JLS (jlsjlsjls) wrote,

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Some light reading

Probably quite scandalous in its day, as well ...

When Patty went to college, by Jean Webster, with illustrations by C.D. Williams. Published in 1903 by Grosset & Dunlap. Treat yourself to a blast from the past ...

Honestly, I love these old Victorian/post-Victorian novels. I grew up reading them, because my mother "inherited" a bunch of them when she was about nine or ten (an elderly neighbour who was quite familiar with Mom's bookwormishness instructed her daughter that, when she died, my mother was to be allowed to haul off as many books as she could carry). And so my childhood included obscure old fiction as well as contemporary stuff. Sometimes these books are unintentionally humorous, due to being read by eyes born multiple decades after their publication. Some are deplorably preachy and goody-goody and tedious. Frequently, however, they are sharp and witty, taking potshots at contemporary behaviours, styles, social stratas, etc. They're wonderful snapshots of everyday life and of "fantasy glamour" life. And they're damned hard to find, especially out here, where fifty years old is considered ancient.

It's unlikely that anybody will ever republish them (unfortunately), and the original volumes are dying of high-acid paper and worn bindings. But that's why the Internet and things like Project Gutenberg (and many of the other free ebook projects) are so wonderful ... these books are out of copyright and in the public domain, and on the Internet they have a chance to live on and be discovered and rediscovered by people who will be surprised at the wealth of reading joy they contain.

Dig in!
Tags: reading

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