Thursday, September 8, 2011

Literary Hop

Can I share a secret with you guys? I'm really excited the Literary Hop is back. This month's question is about difficult writing, and is always present by the lovely ladies at The Blue Bookcase (hey girls, I don' t know if you watch How I Met Your Mother but your name always reminds me of the blue horn, Just so ya know).
Literary Blog Hop
Must all literary writing be difficult? Can you think of examples of literary writing that was not difficult?

One of the things I love most about the literary hop is how subjective the questions are. Oh, and the other awesome bloggers, you're great too. This question all depends on what you think of as difficult. For me Jane Austen and Shakespeare aren't difficult and Fitzgerald and Salinger are easy reads. It's a combination of writing style and and familiarity that make authors like this accessible to me. On the other hand Victor Hugo and Virginia Woolf make me want to cry big wet tears of boredom. I find their style dry and am not familiar enough with each writing era to make my experience any more enjoyable.

Fun fact: I have started The Hunchback of Notre Dame no less than 7 times. I never get past the first six pages. I have also been lurking at page 80 of Mrs. Dalloway for over a year with not intent to return to her stream of babbling pages.

I feel the same about the modern literary writers. I find Jonathan Safran Foer easy to poetic and easy to read,  but Zadie Smith is lost to me. In theory I should really enjoy both, but I just can't get into Smith's style. It grates on me, and leaves me stuck in the middle of her books forever. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying difficult is bad. I loved Les Miserable, even if it took me forever to read, and Autograph Man changed my reading habits in high school. I'm all about challenging myself and my comfort zones, and that's where the mythical "difficult" writing becomes important. Some books are about the journey and some are about the destination, and with difficult writing i'm all about the destination.


Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

I loved Les Mis (though it was a lot to get through) but I wasn't a fan of The Hunchback at all. I did get through it, but it's nothing like Les Mis and not worth the struggle.

Shann said...

I agree with you that a familiarity with an author makes a huge difference in how easy or difficult they are to read. Sometimes it just takes time to get into a new author's thought process and sentence contruction

Red said...

You're so right about some books being worth the journey. And if you ever do decide to give it a try, good luck getting through Hunchback. I read it once a long time ago and I'm fairly certain I missed the whole point of it.

Becky (Page Turners) said...

I actually thought that it was more about what you considered literary fiction than what you considered difficult. There will be simple prose and complicated prose in works of literary fiction without a doubt. But works of literary fiction require more effort from the reader because they look deeper into characters motivations and morals and influences and that is more challening or difficult than being carried along by a fast moving plot I think.

CHE said...

So true about Les Miserables. It was lengthy but by no means difficult. With Austen and Shakespeare, its just a matter of getting used to the language.