the _alf blog

Friday, August 18, 2006

The Alf encourages people to read classic fiction

Not too long ago a friend of mine and I were eating lunch together, and he told me he'd recently read a number of stories by Louis L'Amour. My reply was, of course, "What? Isn't that Western? Cowboys and Indians stuff?"

He simply said "Yeah, but it's cool."

After reading several of the "Sacket" series, I figured out what he's talking about. The thing I got out of it was that a real writer can truly immerse you in his world - make the you feel the characters' problems, understand the strength, the fears, etc.

From reading Louis L'Amour you end up with a real feeling of depth into the frontier of this country a couple hundred years ago. And, from what he writes, I assure you it was not a matter of just some cheesey shoot-em-up tails; but rather an adventurous treck of survival on the frontier. Sure, some people get blown away with revolvers, and of course many of the stories have some pretty girl involved - but if you're comparing to some one-hour-fifteen-minute Western you saw on public television in the 90's, oh man is it a different deal.

What's more, this is just a simple example of the effect that a piece of quality literature can have. This is an experience you just don't get from watching TV or reading a newspaper. And while reading literature can in itself pull one away from reality enough to disrupt one's life, it is my observation that allowing oneself to be immersed in one's own self-created reality, guided by the author, is a much healthier experience than a continual corpse-like infusion of someone elses pictures from the television.