Compared to many on this forum I'm completely ignorant. This stems from being a slow reader
Oh, if only it weren't so true!
When I restarted into the practice I was not too sure where to start, so I began with the stuff on accesstoinsight. Since Thanissaro is the principal translator, I ended up reading some of his material out of respect for him, but soon ventured to the little from his teacher, and then to reading his teacher's teacher (Ajahn Lee). Other than Than's "Wings to awakening" and Lees meditation books, I have read next to zero commentary either traditional or modern.
What I did do was dig into the Nikaya's, which I found difficult at first. I believe this difficulty that people express in regard to the canon stems mainly from a few things: a) the canon is large, so the details are scattered, b) there are indeed a lot of details, c) there is a belief that one has to master all those details before they can practice properly and, d) people are impatient.
Modern writers shake the details out of the canon, organize them and then tell you which are the most important (in their view). The format is short and to the point, so the reader can get to practice quickly. The only sacrifice is that if the writer is wrong, the reader is wrong also. Not a big problem, so long as the reader doesn't neglect to studying the canon on their own, as a check against their other sources of information.
And now I stamp this post with a big ol' .