Yesterday, a friend asked me to read a paragraph of Paulo Coelho's. I said I do not like him but that got me thinking. If the language is good enough would I ever forget the subject? Or would I give importance to the subject over the language? Is it possible to ignore one over the other?
I have always given importance to the language, but was left wondering about the subject. How are we defining a good book? I almost always read a book depending on the subject, because I expect the language to be good. 7 out of 10 times, it is good, or well, at least I think it is good. I am not just talking of the spellings and the grammar, I am talking of the language as a whole.
Nowadays, I am not just looking at the blurb, but am actually reading it for a couple of minutes, before I buy it. Because I am looking for literature in the language. Where is it? With books adapting the so-called modern language, are we not missing out? Perhaps, yes and no… I’m not trying to deny the expression of the language as it is, today. That is the way people talk and that goes, but I still wonder.
And so, while I continue to read a Saki and a P.G Wodehouse, which thankfully have both good language and good subjects, I am also reading a John Grisham and a Mathew Reilly wherein, we have given importance to the subject over the language.
And this is because I do not want to keep wondering about all the books I would be missing, which perhaps have bad language but good content. And here’s hoping that I would never have to choose between the two. (By bad language, I do not necessarily mean bad words, it just means giving importance to one over the other.)
Language is the expression of literature. They should go hand in hand, don’t you think?
And, by the way, I did happen to read Paulo Coelho's, ‘The Alchemist’ and ‘The Warrior of Light’. Have to say, they have both good language and good subjects, but I have never gotten to like him, somehow. :) More to wonder about, perhaps, hmmm…