bronte sisters, charles dickens, douglas adams google doodle, edgar allan poe, george orwell, harper lee, j.r.r. tolkien, james fenimore cooper, jane austin, library, mark twain, neil gaiman, sherlock holmes
I stopped in at the library last week to return a couple of books. Whenever I’m at the library, I can’t resist taking a look at the new books that are available. While I was perusing the new books, I was surprised to find classic books mixed in. And not just a few classics. There were three books by the Bronte sisters, a Mark Twain, a few by Dickens, George Orwell’s “1984,” James Fenimore Cooper’s “The Last of the Mohicans,” and Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird.” I may be missing some, but these are the ones I distinctly remember. Granted, each of these appeared to be a new copy, but new in the sense of literature they are not. What was curious about the situation was that there were so many that I actually noticed.
And, you know, they were kind of tempting. Every so often I get a hankering to read a classic novel, either to reread one I’ve read before or to try one I never got around to. One of my friends is currently rereading Sherlock Holmes, which he says is quaint. I recently reread Orwell’s “1984,” which was a psychologically terrifying as I remember it being. I’d like to read some Twain, Poe, and Austin. I’ve read a little Twain and a lot of Poe before, but never any Austin. Yeah, I’m a sinner, but at least I’ve seen the movie version of “Pride and Prejudice.”
I’m also curious about rereading Agatha Christie. I gobbled down acres of her novels when I was in late elementary school. They’re pretty skinny things and I wonder how formulaic they are. I sure felt sophisticated as a kid reading “adult” novels.
There are certain classics that I don’t have any desire to read. I was turned off of Dickens in the eighth grade when I was required to read “Great Expectations” by myself for an advanced reading class. For some reason I was the only advanced reader in my class, but another class had a whole bunch of advanced readers, who had the advantage of being able to discuss the book they were assigned. I never did finish “Great Expectations” and Dickens has been in my literary dust bin since.
Another author I don’t care to read is Douglas Adams. I know. Google is celebrating his 61st birthday with a special doodle today and I’m committing heresy, but I say this after having read the first book in “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” series. Frankly, I just didn’t like it and couldn’t bring myself to continue with the series. I also can’t read Tolkien. OMG, more heresy. It’s not that I want to dislike the works of these authors, but given my best attempts, they don’t move me. Now, I can read Neil Gaiman, who adores Adams’ writing, all day long.
Over to you. What classics do you want to revisit? Which ones did you love as a kid? And which ones have fallen into your literary dust bin?