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In Praise of Reading and Fiction: The Nobel Lecture

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  234 ratings  ·  35 reviews
On December 7, 2010, Mario Vargas Llosa was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. His Nobel Lecture 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 eng
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published April 12th 2011 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published December 7th 2010)
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Glenn Russell
Nov 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing

“‎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
Apr 04, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
"English below"

نیمه اول کتاب ناامید کننده بود و از چنین نویسنده مشهور و تاثیرگذاری انتظار نداشتم که پا را از حوزه فکری خود فراتر بگذارد و به طور آشکار تمام پیشرفتهای دنیا را مرهون لیبرال دموکراسی بداند و غیر از آنرا بربریت بنامد. به نظر من، تنها یک ارزیابی غیرسیستمی و غیرخطی از رژیم های سیاسی می تواند به چنین نتیجه گیری منجر شود و تمام آثار جانبی دخالت ها و اثرگذاری همین لیبرال دموکراسی بر بربریت جدید را فراموش کند. برای نمونه، ملی گرایی را به عنوان ترسناک ترین مسئله در امریکای لاتین معرفی میکند
040717: there is nothing more to say in arguing the value of reading and fiction. i agree with llosa that there must be pleasure in our reading but that pleasure is different for everyone. i try to read much world literature, thus much translation, and would like to believe that this act by itself is its own justification. if you readers have a sense of personal history, remember when you first read, do you even need someone to laud reading? not if you use this website...
Nikola Jankovic
Pa dobro. U govoru koji pročitaš za pola sata, ima svetlih i tamnih strana.

Ono na šta bi trebao i da se odnosi, bar prema naslovu, je svetlo. Iako ne uvek originalno. "Bili bi lošiji bez knjiga koje smo pročitali", "čitanje je protest protiv manjkavosti života" ili "stvorili smo fikciju kako bi živeli mnoge živote koje bi voleli da živimo, iako imamo samo jedan na raspolaganju". Sve su to lepe rečenice, ništa previše filozofski, ali nekako feel-good za nas koji volimo da čitamo.

S druge strane, b
Tyler Jones
Dec 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing

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
Mar 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
"Non bisogna confondere il cieco nazionalismo e il suo rifiuto dell’«altro», sempre seme di violenza, con il patriottismo, sentimento sano e generoso, di amore per la terra in cui si è nati, in cui sono vissuti i propri avi e si sono forgiati i primi sogni, paesaggio familiare di geografie, esseri amati ed episodi divenuti pietre miliari della memoria e scudi contro la solitudine. La patria non sono le bandiere né gli inni, né apodittici discorsi su emblematici eroi, ma una manciata di luoghi e ...more
Dec 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ebk
Those were good times, when writer got the Nobel Literatur prize and were happy to oblige. This year Mr. Dylan was too busy but I don't really care as he is a singer and not a writer to me. So it was good to go back to 2010 and one of my favorite author ever.

Erano bei tempi quando gli scrittori ricevevano i premi Nobel per la letteratura e ne erano felici. Quest'anno il signor Dylan era troppo impegnato, ma personalmente me ne importa proprio poco considerato che dall'inizio mi é sembrata una pe
Aug 05, 2016 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
Khaldun Chaloob
Dec 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
الكتاب يحوي مقابلة الاتصال الهاتفي لماريو لمن فاز بجائزة نوبل عام ٢٠١٠ و يتبعه رسالة القبول او سميها شنو تريد.
بالرسالة يحجي ماريو عن الأدب، القراءة و الكتابة و شلون صنعوا، هلشغلتين، ماريو فارغاس يوسا الروائي الطاگ.
بالاضافة للسياسة، الفَن، الدين و المجتمعات و سلوكياتها.
الرسالة شيقة جدا، و ممتعة، كل سطر يكاد يكون كووت.
Scott Wilson
Jan 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I happened to read this today (it's very brief, though deep), and I'm counting as a pre-emptive remedy to the agony sure to accompany tonight's State of the Union address by Donald Trump. Art and imagination have the power to fight tyranny and despotism. There's more to it than that, but for today, all reminders of this essential truth are welcome — none more than this one, so eloquently argued and urgently lived.
Apr 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Este discurso fue tan bueno como se podría imaginar de tal autor como Vargas Llosa. Al recrear para el lector el poder de la literatura de darnos más vidas para vivir y permitirnos imaginar un mundo mejor, Vargas Llosa enfatiza porque es importante que esta maravillosa creación humana continúe. El comparte, en una manera que todo joven lector puede entender visceralmente, como la lectura se convirtió en su escape y al mismo tiempo le dio alas para ver un futuro más allá de sus problemas. Igualme ...more
Victor R&M
Jan 28, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
“Por eso, las dictaduras deben ser combatidas sin contemplaciones, por todos los medios a nuestro alcance, incluidas las sanciones económicas”.
Elogio de la lectura y la ficción (2010), Mario Vargas Llosa (Literatur-Nobelpreisträger 2010)

Hay ideas que me han parecido terribles y decepcionantes como esta, donde se hace evidente un pensamiento egoísta y desapegado de las clases más desfavorecidas que son las que sufren verdaderamente este tipo de acciones.
Siempre es interesante conocer la
Jun 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Jan 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
"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
Katrina Anderson
Jan 29, 2014 rated it liked it
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
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:
May 18, 2015 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.
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
Jul 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
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.
George Deoso
So many ideas, so much beauty, in such little piece.
Valisa Iskandar
Dec 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
elegant, lyrical, laconic read a reminder of how beautiful Vargas Llosa's prose is...
Jun 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
This paen to the power of literature is heady stuff indeed. Well said.
Dec 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“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 from 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 bette ...more
Zachary Rudolph
Nov 09, 2017 rated it liked it
“I carry Peru deep inside me because that is where I was born, grew up, was formed, and lived those experiences of childhood and youth that shaped my personality and forged my calling, and there I loved, hated, enjoyed, suffered, and dreamed. What happens there affects me more, moves and exasperates me more than what occurs elsewhere. I have not wished it or imposed it on myself; it simply is so.”

Yan Sham-Shackleton
Every so often it’s good to be reminded that fiction can be more than entertainment. It can change hearts and topple totalitarian regimes. That there are people who still truly believe in democracy and appreciate the freedoms we have and reminds us to be vigilant.
Nov 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, speech
Poetic and beautiful.
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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

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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.”
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