These college days, literature is as controversial a subject as the private lives of Irish politicians. It has the ability to cause disaster and havoc in the world with huge difference in opinion while simultaneously creating harmonious, lifelong friendships.
One noteworthy example is 2012’s The Casual Vacancy. This time last year, WWIII seemed imminent when the acclaimed Harry Potter author JK Rowling released a new novel about the running of a county council after the death of its chairman.
What commenced was a battle of the ‘Potter heads’ vs. the ‘Twihards’ (and a few local councillors voicing their much appreciated opinions), therefore you were easily forgiven for pre-ordering your suit of armour from Argos. Tastes in books vary now more than ever, highlighting that young people today are still reading.
But reading what exactly? It’s all very well to be indulging in character building, soul-refining Men’s Fitness or Xposé magazine, but what about the classics, the landmarks of the written form?
Even when facing the dreaded Norton Anthology of English Literature ( have you seen the size of that thing?), it’s hard to forget how Rhett Butler(with added swag) left with the wind, how Mr De Winter cleverly murdered Rebecca, or how Charlotte Bronte respectfully downplayed Jane’s airs and graces! At the best and worst of times (the back row of Boole 4 anyone? – that one's for the UCC students – Ed), it’s nearly impossible not to be swayed by the ferocious currant of the Romantics, gliding their way through the ages.
To a certain degree, it is widely thought that old fashioned ‘manual’ reading has been lost to technology – so many electronics and a lack of paper and ink. However, in spite of the Facebook and Twitter invasion, approximately 400 books are published each day in America alone.
A constant source of inspiration
In this very real time of recession and atmospheric gloom, we can be certain that the gifted writers will not become gift-less, the philosophers thoughtless. Literature, in every form, will live on and continue to inspire us to discover, learn and escape into the subconscience of the universe.
On a final note, the first time you spot your grandmother (and it will happen), glasses perched at the very tip of her nose, engrossed in a strikingly familiar novel, will be an unearthly experience. Especially striking as the cover reads: “Twilight – Filming behind the scenes!” I give you fair warning.
Isn’t it strange to think how something so individual, so personal as reading a favourite book by a crackling fire, a poem under the afternoon sun or a treasured childhood story, becomes an entirely universal matter of importance once it lands into the hands of ‘the grandmother’.