Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Timeless

After my post about couples for Valentine's Day, I downloaded a copy of Anne of Green Gables onto my iPod. I hadn't read it in years, maybe even decades. I wondered if I would still feel the same love for it as I did when I read it for the very first time as a child.

I did!
The language is so very different from most of what I read today. On my iPod, the first sentence goes on for pages! Semi-colons have the audacity to appear - three times - in that same sentence.

Lucy Maud Montgomery's style isn't the style I usually read anymore, but I loved visiting with Anne again. The words flow - the imagery is long and lovely. The characters are sweet and true and wonderful.

The Lord of the Rings is another of my favourites, another classic with a very different style from my usual reads - and a very different style from the way I write. I have the books (a glorious boxed set edition) - but maybe I'll see how long Tolkein's sentences are on my iPod too!

Do you have any favourites that are classics - favourites that differ from today's style? And from your writing style?

124 comments:

  1. Both of those are books from my childhood.
    Funny, I recently reread A Wrinkle in Time, and while the story is still as good as I remember, holy LONG adverb-laden sentences, Batman!
    However when I read Mrs. Frisby or Charlotte's Web, which I loved in my childhood and still love today, the read 'clean', 'modern' when I read them now.

    With Viggo as Aragorn, I like watching the LOTR films. :)

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  2. NO WAY! I've never been number two to comment on your blog before, I feel so honored!! Um yes, I LOVE LOTR too!!

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  3. I read Pride and Prejudice in January. I hadn't tackled anything from the 1800s since college. It took me pages to get used to it, just like it took pages for anything to happen.

    What did I read as a kid that was older? Nancy Drew. I don't know if that would be considered a classic!

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  4. Lilo - yup! I can watch ARagorn any old time! :)

    I didn't read Wrinkle until I was an adult - and loved it! But you're right - lots of looooooong sentences!

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  5. Lisa - you ALWAYS make me smile!!! :)

    LotR is such a fantastic story - love it!

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  6. Theresa - In my opinion, Nancy Drew is most definitely a classic!! I adored those books - read every single one - and every Hardy Boys too :)

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  7. I don't know if any of my favorie childhod books are considered classics. I loved the Katy Did books.

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  8. Sharon - I don't know those ones! I'll have to check them out to see what they're about! :)

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  9. I like older books because they have such vivid imagery - something I need to work on in my own writing.

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  10. Helen - me too! I tend to completely gloss over the description in my own writing too. And LMM's is exquisite :)

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  11. I still enjoy reading Jane Austen despite Loooong sentences and the head hopping.

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  12. Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None, and Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird always provide me with great reads despite the changes in style.

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  13. This post make me want to pull out my Anne of Green Gables movies. LOVE that story. As for old favorites, I love Steinbeck. But it's amazing how slow his stories started, at least compared to today's writing.

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  14. Some of the classics that I didn't read before learning all about writing are just too difficult now. But I love the LoTR's too and Narnia.
    Nancy
    N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium, Special .99 through April 30

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  15. VR - head hopping is another style that's gone out of style. I do enjoy it when an author does it well though :)

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  16. Jeffrey - Those are 2 more of my absolute favourites!! When I teach grade 8s I alwyas read And Then There Were None to them. It takes a while to get them adjusted to the style and the way life worked back then, but they love it!

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  17. Julie - I love Anne and there are so many good versions of her story! :)

    I haven't read much Steinbeck - although I did like Of Mice & Men way back in college :)

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  18. Nancy - LotR will never go out of style for me - love it! I never was a huge fan of Narnia as a kid - I'll have to reread it one day and see how I like it now :)

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  19. One classic I can always go back to is The Witch of Blackbird Pond... And I loved AoGG too ! I shall need to reread! Carrots!

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  20. I love Rebecca, I think. The writing is slower than most writing is today... and I love it. It's like drinking chocolate. :)

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  21. I never did read Ann Og Green Gables, wasn't into that sort of book. perhaps I missed something,,,
    Yvonne.

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  22. In the past I've enjoyed Gone With The Wind and the old Ian Fleming James Bond Novels. The styles are quite different from what I write, but I still enjoy them.

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  23. Wonderful books, both of them!! Now I want to reread my Green Gables again!!

    Classics? Victorian novelists, e.g. all of Thomas Hardy's, Bronte's, etc. To be able to get away with these long wonderful languid and luxurious sentences and paragraphs! Sigh.

    Take care
    x

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  24. My daughter when she first found Anne read it like 3 times in a row. she loved it. Just goes to show what a great character will do. Timeless. The classics I loved, still move me - Where the Red Fern Grows.

