Thursday, August 7, 2008

Thoughtful Thursday


I am taking an idea from my good friends Napoleon and Rukia and am going to do a literary review today. I like the idea a lot, so I might do it regularly as a nice change of pace from seeing pictures of me plastered all over everywhere. Besides, who doesn't like to read?!

A little bit of background first: Mom and Dad LOVE to read. But, they really don't like much of anything that is "modern" (Harry Potter being a notable exception). They have an enormous collection of classic books and read them pretty much exclusively. Dad sits in his "Papa Chair"-- the big comfy chair in the living room that I like to poop behind-- and I sit on top of it and read over his shoulder. Yes, I can read. But don't tell my humans. They have the usual canine prejudice, thinking we can't understand human language, but I find it's quite useful. It can get me out of sticky situations. But I digress...

Rather than focus on one book today as the first post of this kind, let me tell you a bit about my literary tastes. I like English literature the most, Russian literature second, and French literature third. I am ambivalent about American literature-- it's pretty hit-or-miss with me there. Spanish literature seems to me to have many of the flaws of French literature with few of its benefits. Eastern (i.e., Indo-Chinese, Arabic) I haven't read enough of to judge, but I don't really get into what I have read. African is intriguing enough that I want to read more. The "Big Three," however, are still my favorite.

English literature is so delicious. Whether its a comedy of manners (Austen, Wilde) or a pastoral romance (Hardy, Wharton), a social drama (Bronte, Forster) or a social critique (Lawrence, Dickens), I love them all! I also really get into the more fringe genres, such as mystery (Chesterton, Doyle), poetry (Milton, Donne), and science fiction (Wells). More than anything else, I just love the sophisticated and sensible air that permeates all English literature. Even (perhaps especially) when the book is poking fun at that very thing! Jane Austen, Thomas Hardy, and D. H. Lawrence are my favorites here. I read these in a "Puddy" mood.

Russian literature is my "Glummy" mood fare. The characters are so intense, fiery, and tragic. The backdrop is often bleak and morose, but the interesting thing is that it is not nihilistic. It still retains hope, often in the face of contradiction. That, I think, is what is so intriguing about Russian literature to me. Fyodor Dostoevsky, Leo Tolstoy, and Anton Chekhov are my favorites here.

French literature is a bit of an enigma to me, and its unpredictable nature is probably why it is in the "Big Three" for me. It ranges everywhere from intimate tragedies (Flaubert) to multi-volume episodic novels (Proust, Balzac), from pure adrenaline adventure (Orczy, Dumas) to sweeping historical epic (Hugo, Stendhal). There also is an absence of one defining style among the disparate genres, like there is in English literature. I love the passion of the characters and the way the writing sweeps you into the world so thoroughly. Hugo, Dumas, and Flaubert are my favorites.

Maybe you can see now why I like reading so much! Besides giving me time to hang out with Dad, it really is something I deeply enjoy and recommend to all my puggy friends out there. Don't get me wrong-- I love watching movies just like everyone else. I just appreciate the depth and richness of books as well. They're not just for chewing, I promise.

And just to end things on a light note-- Do any of your humans think you sit bizarrely? My Mom and Dad think I do.


The Devil Dog said...

Yes, Lucky sits funny, as well. I think it's cuz she's blonde. Interesting thoughts reading. Mom loves to read as well. She reads more American than you, and a lot of new stuff, plus fantasy, but she does love some classics.


Rachel said...

You have very good taste in books (I have a BA in English and some graduate credit in an MFA - Creative Writing - so I can say this with confidence!). And yes, we think it is pretty bizarre when Winston sits like that - Clementine doesn't do it so much, maybe it's a boy thing??

Lex said...

Wow you are very well read.. I haven't read as many as the classics as I want too.. I get distracted byt shiny book covers on the best sellers list.. it's awful I know. :)

Indy sits on her hip like that all the time, Gus not as much. But he does the frog leg pose that you do in the last picture. Also he sits on his bum/tail too. :)

Clover said...

Wow! You are quite the reader!! And guess what? I sit EXACTLY like you do!! On my side like that and with frog legs.
Love Clover xo

Puddleglum said...

I am vindicated! Take that, humans who make fun of me... :)