Imagine going to Indonesian or Saudi bookstores finding shelves upon shelves of award winning novels, written by local authors who have won at least one of the major literary awards.
Imagine the long line of people lined up to meet and greet the author, each of these readers familiar with the major classical works by Homer, Voltaire, Elliott, Yeats, Melville...each knowing the value of the book they have bought and plan to read.
Imagine, finally, how long it would take for the Saudi and Indonesian reader to develop a taste for high-literature, to be able to analyze and discuss a book evenly, and then transfer the values they have reaped from these book into their ordinary lives.
By my calculation, based on theories of cliodynamics and psychosocial psychology, it would take at least 300 years for these imaginings to take place. God shall not install a miniature of heaven for a regular Saudi and Indonesian any time soon.
The structure of my study is like this:
- Aligning the Psychosocial Stages and Hierarchy of Needs with Reading trends
- Quick study of the cliodynamics of English Literature based on theories of Developmental Psychology
- Understanding the current state of Indonesian and Saudi literature based on the previous posts.
- Summary, Suggestions, Reminders, Reasons
- Side Notes (because when I got depressed while writing this study, the notes kept me afloat.)
Why Indonesian and Saudi literature?
- Credibility: I'm a literate Saudi-Indonesian with background in English literature and psychology. Rest assured, you're reading the ramblings of an educated madwoman.
- Saudi Arabia and Indonesia are huge countries by a lot of standards. Saudi holds the largest oil reserve in the world; its residents are comfortable and educated. Indonesia has a quarter-billion people living in it (compared to the US, 315 million). Yet, the literary output in Saudi and Indonesian literary scenes is miniscule compared to the size of the country's population and comfort. Why?
- Understanding the reason behind the lagging of Saudi and Indonesian readership (again, in comparison to population and livelihoods), should lead to these results:
- Find the easiest and fastest way to fix the sorry readership trends in both countries
- Develop a blueprint for a long-term project in fixing the reading and writing trends. Then break down the long term plan into doable daily objectives on the individual scale.
- List encouraging reasons for Indonesian and Saudi writers to keep writing, and readers to keep reading.
I'm going to publish these posts in parts over the next few days, during which you can plug in your feedback through email: alia(dot)makki(at)gmail(dot)com, twitter (@Hning) or the comment box below.
By the end of the series, I plan to bundle up all of these posts in a PDF and epub format to make it easier for you to read in a single shareable, offline, on-the-go file. God willing, I would like to incorporate your feedback and discussion points in that final file. Okay? So keep your notes handy and fire them up with your thoughts. As a reader, this is going to be about you too after all.