Friday, 16 September 2016

September 16, 2016 Chautauqua

Beth's Ponderings

   “With books, I am promiscuous.” – Heather Sellers

   That quotation is a pretty accurate description of myself, and my reading habits.

   I have always been a reader.  There are even pictures of me as a toddler, sitting on the couch, with a large book on my lap.

   And, for anyone who knows me well, my reading choices can be, and usually are, quite eclectic!

   While I tend to read romances or historical novels on the fiction side, I also enjoy a good western or Christian novel too.  On the non-fiction side, that is where the promiscuity really comes into play.

   At any given time, I will have four or five books on the go as I alternate between them.  Some days I may read a chapter in each, other days, I may only pick up one or two to read.  The subject matter is diverse enough - cooking, history, technology, self-help, inspiration, etc. - that I don’t tend to get them mixed up.  The reason for the diversity is because some days I like something light, some days I feel like learning a new skill, and some days I can handle delving into a heavier subject.

   I was thinking about my reading habits as I recently watched a university lecture on Greek and Roman history.  The professor made the usual disclaimer that we can’t necessarily take the ancient literary sources as revealing historical fact, even as we use those sources to learn about the history of the era.  Homer’s “Iliad” may refer to historical events that happened, but it isn’t a historical documentation of those events.

   That got me thinking.  While we can easily distinguish whether a contemporary book is fiction or non-fiction, and if the non-fiction book is factual or allegorical, would someone thousands of years in the future be able to make that same distinction?  Especially if they only had a selection or a fragment of the whole book?

   Would they be able to tell that John Grisham and Danielle Steele were writing stories that weren't true, though they reflected the world as we know it?  Would they be able to tell that many of our religious writings are allegorical, not historically factual?

   How would you want our lives to be revealed in the future?


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