Thursday, November 3, 2011

Literary Blog Hop: November 3-6

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

Here's our question this week:

To what extent do you analyze literature? Are you more analytical in your reading if you know you're going to review the book? Is analysis useful in helping you understand and appreciate literature, or does it detract from your readerly experience?

Our answer comes from Christina:

Okay. So. A few weeks ago I listened to this interview with Jeffrey Eugenides in which he discusses his new book, The Marriage Plot. I could write a post and a half just about this interview because I adore Mr. Eugenides, but for our purposes one topic he mentions is especially relevant: Semiotics. I had never heard this term before, but the way he explains it makes it sound like it's the process of deconstructing all literature to the point where every word becomes a meaningless cliché. I am really happy that I never learned Semiotics; I feel certain that it would take all the joy and empathy out of reading. (OR maybe I'm totally misunderstanding this whole business. I kinda hope so. Please enlighten me.)

So anyway, that part of the interview got me thinking about literary analysis and literary theory, especially as they pertain to book blogging. Hence this LBH prompt!

I don't have a strong English Literature background; I didn't have any lit classes in college. Everything I know about analysis comes from my 12th-grade English teacher, Mrs. Riley. Remember those analytical essays we all (or many of us) wrote in preparation for the AP English exam? Good times. Of course I thought those essays were nonsense at the time, but I really am indebted to Mrs. Riley for teaching me to read carefully and critically. She taught me to keep a pen and paper handy and to keep my mind switched on rather than letting the story wash over me. I love reading this way now, and it's the only way I know how to prepare for a review. I definitely read more carefully and critically when I know I'm going to be writing about a book. Maybe this is why nonliterary fiction tends to be so disappointing. I have trouble turning off that critical part of my brain, and so I get frustrated with the wasted effort I put into searching for literary devices in an empty story.

But then, how does one apply literary analysis to nonfiction? I have no idea. I think that's why I like a good bit of nonfic from time to time. I can just open up my mind and let the ideas in, and I think I read more quickly- I'm not looking for things in the text. It's freeing.

Can't wait to hear all y'all's ideas on this topic! Thanks for hopping!

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.