Book Blogger Hop

Bookish: Book Blogger Hop #29

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The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly meme with a prompt featuring a book related question. The hop begins on a Friday and ends on a Thursday and should hopefully give people the opportunity to learn something new about the blogger.

The Book Blogger Hop can be found on Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer and obviously my answers can be found here!

oldest work.jpg

Last week it was all about size and this week it’s about age.

age.gif

I’ve come at this one in my usual way because as I mentioned last week – my memory = rubbish. At least I think that’s what I said.

I’ve utilised my good ol’ Goodreads record which tells me the oldest publication date of books that I’ve read and recorded for just over a year plus it gives me the oldest publication date of books I’ve put on my TBR.

Goodreads informs me that the oldest publication date I’ve read is 1901 with this book of American Fairy Tales:-

American Fairy Tales

Goodreads also informs me that if I ever get around to reading the books on my TBR pile the Goblin Market will top that as it’s even older with a publication of 1862:-

Goblin Market

Not bad, not bad. I mean it’s no Book of Kells but in 1862 Queen Victoria was head of state in the United Kingdom and the USA was rocking Abraham Lincoln so it’s still pretty old.

Despite this book being ‘pretty old’ it’s definitely not one of the oldest I’ve read. When racking my brains to consider what could possibly be included in my list of ‘oldest published work’ I went back in time in my own personal history.

I asked myself, “When and where would I have read published works that pre-date 1862?”

Oh that’s right.

School. 

My friend’s son has just finished his GCSE’s* and one of the books they studied for English Literature was Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. This is a 2005 dystopian sci-fi which was no way near being written when I was at school but boy I wish it had been.

It’s ok, I did get a dystopian – Lord of the Flies. Which, by the way, is still on the GCSE English Literature Curriculum in 2019 along with A Christmas Carol, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, An Inspector Calls and Of Mice and Men some 18 years later after I studied them.

To say I’m shocked at how little the curriculum has changed in just under 20 years is an understatement because I cannot believe that just because a book has been around forever that we cannot select from the variety of other books that have also been around forever.

I’m all for studying classics but there’s more than just 5 you know?!

Although A Christmas Carol and Macbeth are older than Goblin Market (1843 and 1606 respectively) I did read something at school that is even older and was read in the long course Religious Studies course I did.

No, I’m not talking about The Bible. I am talking about a work which ties with The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1798) for the most frustrated I’ve ever felt while reading a narrative poem.

Want a clue? Have a picture:-

Dante and Virgil

This is ‘Dante and Virgil’ painted in 1850 by William-Adolphe Bouguereau depicting one of many scenes that Dante saw on his travels through the afterlife with his guide.

Oh yes, the Divine Comedy by Dante completed in 1320 is one of the oldest (if not the oldest) published pieces of work I remember reading. I also remember wanting to pull my hair out but that’s because the language was so painfully convoluted and I was 16.

The story though is pretty interesting and some of the imagery has stuck with me after all this time. Not bad for a story pushing 700 years old.

 

*GCSE’s are a UK qualification that are taken by school children when they are 15/ 16 years old. I don’t know what they are like now but when I did them there were about 12 subjects to pass with multiple pieces of coursework and exams for each subject. I know much has changed but the general level of stress and anxiety felt sadly seems to be the same.

Blog Hop

Sam @ Fictionally Sam talks about a topic which is painfully close to my heart right now – Reading Slumps

Marie @ Drizzle & Hurricane Books gives us 20 YA Books to Read for Pride Month

Vicky @ Vicky Who Reads has considered Four Book Quadruplets aka Grouped Book Recommendations on Steroids

Siobhan @ Siobhan Novelties asks us to consider to Stop Supporting the Sales of ARCs

Breaker

What’s the oldest book you’ve ever read? Actually scrap that. Doesn’t have to be a book, can be anything that has been published words – poetry collections, narrative poetry, plays etc.

Did you enjoy it? Did you understand it? I only ask because there’s a lot to be said for language changing our enjoyment of work over the years. I only feel I understood a lot of what we were taught simply because we were being taught.

On a side note – I’m curious as to what exams/ English Literature/ school is like in the UK now but also what they are like in other countries. I’m generally fascinated by the education system of other countries and what is studied and how this changes (or not) over time.

Feel free to drop a comment below about either of those subjects – oldest work and/ or school exams.

Until next week when I talk about if I have ever been called a book nerd or some other bookish ‘insult.’

8 thoughts on “Bookish: Book Blogger Hop #29

    1. Blimey, Latin is pretty hard core a subject to study! I’ve not read Ovid and if I’m honest – no intention to start!

      Yeah, it’s….. hefty. And depressing. And hefty. I don’t mind narrative poems but that one killed me.

      Like

  1. The oldest thing I’ve read is probably The Art of War or one of the Greek plays!
    We didn’t have specific books that were required reading in English class in Norway, at least not at my school. We were required to read an English book, but we could choose anything. I think I read an Anne Bishop book, which was so explicit I had to rewrite half the plot to write a decent book report. We did read excerpts of Shakespeare and Dickens though, but I can’t say it made a lot of sense to my 15 year old self who learnt English mostly from Charmed and my Britney Spears CDs 😂 (I know, definitley dating myself there)
    That’s the biggest challenge with reading the classics, as a non-native speaker. I read contemporary English books as well as Norwegian ones, but if I pick up a Thomas Hardy novel so many word pop up that I’ve never heard. Cause in what context would I ever learn the words for Victorian farming equipment?
    The Goblin Market is amazing, by the way ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s really interesting that you didn’t have required reading and could choose anything because in the UK it’s such a prescribed and outdated list.

      To be honest – Shakespeare doesn’t make a lot of sense to 15 year olds whose first language is English!! The plays I studied I actually know what they’re talking about which is great but with anything else I might be able to understand every twelfth word or something.

      I’m looking forward to The Goblin Market because I honestly live for that type of story!

      Like

  2. What a coincidence! I literally just bought a copy of Dante’s The Divine Comedy yesterday at my used bookstore! I’d first read it on a blissful vacation in Cancun, so I don’t remember it being that painful, though again, I did read it for pleasure, not study. (After all, I unfairly hate most of the books I read in high school as I was forced to analyze ’em in way too much detail lol.)

    Speaking of high school, I find their curricula wildly unimaginative as well. I’d love to have read a greater variety of authors and works, but nah, they push the same ones we’ve heard since the day of our births, which I don’t feel is a great way of encouraging kids to be adventurous in their reading choices. 🤔🤔

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can totally appreciate the story of The Divine Comedy and actually really like it but we read it over and over and over and over again and analysed it for deeper religious meaning (not literary meaning because it was a R.E class) and so I wanted to sob by the end. It’s actually pretty darn riveting though as a tale.

      Funny story – an ex boyfriend used to work for EA games and they had a regular monthly ‘pitch’ meeting for ideas and he was struggling to think of something so I told him about The Divine Comedy and gave a rough story outline and how it could work as a game. He pitched it but ended up leaving EA and then he found out that they were developing a Dante’s Inferno game and the storyline was suspiciously similar to what I’d given – hahaha! I’m sure it’s a coincidence but I was like, “I think that’s my pitch!”

      It seems the curriculum never changing isn’t unique to the UK then. It’s such a shame because it’s so limiting and I refuse to believe they can’t find some alternative classics – there are literally hundreds!

      Like

      1. Oof, sounds very much like school. Reading that one book over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and ….yeah, I’d be done with it too.

        Haha you are an unofficial game writer then! (*whispers* you should sue for writing credits!)
        For reals though, that’s actually a good idea for a game though…the 10 level of hell makes for a nice and palatable structure. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

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