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  25. Laura - Carrots indeed! Although I had misremembered it as Carrot top.

    I have Witch of BB Pond in my class, but I've never read it - I'll have to fix that! :)

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  26. Bethany - 'like drinking chocolate' - what a fabulous analogy!!! :)

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  27. Yvonne - I loved it - still do! But it's probably a tough read with styles now - I think that first sentence is about 17 lines in the paperback :)

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  28. Anita - I've never actually read Gone with the Wind. I really do have to check that one out too one of these days! There's just never enough reading time! :)

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  29. Old Kitty - there's just something about the way the writers from other generations wrote that is attractive - as long as I'm in the right mood :)

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  30. Laura - so nice to hear Anne is still popular with some of the younger folks too! :)

    I love Where the Red Fern Grows too - it's such a great story!! :)

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  31. I didn't actually discover Anne of Green Gables until the series came out on TV (the same series you have a picture of at the top of your post) but it was love at first sight.

    I've always been a Nancy Drew girl - The Clue of the Whistling Bagpipes being one of my faves (what can I say, I play pipes, I love that Nancy tried her hand at them. Even if she sucked at playing them!)

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  32. I reread favourites all the time - I am nuts about the Anne books - read them all as a red-haired freckle-faced skinny kid and still like them as a white-haired wrinkly faced chubbier woman!
    Another one I went back for was Girl of the Limberlost by Grace Porter something...I really liked it. And I like The Wrinkle in Time forever - didn't read it as a kid - read it for the first time to my kids. The Oz books, all the fairy tale books, The Wind in the Willows and on and on...

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  33. I find it interesting how literary trends have changed over time. I recently re-read The Count of Monte Cristo and couldn't believe all the pages and pages of backstory and description that would never fly today. But it's also still easy to see why it's a classic.

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  34. I absolutely Anne of Green Gables and The Hobbit, though not so keen on The LoR Trilogy. I also love Harry Potter :O)

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  35. Okay, now you're making me think I should go back and read some of my old favorites over again. In ebook form. Not a bad idea.

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  36. Yes - H.P. Lovecraft. He wrote in the 20's, so you really have to have your brain in gear and read slowly to absorb his words and meanings. I'll admit, I'm not much for classics, but I will struggle through one of his short stories. Best horror writer ever!

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  37. I love love LOVE Anne of Green Gables! It's one of my all-time favourites.

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  38. Those are two of my favorites, too. I reread Anne every spring...and I saw the first robins here this morning, so it's about time to get it off the shelf! :)

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  39. H.P. Lovecraft but only short stories.
    I'm not a classics fan. My attention span is too short for all that description.

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  40. Mary - I LOVED Nancy Drew too. I think we had the entire series - with the yellow spines - and I love the Hardy boys as well. :)

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  41. Jules - I enjoyed Poe a lot when I was in university - and of course I do The Raven with my grade 6s when I'm doing poetry :)

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  42. Jan - you listed so many of my favourites! There are SO many good books out there that work when we're kids and when we're adults as well :)

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  43. India - that's another great one! Such a good story line! I don't remember all the backstory - but it's been a lot of years since I've read it and as you say, the story itself is what sticks in my mind.

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  44. Madeleine - Harry Potter is another awesome story! I love it - but I was an adult when it came out :)

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  45. Nichole - you're welcome! It's a little addictive! Although I kind of gave up on Holmes - his addiction just annoyed me too much this time around :)

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  46. Diane - I'm such a wimp, I probably won't ever read his stuff! :) Agatha Christie is another from that era whose work I really enjoy!

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  47. Talli - me too! It's such a fabulous story :) And Anne is one of the best characters EVER!

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  48. Faith - what a wonderful spring tradition! It really is one of my favourite stories of all time :)

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  49. Mary - me too! But I think because I read these when my attention span was much better that I can do them again :)

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  50. Little Women's a fun one I've been reading with my daughters. It's so languid and description-heavy, and at times it feels like a diary more than a novel. But it's great.

    I loved AGG, too! :o) <3

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  51. Leigh - I loved Little Women as well - got a little ticked when Laurie & Joe didn't end up together though... :)

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  52. I love Anne of Green Gables! I have a bunch of favorite books I keep near my bed--you know, just in case the need to read something wonderful and familiar hits. This includes Neil Gaiman, Anne of Green Gables, a few other fantasy novels, my set of Harry Potter, Mary Poppins, some fairy tales, and a few others. They're a variety of styles, and I love them all.

