I was tagged by the wonderful Sara Letourneau over at her official blog, and it’s taken me for-ever- to get to it. Truth be told, I’ve been working every night on art commissions for the past two weeks and many more to come, so I haven’t been making much progress on the writing (or reading!) front. It’s… discouraging the writer inside of me.
It’s probably pretty obvious what my favorites genres are, so let’s get to this fun tag!
Question #1: What’s your favorite genre?
If I had to choose a favorite, I suppose fantasy takes a close second to classic literature. How could I come to such a decision, you say? Fantasy is fun, it’s the bees knees to being whisked away into another dimension, it’s the ultimate manifestation of creativity, the master of allegory to the real world. The fantasy genre is colorful, beautiful, thoughtful, and deep.
Down to brass tacks, however, classic literature gets the higher candle. It’s real, it’s history, it’s the dealings of human weaknesses in real situations and relationships. Classic literature, if anything, shows us that though the times and setting may change, we are all one and the same human race, with the same needs and desires, the same letdowns and failures. And most of us don’t live a valiant life of espionage and utilizing magical devices.
Classic literature, while sometimes idealized (every book, from children’s fiction to scientific nonfiction, ought to be taken with a grain of salt), is like stepping back into time and realizing that we are not so different. It makes me marvel as to how far we’ve come. I enjoy imagining the author writing this book a hundred or more years ago, what it must have been like, the hurdles he had to cross, the lives he had to have seen (or not seen) in order to be able to write such a story.
Perhaps it’s because classic literature has been time-tested that I have yet to be disappointed by it. Sure, there are some books that weren’t my cup of tea as far as the story goes, but I can’t expect every book to be. Undoubtedly, I’ve found many more duds in the fantasy genre than the classic literature genre.
Question #2: Who’s your favorite author from this genre?
Dostoevsky hands down. It was he that made me fall in love with classic literature (Crime and Punishment), and it was he whose stories have never let me down. As of now, I have read the majority of his work except some of his short stories, and his Summer and Winter Notes I’m saving for when life slows down. I love when an author keeps a journal! Dostoevsky resonates with me because of the realism of his writing. He isn’t afraid to show you the depravity or misery of humankind. He was a fighter, a speaker against the oncoming reign of the Bolsheviks. The majority of his themes are about nihilism and materialism, and the way he personifies these traits captivated me from the start.
A close second would be Hugo (mostly because he wrote my favorite story of all time, Les Miserables), and not far behind him is Gogol.
Question #3: What is it about the genre that keeps pulling you back?
As with any genre, the amount of books in the genre are temptation enough. There are still many authors yet to be read, and there hasn’t been a more meaningful “so little time” lament as fitting as for this! While many are one-hit-wonders, if I find a good author, I will attempt to read most of their books. This makes the reading list longer. The books that have had the largest impact on me have been Les Miserables, Brothers Karamazov, The Count of Monte Cristo, and Great Expectations.
Question #4: What’s the book that started your love for this genre?
While Crime and Punishment sealed the deal, technically, Jane Eyre was the first book I read in the genre. I had read other classic literature during high school, but back then, I loathed it. I was too busy reading King, Crichton, and Weis & Hickman to be interested in Lord of the Flies and Animal Farm in my youth. I appreciate Animal Farm now, of course, but back in the day, I had no interest.
There’s a certain magic to Russian literature that has pulled me in from the start of my journey in reading. It’s hard to put it into words at the moment, but Russian lit will always have a special place in my heart.
Question #5: If you had to recommend at least one book from your favorite genre to a non-reader / someone looking to start reading that genre, what book(s) would you choose and why?
I think a common misconception about classic literature is that it’s dull, tedious, and outdated. How wrong that misconception is! Granted, there are certainly some classic literature (Proust comes to mind) that is exactly that, but much of it is not. What book I recommend would depend on what genre catches your interest. If romance is your thing, then undoubtedly, start with Jane Austen. Sense and Sensibility was my first Austen, and it remains my favorite. But if you’re looking for a good adventure that isn’t too deep, I recommend the Three Musketeers. For something more intriguing, Tale of Two Cities (or any Dickens book for that matter) would be a good choice.
Question #6: Why do you read?
I read for inspiration, but mainly, I read to step into an alternate dimension. I don’t read nearly half as much as I’d like to, but when I do step into a good story, well, I’ll spend every free waking moment in it.
I love the art of words, the subtle manipulation of plot, the music that it makes in your mind, and the visual stimulation of words. It is the ultimate personal art form that covers all creativity into one. And of course, the craft of a good story is what made me pursue writing.
Thank you for reading! And I tag everyone who takes an interest in doing this! I hope to give you all an update sometime again soon. I’ve been lagging on both my blogs, so for this, many many apologies. I’m still chugging along! Hope you all are doing well, and I love hearing from you all!