Let’s Talk Bookish – The Writing Styles of Classics & Contemporaries

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, created and hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books and Dani @ Literary Lion, where we discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

You can find more details about it here.

I haven’t read lots of classics this year, but this is actually what I tend to prefer reading. I think it’s mostly due to the fact that I love history, and so there’s no better way to immerse yourself in a historical period than to read a book written then. There is also something about the language that is completely different. Yes, it is a little trickier to read but I find the writing style so much more beautiful, in general. It’s often that I read a chapter from a Victorian novel and don’t really pay attention to the plot because I’m too engrossed in the lyrical quality of the text. Of course, this is not always true and I can feel the same way for book that were recently published. Also, I love descriptions, context, backstories, and lots and lots of insignificant details – which is something that I can really only find in classics, in general.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

That being said, I love reading contemporaries as well but for different reasons. I get different things from different books, which sounds obvious I know, but it’s so true! Contemporary novels allow me to find characters I can relate to a little bit more, and they allow me to get in touch with the world that surrounds me. I like to read them to make sense of my own experience as well, and understand why I feel the way I do. They also enable me to see our society through someone else’s eyes, someone from a different background or country. 

Even though classics are my absolute favourites, I don’t think they should necessarily be prioritised at school. Literature should be made enjoyable to students, and I know that it’s difficult to get enthused about books after studying the same five old dead white men all your life. Of course, authors like Shakespeare and Dickens are at the basis of the English-speaking world’s pop culture, but would it not make sense to also study more contemporary writers who represent another part of the population? We need to introduce more varied texts in the curriculum, written by women, working class and BAME authors. I think we also need to make sure that each of this text is compelling and thought-provoking. Reading is so, so important and needs to be promoted a lot more at school because it teaches us to think critically – something more important than ever.

Well, I got a bit carried away there, but this is  a topic I’m really passionate about! I was really thinking about this when I read The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett, earlier this year. I think it would be such a great book to study at school since it tackles so many important topics. I think this is a book that could potentially become a classic in a few decades, but maybe I’m biased because I loved it so much.

Do you prefer classics, contemporaries or both? I would love to know everyone’s thoughts on this topic and if you do too, you should definitely check Rukky’s and Dani’s posts to find out more.

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