Today on Twitter, Katy ( who blogs at A Few More Pages and tweets from @afewmorepages) shared this quote which caught my attention:
"You should never read just for ‘enjoyment.’ Read to make yourself smarter! Less judgmental. More apt to understand your friends’ insane behavior, or better yet, your own. Pick ‘hard books.’ Ones you have to concentrate on while reading. And for god’s sake, don’t let me ever hear you say, ‘I can’t read fiction. I only have time for the truth.’ Fiction is the truth, fool! Ever hear of ‘literature’? That means fiction, too, stupid."
-- John Waters
First of all, I had to look up John Waters, not being at all familiar with him. I guess he is a film dude and comedian? And he says some pretty blunt and controversial, but funny, things? Yes? I have no idea.
Anyway, this quote is interesting to me for many reasons.
Reason #1: First it says we shouldn't read for enjoyment, but to be smarter. At first I thought this was an argument against fiction, but the rest of the quote contradicts this. I, for one, mostly read for pure enjoyment. However, I think it makes me "smarter" (a relative term) by default. Reading, no matter what it is, just does that, don't you think? But still, can't our goal be to read just for enjoyment? I think so yes.
Reason#2: Pick hard books. I do agree with this one a little... I think we need a bit of a challenge now and then. Of course, "hard" will be different for all of us, don't you think? So we shouldn't judge what people are reading thinking it's a silly easy book.. because for them, it just may be hard. It's kind of like what the kids learn at school... just right books, and books that are too hard or too easy. We all know what that is for us.
Reason #3: "I can't read fiction, I only have time for the truth." Wow. I heard this one just recently and it was interesting to try and argue against this mindset. It makes me sad. Non-fiction is great, but so is fiction. I say, there can be a nice balance between the two, and that you CAN still learn stuff from fiction... LOTS of stuff.
Reason#4: Literature is fiction.... fiction is literature. What? Do some people confuse these terms? Do some people really consider literature as not fiction? I don't get this. What is literature then if it's not fiction? It includes fiction... and everything else of the written word. That's what I think anyway.
So... what do you think? Do you agree with this quote? Disagree? A little of both? What do you say to people who seem to have the attitude that John Waters is "upset" about?
Thanks to Katy for a tweet that made me think today!