Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Books, Books, and more Books

My Dear Reader,

As one of my 2013 New Year resolutions, I decided to read ten classic novels within the course of the year.

It's actually not as challenging as you think, though, because a while ago I started a habit of putting a classic into my shopping cart whenever I found one at a decent price, and now I own somewhere around thirty-five classics that I've never read.

So, you know, creating a habit of reading those classics is probably a good idea.*

And it's not that I don't enjoy classic stories. I really do. I have seen almost every BBC period adaptation that presently exists.

Yes. That many of them.

I even read a lot of classics as a child. Or at least, I thought I did. I had a lot of those children's editions that had a lot of pictures, and it took me way, way too long to realize that they made room for the pictures by taking out all of the depth. I'm still not over the betrayal.

And I do read classics now, just not on a regular basis. As an adult who has finished(?) her schooling, the vast array of books that are considered classics can be a little daunting. Sometimes it's hard to know where to begin. And since reading is a skill that requires practice, and classic books tend to require more skill than others, sometimes it's hard to know which books you're ready for and which ones you need to work up to.

And some of them are just long. Long stories are a challenge all their own.

But life is about challenges, right? Besides, thirty-five unread books on your shelf is a bit embarrassing for a girl like me. I don't keep them around for decoration.

And beyond that, I know from experience that there's a reason that classics are classics. These books get put in this category because one way or another, they're the stories that changed the world. And that means that there's a good chance that they can change me.

I've already read three of my ten required books, so I'm going at a good pace so far. At this point, I need to choose six out of the following:

  • The Iliad
  • Tess of the d'Urbervilles
  • Treasure Island**
  • Black Beauty**
  • Peter Pan**
  • The Mysterious Affair at Styles
  • The Sign of the Four
  • The Hound of the Baskervilles
  • Ethan Frome
  • The Wind in the Willows**
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz**
  • A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
  • White Fang
  • Vanity Fair
  • The House of Mirth
  • Moll Flanders
  • The Moonstone
  • Dracula**
  • Little Women
  • David Copperfield**
  • The Three Musketeers**
  • Moby-Dick
  • Wuthering Heights
  • A Tale of Two Cities**
  • Anna Karenina
  • War and Peace
  • Middlemarch**
  • Little Dorrit**
  • The Rise of Silas Lapham
  • Lord Jim
  • A Passage to India
  • The Pit
  • Hard Times
  • The Big Sleep
  • Bhagavad-Gita 
  • And probably more that are in storage somewhere. I really need a new bookcase.
Why only six, you ask? Well, I decided that one of the books has to be Atlas Shrugged. That's why I need the extra two months.

So yeah, I've got my work cut out for me, don't I?

Regards, best wishes and wish me luck,

-Cecily Jane

*Besides, I already read so much dystopian fiction that they can't print books fast enough to keep up with my demand. It's only fair to give the genre a break.

**These are books that I read a watered-down version of, I half-finished, or I read so long ago that I barely remember them. And a lot of them are books that were assigned reading at some point, but let's just skip over that part.

1 comment:

just a little bit mo said...

"Ethan Frome," like most Edith Wharton pieces, has a twisted, twisted end. I liked it, even though it left me shaking my head in disbelief. It's a quick read. I also enjoyed "The Iliad" -- once I found a translation that I liked -- even though it was assigned reading. I also enjoyed "The Three Musketeers" but I think it was an abridged version so I'm not sure if I should 'count' it.

In any case, whatever you choose, good luck! You are inspiring me to do the same with all my own purchased-/inherited-and-still-unread classics.