Why should I read a novel
“Why read literature?” - 7 reasons
What is literature and why is it important?
In this post I will answer the question "Why read literature?"
As one of the central blog contents, Freund Literatur deserves it.
But first it has to be clarified what literature actually is.
What does "literature" mean?
The dtv lexicon defines literature as follows: "The entirety of the written statements, in the narrower sense the entire scholarly literature."
Since we do not want to talk about telephone books or the package inserts for the contraceptive pill on this blog, we will concentrate on the literature in the narrower sense.
Since the 19th century, the narrower term `` literature '' has encompassed all artistic, oral or written works.
Oral or written artistic works are abundant, so it is understandable that literature contains an awful lot.
We therefore like to limit them to areas, for example by speaking of German or Anglo-American literature. We also know women's literature, children's literature, youth literature, war literature, metropolitan literature, the literature of the Shoah and many, many more.
The possibilities of grouping different literary works under a certain literature are innumerable and the boundaries and delimitations are arbitrary.
Literature in the narrower sense is therefore "artistic" and "aesthetic" ...
Literature in the narrower sense is “something special”. It includes linguistic works that are considered works of art. Linguistic works that are more than a mere exchange of information with practical use.
So we have already come to the great problem of literature:
What exactly do “artistic”, “special” and “aesthetic” mean?
And who determines which works are assigned these attributes?
It's the culture business. These primarily include authors, readers, critics, literary scholars, publishers, magazines, newspapers, television and the Internet.
This conglomerate of larger and smaller experts, would-be critics and laypeople creates, consumes and judges written material.
What is actually artistic and aesthetic of it usually remains highly controversial and controversial in the cultural industry itself.
In the end, it is time that shows which artistic effusions were actually valuable.
If a book can still inspire or disturb you years or decades after it was published, then there is probably something special about it. Then it is probably "art". Then there is probably “beautiful spirit” in him.
What literature is to me ...
As you can see, the definition of literature is not easy.
It already fills entire books, is approached in very different ways by various connoisseurs and is tried again and again.
What does literature mean for me personally?
Not that easy to grasp now that I am asking myself this question for the first time.
For me, literature is a welcome change from reading philosophical texts. Not just a change, I often stay with her for weeks before I dedicate myself to the thinkers I should cram for my studies.
Because literature tells exciting stories, designs colorful universes and entangled nets of action. She takes me into the inner world of people who fascinate or repel me. She lets me enjoy playing with the language and the word and always amazes me with the infinitely varied experiments that are possible with our 26 letters.
I couldn't say I have a preferred literature. I simply read what I can find in my hands, what I come across in everyday life or what I want to know more about. (By the way, the small series of my all-time favorite novels, favorite non-fiction books and favorite autobiographies gives a good insight into my selection.)
The literature I deal with is primarily narrative literature, i.e. novel or narrative, and is in contrast to strictly rational philosophical reading.
Here, in literature, is the gimmick, the plot, and the word acrobatics. There, in philosophy, is the idea, the problem, and the reasoning. For some authors, both opposing poles are blurred with one another. But that's okay too.
In the end, it doesn't really matter to me whether it's literature or philosophy. Whether that actually deserves the name literature or not. Whether non-fiction books are also literature or not, or how exactly they are classified.
Ultimately, it's about reading and broadening my horizons. And any good text is suitable for this.
Why read literature? - 7 reasons ...
1. Because literature is the time machine that researchers still cannot build.
Literature from the past catapults us into the past.
It allows us to immerse ourselves in ages in which mankind was still far removed from today's state of the art.
It allows us to understand the problems people had to struggle with back then. Problems that seem alien to us today, but also problems that still exist.
And it lets us experience how people lived and spoke back then.
2. Because literature expands your life experience.
You cannot experience EVERYTHING in this one life.
I've decided on a career as an athlete and will never know what the “real student life” feels like, which I was always very curious about.
You probably grew up - like me - in a western, rich country and you will never know how you would have developed if you had not always been protected and protected in all respects.
You may have a great wife and children, but you are still wondering how a life without a family would have been for you, what you would have experienced, whether it would have fulfilled or destroyed you.
However, the literature, in which authors from all parts of the world and from all walks of life share experiences worth reading, can give you an insight into perspectives that you will never take yourself.
These indirectly expand your own life experience, they expand your horizons.
They enable you - through the eyes of another, but at least in your own head - to live more life than the one that you lead daily.
3. Because literature makes you understand people better and you become more tolerant.
Literature is about people. About characters struggling with a problem. About a hero who goes through ups and downs in the story. The “hero” is not a superhero in literary studies, but simply the central figure of the plot.
The heroes of literature couldn't be more different. Unscrupulous murderers, immortal lovers, brilliant outsiders, shrewd business men, disappointed mothers, emancipated women, persecuted refugees, failed artists et cetera et cetera.
By following such characters over dozens of pages in a literary work, seeing the world through their eyes, empathizing with their fears and thinking along with their thoughts, we learn to understand their actions and decisions and to understand people better.
Literature not only broadens our horizons by getting to know new life stories, but also by meeting a wide variety of people and accompanying them in their innermost being.
