Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Stupid Thing I Believe (1)

In Arrested Development, when Michael tells Marta that family is the most important thing, and he says, "That's the stupid thing I believe." Well, welcome to a new feature at Costanza's Book Club: The Stupid Thing I Believe.

The first stupid thing I believe: I believe that a great work of literature should be FUN TO READ. I've read some classics this summer (a brief review of most of the things I've read will come at the end of the summer), but by far the most fun I've had reading has been Wicked. It's the first time in a long time I've stayed up way too late because what I was reading was so good I didn't want to go to sleep. If a book makes you stay up reading because it's so good and you want to keep reading to see what happens, is it inherently a "great book"? Some people use "page turner" with the same derisiveness they use the word "popular."

If you can't put down a book, well, isn't that the point of reading? To enjoy yourself? Not that it should be a diversion or distraction from the important things of human existence--that's not art. But that it should grab you and hold you and keep you, something like Stephen King says in his essay "I want to be Typhoid Stevie" (or some such similar title). It should be the sort of thing you carry around with you while you're NOT reading it. It should linger, but it should call you back, and when it has you, it should keep it's claws on you so you don't want to leave.

So there's the first Stupid Thing I Believe: I believe great literature should be fun to read.

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