History books' writing style

Jun 2017
2
North
#1
I'm hoping to find some comfort over an issue that's turning into an obsession of mine.

It's becoming harder and harder for me to read some history works. I have, over the years, grown tyrannical over a certain kind of prose. It started with fiction works. In my youth, I used to privilege plotting over stylistic matters. As far as history was concerned, I also took to embrace events over an author's style, as long as it wasn't too dry. Then I don't know what happened, I guess I started reading more and began to perceive things differently. I started to read novelists like Calvino and poets like Bukowski who changed me forever, truly. Little did I know that it'd leave an indelible mark on what I would seek in history books in the future. Gradually, my preference simply turned to style. I now worship elegant writing and nothing else would do.

It's been now two years I believe that I take 'obsessive' measures as to decide whether a book is worth reading, be it a history or fiction book. And it's kind of killing me right now. Sometimes, it just doesn't work. Sometimes, I simply don't find that book. I've recently tried to find a biography of T.E. Lawrence that would meet my requirements with no avail. I've tried some recent ones that are full of praise. I literally had none of that. Unimpressive and at no point elegant. I spent chapters on each book to decide whether I ought to continue or not. Came out disappointed every time. It's not the first time it happened either, plenty of other subjects that interested me had me wasting a lot of time before finding THAT book that satisfied me fully.

Is this pretentious? Anyone kind of feeling the same? I remember starting applying this thinking when I got interested in the Crusades. Funnily enough the two oeuvres I've read first met perfectly my needs. Runciman and Maalouf.
 
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