I have only so far read one of Salley Vicker’s books, but I shall be ordering more of them, just as soon as my TBR pile diminshes a little and my book buying ban is lifted!!!
The book I have read is ‘The Other Side Of You’ and at the end of the book, there is some great extra material, which isn’t available on Salley’s site.
Part of this additional content, is an interview that was conducted with Salley, by Louise Tucker of 5th Estate, a place where writers can go to post opinion and debate, try out new material, and where readers can fight back on all the issues that interest them.
There was one question in particular, along with Salley’s candid answer, that I found very interesting and not more than a little controversial … see what you think!
Louise asks … “Do you think that fiction writing has a moral and/or educational purpose? Or can it simply be entertainment?”
Salley replies … “I think a good book must entertain. It’s a great mistake, though not an uncommon one, to believe that good literature must be obscure and abstruse. With a very few exceptions, most great writers are highly readable. But ‘entertain’ is also a rich and serious word. We ‘entertain‘ our guests. This includes, as a rule, giving them good food and drink. I believe a really good book will also have some moral purpose, which is not to say some moralistic purpose (the two are quite different). I don’t believe a book should educate except in the sense of enlarging understanding, which, of course, is the best education. Books that set out with the purpose of educating or improving are dire.”
My Thoughts … I am not so sure that a book which educates is “dire”, although I do agree that a book may be better served as a tool for “enlarging understanding”. However, without books that educate, where would the understanding of anything come from in the first place? ….
Many of my books provide purely entertainment value to me, although many facets of social history and comment may be gleaned along the way, which to me, constitutes me ‘enlarging my understanding’ of a certain event or period.
I think that the only way I originally gained any knowledge or understanding of that same event, would have been from a book or a piece of work, that was specifically designed for the purpose of ‘educating or improving’ my mind to be receptive to the new and unique pieces of additional information that come my way on a daily basis.
I believe that there has to be a mix of literature to fulfill those functions, with books that provide a ‘moralistic purpose’ being as equally valued as those with a ‘moral purpose’
What do you think? … Let me know your thoughts!