@SamLienhard I am rather envious of that idea of a course that teaches how to write popular fiction, particularly description.
You have unfortunately gotten me side-tracked by mentioning Shakespeare. I think Shakespeare only really comes alive when it’s spoken out loud, when you can hear the poetry of it. And I think it’s strange that it’s so enduring that it’s become the epitome of fine literature, when it was meant to be performed.
I was just rewatching a video about Shakespeare on youtube and the original dialect the plays were spoken in, compared to received pronunciation, which I found utterly fascinating a few years back. (I’m really rather ignorant about Shakespeare, other than the couple of plays we read by him in school). I ended up following another link from there and I suspect I’ll be all evening at watching them.
Do you think in a few hundred years time anyone will be espousing film scripts as the highlight of our own generation’s literature? Or maybe games?
I think it also brings to mind the suggestion made in the other thread about audio books, which I do think was such a great one. I used to love audio books back when I could parse them properly. They’re wonderfully immersive and bring the story to life in different ways than reading them.
You know, you’re the first person to actually mention authors that I love.
I love Terry Pratchett. His Discworld books appear to be just silly comic-fantasy at first glance, but they’re clever in their humour, and he explores issues, such as the nature of war, technological progress, religion, racism, sexism, power, society itself . I enjoy his characters. I especially love Tiffany Aching, for all that those are his young adult books, she’s one of my favourite characters in any book series.
I enjoy Diana Wynne Jones. (And I’ve just discovered there are actually sequels to Howl’s Moving Castle so I might seek those out.)
I actually enjoy reading a lot of young adult fiction. Even the stuff that I’m well aware is of little literary merit. It’s fun, and I love having these glimpses into future worlds where the science doesn’t get too heavy and I can enjoy the story.
I like science fiction that explores the social sciences, as opposed to the hard-tech stuff. I love Ursula Le Guin, her short story collection, The Birthday of the World. It’s a wonderful exploration of sexuality and gender. I was somewhat disappointed in The Left Hand of Darkness, in so much as it had been blown up to be amazing, and I found it disappointing, but in ways that the stories in The Birthday of the World address. And even saying it was disappointing isn’t to say I thought it was bad. I preferred The Dispossessed, which again is how I like my sci-fi, an exploration of possibilities in the future and I enjoyed seeing a working anarchy. I liked the premise of The Lathe of Heaven. Does Ursula Le Guin count as literature? I also love that she embraces the fantasy/sci-fi label.
I do tend to prefer short stories and single books over huge long epics with 10 books and no end in sight.
I enjoyed Lev Grossman’s The Magicians Trilogy (which I only read so I could discuss it with a friend). I hated the main character, and certain other aspects, but I think it’s a fascinating deconstruction of the whole idea of the chosen one hero and one of the best examples of a character journey I’ve seen. (I still hate the main character but I can appreciate he went on that journey.) I’m not sure if it serves as as good a deconstruction of Narnia and Harry Potter as it tries to though.
I’d take The Hunger Games over Brave New World and 1984 any day. (Although it can sit next to Battle Royale since I’m not picking out of the two of those). I loved Katniss Everdeen as the sort of heroine we rarely see, and how the gender roles in the book were reversed.
As for quality of writing, I think Catherynne Valente’s writing is such beautiful and evocative poetry, and The Orphan’s Tales, is dreamlike in the way it slowly reveals the layers upon layers of stories.
In general, I prefer reading books with female main characters, or anything with some sort of queer content to it. I really dislike grimdark, stories in which lots of people die, chosen one heroes who girls fling themselves at, and epic sagas that go on for dozens of books.