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Old 09-13-2019, 06:33 PM
 
4,993 posts, read 2,414,407 times
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The Road.
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Old 09-15-2019, 01:00 AM
 
Location: Massachusetts
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I love, love, love Victorian fiction, particularly Dickens, so I know what you mean. Unfortunatrly since that time has past no more will be written from that period. But I appreciate modern novels too....they have much to offer but they are different. At the end ofthe day, evolution isn't a bad thing.

So many great books have been mentioned already so I will just add a couple for someone who loves that typoe of fiction -

The Quincunx by Chalres Palliser (intntionaly writtten as an homage to Dickens, but can't fault hime for that!)
Thae Magus by John Fowles (other Fowles novels as well, but this one in particular)
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Old 09-15-2019, 10:33 AM
 
Location: The North Star State
2,625 posts, read 799,830 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ClaraC View Post
Recently - in the past 20 years or so - I've been so surprised at how very creative writing has become. A book that takes place entirely during a dinner out at a restaurant (The Dinner), a book that's written completely in the form of an alphabetized glossary (A Key to Treehouse Living), a book written entirely in the form of letters and emails (Holy Land), it's night and day from the boring drivel we had to read. The Old Man and the Sea? Tale of Two Cities? snore
As has been noted, the epistolary novel is not new. One example that comes to mind isn't ancient but still goes back a few decades: Stephen King's novella Jerusalem's Lot.

Regarding creative form, it definitely existed in the past. For example, Nabokov's Pale Fire from 1962, which consists of three parts:
First, a (fictional) forward by the neighbor of a poet.
Second, the first 999 lines of a poem (titled Pale Fire) written by that poet, who died before writing the 1000th and final line.
Third, the bulk of the book comprises a series of annotations by the neighbor, who is pompous and self-absorbed and makes most of his elucidations about himself rather than about the poet. Within the indexed notes are a plot.

Though reading the book - flipping back and forth between poem and annotations - can be maddening, the form is audacious and brilliant.

Then there's The World According to Garp and its set pieces of Garp's writing: a short story, an essay, some correspondence, and the first chapter of Garp's breakout novel, The World According to Bensenhaver.

However, I do agree with your general point in writing creativity. Modern writing seems to take more chances with inventive form. This is perhaps a natural development in the continuing maturation of the novel as a form itself, and is probably also due to this being a time in history in the West in which conformity in creative expression in general is at an ebb (happily, I might add!).

Quote:
Originally Posted by turkeydance View Post
The Road.
Worth mentioning not only for its emotional brilliance but for the fact that McCarthy is another author who eschews convention, specifically with regards to punctuation. He uses periods, apostrophes, the occasional comma, and nothing else.
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Old 09-16-2019, 09:28 AM
 
Location: Cochise County, AZ
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Here are a few older authors you may enjoy:

Maeve Binchy try Circle of Friends
Elizabeth Goudge try The Scent of Water
Willa Cather try The Great Plains triology
Pearl S. Buck try anything, she's great


A newer author you may enjoy is Elin Hilderbrand. I really enjoyed Summerland and The Rumor.
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Old 09-17-2019, 06:46 AM
 
Location: Bologna, Italy
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I really like the work of Richard Powers and his books are relatively long.


The Time of our singing is a classic of this century
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Old 09-22-2019, 08:03 PM
 
Location: my little town
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People had more time and persistence for books before television and internet.
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Old 09-26-2019, 04:07 PM
 
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I generally prefer older books, at least before 1960, or, better still, 19th century. The writing just tends to be better, more complex, more engrossing.
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Old 09-28-2019, 01:25 PM
 
Location: The North Star State
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Originally Posted by Cida View Post
I generally prefer older books, at least before 1960, or, better still, 19th century. The writing just tends to be better, more complex, more engrossing.
'better' and 'more engrossing' are, of course, entirely subjective preferences that will vary among individuals.

And 'more complex'? I don't know about that.

Gravity's Rainbow, Pale Fire, An Instance of the Fingerpost, Infinite Jest - I don't see that modern novels are any less complex than older novels. They probably appear to be so in general, but that's just a legacy that the classics are only those older novels that have survived into the modern corpus of popular English works.

At the local library, the NEW FICTION shelves are full of novels published this year. You'll find a lot of novels from last year, but not quite as many - some have been culled out. Look for novels from 2009 and they will be less numerous. The pattern holds as we go back 20 years, 50 years, 100 years, and beyond. The further one goes back in literary time, the fewer representative novels from each year.

The 19th century had its penny dreadfuls and its dime novels. But good luck finding them on the shelf of the closest library. The Classics are essentially a greatest hits collection. The chaff has long since been sifted away and only the wheat of literary yesteryear remains. I suspect that, one hundred years hence, there will be a similar fondness for 'older novels' - ah, that long ago era of the decades before and after 2000, the time of Thomas Pynchon and Cormac McCarthy and Don DeLillo and the like. Those current works deemed unworthy will have been winnowed away by the passage of time and this era will seem so much more literarily worthy than that of the early 22nd century ... because the comparison will again be between the good, the bad, and the ugly of that year against only the cream of turn-of-the-millennium's crop.

As an aside, this effect occurs in many realms. Movies used to be great, right? Gone With the Wind, The Searchers, Chinatown - but that's only because dreck like Firemaidens from Outer Space and Billy the Kid Versus Dracula are all but forgotten (and when they are remembered, it's only for how astonishingly bad they were). Architecture appears to be have once a great field - but only because all the crappy buildings from times gone by have been long torn down. And so it goes.
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Old 09-29-2019, 10:03 AM
 
Location: Cochise County, AZ
1,399 posts, read 951,856 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2x3x29x41 View Post
At the local library, the NEW FICTION shelves are full of novels published this year. You'll find a lot of novels from last year, but not quite as many - some have been culled out. Look for novels from 2009 and they will be less numerous. The pattern holds as we go back 20 years, 50 years, 100 years, and beyond. The further one goes back in literary time, the fewer representative novels from each year.

If most libraries are my local one, any book that hasn't been checked out in over six months (unless it's part of a series) is given to the Friends of the Library to sell. Space is limited. If patrons aren't reading the book, why keep it?
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Old 01-27-2020, 09:41 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deelighted View Post
If most libraries are my local one, any book that hasn't been checked out in over six months (unless it's part of a series) is given to the Friends of the Library to sell. Space is limited. If patrons aren't reading the book, why keep it?

I'd better get busy checking out books I might want to read some day, just to save them!
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