“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.” ~ Haruki Murakami
The above quote was posted on the library’s social media today. Haruki Murakami is a unique author whose latest book, 1Q84, is certainly not ordinary, but its popularity bucks his quote since it has become a Times bestseller.
Murakami, however, is certainly not a Stephanie Meyers or a John Grisham. Murakami’s tomb is brilliantly crafted; a complexity of philosophical ‘what ifs’ woven into a story driven by vibrant character passages.
What do you choose to read on paper; on line? Do you ‘follow’ blogs with the same selection criteria that you would a book or film? Is it only the popular ‘freshly pressed’ or bust?
Jonathan Franzen shall probably never be a WP blogger, or blog reader. Recently, he’s been vocal about social platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook, for their base standards. Franzen believe that these platforms are dumbing down the current literary climate. Gasp; coming from a man who caved to Oprah, I must laugh at such an absurd statement. Franzen has a rather grandiose vision of his time versus the rest of us.
The clock just ticked over to tomorrow. I begin to question what I’ve consumed tonight…does it matter? Honestly, for me, yes. I wish to glean information with the little time I give to reading. Not so I can practice regurgitating this knowledge to pretend an Mensaish intelligence, but as a tool to help me help the world.
Poet, Adrienne Rich, ponders content in her book, Arts of the Possible. It is an apt reminder that as writers, we have a duty to ourselves, and our readers, to explore every avenue to stretch the breadth of our knowledge, and theirs. Her belief is that this helps to invigorate a dialogue in a time that has become starved culturally.
I never quite put into words why I try to abstain from reading the mainstream. Murakami’s quote says it all. If we read the same, we shall talk circles around each other, ending up in no man’s land.
In a country that seems to be struggling socio-politically to find a new vision, it seems imperative to go beyond surface. We must not just consume, but create those gems that push the boundaries; force dialogue; allow our voice to sound the next silent masterpiece.