Style Saturday (May 5): Reading Beyond The Book

Style Saturday is a meme hosted by me where each week I present a prompt about reading style and explain my answer. Feel free to join in with your answer in the comments or leave a link to your Style Saturday on your blog.

I desperately need ideas!

This week: You found a book that you really enjoyed. Do you try to find out more about the book (essays, other books)?

Obviously, this is much easier to do with classics or older books but there is a new trend of doing it with newer books as well: Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, and The Hunger Games just to name a few.

Maybe it’s the Media student in me but I like to do it occasionally. Not every book out there is multidimensional but for the books that are like that, it’s so cool to see new perspectives on books you already know and love. It gives you a lot to think about. You might not agree with everything the author is arguing but it’s fascinating to see his/her point of view. It makes me love a book even more because of the amount of thought the author gave to the book.

I’ve done it countless times with Harry Potter because I’ve written 2 academic papers on the books (one about how Harry isn’t a tragic character. He caused most of his problems; one about how the books are a positive influence for readers). I had to read tons of essays and critical analyses for resources so I’ve seen almost every problem there is with the book: gender equality; gender inequality; race equality; race inequality; philosophy in the books; choices; etc. Every time I read the books, I can read them from a different perspective and take away something new each time. It’s awesome.

Harry Potter is the only book I’ve read for but I would love to do it for other books. I need to see if the library has the Percy Jackson or THG books… I’ll probably also do it for The Chronicles of Narnia when I finish the books.

Do you like to read beyond the book? What books have you done it for?

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7 thoughts on “Style Saturday (May 5): Reading Beyond The Book

  1. I haven’t really read academic criticism of books since I was an English major and at the time, I wasn’t really a huge fan of it. That said, I currently really enjoy reading critical articles (more like the NY Times than academic journals though) or blog posts. I like engaging deeper with some texts and those articles often get me thinking and learning!

    One thing I’ve just started to discover lately and feel pretty ambiguous about is engaging with author-created content on their websites or engaging with authors themselves on twitter. I have had some fun reading authors’ blog for additional content, maybe a playlist or pretend movie casting, or to get a more general idea of who the author is (so far I’ve done this with Attachments, The Magicians, Harry Potter, and maybe a couple other reads, but not all have memorable additional content). What I am not as comfortable with is more direct interaction with authors… but I think I just have a very old-fashioned sense of boundaries between creators and audiences and that I haven’t quite embraced the technology that allows us to bridge that gap.

  2. I am taking American Literature, and there are times where the book leaves me…clueless. (I am looking at you, Mr. William Faulkner) And I end up skimming through other people’s thoughts on Goodreads/Amazon..and of course the college student’s lifesaver–Sparknotes, to get a better grasp of the novel (and to find a radical thesis I feel strongly enough to defend for five pages). Though on the other hand I often wonder if I am relying on those too much, letting other people’s opinions cloud my own.

    Classics is one thing, but I don’t see myself reading it for leisure. I think I tried it with Harry Potter, there was this companion book on Quidditch and it bored me. Or perhaps it’s just that I haven’t met a character that left me intrigued enough? Or maybe I don’t want to play into the hands of people using my beloved series to earn money? Or maybe I just feel like leaving it up to my interpretation. Or the most reasonably one, I am just lazy.

    On an slightly unrelated note, I only realized now what the Style Saturday banner is supposed to be. I literally thought it was a toilet paper couple in bed and one of them wearing sunglasses. Yes, a toilet paper wearing sunglasses. I have a feeling that this is why I am an art major.

  3. I really enjoy reading reviews after I’ve finished a book I like. I don’t spend too much time on academic essays, etc. Too much lit crit in college, plus usually I have another book I’m anxious to get to :-)

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