Booking Through Thursday: Now or Then?

Do you prefer reading current books? Or older ones? Or outright old ones? (As in, yes, there’s a difference between a book from 10 years ago and, say, Charles Dickens or Plato.)

While I theoretically don’t have a preference, since I like to think I gravitate more towards quality than newness, in practice, books published after 1950 dominate my reading list. The few old books are mostly classics–Ivanhoe, for instance.

It could be the long-winded writing style I sometimes see in 1800s novels that I don’t like, or the fact that I naturally gravitate towards fantasy, which Tolkien downright invented in 1954, although I do have a handful of pre-Tolkien fantasy novels on my reading list to educate myself about the genre. Maybe it’s a subconscious inclination for female protagonists. I can’t really explain myself here, but it might be because I’m fairly young and an English major in college–any desire to read classics is covered by my classes at the moment. I’m taking a class about race and Shakespeare (mmm, Shakespeare’s race issues) and an author study about Jane Austen, which should prove fascinating, although I will have to read Emma again. Thus, I don’t feel the need to seek out classics in my personal reading.

19 thoughts on “Booking Through Thursday: Now or Then?

  1. A whole class about race and Shakespeare? Sounds fun! Whenever I hear about cool English classes on very specific topics, I really wish I could still do college courses.

  2. I honestly think that most of us prefer more current books simply because they are easier to read. Classic literature is often written in a very different language than what we use today (even if they’re both English). Or maybe it’s just me…

  3. I replied that it doesn’t matter when a book or story is published, so long as it’s a good story.

    I have found in the case of some books that they go out of print for a reason.

    The biggest example was a novel by John Norman that was part of a sci-fi and fantasy book club I’m part of.

    I didn’t make it through all of it, though reading it out loud in Monty Python voices was amusing…

    • Although some books have gone out of print out of neglect. The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck is great, but it’s been out of print for a while. It’s now, mercifully, being reprinted, but for a while there…

  4. Good BBT question today. I’ve been trying to read more classics but haven’t done too well this year. I think I should re-visit the list and see where I’m at. On another note — for all the Austen I love, I never liked Emma. I’d be interested in hearing your take on it.

    The classes you’re taking sound great. Makes me a bit nostalgic and annoyed that all that time I spent in school, including grad school, I never had classes like that. Guess that’s what I get for communications and politics…

    • I’m so glad I ran screaming from political science and towards English- I can tentatively argue copyright laws, but give me a book and I will ferret out the hidden oppressions like nobody’s business. Oh, it’s so delicious.

      I’ve read Emma before, and while the writing was quite sweet and charming, the plot had no tension, since Emma was already quite well-off, so I didn’t quite care. She was going to be in the same position either way.

  5. It does not matter to me when a book is published, it could be a very old good book or boring, just like a best seller, it all depends on my mood but I love current books a little more.

  6. That’s a Shakespeare class I’d love to take! My SF/F reading is from the 1900’s and up. For fiction and mystery, it’s 19th century and down. I love classic lit, but don’t think I’ve ever read any Austen. She’s one of the authors that has slipped through the cracks.

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