Friday, November 5, 2010

First Literary Blog Hop from The Blue Bookcase!

Literary Blog Hop
Today marks the very first Literary Blog Hop, hosted by The Blue Bookcase!  If you would like to participate and have a "Literary Blog", visit their website for more information!  If you aren't sure your blog is "literary", send them an email (which can be found on their blog).

The prompt for this Literary Blog Hop is:
"Please highlight one of your favorite books and why you would consider it 'literary'".

I'll be talking about a book I just recently read and reviewed, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.  It fits my definition of "literary" perfectly.  Literary books, to me, are their own genre.  They can be classics, they can be contemporary.  But they are "special" in my eyes, and they always seem to call to me from the bookshelves.  Guernsey did that to me from the get-go.  As soon as I saw the title and synopsis last year, I knew I wanted to read this book.  Literary books to me are books that are extremely well-written and capture my attention from page one.  Guernsey is an excellent example of this.  I found myself constantly underlining passages and was entranced from the first page.  How can you not want to keep reading after this:
Page 1 of Guernsey:
"Susan Scott is a wonder.  We sold over forty copies of the book, which was very pleasant, but much more thrilling from my standpoint was the food."
From that, we find out that the main character must be a writer, and that she, like myself, loves good food.

The writing in Guernsey is just impeccable.  It flows so well and there are beautiful descriptions of the island.  A good "literary book" must have good descriptions to go with the good writing.  (But I don't want 300-page long descriptions of a bush.  I'm talking to you, James Fennimore Cooper!) 

When I think literary, I think of books that aren't necessarily romantic.  Sure, they might have a little bit of love in them, like Guernsey, or they might be totally centered around a relationship.  But it isn't the romance that makes the books.  They can stand on their own without it, and often have more important messages/themes in them.  Guernsey at once seems very light-hearted, but as you read further, you realize that it's got some serious messages and stories inside of it.  A good literary book for me is often complex, yet also subtle.  It's like with Guernsey, where you are just reading along and enjoying yourself and then you suddenly start noticing how everything is interweaved and how important everything is.  It doesn't stand out right away.  You have to read and take note because the author isn't going to lay it all out on a plate for you.  To me, that's a big difference between a literary book and a YA or romance book.  Some YA/romance stories seem to be just stories, and you're told everything in a very straightforward manner.  With literary books, the writing is one of the most important parts, as well as how the story is told, through the writing. 

I love literary books, whether they are literary fiction or classics.  While I also like to read romance, crime novels, and some YA once in a while, it's the literary books that usually end up being my favorites.  They are, in my opinion, the real classics of literature. 

I've had a lot of fun writing this post and can't wait to hop on over to the other participating blogs to see what they all have to say!

And thank you to The Blue Bookcase for hosting this awesome new hop!


  1. Great post! Thanks for participating in the hop with us. I agree with you that a literary book must be able to stand on its own based merely on the universality and timelessness of its themes.

  2. Glad I hopped to your blog. This is a great essay -- and a good reminder to me to read this book. It's been on my TBR shelf for too long!

    Rose City Reader.

  3. A very heartfelt post! I have not read this book, but have heard many good things about it....

  4. This is great. I totally agree that a literary book is both complex and subtle. My mom also read this book and loved it. :)

  5. I'm now your newest follower :)

    I very much agree with your definition of a literary book as a special book, something that grabs you and is well written.

    Sam at Tiny Library

  6. Of course. You know of which you speak. As my mother would say.

  7. This has been such a fun hop!

    'The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society' sounds like a really good novel. It was recommended to me by a friend recently. It's written all in letters, yes? I can't recall.

    Thanks for sharing this! I found you through the Blue Bookcase Hop.

    Here's my contribution, if you're interested:


  8. I also loved Guernsey. I tend to enjoy epistolary novels as an art form, and she carried it off so well. I also love historical fiction that teaches me something. And it was impossible not to fall in love with this protagonist. A beautiful book. I want to review it in a WWII theme week, but I have one more book to read first!
    Susan from ReadingWorld.

  9. I enjoyed reading your post, and loved Guernsey, too! Glad I hopped over...

  10. I loved this book! I absolutely agree with what you said about subtlety and I think this one is a perfect example.

  11. I read "Guernsey" this year too and it made it's way onto my favorites list. I absolutely loved it. I wish there were more books like this out there.
    Have a great weekend,