Happy sunny Friday! Life is wonderful these days … if only I didn’t feel too tired to go out everyday to play. Don’t get me wrong, playing outside sounds great. It is great. But it is exhausting. At least now, when I have to spend all the time running from one toddler to another, usually in opposite directions. But yeah, time goes by way too fast and I’m sure it won’t be long before these toddlers will finish high school, so I better enjoy these beautiful days, even if they’re exhausting. But enough of ranting. Let’s talk books, which is definitely something that doesn’t need that much physical energy.
You might have noticed that I have a page with my list of fifty classics to read within the next five years. And if you have taken a look at said list you might be wondering why I have chosen some lesser well known books from some authors. I am thinking Mary Shelley or Jane Austen, though to be fair, all novels by Ms Austen are very famous and canonical and everything. Anyway, the reason behind some of these odd choices is that I have read some of those author’s famous books rather recently so I wasn’t going to reread so soon. So, in case you were curious about it, here are the classics I read before I embarked on this new challenge.
A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens.
I had never read this beloved classic until last December and I truly enjoyed it. Even though I had watched several film adaptation before, the book captures the atmosphere of things past much better. Like really, Christmas sounds like something truly delightful when there are some chestnuts roasting in the oven.
Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen.
Now, time for a little confession. I had never read Jane Austen until last year. *Cough, cough*, say what? Well, in my defence, I must say that Ms Austen is obviously not a compulsory reading in Spanish curricula. She wasn’t even mentioned during my years at high school but I guess this is normal; we have plenty of other writers to study. That’s not to say that she’s a total nobody in Spain. She is definitely known within the literary circles and bookish people; but she lacks the iconic status that she has in English-speaking countries.
Back to Pride and Prejudice now. I read it for a course in 18th century and Victorian literature and I totally enjoyed it. I liked how the story unfolded itself and how Ms Elizabeth Bennet was exposed as the proud and prejudiced person that’s referenced by the title of the novel. Also, I loved how time seemed to stop while I read Pride and Prejudice. Life suddenly seemed more simple and enjoyable and I was left wanting to write letters to my friends, instead of whasapps, and looking forward to morning walks on sunny days.
Nineteen Eighty-Four, by George Orwell.
Oh, boy. This one really blew my mind. I LOVED Nineteen Eighty-Four, which by the way, happens to be the year I was born. Perhaps it was destiny, perhaps only a coincidence. Whichever way it was, the thing is that Nineteen Eighty-Four is now one of my favourite books, one I could read over and over again and never tire of it.
I was scared of how similar our present is to the now past 1984 imagined by Orwell (which might not be the past at all, given how information was distorted time and again by the Ministry of Truth). I was terrified by how easy it seemed to erode the mind and soul of every human being. I was hopeful thinking that there would always be outsiders willing to fight for whatever they consider right. And I was inspired to go and write my own dystopian stories.
Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley.
I had already read Frankenstein many years ago but I didn’t remember much of it. In fact, I remembered so little about it that it was almost like a totally new book to me.
While I liked the story and consider it a literary masterpiece, I must admit that I found it a bit tedious. The writing was too expository, if there’s such thing, and repetitive. I read it in Spanish, so perhaps it was the translation what didn’t really shine in this case. So I’ll give it the benefit of doubt and might try to read it again in English some time.
The Time Machine, by H. G. Wells.
Another reread, though this one I remembered less vaguely. Besides, I had watched two film adaptations of The Time Machine since I first read it and many details of the story had stuck with me.
I find the premise of the story very interesting and the story itself is rather entertaining, even if there are too many explanation that could bore anyone in our visual culture. Much like with Nineteen Eighty-Four, I find it astonishing how well Wells foresaw the future (of course there are no Morlocks and Elois but if you think carefully about it you’ll spot many similarities between the rich and the poor, or developed and developing countries, or many other instances in our current societies).
And there you have it, five interesting classics that I enjoyed.
Which classics have you read last? Any classics you could read over and over and over again?