It's awfully hard not to make jubilant comments about the fact that this is the final Friday in January. Truly, it's my least favorite month!
I'm sure I'd feel differently if I lived in the Caribbean.
At any rate, it feels good to be back in the Secret Agent swing! And I need to thank you again for your rabid voting. As of this writing, MSFV is in the lead with 37% of the votes. But voting goes on for another whole week, so please keep voting! (There's a button on the sidebar.)
So let's talk about the changing voice of children's literature. (My, that sounded lofty.) I'm currently reading The Borrowers and not really enjoying it. (Funny, because I remember reading it as a child and liking it, but this reread may as well be my first time, because I don't recognize any of it!) It's a delightful premise--tiny people living under the floorboards and "borrowing" things? How fun!
But--ugh! It's incredibly blah-blah-blah, and I know that has a lot to do with the fact that it's, well, old. Language has changed, and continues to change. Today's children's books are zippier, faster-paced, tension-imbued.
Thing is, when I read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, I don't have an "ugh" response at all, despite the older language style. I adore this book and can forgive its cliches, because they weren't cliches yet when Lewis wrote them.
The Borrowers, which is written for the same audience, is a ponderous read with way too much "adult humor" written into the adult Borrower characters. (I don't mean "adult" in a seedy sense. I mean "adult" as in "over the heads of most children".) And the dialogue goes on and on. And on.
So, does this say something about our modern attention span? Am I a product of the twenty-first century and its penchant for faster-paced everything? Or can it be that, perhaps, even among the older books, there are some that simply aren't up to snuff. Just because a book is "old and revered" doesn't mean it's automatically awesome.
The original Nancy Drew books aren't exactly literary masterpieces, but they do keep you turning the pages. Mystery! Fright! A handkerchief laced with chloroform pressed against Nancy's nose and mouth! Which proves that older books can certainly have good pacing and a refreshing lack of blah-blah-blah.
What do you think? Am I too saturated with modern children's literature? Or is it valid to call an older book "ponderous" and "wordy" simply because...it is?