When somebody mentions “literature,” what’s the first thing you think of? (Dickens? Tolstoy? Shakespeare?)
It depends on that somebody and in what context. Sometimes it is all about that stuff that was read in high school, the novels also termed “the classics”, the majority of it written by white dead guys. At other times, I think of the modern genre of literature which has been appropriated by the yuppie and issue-conscious. The genre where style is favored over plot and where all characters come to depressing ends. This includes any award-winning novels published in the 20th century onwards. Thirdly, literature can also be the stuff that stands the test of time. And finally (this is beginning to look like one of those really long dictionary entries), I also think of the scientific literature which doesn’t necessarily consist of books. Mainly it refers to science papers.
Do you read “literature” (however you define it) for pleasure? Or is it something that you read only when you must?
Other than high school and one undergraduate course on 18th century literature, I have only read novels that I feel like reading. I generally don’t care what other people think of my reading material, so this may or may not include what I define as “fiction literature”. As for the scientific literature, it’s a bit of a mix. There is definitely stuff I have to read (understandably, the more that it’s related to my research, the more interesting it is) and then there’s stuff that’s just plain cool.
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The Thursday Threesome: State Fair and Rodeo
Onesome- State: What state (or territory) do you live in? Have you lived in any other(s)? Where would you like to live? And as a bonus: Any idea what year your state became a state?
I seem to recall that there was a very similar Thursday Threesome question a couple of years back. I currently live in Idaho (admitted to the Union in 1890)–which I couldn’t have imagined would happen, say, five years ago. I have lived in Ohio, Tennessee, California, and New Hampshire (as well as Quebec and Ontario if you want to count Canada). I’m not sure exactly where I would ideally live, but as long as I don’t have obnoxious neighbors, that’s always a plus.
Twosome- Fair: Or amusement parks: Did you enjoy them as a kid? What was your favorite ride? How do you feel about them now? Ready to go wander around one again, sampling funnel cakes and corn dogs and riding rides until you’re sick? …or would you rather just enjoy the entertainment or stay home and avoid the crowds?
Sure, they were fun. As a kid, an amusement park was a novelty because my parents rarely took me to one. I didn’t have a favorite ride–basically what I usually did was to try all of them. Of course, now the novelty has worn off and I’m not as interested. It’s not because of the crowds or that I want to stay at home. In fact, I have a constitutive urge of wanderlust–if I wasn’t constrained by time, money, and other commitments and interests, I’d be traveling to random places.
Threesome- And Rodeo: Have you ever been to or watched a rodeo on TV? Did you enjoy it or consider it a barbaric spectacle? If you liked it, what was your favorite event? Ever tempted to race barrels or ride a bull yourself?
When I used to have access to a TV, I once did some channel surfing and briefly came across a rodeo that was set up as a sports event. Otherwise, I’ve seen them on documentaries. And another time, someone invited me to a rodeo, but I was too busy to go. I don’t consider rodeos on the same level of barbaric as, say, football–but I don’t exactly see the point of it either. I suppose if you strip it down, it’s basically a ritualized fight between man and beast. And some people totally dig that. Me, I just don’t care so much. Probably because my encounters with bovines usually involve squirming away from needles and eating hats.