Considering the genre I write in, I'm sort of ashamed to admit that I've just now read Dashiell Hammett's signature crime novel The Maltese Falcon. It's one of those books that I've always had on the shelf, always Meant to read, and somehow never got around to doing so. I was vaguely aware that it was a classic, but I wasn't exactly sure why. Now I know.....
Sure, the storyline isn't anything spectacular and the writing isn't beautiful or brilliant, but here's why I really, really appreciate The Maltese Falcon:
-The characters are biting and shocking
-The descriptions (though very repetitive) are ingenious
-Hammett knows how to say more by writing less and I Love that quality in a writer
-Reading this novel is like witnessing the birth of a genre; you can see the twentieth century crime/detective/noir style being created as the story progresses
If you haven't read The Maltese Falcon yet, it's worth taking the time just to read a little part of literary history. It's taken me forever to do so myself, but I'm thankful now that I have.