Thursday, March 7, 2013

Standards and Literature

Worthy literature has been on my mind a lot lately. In trying to find something to read, I started reading a book that turned out to be less than appropriate (not the first time this has happened). Thankfully, before I got very far into the book a couple of wonderful friends tipped me off that there was some content I may want to avoid, and so I moved on to something else. In the interest of time, I am going to paste what I wrote in an email to my friend Ruth about it:

To be honest, I was having a hard time getting into the book; something about the language, though I couldn't put my finger on it. Maybe all characters just seem flat after Tolstoy's never-ending descriptions, or maybe (probably) it was just the Spirit telling me not to get too attached to the book =). I should learn my lesson; the last time I grabbed a book from Costco I thought was interesting, I ended up reading one chapter and then returning it.... why is this considered okay, even artistic? I am so wary of anything written in the last few decades because it almost seems like a rite of passage for authors to delve into sexual things, like it's more "honest" the more detail they provide. Ugh!

I remember right after high school I read Les Miserables, and though I've forgotten a lot, something that stuck with me is that when Cosette and Marius are married, he sees them off into the bridal chamber, then says that some things/places are too sacred to follow (granted, this is my paraphrase without having looked at it for over a decade). I loved that because it highlighted that, even in literature, people's intimate lives can be private not because they are secret but because they are beautiful and worth protecting. It made me a little sad to see the musical and see what they had done with the parts about prostitution (not tawdry in the book like in the play!) and at the Thernadiers' place.

I realize that my taste in literature is probably considered boring by a lot of people, but I have gotten to the point that I can't stand finishing a book without feeling like I got something out of it beyond pure entertainment. I don't need an adrenaline rush; I need to fill my brain with things I want to keep with me through all of eternity. So I am about to post lots of quotes on literature that I want to save and remember. To kick things off, here is a snippet from For the Strength of Youth:

Satan uses media to deceive you by making what is wrong and evil look normal, humorous, or exciting. He tries to mislead you into thinking that breaking God’s commandments is acceptable and has no negative consequences for you or others. Do not attend, view, or participate in anything that is vulgar, immoral, violent, or pornographic in any way. Do not participate in anything that presents immorality or violence as acceptable. Have the courage to walk out of a movie, change your music, or turn off a computer, television, or mobile device if what you see or hear drives away the Spirit.

p.s. I do think it is a little bit sad/funny that they don't even mention books here, but I guess that is the generation that is coming up. I guess their mobile device could include a Kindle or Nook =).

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