This monthly blog hop is open to blogs that primarily feature book reviews of literary fiction, classic literature, and general literary discussion.
Here's our question this week:
What work of literature would you recommend to someone who doesn't like literature?
Our answer comes from Christine-Chioma, who reviewed for The Blue Bookcase in early 2010. Now she's back! Her answer:
Yes, I did make up this question; mainly because whenever I hear people say they don’t like literature I immediately think of about ten different pieces of literature that I’m certain they’d enjoy. There’s obviously a great variety of people and tastes, likewise there is a large variety in works of literature. Depending on the literature-hating person, one of the first book I’d recommend would be The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. However, that would not be a good suggestion for some of my other friends and so in their cases I’d suggest The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. But the creative non-fiction element of that book might annoy some so clearly I would not suggest it to everyone. However, Peace Like A River by Leif Enger is the one book that I universally want to suggest whenever I hear that dreaded “I don’t like to read literature” or worse, “I only read books by Janet Evanovich”.
One of complaints I hear most about literature is that it requires “too much thinking”. Although smart and well-written, Peace Like a River is a book that does not take too much mental energy to read. The plot is captivating enough that despite serious topics and moral dilemmas, it is not overwhelming or heavy. In fact, the book is even funny at times due to its dynamic and multi-faceted characters who are easy to fall in love with (especially Swede!) Peace Like a River is a great introduction to literature because it’s the right balance of plot and character development. It’s a beautifully crafted novel that flows natural through themes that almost all can identify with: family,morals, love, individuality, tragedy, and fear.
What about you? What book would you unequivocally recommend to literature-shy friends? Why?
It all depends on who the person is. In the past I've given gifts to some friends who I think will enjoy more literary type books. One suggestion is The Eyre affair by Jasper Fforde. I think this is a fun way to read literature and if they haven't read some of the classics featured in this, then they can follow up by doing so.
I think Anne of Green Gables by L M Montgomery is a good choice.
For something Australian Peter Carey's A true history of the Kelly gang is a good read.
Or The Slap by Christos Tsoilkas that looks to be shaping up as a contemporary classic.
My final choice - and there are so many more - would be Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. The beauty of this is if your recipient enjoys it, there are so many more Du Maurier titles to succumb to.