Thursday, April 03, 2008

Booking Through Thursday: Lit-Ra-Chur

  • When somebody mentions “literature,” what’s the first thing you think of? (Dickens? Tolstoy? Shakespeare?)
  • Do you read “literature” (however you define it) for pleasure? Or is it something that you read only when you must?
I enjoy playing card games, although I do not play nearly as often as I did when I was growing up. One of my favorite childhood games was Go Fish. I was pretty good at it too, collecting the four cards with similarly colored fish. Sometimes we'd make due with a regular deck of cards, taking out the jokers. Literature is played in a similar fashion, regular deck of cards with two of the 52 cards removed. Whereas Go Fish tends to be less of a team played event, Literature is just that, played by two teams of three or four players. Literature is sometimes referred to as Canadian Fish or plain old Fish. It is very similar to Go Fish.

Now Old Maid and SkipBo were games that . . . Oops. The question has nothing to do with cards, does it?

Do I read literature for pleasure? Oh, I absolutely read literature for pleasure. Reading is far from a chore for me no matter what I am reading. Well, maybe the paperwork I read for work is a bit of a chore, although it does get points for never being boring.

The first thought that comes to mind when I think of literature (other than cards) is in relation to reading material, namely books. I turned to my husband for help in putting together my thoughts on the subject and basically what we settled on was that literature is writing that does more than tell a story, either from an artistic or philosophical point of view. That is not too different from some of the definitions I found online. Written works of fiction and nonfiction in which compositional excellence and advancement in the art of writing are higher priorities than are considerations of profit or commercial appeal.

Merriam-Webster: The production of literary work especially as an occupation.

Literature is a very broad term and encompasses not only the classics but also contemporary writing. Although some people may snub their noses at the idea, genre fiction can be classified as literature as well. I think to totally dismiss genre fiction as frivolous is a mistake and way off mark.


  1. Agreed. Btw, I never heard of 'Literature' and have no idea what Canadian Fish is (Canadian here!) Just like I don't know why ham 'down there' is called Canadian bacon. Bacon in Canada is those long strips that crinkle up when you fry them. I don't know where this stuff comes from! And why is it 'French' toast...

  2. I don't know the card game either, but I did enjoy your little digression. :-)

    It looks like you went with the broadest possible definition of "literature," Wendy, and I like that.

  3. I've never heard of the card game either.

    I agree with your statement, "some people may snub their noses at the idea, genre fiction can be classified as literature as well. I think to totally dismiss genre fiction as frivolous is a mistake and way off mark."

  4. I loved your answer Wendy :) My family played tons of cards as I was growing up and I had never heard of that game.

  5. I agree with your answer (the bookish part) and wrote a similar response myself. Happy BTT.

  6. Chris - I really liked your post on this subject.

    Or how about "French" fries (which my husband says is because of the cut)? I always wonder where some of these names come from.

    Florinda - I had no idea that another name for the game was literature until I started doing a little research. Who would have thought?

    I don't think of literature in narrow terms as I've noticed many who have responded to this question do. I sometimes have a tendency to refer to everything that I read as literature, with a few exceptions. I also feel that genre fiction often gets a bum wrap by being ignored or dismissed.

    Trisha - I'm beginning to doubt anyone's heard of the game! Haha

    Susan L - Thanks! We were a card playing family too, especially summer camping trips . . .

    Pussreboots - Our answers were indeed very similar! Thanks for stopping by.

  7. LOL! Great answer. I especially agree with your last sentence. Perfect.

  8. "Although some people may snub their noses at the idea, genre fiction can be classified as literature as well. I think to totally dismiss genre fiction as frivolous is a mistake and way off mark."

    I'm sure this come as no surprise, but I wholeheartedly agree. Very well put :)

  9. A whole bunch of books flood my mind when I think of literature but for the most part they are what are considered children's books like Black Beauty, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, etc.

  10. I tend to think of almost everything but rip and reads as literature.

    Some of the best books are genre fiction! Nicely answered, Wendy.

  11. Suey - Thanks! You can tell I feel a bit strongly about the topic. :-)

    Nymeth - I knew you would agree!

    Jen - Yes, those definitely count as literature, I agree. And they are such complex stories too, aren't they?

    Carrie K - LOL I suppose someone out there might be able to make a case for rip and reads as literature, but it would be a stretch. :-)

  12. I was really enjoying the stuff you wrote about cards... why did you have to stop? LOL.

    I use the word "literature" with my suppliers too: "Can you send me some literature on the product?"

  13. Alice, I am glad someone was enjoying that part of the conversation. LOL

    Brochures, manuals and pamphlets definitely fall under one definition of literature, don't they? :-)

  14. An interesting interlude at the start.
    Isn't it good to see how similar adn yet how differnt people's ideas of literature are.

  15. I love card games but don't know that one. I like the definition you and your husband came up with.

  16. Alison - It is interesting to see the differences and what their thoughts are on the subject.

    Rhinoa - Thank you. I was glad hubby was willing to help me sort my thoughts.

    I enjoy playing card games too. :-)


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