Skip to main content

View Diary: Books Go Boom!   100 Greatest Novels Lists (& the 5th best Russian Novel) (153 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Good Morning, translatorpro. 8:30AM here in LA - (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    translatorpro, RiveroftheWest

    Approximately tea-time, where you are. I'm awakening to coffee and a fresh-baked roll with apricot jam, while reading about your reawakening interest in literature. If our conversation, back and forth in different diaries, energizes us, arouses and expands our fields of interest, that's pretty wunderbar. Coffee is auch gut.

    My own interest in literature has reawakened in the last few years - and now I find it's larger and deeper than before. The cause was, I went for two years without internet at home. I couldn't just hop on the web, and read bright and shiny pages, little excursions of info and entertainment. I was thrown back upon my books.

    It took some months, to stretch my attention span until I found myself happy to immerse in a novel-world, for hours at a stretch. Now, I've always been a reader, and got a BS in literature (my alma mater doesn't give BAs). I had kept reading books, in dribs and drabs, all along. But when I dove intensely back into the world of fiction, I found more there. Seven years of acting Shakespeare (just as an amateur, while at college), and decades of reading, had made me a much better close reader. For one thing, I had a higher resolution awareness of the language, and of all the background knowledge (history, social awareness, understanding of human nature) that novelists root their worlds in. So, once I had exercised my reading muscles, and recovered from the internet, it turned out that I was a better natural reader than I'd ever been.

    I expect all your work translating has done the same for you. However much you'd previously studied, all those hours of close attention must have made a deeper, more involved style of reading second nature to you. At least, when you're in the mood to apply your full attention to a book you're reading purely for pleasure.

    A year and a half ago, I wrote the best essay I've done yet on Daily Kos: The Himalayas of my Bookcase. Which is, approximately, my theory of reading, and what makes some books hard. I found two unexpected joys, in writing that. The first was, it was such an interesting piece for me that, the moment I finished my first draft, I wanted to go right back to the beginning, to edit and improve my work. So work had become play. The second was, before I put pen to paper, I had a pretty good sense of my theory, of what I would say. By the time I finished, I understood the subject far better. So thinking was a glass bead game already, and speaking could polish and clarify those beads - but it turned out that writing, done properly, could lead to a more evolved and articulate kind of thinking, it could expand and refine my mental grasp. If I love the subject, and put in the work, writing makes me smarter.

    Now that I'm writing every week, and having ongoing intricate conversations about books, my ideas and knowledge of literature are evolving towards another level. The work is play, and I am more awake. Of course, that could be the coffee talking.

    Thanks for that link. I wasn't in a hurry to buy any kind of kindle, but it's very good to know.

    Auf wiedersehen.

    "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

    by Brecht on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 09:32:19 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site