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In Praise of Reading and Fiction: The Nobel Lecture

4.17  ·  Rating Details  ·  133 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
On December 7, 2010, Mario Vargas Llosa was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. His Nobel lLecture is a resounding tribute to fiction's power to inspire readers to greater ambition, to dissent, and to political action. "We would be worse than we are without the good books we have read, more conformist, not as restless, more submissive, and the critical spirit, the engin ...more
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published April 12th 2011 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 2011)
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Glenn Russell
Jul 15, 2016 Glenn Russell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

“Reading good literature is an experience of pleasure...but it is also an experience of learning what and how we are, in our human integrity and our human imperfection, with our actions, our dreams, and our ghosts, alone and in relationships that link us to others, in our public image and in the secret recesses of our consciousness.”
― Mario Vargas Llosa

Have you ever reached page 150 in a 400 page novel and asked yourself: Why am I reading this? What will my finishing this book amount to, really?
...more
Tyler Jones
Dec 07, 2011 Tyler Jones rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: on-reading
I have always loved books but about ten years ago hit hit me like a ton of bricks: Reading good fiction makes us better people. Not "better" in an "it's better to be educated than ignorant" way but better morally; more humane and less violent, more generous and less selfish. I have struggled to explain why this is to people who see literature as life's window-dressing - something nice but hardly essential - with very little success. Finally I've found a book that gives reading and fiction the im ...more
Claudia
Jul 21, 2016 Claudia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is so beautiful, so outstanding! I could have written his words. I'm from South America but lived elsewhere all my adult life. There's no describing this speech. Read it. Feel it. If you are human you will get it. If you are a foreigner in another land and has become every bit a citizen of your adoptive land as you were from your homeland your heart will be moved. And you will, as I did, feel sometimes nearly without words. Nearly in tears. And every bit grateful that someone who loves lite ...more
rahul
Nov 23, 2014 rahul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I was eleven years old, and from that moment everything changed. I lost my innocence and discovered loneliness, authority, adult life, and fear. My salvation was reading, reading good books, taking refuge in those worlds where life was glorious, intense, one adventure after another, where I could feel free and be happy again. And it was writing, in secret, like someone giving himself up to an unspeakable vice, a forbidden passion. Literature stopped being a game. It became a way of resisting ad
...more
David Jones
Llosa's Nobel lecture delivers all the extraordinary and epic qualities of a writer's reminisces pertaining to the value of his craft, his humanitarian efforts, his ethnic/national pride, and the combination of all of these. Llosa brilliantly acclaims the prestige of the Latin American writer and adamantly asserts the indispensability of the fiction novel as a ladder with which to loft mankind to ever higher levels of moral attainment.

The opening record of his phone call in which he learned of t
...more
Alan
Aug 05, 2016 Alan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Accesible. Asombroso. Conmovedor. No dejo de sorprenderme cada vez leo este texto, al que vuelvo una y otra y otra vez en busca de sentido, inspiración y consuelo, por el poder de emocionar que tienen tan breves palabras. Es una lectura obligatoria para entender el por qué de la literatura en nuestros contexto. Propagar la inconformidad, por medio de la lectura y la escritura, mejora nuestro entorno, y nos hace menos peores de lo que seríamos si no lo hiciéramos.

Un texto digno de difusión. Por
...more
Katrina Anderson
Llosa makes the reading of fiction seem noble and an integral part of developing as a intellectual, fair person. He praises fiction for helping keep people tempered by seeing a world outside the one they see and the one that is fed to them. I especially found his few paragraphs on the danger of nationalism fascinating, but wished he would have related it back to reading fiction in a less round about way. His style of writing was engaging to say the least. It flows smoothly and passionately, givi ...more
Kellie
Mar 22, 2013 Kellie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book, used from Fireside Books in Palmer, Alaska, when I picked it up and read on the first page that Mario's mother was moved to tears reading Pablo Neruda.