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  53. Sarah - Anne is awesome! :)

    Comfort books! Love them - Harry Potter is in my list as well. I have a couple of Gaiman's books in my classroom, but I haven't read them yet! I have to fix that!

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  54. I guess I don't read much mainstream fiction so I guess when I am in awe of a long sentence I would be talking about a sentence that ran on for three pages like the one in Paul West's book that I read recently. He's an amazing writer but not for those that are just looking for a snappy story line.

    I loved 'A Wrinkle in Time' and still feel Ms. L'Engle was way ahead of her time! What a sci-fi writer!

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  55. I love Agatha Christie, but her writing is so dry.

    I haven't read classics since my college years, but I adored them.

    Sometimes I come across a novel from the 60's and 70's, and the style is very different. Sentences are longer and action isn't immediate.

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  56. Jules Verne and Jack London.

    My two favorite authors from about 4th grade on. Two years ago, I read White Fang with my eldest and loved it just as much as I did the first time around.

    Another childhood favorite is Mrs. Mike, though I admit to still reading it every few years just because I love the characters so much.

    Great post.

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  57. Danette - I love a Wrinkle in Time. I didn't read it until I was an adult though. It's such a great story. Love Charles Wallace & Meg :)

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  58. Medeia - I think I read all of Agatha Christie's book in late elementary & early high school. She's an awesome author. When I teach grade 8 I read And Then There Were None - such a great book! It takes me a lot of explaining at the beginning (class system and language) but the kids end up loving it! :)

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  59. Cat - love both Verne & London! I downloaded a couple of Verne's for my iPod too.

    I don't know Mrs. Mike - I'll have to check that out!

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  60. I just finished Pegasus, by Robin McKinley, who actually uses that "old fantasy" style that I remember from Lord of the Rings - well, maybe not quite that extreme - but she's not afraid of long rambling (and beautiful!) sentences with lots of ellipses and em-dashes and semi-colins. And this book JUST CAME OUT IN NOVEMBER! It took some getting used to; I had to force myself to keep picking it up... but once I did I really started to enjoy it. Most of the time these days our books move so fast they leave you breathless; this was like taking a long, sensual bubble bath. I loved it!

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  61. Margo - I'm surprised a book published that recently has that kind of style! Sounds like a good read - and I find the same thing - a slower style takes me longer to 'get into' the book - but once I'm 'in' - it's awesome!

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  62. I recently read the Sword of Shanarra where author Terry Brooks used very long sentences. He made it work for 700p pages. Not a lot of writers can get away with it. My editor tells me for my style I need to keep my sentences shorter. Especially the action scenes.

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  63. Nancy - you're so welcome! I don't know when I'll be able to get to it - but I'm looking forward to it! :)

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  64. Stephen - I love the Shannara series - I'll have to reread it one of these days. I seem to remember Elf Queen was a favourite. Wren if I remember correctly :)

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  65. My favorites are The Little Prince and Winnie The Pooh. Don't laugh, they are GREAT books.

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  66. Agnes - I wouldn't dream of laughing - those arefabulous books!! I adore Winnie :)

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  67. So many of the old-fashioned books are ones I love. :) Little Women, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, the Little Colonel, Anne of Green Gables. The list goes on and on!

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  68. Elizabeth - you've listed so many good books!! Little Women is another fave & I'd forgotten all about Rebecca too! :)

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  69. I went back to read Staurt Little by E.B White a few months ago. Funny, how the writing was harder for me to understand now than when I was a kid. Weird. I must be getting dumber. LOL

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  70. Jennifer - lol - I don't think so! I felt the same, though, when I reread Tom Sawyer a few years back with my son. I had to stop multiple times per page to explain things to him - whether it was setting, language, prejudice. It was not an easy read.

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  71. I write classic style MG, so it's sometimes not so different to the old books I still love to read--still, there are differences. Some would include The Children of Green Knowe, The Railway Children, Swallows and Amazons. Particularly in the latter, there's a lot more description of process (how they put the tents up, how to make a fire on an island) than I think you'd get away with today.

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  72. Amie - I actually don't know many of these at all - I don't think I've read any of them. I'll have to fix that. Thanks for the suggestions! :)

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  73. Lee - I haven't read Huck in ages and ages. I love the story line. I reread Tom S with my son a few years back and found it a tough go - but I always did enjoy Huck more :)

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  74. I adore Ann of Green Gables. Joanna Spyri's Heidi was a classic I loved as a young girl. I was never so much into TLOTR.

    Denise<3

    Roland Yeomans Blog Tour here Saturday and Sunday. Follow The Bear with Two Shadows!

