I assume that you read. Writers read right?
I have found a surprising reluctance in many of my friends and colleagues to visit the pen-smiths of the past. I agree that many of the works written in the 19th century are so far removed from modern journalistic style that they seem to represent a different species rather than a different time. The 20th century brings long descriptive passages and worthiness doesn’t it? Don’t ever assume that you know a writer’s work on reputation alone. Dickens!
If you make assumptions about literature then you run the risk of missing out on those writers and passages of prose that sing with you. Sometimes you find literary joy in the strangest of places.
My personal discovery this year was Proust. I’m not a literary snob, I read everything including shampoo bottles and cereal packets but I had assumed that Proust was probably not for me.
( Assumptions, pah!)
I approached the first tome of “La recherche du temps perdu ” in trepidation.
I found literary description that you could bathe in. Proust sings with me.
Now, not everyone you read will click with you. That isn’t a deficiency in their writing or in your understanding, that is just the joy of difference. Go out into the world and find those writers who ” Sing with you “. and you will gain more than you ever thought possible.
Oh, and the occasional Dead White Male will be a Woman.