As bookshelves (and e-readers) continue to groan with knock-offs of Seth Grahame-Smith's knock-off, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, it seems worth asking: are zombies and ninjas the only way to make the novels of previous centuries relevant again?
How did reading get to be such a faster-pussycat-hurry-up activity? We listen to favorite songs over and over without apology or distraction. They make us feel good, no explanation necessary. But with books, there's this myth that it takes a "long time".
I realize that continuing to slog through a novel that says "stop reading me" after 100 pages may pay dividends when I reach the end of the book. Dense can turn into sophisticated, confusing into illuminating.
They were unplanned "Five-Year Plans" for the ages: the amazing proliferation of classic novels published from 1846 to 1851 and from 1922 to 1927. And, believe it or not, one author had a book in both those periods!