Books vs. Literature

Discussion in 'Books & Comics' started by snelling101, May 5, 2009.

  1. snelling101

    snelling101 Registered Member

    What is the difference between a book and a piece of literature?

    Definition for the term book:

    • a written work or composition that has been published (printed on pages bound together); "I am reading a good book on economics"
    • physical objects consisting of a number of pages bound together; "he used a large book as a doorstop"
    Definition for the term literature:

    • creative writing of recognized artistic value
    • the humanistic study of a body of literature; "he took a course in Russian lit"

    So according to the definitions, a piece of literature is in essence greater then a book.

    Agree/Disagree? thoughts? comments?
     

  2. Sim

    Sim Registered Member

    Agreed. The word "book" refers to the medium, the term "literature" to the content.
     
  3. NINnerd

    NINnerd Survived a M&G with Trent

    Exactly. A "book" can be anything. You can have a book on how to change your oil. That isn't really literature, though. Haha.
     
  4. snelling101

    snelling101 Registered Member

    What do you mean, if i think that a book about oil is truly a great book, doesn't that make it literature?
     
  5. NINnerd

    NINnerd Survived a M&G with Trent

    I think you would have problems making your point. Could you point out great literary aspects to a book on changing your oil? Things that can be agreed upon by at least several people and that aren't just your personal opinion?

    I know where you're going with your point, but I think there is a general consensus as to what makes something "literature" in the writing world.
     
  6. snelling101

    snelling101 Registered Member


    I think that most great literary aspects are just opinions, for example when someone says that The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a great book, what makes it like that; because it is a story of adventure, irony, and character growth? but does that mean that non-fiction books can never be considered "literature" ?

    In my mind a book about oil is pretty vague, it could be a book about how oil is made, or how an oil executive, came from rag and riches over night.

    (*note: I am sort of just trying to stir conversation on the point, not trying to disagree on purpose)
     
  7. NINnerd

    NINnerd Survived a M&G with Trent

    A non-fiction book can be full of adventure, irony, and character growth. I don't understand what you mean there.

    Sorry if I was vague about the oil thing. I meant a book/manual on how to change your car's oil.

    I think you are right that it's all opinion. I mean, there are books that are "classics" that a lot of people hate (there's even a thread on boring book here on GF, and most of the books listed are "classics"). However, something being interesting does not make it literature. Being able to point out things like irony, symbolism, a greater meaning, etc. is what would make something literature. But those things can be boring, too. :lol:
     

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