I am honored to be participating for the first time in the Literary Blog Hop, sponsored by the folks at The Blue Bookcase. This week's question:
What is one of your literary pet peeves? Is there something that writers do that really sets your teeth on edge? Be specific, and give examples if you can.
My biggest literary pet peeve used to be a text full of allusions to things I didn't know.
Don't get me wrong: I've always loved to work hard and think hard when I am reading. Once I learn just a bit about a subject, I want to find out more and more, reading everything I can get my hands on about that topic. I've always been someone whose knowledge is quite deep in certain areas. The problem is that while my knowledge may be relatively comprehensive on some topics, it is completely missing in others. In other words, deep--but not broad.
For years, I was been intimidated by classic literature from Homer to Virgil. I didn't know ancient history well and and I couldn't keep all those gods straight. Knowing so little about French history made me steer clear of Balzac and Zola--and also War and Peace. And if you haven't read all those kinds of books, how can you hope to understand James Joyce?
Of course, calling this a "pet peeve" implies that the problem was with the literature. Thinking of it that way, I could dismiss the books and justify to myself why there was no reason to read those outdated dead-white-men texts anyway.
But obviously, the problem was not with the classics. Instead, it was with my own education and confidence. So much of what I think are peeves--in books as well as in life more generally--are simply prejudices or fears. A little patient work might allow me to overcome them--and find an undiscovered country of new pleasures.
So I am setting off on this journey of reading major classics in more-or-less chronological order to overcome my resistance. You can read more about my background and project plans in previous posts. Please join me!