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  75. Denise - Anne is awesome!!! Heidi's one I forgot all about - I loved that story as a little girl! Those mountains and that dress - loved it all :)

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  76. I tried to read Wuthering Heights, but I seriously didn't get the POV and it bothered me. And I KNOW that makes me a douche, but I just couldn't do it. I hope to read it someday thought, I know how much everyone loves it ;o)

    LOTR is a bit much for me too. My hubs has read them all. Also a maybe someday ;o) I love the Lord of the Flies and The Catcher in the Rye and To Kill a Mockingbird, those I could read over and over!

    Great post ;o)

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  77. I love Oliver Twist and The Great Gatsby. I could reread those over and over. I also find the pleasantries in Agatha Christie amusing.

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  78. Awesome picks. I also love Gone With the Wind ;)

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  79. I love that series. Recently I downloaded the Secret Garden. I want to re-read that.

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  80. the fact that they are different from today's style is what makes classic a classic. LORD OF THE RINGS was such a huge hit in cinemas and the biggest film ever because it brought back classic story telling and healthy moral principles, all of the things we don't have in modern films :(

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  81. Erica - thanks! And you are most certainly NOT a douche!!!!

    Wuthering Heights is a book I really enjoyed in high school, but strangely I have no desire to read it again.

    Lord of the Flies is another of my favourites though - and so is To Kill a Mockingbird!! I could read that endlessly too.

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  82. Charmaine - Agatha Christie is another huge fave of mine. So much fun to read :)

    I get so sad in Oliver Twist - and for some reason Gatsby never did it for me.

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  83. Elisabeth - I really have to read Gone With the Wind one day - I've heard so many good things about it. :)

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  84. Clarissa - Secret Garden is another good one! I haven't thought of it in years! I might have to do the same thing :)

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  85. Dez - you're so right. There really is a stunning lack of morality in today's movies and shows. It's depressing how few venues of entertainment are wholesome any more.

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  86. I still need to read both of those. Anne is high on my list because of how much I LOVED the PBS series or whatever it was. I have tried LOTR several times. I just can't get through the first 3 pages! I need to try again, though.

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  87. Colene - Anne is well worth the time it takes to get used to the long, flowy sentences and imagery.

    The Hobbit might be an easier intro to Tolkein - it's lighter and has more gentle humour in it. Love Bilbo :)

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  88. LotR is one of my favs, but, like you said, it's not written in a modern style.

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  89. Lynda - I love LotR! :) And the style is most definitely not modern! But it sure is wonderful!

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  90. I have the Anne of Green Gables series and read it a couple times as an adult. Also the spin-off Emily of New Moon.

    I just found out the last book of the seemingly-never-ending Earth Children series by Jane Auel (started with Clan of the Cave Bear) is coming out this year, so I'll probably revisit those, since I own the rest.

    Basically, I'm a sucker for a series!
    erica

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  91. Erica & Christy - I read all of LMM's books several times growing up - such great characters!

    I'm a sucker for them too - I don't like letting go of characters I've come to love :)

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  92. Ah yes, isn't it interesting to see how we talk and write changes! Island of the Blue Dolphins - totally different style, but still love it!

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  93. Terry - Island of the Blue Dolphins is another one of my faves!! :) Such a wonderful story - and the language is beautiful!

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  94. I agree that the language in children's classics does seems so much harder to understand than when first reading as child or pre-teen. Why is that?? Maybe our school readers were different than today's as well? I'd like to think my reading has increased in skill rather than decreased. :)

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  95. Lynn - I think that language itself has changed so much. We incoroporate so much slang and so many idioms these days! Society has also changed a lot - we are much more casual in all areas. Fiction reflects the society of the times.

    And I'm pretty sure our skills are increasing! At least I hope so :)

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  96. I feel like I loved books like A Wrinkle in Time and Jane Eyre when I was younger because of the story aspect.

    Now, I read them and love them just as much because of the talent I recognize and admire in the writing.

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  97. Anne - I didn't read Wrinkle until I was an adult. Loved it - but I wonder what magic it would have sparked if I'd read it as a child! Such a wonderful story :)

    It's so nice to go back into a story and find new reasons to love it! :)

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  98. I love "Anne of Green Gables" too. In fact, just last year I read through all eight books. Some of the best weeks ever. (I had to interlibrary loan a lot.) I'm not really a classic lit girl - much more prone to picking up modern stuff - but Anne will always be one I go back to.

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  99. E - The whole Anne series is really one of the best ever! I haven't read the series in ages though - just might have to do that! :)

    I mostly read modern stuff too - but it's nice to slip into an old favourite now and again.

