Monday, April 1, 2013

A Modern March Wrap-Up

I had a lot of plans for this event, and unfortunately I didn't get to all of them...I had planned on reading either The Sound and the Fury or A Portait of the Artist as a Young Man, but didn't get to either of them. I just didn't read as much during March as I did earlier in the year, unfortunately, and I was also distracted by some non-classic books. However, I did finish two books for this event, A Room with a View and The Old Man and the Sea. I also read The Paris Wife by Paula McLain, a novel about Ernest Hemingway's first wife, which is related to the event (but of course, can't be counted).

Even though I didn't read everything I planned to for the event, I'm pretty pleased with the two books that I did read. I ended up loving both of them and they taught me a little more about Modern literature, which I was only recently really introduced to.

One thing that I think I was most impressed by (which I already sort of knew, but I learned to appreciate and understand more) was that Modern lit is not meant to teach a lesson, unlike pretty much all the Western classics that preceded the Modern movement. There is no obvious meaning or moral of the story in these books (like I discussed in my review of A Room with a View). Instead, the focus was on the beauty and majesty of the story. The interesting part of this was that even though the story wasn't meant to convey a certain meaning, I still got a lot of meaning out of it. I don't think the authors were trying to make their books devoid of meaning; I think they just weren't trying to teach the reader something specific. That's what I loved about them. I didn't feel like I had the find "the meaning" and that if I didn't find it, I was somehow stupid. I knew that each book speaks to each person in a different way (of course, that really is true for all classics, or should be) and that any meaning I took from the books would be a true and good meaning. I really appreciated the openness of Modern literature.

I really loved this event, and even though it's now officially over, I've decided I still want to try to read The Sound and the Fury. I've heard it's really hard to understand, so if I have too tough a time with it I might just give myself a break and not finish it, but A Modern March has inspired me to at least try it.

Did you participate in A Modern March? What books did you read?


  1. I didn't get through quite as much as had hoped either. I'm only halfway through To the Lighthouse and never got around to Faulkner.

    However, the book I did read made up for it. Proust's Contre Sainte-Beuve was quite spectacular. At first it just seemed like a bunch of odd bits from his notebooks that got tossed after he died. Then, gradually I started seeing the patterns and connections and was quite stunned. I've started a series of posts on the book which you can read here:

  2. I really want to try one day The Sound and the Fury. I have not participated in A Modern March, but had a great reading month: