I don’t have a good track record with ye old classics. I’ve found a lot of them quite dated, regardless of how ahead of their time some of them once we’re. And others are just a bit too… stiff & stuffy for my liking. I just I connect with contemporary books more easily. Simple as that. Hot off the press. That’s how I like it. But I thought I’d test the waters again and I ended up with Silas Marner as my test subject.
I found my enjoyment of it, and lack of, a bit of a roller coaster. I quite enjoyed the opening chapters and could really appreciate the fine writing. But then I hit a massive bump all of a sudden: there was a scene with a bar of old codgers talking a godawful load of codswallop, and I couldn’t wait for it to end. I found it really unpleasant to listen to. I thought I might have to abandon the book completely. I wasn’t quite sure if it was the actual dialog, or the narrator of the audiobook, but I switched from audio to Kindle and it was definitely a major improvement reading it myself, I’ve never experienced that before. And there wasn’t another such chunk of dense dialogue again.
Then I found there were definite peaks and troughs in the actual story. Not much different than a lot of books but overall it really added to my rollercoaster experience of this book. It went up and down through the range of star ratings from 1, 2, 3, 4. I settled on an overall 3 out 5 for Silas Marner.
A worthwhile exercise, and not a terrible experience overall. But I’m definitely happier with more contemporary work (though not necessarily a contemporary setting) and I don’t see any reason to break from that comfort zone again any time soon. Some people don’t read sci-fi or other genres. I don’t read old classics. So that’s that.
PS I’m glad I was steered away from Middlemarch, which I nearly went for. Although reputedly one of the greatest novels in the English language, it doesn’t seem like the ideal book to test the waters of the classics pool.