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  100. Greetings,
    Tis I, shy and humble Gary saying 'hello' :_)
    Well, here I am, a Canadian dude living in a small English town named 'Leek'. Leek, evidently was where J.R.R. Tolkien did a lot of his writing for 'Lord of the Rings'. It is alleged that the town of Leek was his inspiration for 'Middle Earth' Judging by the local citizens, I'm not surprised.
    Have a peaceful day and happy writing.
    With respect, Gary aka klahanie.

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  101. Hello shy & humble Gary! So nice to meet you :)

    I didn't know Leek was where Tolkien did his writing! Very cool fact - sounds like the people of Leek love their food & drink & parties ... at least that's the part of middle earth I'm going to assume you meant :)

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  102. Hello Jemi.
    And may I say what a lovely name you have :)
    Apparently, Mr. Tolkien, wrote a great amount of Lord of the Rings in two pubs in Leek 'The White Lion and 'The Quiet Woman'...and no, I'm not going to make some silly comment about 'a quiet woman' :)
    Indeed, the folks in this town like to have a bit of a good time. Sometimes they speak to me. I think they are speaking in English, but I'm not sure.
    Good grief, don't you get a lot of comments :) The most comments I get is when Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet star, 'pawblishes' one of her posts.
    Take care eh and thanks for leaving a comment on my ever so shy and ever so humble, unassuming blog :)

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  103. Gary - thank you! :)

    So glad you didn't make that comment! Although I'm a little surprised the name didn't show up somewhere in the books!

    I bet they think you're another one of us Crazy Canadians - they'll get used to you!

    I do have a lot of awesome bloggy friends - I'm very lucky :)

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  104. I read Anne of Green Gables and the subsequent novels many, many years ago! And I loved them. Now you've piqued my interest in reading at least the first one again and seeing how it makes me feel. (I mentally have to edit out the numerous commas and semi-colons when I read such books!!)

    Thanks for stopping by my blog tonight. I always enjoying "seeing" you!!

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  105. Ann - I'm toying with reading more of the series in the summer, but I've got SO many books on my TBR pile it makes me feel a little guilty! :)

    And I always love dropping by your blog :)

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  106. Fun post; gosh, so many favorites. I love the Wizard of Oz and The Little Prince, etc. It is fun to revisit our childhood. I was a big Nancy Drew fan, too.

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  107. Ella - thanks :)

    Wizard of Oz is awesome - it's another one I didn't read until I was an adult - not sure why - it's my all-time favourite movie!

    Nancy Drew was an awesome series!

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  108. I haven't read Anne of Green Gables in so long, but I loved that story. Only read the LOTR trilogy once, but I love it to this day. Actually, my husband read it to me, but it's an amazing series. I should read it myself someday! Although the movies are pretty dang fantastic, too.

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  109. Carol - ooooo - I'm jealous - your hubby read them to you! That had to be awesome! :)

    I love the LotR movies too - they keep with the feel of the books and you can't go wrong with Aragorn & Legolas!

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  110. Generally, all the classics I love are vastly different from my writing style--Anne of Green Gables, Little House, all the Austens and Brontes...and I love them!

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  111. Lydia - it's fun to compare the differences - and I love slipping into an old favourite! Little House is another awesome series! :)

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  112. Ooh, so many of my old favorites have been mentioned in your comments! I still read LOTR every now and then, though it's not really my preferred genre these days. Might even pull out my old Anne of Green Gables one of these days as well, thanks for the memories! :)

    Hugs,

    Rach

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  113. Rachael - there are so many good ones listed!! I love LotR - I tend to reread it every few years too :)

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  114. I loved Little Women. Like you, I read it years later and was surprised at how different it was compared to today's books.

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  115. Susan - I liked Little Women - but I never got past my annoyance with Jo & Laurie not getting together! :)

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  116. It's fascinating how much the flavor of writing has changed, and what is "acceptable" is so different now. Sometimes, I wonder exactly where all this evolution is headed.

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  117. Susan - the flavour sure moves and evolves - just like society and oral language I guess! It will sure be interesting to keep an eye on things :)

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  118. I adore Lord of the Rings. I either read it, listen to the
    audio books, or now I can watch the extended versions of the all three movies annually. I love Tolkien's meandering that would never fly in todays market.

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  119. Leslie - me too! It's such a pleasure to sink into his books and be transported to another world :)

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  120. I'm with you and Lola! All of these books have stood the test of time and I'm always eager to revisit them.

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  121. Deniz - there are so many good ones! If we only had a few extra hours per day just to read maybe we could read all the ones we'd love to read again! :)

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