Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.
Sir Francis Bacon, English Author, courtier, and philosopher, 1561 – 1626
Welcome to our May topic: Classic Literature. I’m a big fan of the classics. When my sons were growing up, we’d make biweekly trips to the library, where my guys would make a mad dash for the children’s section. I’d wander over to the classics, where I had an unobstructed view of my children. I didn’t trust them to behave themselves on their own. My attitude was born of experience.
For months, I chose books from those same shelves. Adams, Alcott, Austen, Bronte, Carroll, Dickens, Dumas… My list goes on and on. I loved them all. So why is it when asked to write about my favorite classics, the only ones I could think of were Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre? I knew I had to dig deeper. I’ve read an enormous variety of classic books, all the way up to and including the more obscure Mosquito Coast, by Paul Theroux. Not a classic, you say? In looking up classic booklists, what I learned is, it all depends on who you ask.
There are many and varying opinions on who should make the list. The beauty of the internet is, we can find and peruse all those opinions, then construct our own list. I was in the process of doing just that, when I happened on this wonderful website: Aesop to Oz, Classic Book List: http://www.aesoptooz.com/classic-literature-reading-list/
What I like so much about the author’s listing is, the classics are listed by year of publication. What is so great or special about that? Read on:
Issue: One of the characters in your work-in-progress (WIP) has an extensive library, visits the library, or loves to read. You must choose the works you put in their hands (or on their shelf). Choose carefully, based on the era and or setting of your story.
I have just given you a wonderful tool. Please bookmark the website now: Aesop to Oz.
Throughout the month, my blogmates and I will be discussing various ones of these wonderful classics. I hope you’ll drop back by on Tuesdays and Fridays to see what’s up next. Better yet, follow our blog to receive updates via email.
And just for fun, here’s another site that may interest you:
The Ultimate Reading List – Classics That Endure http://www.eagleforum.org/educate/1997/june97/list.html This is a list of classic comics that were published after World War II. It includes 167 titles with the original’s year of publication. For brainy comic book lovers everywhere. Okay, who remembers those?
And while I’m on the subject of memories, I read Little Women when I was a child in elementary school. When I reread it as an adult, I was amazed at the amount of preaching and philosophy contained in its pages. Many of these classics reflect the ideologies of the times in which they were written. What will our literature say about us? Who will ascend to the heights and be remembered in later years? Which of our novels will sit on the classic shelves of the future?
In lieu of a prompt, tell me, what’s your favorite classic novel? Your comments will qualify for entry in our monthly prompt contest. Thanks!