07 January 2012

Literary Blog Hop: Supplementary Reading & Secondary Sources

Literary Blog Hop

It's the first Literary Blog Hop of the year!  This weekend, the good folks at The Blue Bookcase have asked us whether we supplement our reading with outside sources. 

My first reaction to this question was a resounding "no" because I was thinking mostly along scholarly lines. But upon reflection it becomes a qualified yes.  I don't seek secondary sources very often because I'm mostly driven just to go on to the next book, but it does happen occasionally--usually when I'm reading a work of historical fiction and I want to know where the history leaves off and the fiction begins. Not dissimilarly, when I'm reading works of non-fiction and I want to know more about a particular item/concept/theory/place, I'll go to secondary sources to learn more.  One of the last times I did this was after reading Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness, the excellent memoir by Alexandra Fuller.  I spent a little time reading more about Rhodesia online after being appalled by the little bit of Rhodesian history that Fuller provides.  I didn't spend a lot of time on it, admittedly, but I was curious enough to want to know more. 

What about y'all?  How often, if at all, do you turn to secondary sources for your reading?


  1. After I wrote my response to this, I realised that I basically always use Wikipedia to get more information about what I've been reading WHICH COUNTS! But go you with your extra reading! Woo!

  2. I guess in this day and age, with so much information at our fingertips, it's hard not to check up on the things we're reading in one way or another. Historical fiction is a great example and one I didn't even think to include. I read so much historical fiction and fact checking (or learning more about historical events) is just second nature - I wasn't even considering it as supplemental reading!

  3. All I do usually when reading a classic or something very literary is look up the author on the internet.

    But you're right, sometimes books can lead to each other. A while back I read a lot of books set in Africa (but not this one, which is now on my wishlist) and I ended up reading some great non-fiction books to supplement the stories.

  4. I immediately thought 'no' too, because it's not a habit. But then, I realised that I do sometimes! It's not really something I'd thought about before.

  5. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I do read lots of supplementary stuff depending on the book too. There's just not enough time in the day for all this reading....

  6. I am obsessed with it in so many areas. I will watch a movie, then go by the book then look up the author and buy her memoir then read about her father and then see his play. No I am not kidding. Is it ADD or just a thirst for "the reat of the story"?


Please, sir, may I have some more? (Comments, that is!)