From real to pseudo

In the introduction to the book Aspects of the Novel, the author E. M. Forster says that his subject is to analyze the literary works written in English. He asks himself: can he ignore the prose written in other languages? He states, “as unpleasant and unpatriotic it sounds, the truth has to be faced. No English novelist is as great as Tolstoy – he has given a complete picture of man’s life, both on its domestic and heroic side. No English novelist has explored man’s soul as deeply as Dostoevsky. And no novelist anywhere has analyzed the modern consciousness as successfully as Marcel Proust.”

Does it mean it is enough to read ONLY these three authors? Probably, yes. I mean, it should be your starting point before you’d read anything else. Let me remind you that Nabokov read War and Peace at the age of 14.

Damn, you can do it too! 💪
You are older, wiser, and there’s a lockdown…
Let’s say hello to the best classics?!

I am just kidding. I don’t want you to read ONLY classics. I want you to read anything – random books you see in the bookshops or spotting online. By the way, have you heard about bookshop.org, which unites over 130 indie shops? It was created in contradiction to Amazon. Let me know your thoughts about it.

If you feel worried or troubled by not reading enough or too little (because, hey! who’ve got time for this? 😂) – relax, many famous “bestselling authors” never read War and Peace or Brothers Karamazov.

The TLS magazine (Times Literary Supplement, the November issue) posted an article called “Shame Games.” Over the past few years, they ran a series of short interviews on their website. Writers were asked this question: What’s the most famous book you haven’t read?

Around 250 authors are replied (such as Carol Ann Duffy, Andre Aciman, Tessa Hadley, Pat Barker, Olga Tokarczuk, Naomi Klein, Sebastian Barry, Edmund White, David Sedaris, and others). Of 250 authors, 19 had never read In Search of Lost Time, 11 – never read Moby Dick, 10 – never read War and Peace, 9 – fail to see Ulysses‘ charms, 8 – have been locked out of Bleak House. Not far behind are the books like Don Quixote, Middlemarch, The Brothers Karamazov. Also, do not bother asking some of the famous authors about 1984 or Brave New World either… Hm, they said they heard of it. It means they know “what they’re like anyway, by cultural osmosis.”

Of course, it is crucial to save time for living… we can’t read everything. So, please, do not feel ashamed!

Let’s get back to Nabokov. On the question of what he is usually reading, he said, “anything – commercial, classics, modern, poetry… whatever comes my way.” And when someone asked him, “what had he learned from reading Joyce,” he answered, “nothing.”

A very strong opinion!

But if shame will come to you (for not reading enough), remember Emily Berry’s words: “It’s important to save time for staring into space.”
In the end, I would like to remind you, whatever you read you shouldn’t categorize authors; the only category is originality and talent.

In the Christmas mood or… lacking any mood?
Check this blog, filled with advent-spirit of December –
 LibrePaley Blog


Next post – The brilliance of D. H. Lawrence: a pornographer or a genius? (15/12)

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42 Responses

  1. masercot says:

    I’ve read most of those books mentioned. They all have value. But, the fun comes when you really like one of those and decide to read everything the author has written. Usually, in my experience, the best of their works is not their most famous. A good example is Coming Up for Air by George Orwell…

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      Agreed, happened with me as well… & by the way I haven’t read Coming Up for Air 😕🥸 but now I’m going to 😅😂

  2. Thank you for sharing Victoria. The data on what people read does not surprises me. As you said no shame of that. “Read everything.” I like that because I do that.
    Sending you love and thank you again for sharing.
    xoxoxo..

  3. Hmmm, I’ll get back to you after I finish reading So Absurd It Must Be True 🙂

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      Lol 😂 well, it’s perfect for creating the best surreal & hot Xmas-mood 😬

      • There’s no way I’m stuffing someone’s stocking with your eBook on my Kindle.
        Stuffing someone’s stocking? Let me rethink that 😂😂🙈🙉🙊🎅🎅🦵🦵💘

      • Victoria Ray NB says:

        😂 haha nope, we don’t wanna scare folk, right? 😅😜 & love this phrase – stuffing stocking… Very useful – in the next Absurd book

      • 😁 I’m honored! It will be a NYT Best Seller 🙂

      • Victoria Ray NB says:

        … hm, Best Seller? It Must Be True :))😂 among my 7 books – the first one is def bestseller😜

  4. alexraphael says:

    Bleak House does take a while to get into. Are you a big fan of Dickens?

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      Nope 😂😅 not a fan… about Bleak House – agreed 🙂 but my latest 200 pages-novel is also packed with more than 60 characters… so it should be a difficult read 😂😂🥸😱

      • alexraphael says:

        I do like Dickens but it isn’t my favourite of his. Besides, the usual rules don’t apply to you 😃

      • Victoria Ray NB says:

        Yes, but I’m writing only for fun, not to sell …still, I’m selling ok 😂

        its nice when there’re ppl out there who r “getting” what I’m saying between the lines 🙂 & who can see the Big Picture OR just enjoying old cranky humor

      • Victoria Ray NB says:

        I love Oliver Twist 🙂

  5. I enjoyed the post and am pleased to report have read a lot (not all) of the books mentioned. Can’t wait for your 60 character monster.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I feel a post(s) coming on ‘Read By A Common Man’ starting when a boy (more read to while in early years of school) – moving on to when books read equated to books purchased – to the Kindle era when that ratio more one to ten… you always get me thinking… and as it happens I’m buying more paperbacks and hardbacks… as I age words more real on paper, slip more easy into mind.

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      Agreed 😀✌️ I have a kindle & + kobo tablets but I prefer paperbacks/hardbacks. I bought 141 paperback (just counted lol 😂) this November-December. 2 more books are on the way. I believe, the last addition in 2020, haha 😛 Of coz, some are secondhand books & some – new. And I think 🤔 it’s time to take a break & read in January -February 😆
      Well, ebooks are definitely a smart solution BUT 😬 paperback will never die 🙂 it’s a different feeling 💜💜 – like a friend 📚😜🐕🥸

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      Agreed also about “purchasing issue” 😂 – guilty! Well… I can’t read all kindle books, I think I have more than 300 … cuz to read on kindle is boring 😴😴 but I def can read my paperbacks:) it’s just moooorreeee fun 🤩 I read every morning & evening = usually 1 book in 2 days

  7. They heard of it? Jesus Christ.

    On the other hand, that doesn’t surprise me much. I made a clear allusion to Frida in a piece. Guess what? Not one editor got it. They thought it was about me.

  8. kinkyacres says:

    🙂

  9. markbierman says:

    I plead guilty of not reading those. 🙂

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      lol 😂 no worries… I still think “War & Peace” is the most boring book EVER 😂

  10. War and Peace was like the reading version of back to back marathons. More achievement than enjoyment. x

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      Yes 👍 I read mostly love story 😂 but bcz I’m THAT LUCKY … I got “war-part” on exams 😩🤪

  11. Fabulous blog

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