Glen's comment of two days ago got me thinking: "I used to be a voracious reader. Nowadays - I haven't bought a book in years. I wonder if it's the same stuff we find objectionable." It got me to thinking about books.
It occurs to me that most books are a reflection of the time and age in which they were written. I suspect that for many - who have not read anything more than what is currently listed as a best seller or what is recommended in a media magazine - lack the sort of historical span to get a perspective on this.
That said, perhaps that is why (on the whole) I tend to prefer older books. They were written in a different time - a time that I (for the most part) did not live in but have enough of a thread of memory and familiarity to recognize and enjoy. They (on the whole) eschewed graphic violence and long steamy sexual passages and the rather lamentable use of cursing - let alone whatever the latest social trends are.
I suppose in some fashion this is true of any age, and to think otherwise is foolishness. It also explains the existence and continued success of the used book store in the face of the faceless Internet Book Selling Monolith.
As I have written before, most of my fiction used to revolve around Science Fiction and Fantasy - until these became less about the act of flight of fancy and more about making them "real" (see two paragraphs up). Suddenly it was not fantasy or science fiction, a world of medieval magic or far off stars: it was our world, with special effects, most often with a point somewhere trying to be made.
My bent now is largely history (and even here you have to be careful - I like history, not someone's opinion of history), specific works around projects I am interested in (gardening, livestock etc.) self improvement books, and the Classics (by Classics I mean literature from largely before 1900). I do scan the Science Fiction and Fantasy shelves for authors I know and trust, but have found myself steering farther and farther away from such authors.
Why? Like many other things, I have found that my time is limited. And I do not really have time to engage in reading something that is A) Not Useful and B) Not Entertaining.
Am I missing out on some modern classics? Undoubtedly - although I treat this much the same as I treat most movies in the theater now: at some point they will show up on a streaming service and I can watch them then (funny story - I do not end up seeing most of those either: Not Useful, Not Entertaining.
But even in the areas I have chosen to read, there are still far more books than I will ever read in this lifetime. Might as well spend the time on things I know and like instead of risk it on that which may be highly objectionable.