Monday, October 17, 2011

A reacquired taste

The summers of my childhood were spent, mostly, reading books from a certain series very much in vogue during the 40's and 50's. I'm not sure where they were published (probably Madrid or Buenos Aires), and in spite of their age, they are a shared memory of my generation.

Among the many books that fell in my hands, there were the ones penned by Italian writer Emilio Salgari. They were books of adventures in exotic places, and they had this peculiarity of having been originally published as a series in a magazine. For this reason, they were some restless literature; a thing happening in every chapter, many characters but superficial, a very strong plot line without subplots that would develop or come back in further chapters, and extremely melodramatic because the author had to grab readers' attention again in every issue.

This literature, I admit, must be an acquired taste. I am reading Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South, and in spite of the claims of it having been rewritten, it is plainly, a story to be read chapter by chapter and without flipping back pages once. I like it though at first found it mildly annoying. Then again, that's the very definition of acquired taste, isn't it?

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