Posted: 10/24/2005 in books

This item on the Guardian’s arts blog, and the comments, made me giggle and feel not quite so alone in the universe. There are other people out there who have force-read themselves through Anna “f@#^ing” Karenia, The Alchemist (sub-titled: You have to travel half way around the world, get beaten up, loose a fortune to find the “richest” you were sitting on all along) and Moby Dick (to name just three). There were even some mad buggers who have tried Clarrisa (watch the mini-series with Sean Bean instead). I hauled myself through her half-sister (Pamela) and which was bad enough.

On a serious note, though. I don’t buy books to impress people, I read books to intimidate. Leave a copy of The Iliad on the reception desk and you’ll have them running for cover. Leave a copy of The DaVinci Code and you wont be able to shift them. Sit in a cafe reading Jude the Obscure, and deflect an idle “Are you a English Lit student?” with, “No, I read Hardy for fun” and you will have them whimpering into their half-caf, no whip, skimmed mocha. Pen, sword and mightier spring to mind.

  1. Benjamin Wade says:

    Hi, I’m Ben, I read your blog often, but not yet left a comment. I’m a classics student myself (second year). Nice to meet you!

    I often enjoy your musings on book and film (and a particularly delicious post recently about the three philosophers!), but I personally don’t understand why someone would want to read to intimidate people, what is the point in that? Furthermore, I don’t believe that books should intimidate people. Why would you want to alienate yourself like that anyway, you wrote in a previous post that you don’t have many friends, doesn’t that make you sad to ‘repel’ people in such a way? Why don’t you simply read for enjoyment?
    As a saying, ‘the pen is mightier than the sword’ is about how the power of the word is more effective than violence or force. Who are you fighting, and why? What are you trying to prove – to yourself and others? Surely the point of education, one of the most wonderful things about it, is that we can share with each other, not use your knowledge to make others feel inferior? Just a few thoughts…

  2. Leah says:

    Hi Ben, pleased to meet you and thanks for stopping by to read my ramblings 🙂 Can I be nosy and ask where you are studying and how you came about my blog? I am actually going to answer your comments in a separate post..but, I just wanted to say hello and let you know that I sprinkle a little artistic liscene on my posts. I have no intentions of harming anyone in the forseeable future with a book, pen or sword!

    PS. I know my mum will read this…so I aplogiuse for the spelling mistakes.

  3. Ben Wade says:

    I’m studying at Exeter Uni, the classics department here is awesome.
    It must be pretty hard to be learning classics by distance, I imagine it will take a lot of dedication, but good luck, it will be worth it. Are you taking a language?

  4. Leah says:

    Unfortunately no language to the course, but I am aiming to take some latin or ancient greek courses locally next yr. Any suggests about the best way to start, Latin or Greek first?

    The distance learning route does require a healthy dose of dedication and will power, but I am finding it v rewarding. The e-degree environment does mean you are not too isolated from the other students. There are online seminars and message boards to keep in touch.

    The SW is one of my favourite parts of the UK. In fact I nearly ended up at the Cambourne School of Mines, but that was another life time.

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