The Man in the Iron Mask
The Count of Monte Cristo
Okay this is not my usual pass time. Victor Hugo is rolling over in his grave. Charlotte Bronte is fainting with shock. Alexandre Dumas, well he's a little scary, I'm sure he's fine. Rolling his eyes while mentally locking me in a horrible cell for a decade.
But, while I am not a devoted reader of the classics, I have read a few. Jane Austin, comes to mind. the Brontes (Hint, Wuthering Heights, downer much?) I've read Nathanial Hawthorn (a person can hardly come back from The House of the Seven Gables, for heaven's sakes) and James Fenimore Cooper (Trust me, Daniel Day Lewis is nowhere to be found)
I will summarize this book, RUN! That's it............to go into more detail, Run! Run away from things, run, run toward things, run through beautiful green forest, which are described in excruciating detail all while running!!!!!!!!
I promise you'll read and read and read and come away with NOTHING ELSE! Give up on Danial Day Louis, he's not there!
I have long had this theory that it was not hard to get published in the 17th, 18th and even 19th Century.
#1 few people could read--that knocks out a LOT of the competition.
#2 even fewer people could afford large quantities of paper and ink.
|A lesser known quote from the Hawthorne Family|
Here's your acquiring editor. "Hey, look at this gigantic stack of pages. Here, Nathanial, a contract."
So have you READ The House of the Seven Gables? Here's a hint for survival...at first, just read the first sentence of every paragraph, then later just read the first and last sentence of every chapter.
You'll pretty much get the general idea.
Jane Eyre? Every time Jane talks, it's a sermon. "That's a sin and she's against it."
There I just saved you seven hours.
I will duck my head on this one but I thought I'd read two Jane Austen books, Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice. But I picked up one of them the other day thinking I hadn't read it and....I as I read it, I realized I had already read it. So I may have just read one of her books twice, but I can't remember which one. Pride and Prejudice I think. Unless they are super alike. Then I've read two. Maybe.
I did dearly love The Secret Garden. Written for children. Very embarrassing to admit. And there was one I loved with a princess (or maybe she was just rich) at boarding school who lost her father and her money and was forced to cook and clean. Then her father came back somehow and saved her from cooking and cleaning. (this is NOT the way my father was, we both knew he was completely alive and somehow I still had to cook and clean. Weird)
But I digress.
These books are so WORDY. Even Huckleberry Finn which I loved, but c'mon!!!
Wasn't the cliche, "To make a long story short..." invented yet?
Here's another cliche. "To make a long story INTERESTING."
I remember reading one once and, at the end, the book MADE A POINT. And I closed the book and stared at it in shock and thought, "Huh, who'd have dreamed this was going anywhere?"
So the title of this post.
Did I change...or did the world change
What I mean by that is, was paper truly expensive and very few people owned enough of it to crank out a book?
Or are these books truly ... oh, let's don't say BORING. That would be rude. And no doubt mark me as a savage. (which might be fair?!) And if you watch the movies they really AREN'T boring, but I suspect they have been drastically edited for the silver screen.
But they are SLOW. Let's say they LINGER. Let's say they SAVOR EACH MOMENT.
I mean Huck Finn floating down the Mississippi River, well I loved that. I could feel myself floating, feel the stars in the sky. It's mostly lovely, in a slow motion kind of way. But ultimately, it's just a series of sketches really.
And then they floated
And then they met these guys.
And then they floated
And then they had this experience.
And then they floated
The end is fantastic (once Tom Sawyer shows up and brings it to life--I always have suspected Mark Twain loved Tom Sawyer best) and I really like the floating, but wow, man. couldn't we have an occasional flood or something? Let's pick up the pace!
So when I write, I am looking for ACTION. I really work hard to make my books MOVE. And the books I read MOVE! We get told all the time we have to grab readers from the first line, right? Is it the fault of TV or Video Games?
If my characters are floating on a river, there's better be a waterfall around the next bend and someone shooting down from the banks at them, and maybe some kissing.
So yell at me for dissing your favorite if you want. I can take it. But seriously, The House of the Seven Gables? There are chickens who are like.......inbred maybe??? And the house needs to be painted. I don't remember much else. This Hawthorn guy is alllllllll about being able to afford paper. There can be no other explanation.
I know there are Jane Austen fans here. And of all of the classics I mention she's the least guilty of this.
I'd give the Bronte Sisters a break too, but then I'm a romance nut. Except mostly I like the hero and heroine to end up alive. And to not have mad wives locked in the attic. (Being a slightly mad wife myself, I have some sympathy for Mrs. Lunatic Rochester)
|Now and Forever|
Tell me why I'm wrong.
Convince me to read the Complete Words of Nathanial Hawthorne and Alexander Dumas and James Fenimore Cooper.
Have you read Alexander Dumas? Mr. Torture-the-Hero-While-Putting-the-Reader-to-Sleep?
Leave a comment to get your name in a drawing for a signed copy of Now and Forever.
Shannon Wilde is the middle sister--and the one who loves animals. She's established her own homestead and is raising sheep for their wool. Things are going fine...until Shannon gets swept over a cliff by Matthew Tucker! And things go downhill from there.
And I've got a new SERIES GUIDE on my website that I think is super fun. Go see if it makes sense. Mary Connealy Series Guide