bofh000 t1_jebf88g wrote

Reply to comment by Morasain in Finally reading Tolkien by jdbrew

Shakespeare wrote the English of his time. Even for plays about Ancient Rome.

Tolkien didn’t really write the dialogue of his day. Not even the high literature type of dialogue of his day. It doesn’t mean his work is badly written, just that, indeed, his dialogue can be too stiff, much the way Icelandic Saga can do dialogue - which would sound very wooden to us, but we’d accept because in theory it’s best part isn’t the dialogue.


bofh000 t1_j9j0ecc wrote

The Percy Jackson series has a very similar dynamic of hero+friends going through adventures in our world but with a magic/mythological twist (although the writing is very different). If you liked Rowling’s very English prose and humour, you might also enjoy Terry Pratchett (he is arguably THE high priest of English wacky fantasy, the language is superb, although dense).


bofh000 t1_j7f2bu0 wrote

In her defense, she WASN’T like other girls. It’s not an easy thing to be - different. In her case she met a well-to-do guy who liked her assertiveness and didn’t mind her coming from a poor family. And whom she was attracted to. Jane Austen herself wasn’t as lucky, and she spend the greater part of her short life enduring the disadvantages of being poor, eventually the daughter of a widow with very scarce means.


bofh000 t1_j6ap7fd wrote

It wasn’t the tv, as some commenters seem to believe. It was the trial of Oscar Wilde. Before that men used to have affectionate gestures with their male peers, they could be walking arm in arm in Hyde park and express their friendship verbally with phrases we would find unusual. The Wilde trial was a very public scandal and it marked the public’s perception of potentially punishable behavior between men, AND instilled the fear of being perceived as homosexual and socially shunned for otherwise common gestures. As an aside, the judge in the case said something to the tune of Wilde’s being the most horrible and disgusting trial he had sat on - that after judging on a child murder a couple of weeks before.

That being said, in the particular examples you are giving: Steerforth has a very relaxed approach to social norms in general and a very nonchalant way of addressing most people in his life. And Mr. Peggoty in my opinion has a fatherly feelings towards David, so that would explain why he would have an affectionate demeanor. Plus he is usually a non-emotional man, but is overcome with emotion he can’t control in his quest for Emily.


bofh000 t1_j4r1ze8 wrote

Maybe you need to read different books. Inasmuch as you NEED to do anything… if you don’t like them it’s ok, we all have our preferences. Without knowing which are those 2 favorite books or whether you prefer a particular genre, I don’t think anyone can really get to a conclusion on your preference for male protagonists.

Just analyze your reading habits and the books you didn’t like - are they the type authors churn out by the dozen a year? Are the heroines one dimensional stereotypes? Do the authors appear to have no idea what a woman feels or think like? Are they sexualized gratuitously?

There are quite a few very well written stories with and about women. I really liked Elena Ferrante’s Brilliant Friend series, Sigrid Undset’s Kristin Lavransdatter, Madeline Miller’s Circe. I just learned she’s written another one about Galatea, so I have that on my list. Another one on my list is Cecily by Annie Garthwaite.

If you are in for a little heartbreak (not the romance type) any one of Toni Morrison’s novels has great women protagonists very well written.

Or if you prefer funnier reading: any one of Terry Pratchett’s Witches series. Start with Equal Rites if you want to be consistent, it’s the first where Granny Weatherwax appears. Witches Abroad is hilarious with the 3 of them.

Or it might just be you. By this time we all know each and every one of us have unique experiences and we don’t have to identify with a character just because we are the same gender or from the same part of the world or whatever is supposed to make us uniform. I remember Maia Rudolph once saying that, since she lost her mom very young and grew up with her dad and a handful of brothers, as a teenager she always felt like she didn’t know how to be a woman and use all the nice smelling creams and make up and whatnot. Turns out all she had to do was be.


bofh000 t1_j3q7cmz wrote

As somebody else commented above, there’s a very simple solution to your issues: re-reading.

As a rule, books you wouldn’t enjoy rereading at some point in the future aren’t worth the trouble the 1st time around.

Maybe change the kind of books you read.

And find ways to handle your obsessive need to know in advance and be always right. I’m no expert, but I’d wager you have the same problem in life outside of your reading.


bofh000 t1_j2eeeql wrote

But other times a story is a vessel for more meaning the author tries to convey. Source: also have literature degree.

The trick I suppose is to know which ones are just stories and which ones are telling you more through that story. In some cases you can see through the story to the deeper meaning, other times you need the author’s words about that story, and other times you don’t have their words, but their lives and context.

It’s ok to look for a deeper meaning and it’s cool if you don’t see anything else there. I find life is a lot more enjoyable when I don’t lion down on other people, be they simple readers or professors over-analyzing.