative people walking around that it should come as no surprise to have people combining their baking/cooking skills with their love for literature. 

I’m not really into sweets, but I’d still like to attend some kind of edible book festival. They’re so different from what you’d expect from a literary gathering. Have you attended one of these before?

New ‘Game Change’ Book, Miniseries to Document 2016 Presidential Election

Remember Game Change? The HBO movie adapted from the book about the 2008 election. I’ve probably seen that movie a few dozen times.

The authors wrote a second book in their series after the 2012 election. And now they’re continuing after the most recent election. HBO has already contracted the rights to adapt the forthcoming book into a miniseries.

I thoroughly enjoyed the movie that followed the 2008 election. HBO typically does these types of projects quite well. My expectation is that the new miniseries will be no different. I anticipate several books, movies, and documentaries will come out in the years to come about what happened on election night and in the months leading up to the election.

Have any interest in the book or HBO miniseries?

What Should President Trump be Reading?

I’m no presidential scholar, but I can’t think of any president who was more literary-minded than President Obama. It’s a bit of a far cry from Trump. President Obama quoted Atticus Finch in his farewell address. But it appears more likely with each passing day that Trump has no desire to be friendly toward the arts.

So I wanted to do something different today. Y’all know we can write letters to the president. I want book recommendations. I want y’all to tell me what you would recommend that President Trump read as he embarks on his journey as President. ANY book. I plan on sending a letter to the White House with every recommendation.

I’ll start. I’ll recommend Night by Elie Wiesel. To show him that nothing good comes from persecuting a group of people. What would you recommend to President Trump?

An Unlikely Bestseller

Becoming a bestseller is not an exact science. Sometimes Oprah will mention a book and sales skyrocket. Or an adaptation causes a surge. But what about a book published decades before that sells well throughout each and every year? Not bestseller well, but well enough to require reprints fairly often. You know the books I’m talking about. Classics widely read in classrooms all over the country.

It turns out that current events can also cause a book to jump off shelves if people believe it may have some resemblance to what’s going on in the real world. Enter 1984. It’s the top selling book on Amazon right now because many believe we might be entering a world not much different from what Orwell describes in the book.

I’ve read it. But I think a reread may be in order. Perhaps I’ll take a page from Kellyanne Conway and start using alternative facts to describe things.

Have you read Orwell’s 20th century Classic? See any resemblance to what’s happening right now?

2017 Reading Challenge: Beloved

My first foray into the world of Toni Morrison is probably her most known work,Ā Beloved.

The book tells the story of the African-American experience both during and immediately after the end of slavery. It’s fictional, but just like inĀ Things Fall ApartĀ this story could have been written about a real family or group of slaves because it describes events and circumstances we are all aware of. So take a few minutes to see what I thought of this timeless classic and let me know what you thought!

The book satisfied the requirement to read a book written by a woman for my 2017 Reading Challenge and is also one of Amazon’s 100 Books Everyone Should Read. This was the fourth book I’ve read from my challenge.

picsart_12-26-07.11.23.jpg

Excuses, Excuses

How many times have you told yourself you don’t have time to read? Be honest.

I know I’ve made that excuse way more than I’d like to admit. And guess what? It’s just an excuse. President Obama was interviewed last week by the top book critic of the NYT on what books mean to him. And he revealed that during his eight years as President he always found it important to get as much reading in as he could. If the President of the United States has time to read, then shouldn’t we all be able to find a few minutes here and there to get some reading done? I say yes.

I think it helps that President Obama was a published author before taking office. Naturally one would expect him to be literary-minded. But still, no one can argue against the fact that every President is under immense pressure and has to deal with more than most people can fathom. If he can find time to read, so can you.

Read the full interview here.

POLL: On Having Opinions of Authors you Haven’t Read

Yesterday’s post sparked an interesting discussion. Another blogger claimed to not understand why Americans idolize Ernest Hemingway. Nothing really special there. I proceeded to ask which of his works brought about this negative opinion. This is where our paths diverted from one another. She hasn’t read him. Not at all.

My stance on this is that anyone can have an opinion on any particular topic, but if you are willing to share your opinion about an author and their work, then you should have read them. Maybe I’m crazy. This is how I think of it. Imagine taking a class on 20th century American Literature, right? And then finding out your professor had never read any 20th century literature. Would you still think you’re getting your money’s worth? I wouldn’t.

For the record, the other blogger didn’t claim to be an expert on anything. It’s just how a visualized it.

Now I pose the question to you. Is it necessary to read an author before sharing your opinion of them, their work, or their legacy with someone else?

I say yes. You should have read their work if you’re sharing your opinion of them with someone else. If I said, “I don’t understand why Jane Austen is always assigned in school.” I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect me to form that opinion AFTER exposing myself to at least some of the author’s work.

Remember this is about one’s opinion being credible. It isn’t about forming an opinion without familiarizing yourself with the topic. We all do that at some point.

Tell me your thoughts!

2017 Reading Challenge: The Sun Also Rises

Would you look at that?! Look who’s off to a fine start to their 2017 reading! *raises hand*

Okay. I’m going to be completely honest. I read this book because it’s one of Amazon’s 100 books everyone should read, which y’all know by now that I’ve been slowly working my way through the list since it first came out almost three years ago. It was my first foray into the world that is Ernest Hemingway. I was so excited to read the book that I didn’t even bother to read the back of it before I started.

I could not have been more disappointed. I considered splitting my review in half between this post and the video, but I just couldn’t do it. When I went back and edited the video it was so obvious how frustrated and disgusted I became with parts of this book. I didn’t want to fail to convey those feelings through the written word. So, all of my thoughts are in the video.

I imagine many of you have already read this book, so I do want to tell you some of the things I discuss in the video.

  • The objectification of women in the book
  • The drinking habits of the characters
  • Bullfighting
  • The Jewish character
  • The overall writing style

ALL are discussed. I have extremely strong thoughts about every aspect of this book. As always, I encourage you to take a quick look at my reaction to my first Hemingway read. This book fulfilled the requirement to read a 20th century classic for my 2017 Reading Challenge.

Have you readĀ The Sun Also Rises? What did you think of it?

picsart_12-26-07.11.23.jpg