Literature cannot be imposed; it must be discovered

April 1, 2014 at 8:44 am

This is a quote from author Amy Joy. I’ve been pondering what she meant by it. I’m not 100% sure if I’m right, but I’ve found a meaning that applies to me.
I’ve always found I’m more reluctant to do anything (read a book, see a movie) if someone continually harangues me about doing it. I think some people can relate. After all, often our worst book memories are from those we were forced to read in school. They usually weren’t to our taste but were considered the ‘right’ ones for use in school. Let’s face it, they also usually weren’t exactly what I’d call lighthearted books either – Lord of the Flies, Animal Farm, 1984. Hardly relaxing reading!
Does imposing a book on someone with insistence that they read it do any good at all? Certainly, some people seemed to have been turned off reading entirely because they were forced to do it as a part of the school curriculum. But if we don’t tell our friends about the books we love will they ever read and discover that joy for themselves?
Perhaps the difference is in how we talk to them about our favourite books. If we just say, ‘You need to read this! Here it is!’ I don’t think that’s going to work, but if we don’t tell them to read it and just talk about how enjoyable we found it ourselves and how much was in it that we related to, perhaps our enthusiasm will be contagious. Then our friend can be credited with discovering it themselves, rather than reading it because we hounded them into it.

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