Sunday, 4 October 2009

The Sunday Salon: Influential Ideologies

The Sunday

What is the Sunday Salon? Imagine some university library's vast reading room. It's filled with people--students and faculty and strangers who've wandered in. They're seated at great oaken desks, books piled all around them, and they're all feverishly reading and jotting notes in their leather-bound journals as they go. Later they'll mill around the open dictionaries and compare their thoughts on the afternoon's literary intake....

Trisha over at Eclectic/Eccentric posed an interesting question:

Are the ideologies portrayed in books as influential as the ones seen on television and in movies?

Like her, I don't know the answer to this question, but I do have thoughts. This past spring I took a university class titled Themes in Popular Literature. For one of the classes we read The Family Way by Tony Parsons. We got into a discussion regarding the stereotypes in this and other books like it. A friend of mine talked about the stereotypes in chicklit books (and please don't think I don't like them here, I really do) such as Bridget Jones Diary. In books like these the heroine always has a fraught relationship with her mother and a slightly dopey father. Men and women always talk and act past each other. This is a view of society that is presented. This ideology perpetuates a view of society that I, personally, am less then comfortable with, but it is also one that I see echoed in many movies and television shows. It would seem to me that in this case the books are as influential in their ideology as the television shows and movies.

Banned Book Week Round-Up

I have much enjoyed reacquainting myself with with an old favourite Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and finding a new one The Giver by Lois Lowry. I also spread the word of BBW to people (bookworms no less) who had never heard of it. I also posted regarding a favourite collection of poems of mine, Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman.


Fall into Reading:
I've finished two of the books on my list, The Giver and Brave New World. I've two left but now I am taking a break from this challenge for a few weeks to get back to reading The Belgariade and The Mallorean by David Eddings. I haven't decided which of the two books I have left I will read first but I think I might read My Ántonia by Willa Cather. I will have to write my thesis next term and I know that the teacher that I want as my supervisor is the resident expert on this time period so I want to see if I can use the book for that.

Childhood Favourite Reads:
This is a new challenge to me. I haven't started reading any of the books for this one. I will be starting that one once I need a break again. I think I will be starting with Anne of Avonlea by L. M. Montgomery. I have a hankering for some of the calmness I always feel when I read the Anne books.

Other Reading

I have also started the history portion of my self-education. I'm reading The History of the Ancient World by Susan Wise Bauer for this. So far I have read three chapters and I am not sure of what I think. I do like that she uses the stories that people told in that time to tell us the story. It is different from what I am used to from school (where history was my favourite subject) and I think that this is where my problem lies. I am just not used to it. I will keep trucking with it.


debnance said...

Mmmm. Are book ideologies as influential as tv and movie ideologies?

Were. Aren't now, I think.

Since I gave up tv in 2003, I am totally out of the loop there. I fake it most times, but people know. They know.

But, hey, I get to keep my sweet book ideologies with no outside influence.

Amanda said...

I didn't think the books I read as a child influenced me much, but later on I went back and realized they affected so much of the way I think. For instance, my fav childhood book (The Egypt Game) affected my writing style even as an adult, as well as what sorts of books I like to read. Other books have had other influences on me as well.

I don't know which is more - books or tv - but since I never have watched much tv, I imagine books are more for me.

Michelle said...

Thanks for pointing out the childhood reads challenge, it's something I was planning already and it's always nice to have company :)

Zee said...

I guess for me books are more influential because I put more emphasis on things I read. For me the ideologies in television is more superficial than those in books. I might just be snobby that way :D