Llosa is humble and honest in his writing. "If in this address I were to summon all the writers to whom I owe a few things or a great deal, their shadows would plunge us into darkness. They are innumerable. In addition to revealing the secrets of the storytelling craft, they obliged me to explore the bottomless depths of human
...more
Joyce
Jan 12, 2012 Joyce rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Get your nose out of that book," is what my mother said to me numerous times when I was a child, but never would have if she had read "In Praise of Reading and Fiction." Those of us on Goodreads know subjectively why we read, but Mario Vargas Llosa articulates it and gives it a voice. Anyone who does not read, or thinks he/she does not need to read books, fiction, would be well-served by reading this book. I have read most of what Vargas Llosa has written, he being my first introduction to Lati ...more
Tracy
Jun 07, 2015 Tracy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks
Well, so far I'm 100% rocked by Nobel Lectures by Literature laureates. The other one I've read is Toni Morrison's "Language Alone Protects Us," which — what a phrase. It's up there on the list of words I'd have tattooed on my body except it seems like overkill because they're already so stuck in my brain.
Rebecca
Jun 21, 2011 Rebecca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Vargas Llosa mengingatkan kita tentang apa itu sastera, dan apa itu membaca serta mengapa kita tidak akan pernah jemu atau berhenti membaca karya sastera. Sebagai seorang sasterawan besar, idea gagasan pemikiran Vargas Llosa sangat merakyat. Kita tidak akan menemui istilah-istilah rumit dalam syarahan Hadiah Nobelnya ini, sebaliknya, kita akan lebih mengenali sosok peribadi Vargas Llosa daripada zaman anak-anaknya di di Peru, tentang gelisah jiwanya apabila bertemu kembali bapa yang selama ini j ...more
George Deoso
So many ideas, so much beauty, in such little piece.
Sidharth Vardhan
The best part is where the author makes the difference between nationalism and patriotism. While nationalism is defined traits that are negative exclude people - xenophobic, full of superior complexes and boundaries; patriotism is simply love of one's homeland. Never thought of it that way.

Can be found here:
https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_priz...
Elisa
Perché la nostra sarà sempre, per fortuna, una storia inconclusa. Per questo dobbiamo continuare a sognare, leggere e scrivere, la maniera più efficace che abbiamo trovato per alleviare la nostra condizione mortale, per sconfiggere il tarlo del tempo e trasformare in possibile l'impossibile
Mohammed
Jul 05, 2011 Mohammed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 52books
It's a lovely lecture on the importance of literature, of reading and writing, and of fiction. He delves into politics a bit but I found it all to be an important piece of work for any one who enjoys reading books. Very short. Recommended.
Valisa Iskandar
Dec 28, 2011 Valisa Iskandar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
elegant, lyrical, laconic read a reminder of how beautiful Vargas Llosa's prose is...
Trent
Jun 30, 2011 Trent rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This paen to the power of literature is heady stuff indeed. Well said.
Shari
Jul 28, 2012 Shari rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-for-mt
Excellent! Lovely company for those that "teach" literature.
Paulina
Paulina rated it it was amazing
Aug 13, 2016
Hoàng Nguyễn
Hoàng Nguyễn rated it it was amazing
Aug 07, 2016
Jennifer Wang
Jennifer Wang marked it as to-read
Aug 06, 2016
Ahmed H. Mansour
Ahmed H. Mansour marked it as to-read
Jul 31, 2016
Branislav
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Jul 29, 2016
Rizky Wahyujati
Rizky Wahyujati marked it as to-read
Jul 26, 2016
Neeraj
Neeraj rated it it was amazing
Jul 22, 2016
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Jul 22, 2016
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Mario Vargas Llosa, born in Peru in 1936, is the author of some of the most significant writing to come out of South America in the past fifty years. His novels include The Green House, about a brothel in a Peruvian town that brings together the innocent and the corrupt; The Feast of the Goat, a vivid re-creation of the Dominican Republic during the final days of General Rafael Trujillo’s insidiou ...more
More about Mario Vargas Llosa...

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“At times I wondered whether writing was not a solipsistic luxury in countries like mine, where there were scant readers, so many people who were poor and illiterate, so much injustice, and where culture was a privilege of the few. These doubts, however, never stifled my calling, and I always kept writing even during those periods when
earning a living absorbed most of my time. I believe I did the right thing, since if, for literature to flourish, it was first necessary for a society to achieve high culture, freedom, prosperity, and justice, it never would have existed. But thanks to literature, to the consciousness it shapes, the desires and longings it inspires, and our disenchantment with reality when we return from the journey to a beautiful fantasy, civilization is now less cruel than when storytellers began to humanize life with their fables. We would be
worse than we are without the good books we have read, more conformist, not as
restless, more submissive, and the critical spirit, the engine of progress, would not even exist. Like writing, reading is a protest against the insufficiencies of life. When we look
in fiction for what is missing in life, we are saying, with no need to say it or even to know it, that life as it is does not satisfy our thirst for the absolute – the foundation of the human condition – and should be better. We invent fictions in order to live somehow
the many lives we would like to lead when we barely have one at our disposal.”
8 likes
“We invent fictions in order to live somehow the many lives we would like to lead when we barely have one at our disposal.” 4 likes
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