Ancient Authors

School days left me void of literature. I keep hearing about friends who read books during their early school years and even had required book lists to work from. I do not remember having such an assignment. Today, and for the past forty years I have given myself a challenge to read fifty-two books a year. To keep things interesting, I mix up fiction with non-fiction. The non-fiction category is not my favorite, but I endure it nevertheless. Then comes fiction, and I have often spoken about John Steinbeck being my favorite author. He wrote about the Great Depression and the times he lived, and I find that hearing his descriptions fascinating. Another favorite author is James Michener, who based his fiction on real history and included genealogy, geology, astronomy, astrology, ancestry, and much more in describing the era of his work. His stories were never short.

When I browse my library for material it is very easy to stay in the new fiction genre. After a few of these reads they begin to sound alike, so the next time I will head for the stacks to find an author whose name I know, but have never read. This time I decided to check out William Faulkner. His works were published in the forties, and fifties. I selected a volume which has his first four works combined into one volume. I’m reading Go Down, Moses. I suspect this story would be banned by most schools because of the use of the word ‘nigger’ to describe former black slaves who were working as free men but living like slaves in abject poverty. Faulkner does a credible job of formalizing the pronunciation of the black vocabulary, but it is not easy to read. Combine that with the very small print used to fit the four novels into one volume of 1072 pages, and it is slow and hard to comprehend.

At this point in the book I am still unable to formulate whether I like the story or the writing. I will endure this first work and move on to the next one just to save a trip to the library.

2 Responses

  1. I constantly admire the ability of some of these writers to piece together epic stories. They just keep moving. The sweep is vast. They manage to string together the little details neatly, often interspersing them with real events. The first such book I recollect reading a long long time back was Shogun by James Clavell.

    • I remember watching the movie. Maybe it is time for me to read the story.

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