Literature is one of Humanity’s Great Treasures. Enjoy It More With John Green!
There are few pleasures in this world that can rival that of a well-told story. This is true whether we’re talking about novels, poetry, television series, movies or even songs. Each of these many faces of literature offers us a unique window into a story, told from a perspective uniquely created by the relationship between author and reader (or watcher/listener, of course, but essentially, if you’re experiencing someone’s story, you’re a reader, regardless of the way in which you experience that read). But while most people in the developed world are adept enough at reading, to really get a deep level of enjoyment and the most benefit out of the stories you experience, you really need to understand a few essentials about the process.
Why Should I Care?
A lot of people think there’s no reason to care about reading literature well, or that it’s purely an academic exercise that has no bearing on the reader. Nothing could be further from the truth, however. When you can engage with stories in a more active way, they help you learn to relate to the lives of other people and circumstances besides your own in a more direct way. When you’re able to think about story arcs and how they play into character development, you get a more full picture of the complexity and meaning of not just the fictional lives of characters, but the real lives of other human beings, including your own. Learning to see deeper meaning in stories also makes them more personal for you, creating a more meaningful, lasting experience that you can carry forward in life and apply to everything from your interactions with others to the narrative of your own life. In short, stories are important, and understanding them well will make your life better.
John Green’s excellent series on enjoying literature will teach you how to read clearly and be able to really grasp the material you’re reading. He offers various reading assignments (mostly of great classic literature you might already have) and then guides you through the process of exploring those texts as a conscious reader. If you don’t have access to physical copies of the assigned readings, you can search Amazon’s Kindle free classics library for freely downloadable copies of most of these. Other sources of free classics include Barnes & Noble’s Nook and Project Guttenberg, as well as the Free Classic Ebooks website, which offers a lot of content in PDF’s you can read on just about any electronic device.
So what are you waiting for? Check out John Green’s exceptional series on enjoying literature and raise your game! You’ll be amazed at how much more you’ll enjoy a lot of modern movies and television shows when you see just how much they borrow from the classics, and understand how to read for subtext, themes and character development arcs.