General · reading

A Far Less Forgiving Reader

I think I am a far less forgiving reader than I used to be.

In junior high, I read Black Beauty for the first time. I got to it in junior high, because I’d already exhausted the library’s supply of horse stories . I felt ready to tackle an older book.

Sure, the excessive use of semi-colons annoyed me, but I ignored that. Just made a mental note to never use semi-colons in my own stories. The really long sentences were just plain odd, but I ignored those, too. In truth, I thought things like that was the price of reading an older book.

But mostly I just loved the story. I loved the idea of telling a story from the point of view of a horse. I loved that the writer did it seriously, not as a way to teach a lesson or something, the way a lot of people use the POV of an animal.   I liked the symmetry of the beginning and the end. There were a lot of things I loved about Black Beauty.

I tried to reread Black Beauty a few years ago, but I could not get past the excessively long sentences and semi-colons.  I am sure I still would love the story, but I just couldn’t read it. It’s sad; Black Beauty is a really good story.

It is odd; I didn’t expect this of myself. Maybe I should have. Probably I should have. In fact, thinking back, I think my dislike of long sentences stems from that moment in my life.

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3 thoughts on “A Far Less Forgiving Reader

  1. I have a hard time reading older novels, pre-Hemingway and Hammett, myself. Interminably long sentences. But I force myself, and you get used to it again. I think it’s good for our reading brains, to do that.

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