Thursday, January 17, 2013

Geeking out about Books. For Credit!

This is how it goes. You get on Facebook after class and you put up as a status the second you get to your computer something like “I’m really rather excited to be writing an essay about Marxism and Pokémon for HIST 234.” And people like, comment, ask to read. And it’s great. And then you write it and its fun and you come away with a better understanding of both Marxism and Pokémon, and your appreciation for both goes up. The best part is getting to present it to the class, because you get to share the things you learned.
A delightful bit of Detective Fiction.
Murder, British Countryfolk, Cults,
what more do you need?
I was in a class last semester where, for final presentations, people got to present about Religion and [a thing], where [a thing] usually turned out to be whatever it was they enjoyed and wanted to share. For me it was The Wicker Man, a 1973 Cult Classic Film, for another friend it was Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. And it was cool and we got to share our thoughts and geek out. For me however, the best part wasn’t talking about the film itself, but reading about the production, the history, the book it was based on (Ritual, by David Pinner, if you were curious), etc. I got to geek out about books and reading them in front of class, for credit.

 I see no reason that shouldn’t be the attitude of anyone on the internet who likes books, just as much as it is for people who like Tv, Movies, Vidjagames. But, as I’ve been soberingly reminded both in Novel Writing last semester and in Literary Citizenship this semester, the world of books is declining, being swallowed up. That oughta stop, I think. I’d like to be involved in the defense of it, like to help advocate for reading. I’d like to continue that feeling from middle school where it was fine to geek out about Harry Potter, The Amulet of Samarkand, Animorphs. No, you can’t really hold any of those up as Literary Novels, but you can hold them up and say “I read these. I like them and want to share my feels about Nathaniel/John Mandrake.”

 So, this class that I’m taking, on Literary Citizenship, which is about being involved in the world of readers and writers.  For more information, follow that link. It’s going to force us to start actively being involved in this mission, this “I like books, you like books too? Let’s talk about them” universe that exists on the internet. It’s going to force us to start bridging the gap between “Readers” and “Writers.” And that’s a good thing, a great thing. I’m hoping this class will help get me actually involved in things, get me away from my general complacency and assuming that simply buying books occasionally will mean they’ll keep being around.

This blog is going to me mostly a place for me to geek out about reading and writing, but also to be intellectual in my geekery. It’s easy to say “Wow I like this book.” but it’s not so easy to say “I like this book, and here’s what I get from it, and what you can get from it too.” It’s important to be actively engaged in learning from what we read, as opposed to just observing, because then we get true, deep sustenance from a book, the sustenance that lets us grow. Especially as writers.

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