One reason (among many) I enjoy reading classic literature: It’s a finite world.
Having gone on to claim their “celestial rewards,” as Charles Dickens put it so elegantly (Pickwick Papers, I think, or maybe Hard Times?), authors are safely out of the picture. Therefore, they can’t get into Twitter wars with critics over how their work has been interpreted. They can’t reveal appalling personal views after I’ve already fallen in love with their work. They can’t continue releasing more and more information about characters or stories that obliges me endlessly to reframe the original. They can’t write sequels, disappointing or otherwise.
To be clear, I don’t mean to say there’s anything wrong with the above. In fact, I love attending author talks and hearing what inspired a story I enjoyed. I love being able to say to an author, “Thank you for this experience. Thank you!” I love knowing Nick Hornby and Haruki Murakami and Zadie Smith are still alive and well and hopefully, if I’m lucky, writing more books. Continue reading “Why I love reading classic literature”
The Center for Fiction has a lovely series called “The Book That Made Me a Reader.” It features acclaimed authors sharing their gateway books—the ones that inspired them to become readers. I love discovering what books moved authors as children and trying to find connections between that work and their work.
As for me, I can rattle off long lists of my childhood favorites, books I read and re-read so many times that their plots are more familiar to me than the events of my own life. But when it comes to the title of the first book that turned me into a reader, I find myself at a loss. I cannot remember the name of the book. What I remember is the moment reading became fluent for me, when the lines and squiggles lined up neatly on the page coalesced and bloomed into meaning, scenes, ideas. Continue reading “Do you remember the book that made you a reader?”
My February reading roundup included almost as many DNF titles as it did completed ones. Typically, DNF implies a book and reader failed to connect on some level. Conventional wisdom says if we love a book, we read it from beginning to end, possibly without putting it down. Not finishing a book must mean something went wrong along the way. Continue reading “Reading Interrupted: BFD to the DNF”
Children’s literature holds a prominent place on my reading list. Seven of the 16 books I’ve read this year are classified children’s or young adult novels. That tally will increase when I finish my current read, Alison Uttley’s charming A Traveller in Time.