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Why so serious…about books?

Hello, reader! My name is Caitlin and I am a twenty-two year old college graduate with a degree in literature. My senior year of college I did an independent study in lieu of my capstone course, and as part of that study I maintained a blog (rather poorly, actually) where I chronicled the things I read and the notes I took on them. I wrote about my theories and conclusions, and I really enjoyed it because I wasn’t writing a paper. Yes, I went back to those posts when it came time to write my papers; but the blog itself didn’t need sources or citations or even completely coherent arguments. It actually ended up being a lot of rambling and sometimes inappropriate remarks. That’s what made it fun!

I’m planning on going back to school in the next year or two to pursue my doctorate, but I’ve found that after a year out of college my literary analysis is not as keen as it used to be. So, to get myself back up to snuff, I am doing two things: a book club, and this blog. They’re going to be hand-in-hand for the most part, and I’ve got to say I’m really excited about both.

Throughout my undergrad years, I had a lot of people tell me to chill out and just enjoy books. Why did I have to be so serious about them? Why try to understand, and talk about themes, and draw parallels, and compare them to EVERYTHING ELSE? Why bring the evil theory into it all? Why bother with psychoanalysis, feminism, modernism, post-colonialism, all that bullshit?

And I just thought…why not?

For many people, books are pure entertainment. And believe you me, they are to me too. But they’re also something more. Books are a snapshot of human nature. They are records of emotion and thought and action. Real or fictional doesn’t matter, because it always resonates with us. (Unless it’s poorly written, but that’s another post.) That is why classics persist, it’s why new classics emerge. It’s why people continue to write anything, whether it be a novel, poetry, song lyrics. It’s just like a painting. It’s art, and it speaks to us–and what’s really great about it is that novels provide so much for us to sift through and examine. There’s enough material to see solid themes, themes that can change from one reading to another, year after year after year. As we change, the books change with us. Their messages can become stronger or weaker, or become entirely different depending on where we are in our own lives.

Through analysis, we can have conversations with books.

And we can have conversations about books. I love nothing more than to find someone who has read a book I’ve read but has a different take on it. In a lot of ways, I feel I don’t really know someone until we’ve compared our tastes in books, compared the things we’ve gotten out of the books we’ve read.

So hopefully, through this blog, we (you, the reader, and I) can get to know each other.

2 thoughts on “Why so serious…about books?

  1. Why do this? Because you’re never done with a book just because you’ve finished it. And if it’s a good one, it’s not done with you, either.

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