It’s been a big weekend, dear reader… We travelled to Mexico City to see old friends, we solemnly remembered the fourth anniversary of the deadly earthquake we barely avoided by bizarrely missing a flight, and we celebrated the launch of my dear husband’s first novel.
It was certainly a rollercoaster of emotions!
While the other events loomed large, the publishing of a book – no less one’s first – is a really big deal. Currently there are 129,864,880 books in the world (thank you to the nerds at Google for figuring that out!), however, only one in ten is a work of fiction.
And this is actually quite surprising… The best selling books of all time include first and foremost, the Bible, followed by epics like Don Quixote and Tale of Two Cities, but 2020’s top sellers were “A Promised Land” by Barack Obama, a book on Donald Trump and the recent Stephanie Meyer novel.
It appears that the literary world is not as popular as it once was.
Nowadays folks search for self-help, biographies or… vampire series… but literature has a very long and storied history. Indeed, it goes straight back to Ancient Egypt and Sumer with didactic texts, hymns and prayers, written almost entirely in verse.
Obviously Homer features heavily in this tale of tales, as does Hesiod.
In ancient China it begins with the Hundred Schools of Thought and Sanskrit literature starts with the Vedas in ancient India.
Indeed, it can be found all over the world! As something so ubiquitous and cherished, we have to wonder at its meaning and purpose…. This brings us to this week’s question, one that considering modern trends must be asked:
Why do we NEED literature? What role does it play in our lives and society? And how can we bring its popularity back?
As always, you can write me at [email protected] or reply to this email.
P.S. If you want to check out a modern piece of literary fiction, grab either the hardback copy or the kindle version of Morris, Alive… it’s a refreshingly optimistic journey and a beautiful read… even if the author’s wife says so herself.