I've been on a bit of a classic novel kick lately. With the exception of Catcher in the Rye, the last several books I've read were written in the 1800's. In the first half of my list I only have one or two books checked off so it's obvious that I am neglecting the more contemporary books so I decided I needed to start showing the novels of the last few decades a little more love.
I think that a lot of it comes down to hype. The last several books I've tackled were books that are very well known. Books that are synonymous with classic literature. So, when I've been wandering the aisle of the book store, those titles stand out as safe. They've been read and recommended thousands of times, so I feel I'm almost guaranteed to enjoy them.
Yesterday after finishing Little Women, I decided to kill two birds with one stone. I choose to read an unknown (to me) book and a contemporary one at the same time. Broaden my horizons a bit, you could say. I went through the list and picked 4-5 books that sounded interesting to check out at the book store. Then, once I got there and realized that the store had very few of the books on my list in stock, I decided to read Fall on Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald. Apparently, it was an Oprah book club choice at one point, but as I don't watch Oprah, I still had no idea what to expect.
The summary states that it's about a family in Nova Scotia in the early 1900's and the secrets and lies within the family. So the setting is still a bit older but the writing is contemporary, plus, it sounded juicy, which is always a draw for me. What can I say? I'm a girl, we love drama, even when we claim we don't.
So, I immediately dove into the book last night and ended up consuming 70+ pages in no time. When the main character is a grown man who runs off with, and marries, a 13 year old girl in the first chapter, you find yourself compelled to see where this is all going to go, especially since you know it won't be pretty.
One of the main things I noticed while reading, is the difference between the recent book and the 150 year old classics. The writing is so different, like night and day. The older books tend to be a bit more wordy, and sometimes harder to read since I'm not accustomed to the language of the time. I'm able to read a lot faster because I'm not re-reading sections, trying to figure out what is meant by a word or phrase. Also, the more recent books often seem to get to the point quicker. The writing isn't as flowery or as overly descriptive. Although there is something to be said about the beauty and the rhythm of some of the older books.
I think, despite my natural inclination towards the more classic books, it was a good idea to take a break from them and head back into the last 50 years. I was beginning to get burnt out on the 18th and 19th century. I think I'll stick around here for awhile and check off a few more books in the top half of my list.
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