Friday Fun is a group post from the writers of the NHWN blog. Each week, we’ll pose and answer a different, get-to-know-us question. We hope you’ll join in by providing your answer in the comments.
QUESTION: Lance Shaubert posted an interesting article on Writer Unboxed earlier this week about “Old Books > New Books.” In it, he asked writers to consider the benefits of derivation vs. so-called originality and encourages writers to read the classics as a source of inspiration. What are your thoughts? How many classics do you read vs. newly published works? Do you judge them differently?
Jamie Wallace: I definitely lean towards more contemporary fiction. I love to see how stories and writing styles are evolving today. I am also a sucker for “new and exciting,” so I’m easily caught up in the buzz about the latest “amazing” novel from so-and-so.
On the other hand, I also have a thing for old books, as in antique books. I have several shelves lined with tomes I’ve picked up at antique book shops and flea markets. I have a kind of reverence for these survivors from another age when books were bound in linen covers and had deckled pages. I don’t often read them, but every once in a while I will pick one up and slide backwards in time on a slipstream of antiquated words and the concerns and opinions of other eras.
In addition to my chronologically old books, I also have some newer books containing old stories – collections of fairytales and folklore, for instance. I bought these with the intention of learning how old tales can inspire new ones, but I haven’t really had the time to explore them. Yet …
Lisa J. Jackson: I can lead off Jamie’s comment about fairytales and folklore — I’m really intrigued by anything Grimm or Brothers’ Grimm – old books, old stories, movies and TV shows made about the Brothers’ Grimm, anything in any capacity.
For instance, there’s a TV series called Grimm; a movie called Brothers’ Grimm, and a movie called Hansel and Gretal: Witch Hunters. And books! Oh my goodness – every book store has several variations on the fairytales and it’s so thrilling to find super old copies of the tales when exploring antique shops and stores that carry the old books. I’m going to be enthralled forever.
I also like reading classics – mostly for the flow of language and it’s interesting to see how even ‘old’ books can fit into modern times, depending on how much description and time-specific details the author includes in a book.
And I love reading new books – whatever catches my fancy – a lot of books in the mystery genre and most of its subgenres, but also non-fiction. I really love variety and if I had to pick a type of book to read, or a generation of books to read I don’t think I could – my only wish is that I could devour/read books a lot faster than I do!