Then and Now!

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Here’s a glimpse of my reading corner. I’m sure all of you writers and readers can empathize. A quick perusal will show that,  while I do read current stuff,  I’m still mired in the old school classics. Of course there’s my NEW 2016 marketing book… sigh.

But what I really want to talk about is the classic lying atop dear Kristen Lamb. (no pun intended!) If you can’t make it out, the book is Fathers and Sons by Turgenev. Yes, Ivan Turgenev…who in the hell reads that? you might ask.  Well actually that’s a good question.

Many years ago, I took a course in Russian Lit. and one of the assigned novels was this very book…which I didn’t read and consequently made a D on the next test. I, being a pretty dismal student at the time, blamed the D on Turgenev and his stupid novel. I think I managed to get a C out of the course.

But all of that aside, I have now picked the book up and started reading it. This copy I purchased for five bucks from Ebay. (By the way, I’m addicted to Ebay, but that’s another blog.) So I have the book, and I picked it up and started reading. Damn, I love it.

Now my question is this? As a late teen, was I simply too young for this book?  What are the implications for my own writing? If I write a novel about a fortiesh married man who has an affair or wants to have one or fails at having one, can I expect a nineteen year old or a twenty-five year old to truly give a crap?

I don’t know. Well, this poor blog has gone absolutely nowhere, but have any of you had this particular experience: reading and enjoying a novel that many years before you had hated or shunned? And if so does that give you pause?

 

 

 

 

 

 

14 thoughts on “Then and Now!

  1. Robyn

    I was forced to read Crime Passionel in my [extreme] youth [ahem], and it is still on my bookcase. I find that taking it down from time to time really helps with blocking a pesky draft from the living room door. But unseriously, I feel your pain. I guess it’s about personal evolution, imo. We change and we [some of us, anyway] evolve, and that includes writing as well as reading. At school, the powers that be thought it would be an excellent and life enhancing idea to feed us large globs [urgh] of Auden, Shakespeare and some bloke called Betjeman. And guess what? Yup, that’s right, now I think they’re amazing, particularly my beloved Sir J!

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    1. paulabroome427 Post author

      You make a valid point. It is about personal evolution. Of course the college profs could care less. I remember one colleague of mine once suggested that we change the required Sophomore lit course “Introduction to Literature” to “Farewell to Literature.” I thought and still think that to be an apt remark! 🙂 The system doesn’t change or at least it takes a long while to do so, but we do. You are so so right. Thanks!

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  2. Iona

    For some reason I seem to have a natural attraction to Russian literature (Turgenev has long been on my ‘to read’ list). Crime and Punishment may be my favourite novel of all time. I see also you have Whitman there– Whitman, Emerson, and Thoreau are holy writ as far as I’m concerned!

    I do think that reading matures along with age (or, perhaps it ought to mature, at any rate). I only recently read Dante (at age 45)– certainly something I felt no compulsion to do when I was younger– and it was well worth it. When we’re young, we’re inexperienced with life’s ambiguities and complexities, we naturally hold certain prejudices, and by simply having less self-awareness, our comprehension is limited. Given time, patience, and desire, we can slowly learn to overcome these (often self-imposed) boundaries. The exposure is certainly worth the effort– no one, no matter how mature, will be able to pick up on all the resonances an author brings forth on a first read anyway.

    I know for myself that in the past five years or so I’ve delved more into older literature (like Dante, Montaigne, Vergil), and finding myself more at home there than with contemporary writing– something I could not have imagined 20-odd years ago.

    There is also the joy of returning again to certain writers who were essential to one’s own life at an earlier age (like, say, in my case, Whitman or Emerson) and discovering new depths which had previously gone unnoticed. Such perennial books are never ‘finished’. They keep drawing you back into a dialogue, speaking like old, intimate friends.

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  3. JoHanna Massey

    Looks like you have some winners for sure in your stacks. I never enjoyed Emily Dickinson until I took a MOOC last year on Poetry and she was one of the featured writers. I now appreciate her writing and her life so much.
    Wonderful post. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. paulabroome427 Post author

      Why thank you! You know, Emily Dickinson is the one poet I keep coming back to. I’ll open the Complete Poems and dang near every time there’s one poem that’s going to knock me off my feet. Oh, and thank you for following my blog. I haven’t been overly active lately, but I hope to get more into the blogging scene. Your blog looks great by the way so you’ll hear more from me soon! Thanks again!

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  4. Mary Job

    Oh yeah, you surely can’t be who you where yesterday, neither will you be who you are today, tomorrow. We learn everyday and things that didn’t appeal to us previously may be well worth given attention today. Your selection is on point though.

    Like

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    1. paulabroome427 Post author

      Whoa! What a dear you are! Thank you so much for thinking of me. But now I need to put the challenge on hold for now…gaaaa. sorry. I don’t have so many followers and half the ones I do have are like kinda grumpy and all so I’ll put the challenge on hold for now, but not our friendship!
      You blog is soooo cool.

      Again thanks,

      Paul

      Liked by 1 person

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