Thursday, October 6, 2011

Literary Blog Hop: Oct 6-9

Welcome to the Literary Blog Hop hosted by The Blue Bookcase!

This monthly blog hop is open to blogs that primarily feature book reviews of literary fiction, classic literature, and general literary discussion.

How do I know if my blog qualifies as "literary"? Literature has many definitions, but for our purposes your blog qualifies as "literary" if it focuses primarily on texts with aesthetic merit. In other words, texts that show quality not only in narrative but also in the effect of their language and structure. YA literature may fit into this category, but if your blog focuses primarily on non-literary YA, fantasy, romance, paranormal romance, or chick lit, you may prefer to join the blog hop at Crazy-for-books that is open to book blogs of all kinds.

Instructions for entering the Literary Blog Hop:

1. Grab the code for the Button.

Literary Blog Hop

2. Answer the following prompt on your blog.
(Suggestions for future prompts? Email to them us at

Our question this week comes from Mel u over at The Reading Life:

When I was in my early teens I read a book called Van Loon's Lives by Hendrick Willlem Van Loon. It was written in 1942 (Van Loon was a Newberry Winner for another work). I was maybe ten or so when I first read it and I was totally fascinated. The story line is that Von Loon and his good friend found a magic way to invite three famous literary figures from different eras for a Sunday Dinner. The book gives mini bios of the guests, explains the food the would have wanted and shows their dinner conversations. If you could invite any three literary figures from different eras to a Sunday Dinner who would they be? Magic takes care of the language issues.

Our answer comes from Meagan:

Wow, can I first just say why have I not read this book? It sounds amazing! I read Van Loon's The Story of Mankind a few years back when I made a goal to read all the Newbery Award-winning books and remember really, really liking it so I'm really excited to hunt this one down!

Secondly, asking me to narrow down a dinner party to only three authors is like asking me what my favorite book is. Unlike Highlander, there can't be only one (or in this case three). I spent the last couple days imagining various guest lists and came up with so many I almost gave up and picked another topic! I had lists of guests for talking about philosophy, politics, religion, various periods in history, various literary movements, various genres, etc., etc. I even had a few lists that merely served to satisfy my curiosity about the real identity of some oft-debated authors (Shakespeare, the authors of the Bible, Anonymous :) So suffice it to say I can't WAIT to hear about all your choices!

In the end, I decided to make my choices around the type of dinner party I most enjoy: the perfect mix of clever conversation and raucous laughter. With that in mind, I decided to invite Oscar Wilde, Jane Austen, and Theodor Geisel. Now let me tell you why.

Oscar Wilde - Master of Aphorisms and Epigrams (I'm still not entirely sure what the difference is). Everything he wrote had such polish and panache I can just imagine him tying any thread of conversation off in a thoroughly humorous yet sharply insightful bow. His major talent was tackling big, serious issues in such a flamboyant and seemingly superficial way so that the butt of his jokes was certain to be so offended by his manner that the meat of his criticisms would sail right past to the intended audience. I've always imagined Lord Goring from An Ideal Husband to be as close to an autobiography as Wilde ever got and can think of nothing better than having him sitting across the table passing the scones and cucumber sandwiches.

Jane Austen - Before you go off rolling your eyes at one girl's obsession with Jane Austen, let me just say one thing: Yes, I am a devout Austenite, but, BUT, I would be happy to have her as a dinner guest even if not one word were spoken about any of her novels. I do think she has a spectacular knack for social commentary and subtle humor, but the reason she earns a seat at the table is for her -- and I use this term in the loosest sense -- nonfiction. Never am I so delighted by Jane Austen as when I'm reading things in her voice. The few letters to her family that survive, her childhood notebooks, all are fascinating. But my favorite of all is her History of England which she wrote around the age of 15 as a 'partial, prejudiced and ignorant Historian' and had her sister illustrate (the link shows the actual manuscript). The work is a perfect parody of the dry accounting of English history common in primary schools, and as I was a victim, er, student of the system, I can appreciate anything that spiced up dullness of the English monarchy. Her barbs and jabs at highly regarded historical figures and political situations would serve as the cream of the meal.

Theodor Geisel - And to round out the party, it's always good to have a doctor in the house, and Dr. Seuss is one of the best. No author I know takes himself less seriously (I mean, cats in ridiculous hats? wockets in pockets? utter chaos on Mulberry Street? Need I go on?) and the ability to laugh at oneself is just as important as the ability to laugh at one's situation. He also has the ability to couch his commentary in a friendlier guise and If ever the conversation grew too serious, he could immediately get us back on track by inventing a new creature as a topic of conversation. I think he would serve as a good foil to the more "literary" reputation of my other guests, but there is also an element of his humor that rings true to the Brits'. And he would not put a strain on my culinary skills by of course being perfectly happy with green eggs and ham!

So, would you want to come to my dinner party? Would I want to come to yours?

3. Add your link to the Linky List below.Happy Hopping!
*PLEASE NOTE: if you do not answer the question and link back to The Blue Bookcase in a post on your blog, you will be removed from the Linky list.