Ten writers for children. All with something to say.


The Heart of a Modernist: My Summer Reading

This summer I got caught up re-reading some of the modern classics of the 20th century. I had not read Virginia Woolf since college, so I was curious what my reading experience would be without the analysis and criticism of the classroom. I found both To the Lighthouse and Mrs. Dalloway to be the perfect summer reads. The descriptions of the landscape, the attention to details, the atmosphere of the dinner parties all flowed. Both books condense time in unusual ways that I loved. Here is a quote from a description of To the Lighthouse: 

      A moving portrait in miniature of family life, it also has profoundly universal implications, giving language to the silent space that separates people and the space that they transgress to reach each other. 

I think this says it clearly. This summer I found my modernist heart. 


mark said...

Lauren, great idea to revisit classics and see how your reaction/interpretations might have changed since college days. What do you think was the biggest difference in the reading experience?

With all the Salinger news on the web lately I've seen quite a few people saying if you read Catcher in the Rye as an adult you will get an entirely different view of Holden Caulfield than you did when a teenager (if you read it then). It got me curious about what other books might strike us differently as we age...the exact theme of your post. Now I have to find the time to do some rereading!!!

Lauren said...

The biggest difference for me, Mark, was just sinking into the story without any note taking. I was nervous that I would not comprehend it; that I would need a TA's help in understanding, but the characters came alive in every detail and I loved the language.

I read Catcher in the Rye about four years ago and had read it as a teen. It was an entirely different experience. In some ways I enjoyed it more-- felt parental compassion and concern for Holden. When I read it when I was younger, it was more feverish and fearful-- and changed my experience of the world. Interesting.

john said...

What interesting reading to throw in with your travel and set painting this summer, Lauren. I like that idea of going back to books that were important and I should reread Catcher in the Rye. Last time I did about ten years ago, I was struck by what a YA book it was before we even had that term.

Christy said...

Catcher in the Rye was my daughter's favorite assigned book in high school. The teacher gave the kids an interesting assignment. They had to write their own missing chapter mimicking the writer's voice and including what they knew about the characters. She wrote this as a freshman, but it's one of my favorite things she's ever written.

I think you all have a great idea about going back to books that were important in earlier years. This might make an interesting topic for a round of posts.

Stephanie said...

I love Catcher in the Rye. I admire you for revisiting these:)