Literature and Reading

The culture of reading is a vast area of discussion; it may not be fair to discuss reading habits, but what people read shape their perspective of life and society. Serious reading or mulling over anecdotal narratives, which may be a sort of literature, but far away from any artistic merit.

Ordinary narratives are just a way to communicate through words, whereas, literature is artistically inclined with a language that is not usually used in everyday usage. Yet, literature seems to lure a reader’s imagination and create a different world, enriched with beautiful narratives that transcend the simplistic ‘I’ and encompasses the observations and interpretations of life in a much intellectual premise. Such literature becomes part of a culture and is considered a reference for generations to come. They become classical narratives with philosophical literary culture talking about life through metaphors.

Oral literature too has the ability to keep a society together. The distortions of literature start with turning away from the art form to a more personalised narrative which will have select readers and may or may not connect with the readers.

How one reads (literally), or what one reads can also contribute to the preference of ones reading habits. Serious reading or literature as an art form may not be everyone’s choice. The vague definitions of ‘literature’ have been considered to be a grey area where many other narratives have been crammed together to make it a part of the literary art form. There will always be critics and criticisms over what exactly qualifies as real literature. Let’s not focus on such a narrow premise to squabble over literature.

Literature as an art form takes time to travel and such experiences are eloquently narrated with languages which are not only exquisitely chosen, but fit perfectly like the satisfyingly solved puzzle.

Here, the writer’s life is at stake, sometimes, even neglecting health and society’s scorn to fight a battle against society, to portray the most formidable characters and make them the worthy storytellers; they become the eternal messengers who rise from the pages whenever a reader wishes to communicate. The genres of literature may have branched out over a period of time, but the soul of literature is an old one.

Although defining literature is impossible, there is an unwritten understanding of the written art form. Literature is always a writer’s challenge; it asks for his sacrifice and yet wants a promise to alienate himself from the plot.

He can be omnipresent as the narrator but has to have an unbiased view of the characters and the plot. The dialogues are conceived by him, but they are gifted to each of the characters so magnanimously. Literature is of extraordinary language, with the ability to lure the readers to a philosophical journey of contemplations. It’s a journey of learning.

The reader has to have the ability to choose the books accordingly, as they can help carry forward the legacy of a writer and literature. Never try to appropriate any writing as literature; they may be read according to one’s comfort with words, but they cannot be a part of literature. The reality of fiction is incisive at times, and they speak truthfully; one of the reasons that readers find them offending at times.

The history of literature is as old as civilization. Whether literature is factual or fictional, or even, a combination of both, the writer’s ability to blend them eloquently to create literature is amazing. Readers keep visiting the literary classics for a reason; they wish to know the past civilizations and also journey with the words to the present time in an effort to understand the onset of contemporary thinking of literature.

Literature addresses the concerns and confabulations of humanity from a much larger perspective. It’s a gargantuan task to bring such diverse thoughts together and convey them through fantastic storytelling. If a reader wishes to keep alive the tradition of literature as an art form, they have to start with choosing the right books. Abandoning literature can create a conflict in the culture of human emotions.

~Amitav

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