This week’s Weekly Geeks assignment starts with a definition. For purpose of this post, a classic is a book written 100+ years ago that is still in print.
1) How do you feel about classic literature? Are you intimidated by it? Love it? Not sure because you never actually tried it? Don’t get why anyone reads anything else? Which classics, if any, have you truly loved? Which would you recommend for someone who has very little experience reading older books? Go all out, sell us on it!
OK, let’s see. I quite enjoy classic literature. I guess I’m somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, though; I don’t read solely classics, but I do enjoy a good classic every once in a while. Classics I’ve truly loved:
• War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
• The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy
• The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton
• Sherlock Holmes (so many!)
• Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
• Shakespeare (where to start?)
• Edgar Allen Poe’s work (Cask of Amontillado, for starters)
Where to start? Well, many people have seen a movie based on Pygmalion (My Fair Lady), which should make that accessible. Both Pimpernel and Man Who was Thursday are short, pretty swift reads — and very accessible, as well.
3) Let’s say you’re vacationing with your dear cousin Myrtle, and she forgot to bring a book. The two of you venture into the hip independent bookstore around the corner, where she primly announces that she only reads classic literature. If you don’t find her a book, she’ll never let you get any reading done! What contemporary book/s with classic appeal would you pull off the shelf for her?
I would probably start by asking/recalling what she likes about certain classics. This would help me steer her in the right direction. A few possibilities, though:
• The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
• The Truest Pleasure by Robert Morgan
• Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey and Maturin series
Or what about Night by Elie Wiesel?