J. R. R. Tolkien had an old-school writing style. He studied mythology and Old English extensively, and his prose in Lord of the Rings reflects a high, mythic sound reminiscent of older books and stories. A sound I don’t run into anymore in the world of literature. That is, until now.
Imagine my surprise when I ran across a modern book (copywright 2002) with a high wordy sound like Tolkien, and in a very similar universe. The Namingby Australian poet Alison Croggon is my newest summer read, and a good YA fantasy at that.
I must admit, there’s something charming about that style of writing. Though modern readers like things quick and snappy (heck, so do I), we can also find value in a slower pace, in intricate description and high language. It puts us in mind of times long past, and helps draw the setting and action clearly in our mind’s eye.
I’m now in the mood to read Shakespeare, the King Arthur legends, Greek and Norse mythology—and to finish The Odyssey, for heaven’s sake, which I’ve been working on for a solid six months now and haven’t even gotten a third of the way through.
So just for the heck of it, let’s all go pick a good old-school book and have a reminiscent summer read.