I am in the middle of reading Van Gogh the Life by Gregory White. This is a long book and although I love everything Van Gogh, I am struggling a bit with this book. However, I am learning more about Van Gogh than I ever knew and I am learning how hard it must have been to have anything to do with him. The very cool thing is that he enjoyed reading a lot of the same books I like. He really likes Emile Zola and George Elliott. It is wonderful for me to imagine him sitting alone in one of his, not so nice rooms, and drifting away with one of the same books that take me on such a wonderful journey.
I think about how hard it must have been to get books in those days and how easily I download them and devour them like candy. I am sure when Zola wrote The Belly of Paris; he imagined his book being read for a long time. Did he imagine 150 years and someone sitting with an electronic device through headphones? Probably not.
Now I wonder who else liked The Belly of Paris.
Will someone care about The Paris Wife in 150 years? It was a great book but will it hold up under the test of time?
Writers from today certainly have a lot more to pull from when they write. First of all, they have 150 years more material than Elliott and Zola. Secondly, think of how hard it must have been 150 years ago to find those famous and appropriate quotes to put at the beginning of chapters.