Literature makes you more tolerant and open to other people.
4. Because literature does NOT make you understand people and you become more tolerant.
However, literature also shows that we humans do not always think rationally and make sensible decisions.
Often an action goes in the completely opposite direction that we saw it go. Often a character makes completely different decisions than we thought.
Literature makes you understand people, but it does NOT make you understand people either.
The irrational is also human. Maybe JUST the irrational is human !?
The fact is that this also makes the experience more tolerant.
Literature shows what contradicting creatures we can be. Much would be gained if those perfect natures, who believe that we can and must be rational through and through, read a literary work from time to time.
5. Because with the help of literature you can switch off and come down.
A literarily valuable story will help you switch off and relax.
Sure, that is also what an exciting “trash novel” does (a blog article will follow on trash literature!), Which is of little or nothing literary value.
In a good literary work, however, literary quality is combined with a captivating plot, which can be enjoyed twice as well.
At least that's my idea of good literature.
6. Because some man of letters will surely speak to you from the heart as well.
In my email guide I describe how I first had the pleasure of reading an author whose lines spoke from my heart and how intense this experience was.
I suddenly felt understood. I suddenly felt no longer alone with my thoughts, questions and fears.
I am sure that there is such an author for everyone out there and that you have to "simply" find him.
This experience is magical and everyone should have it.
7. Because literature is simply fun!
You are reading a literary work by a famous author. You enjoy every single page and after you have finished reading you want to read the next one. You also like one of her older books, although it is something completely different. There, in turn, a book is reported that also sounds interesting. You get it and read it. It's okay, but don't knock you off your feet. “Why not?” You ask yourself and search the internet for reviews and opinions about it. You particularly like a treatise on the book, it also says that a certain author named Robert H. writes something similar. You want to know what "something like that" means and continue there ...
And so your knowledge of literature grows slowly but steadily. So with every new book you get a better overview of this endless universe.
You enjoy a wide variety of content from a wide variety of authors.
You enjoy that they all express themselves differently and that each of them has something special to tell.
You admire this one book and want to read it again later (maybe you don't admire it anymore?) And are disappointed in another that has been praised high in the sky.
You are fascinated by the life of a certain writer and want to get to know his work and suddenly understand how he has processed his biography in his novels. On the other hand, you are surprised at the break between his early and late work and at the same time you are not sure which one you think more of. So you read on and ...
This journey continues indefinitely.
Literature is this journey too. And this trip is fun. Therefore, literature is fun.
What does literature mean to you? Nothing? Everything? Which branch are you most interested in? What would you like to know more about? Just leave a comment under the blog article. Let's talk about literature together. Let's become experts together and dive deeper into this realm.
Would you like to go to a diving station right away? For this I suggest the following:
1) Get your free "reading, thinking, writing" freebie right here and now to delve deeper into the realm of lensing, thinking and writing.
2) Get the wonderfully illustrated and very personable book Literature !: A journey through the world of books (*) by Mahrenholtz / Parisi, which explains the most important works of world literature in a crisp and amusing way. (If you do this via the affiliate link (*) embedded here, I will receive a small bonus in the cent range for my work on the thought nomad, while the price remains the same for you!)
3) Sneaked your way through my series about my all-time favorite novels, non-fiction books and autobiographies. You are sure to find something there to start with.
Thanks for listening,
see you soon,
Photo: Lacie Slezak
Blog article published on 8.1.2017
Literature !: A journey through the world of books (*)
First of all, a big compliment!
I have read each of your articles so far with interest and I was not disappointed. In general, I like the idea of trying in this way to encourage people to read, write and think.
To answer the question, what I would like to know more about:
I would be curious to know which books (for what reasons) you think are particularly worth reading. Or which people.
When it comes to thinking, I am also interested (which is now a bit too precise ^^), how to deal with it as a critical person who thinks a lot and likes to deal with it when people in the immediate vicinity you cannot easily evade (family, for example ) completely shut yourself off from critical thinking, discussion and arguments and represent a worldview that you absolutely cannot agree with. Something in that direction (possibly to the question of whether you have to tolerate or accept everything).
That would be what occurs to me right now, maybe you can do something with some of it.
Greetings and keep it up!
Thank you for your praise. These comments are the price for all the work that I am currently putting into this project.
I am very happy that you have actually read all of the posts so far and I think you might even be the only one 🙂
In addition, I am very happy about your questions, which is exactly how I would imagine it.
On the subject of books that I think are worth reading: I'm writing the new article right now and it will be about one of those books. But more such contributions are also planned for the future.
On the subject of critical thinking: I can understand what you mean VERY well. I have a similar problem around me. I would be very interested to know what exactly it is in your case. You can of course also write me an email if the place here is too "public" in the comments. An article on this topic would certainly be worth the work, but I still have to think about how I could best approach it, or what I could link it to. It would definitely be a very demanding post ...
Thank you for your words,
see you soon,
A great website that I have only recently discovered, wanted to leave greetings there. Karinreply
Thank you, I'm very happy if you like it!
Too bad. What do you dislike or what would you have expected otherwise?reply
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