Friday, November 5, 2010


Literary Blog Hop

The Blue Bookcase has started a "Literary Blog Hop" for blogs "that primarily feature reviews of literary fiction, classic literature, and general literary discussion." Today is the very first LBH.

I'm in!

The first of the weekly "prompts" is: Please highlight one of your favorite books and why you would consider it "literary."

That's the kind of subject that makes my head spin.  The answer that comes immediately to mind is "Such and such book is 'literary' because I read it and I only read 'literary' books."  But that tautology begs the question.

The gals at The Blue Bookcase offer some guidance:

Literature has many definitions, but for our purposes your blog qualifies as "literary" if it focuses primarily on texts with aesthetic merit. In other words, texts that show quality not only in narrative but also in the effect of their language and structure. If your blog focuses primarily on YA, fantasy, romance, paranormal romance, or chick lit, you may prefer to join the blog hop at Crazy-for-Books that is open to book blogs of all genres. (Note: if your blog does not fit the above qualifications it may be removed from the Linky list. . . .)

My take away, for purposes of this hop at least, is that "literary" means well-written and non-genre. It looks like some mysteries or espionage could sneak in, but no teen-age vampires, werewolves, shape-shifters, shoe shoppers, or bodice rippers. But I had better get it right or I could be booted from the list.

The problem is that this brings me back to my original answer. I don't think I need to make a case that the prize winners and "must read" books from my lists (see right-side column) are "literary."   So I will fall back on my usual pitch for why Anthony Powell's A Dance to the Music of Time is my favorite novel ever.

Hands down, my favorite "book" on the Modern Library's Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century list was A Dance to the Music of Time by Anthony Powell.  Although commonly listed as one work, Dance is actually 12 novels, originally published separately but commonly published in four volumes of three novels each, called "The 1st Movement," "The 2nd Movement," etc.

Dance follows a group of characters in England from 1914 through WWII and up to 1971. The plots of the individual novels are less important than the entwining of these characters as they move in and out of each others lives over the years.
It definitely meets TBB's criteria of aesthetic merit, with beautiful language and a cohesive structure in addition to an absorbing story.

Opening Sentence of the Day: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

"It happened every year, was almost a ritual."

-- The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson.

I would have gone with a semicolon myself, but who am I to flyspeck a mega-bestseller?

My book club is reading this and I am torn about what I think of it. It is not as graphic as I had feared, but still, my book club doesn't usually sit around discussing sadistic serial killers.

Book Beginnings on Friday is a weekly Opening Sentence event now hosted by Katy at A Few More Pages

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