Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “In Praise of Reading and Fiction: The Nobel Lecture” as Want to Read:
In Praise of Reading and Fiction: The Nobel Lecture
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

In Praise of Reading and Fiction: The Nobel Lecture

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  280 ratings  ·  44 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
...more
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published April 12th 2011 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published December 7th 2010)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about In Praise of Reading and Fiction, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about In Praise of Reading and Fiction

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.08  · 
Rating details
 ·  280 ratings  ·  44 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of In Praise of Reading and Fiction: The Nobel Lecture
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
...more
Michael
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...
chvang
Dec 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, essays
In Praise of Reading and Fiction is Mario Vargas Llosa's Nobel Prize speech. Books helped me get through (view spoiler) 2020, so it resonated with me when Llosa talked about how they were both escape,
breaking the barriers of time and space and allowing me to travel with Captain Nemo twenty thousand leagues under the sea, fight with d’Artagnan, Athos, Portos, and Aramis against the intrigues threatening the Queen in the days of the secretive
...more
Claudia
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
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
rahul
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
...more
Kellie
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
...more
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. ...more
Joyce
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
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
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:
https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_priz...
...more
Tracy
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. ...more
Mohammed
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. ...more
Trent Smith
Jun 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
This paen to the power of literature is heady stuff indeed. Well said.
Valisa Iskandar
Dec 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
elegant, lyrical, laconic read a reminder of how beautiful Vargas Llosa's prose is... ...more
George Gonzaga Deoso
So many ideas, so much beauty, in such little piece.
Andrew
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.
Eugenia
Nov 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, speech
Poetic and beautiful.
Bibliophile
Jul 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
So many profound quotes in this lecture.
Hunan Rostomyan
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of the best things I've ever read. Inspiring, beautiful. ...more
Amelia
Feb 21, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not a lot of this was actually -in praise of fiction- but still quite interesting
Kiko
Apr 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
A good reminder on the joy and power of literature. I was hoping that he would talk about the essay form but it was concentrated on fiction and a bit of theater.
seriy moon
Nov 08, 2020 rated it liked it
intriguing
Reviews by Deborah
Jun 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
The story builds nicely with all the different teams giving an incite into their respective views on events.
Lashanda
Jun 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The characters were believable and I enjoyed the humanity added along with the main theme of the book.
Claudia
Jul 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A solid 5 star effort!
Sahar Khalid
Jul 17, 2021 rated it it was ok
This quote from his speech is so true and so beautiful :
We invent fictions in order to live somehow the many lives we would like to lead when we barely have one at our disposal.
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • パン屋再襲撃
  • Vita meravigliosa
  • Resteranno i canti
  • Orange 5 (オレンジ, #5)
  • Orange: Future (Orange, #6)
  • Orange 4 (オレンジ, #4)
  • Orange 3 (オレンジ, #3)
  • Orange 1 (オレンジ, #1)
  • Orange 2 (オレンジ, #2)
  • My Twentieth Century Evening and Other Small Breakthroughs: The Nobel Lecture
  • The Tomb
  • Che cos'è la narrazione
  • The Poetry of Rilke
  • The Strange Library
  • Poesie
  • Our Story: A Memoir of Love and Life in China
  • Bhagavad Gita According to Gandhi(tr)
  • اولریکا و هشت داستان دیگر
See similar books…
6,756 followers
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

Related Articles

Essay collections offer a unique kind of reader experience, one that can be rewarding in a different way from novels or even other types of...
65 likes · 5 comments
“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.”
11 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.” 6 likes
More quotes…