Saturday, August 23, 2014

That's Why They Call Them The Classics

Ever since the summer after my senior year of high school I've had a list of books I feel like I should have read by now--classics, if you will, that everyone references and talks about. Though 'the list' is now several years old, I hadn't made much of a dent in it until recently. Sure, I'd occasionally check a book off the list--one or two books read during summer and winter vacations--but I never did manage to find the time to read for pleasure while school was in session. Now that I've been in the "real world" for just over a year, I've decided it's time to make some serious headway on the list. With the help of good reads, the kindle my Dad gave me because he couldn't figure out how to turn it on, and the Los Angeles Public Library, I'm determined to work my way through this (always growing) list of mine.


I recently finished both A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and Things Fall Apart. Instead of unpacking the countless boxes of clothes I moved into my new apartment, I spent a three day weekend first slowly falling in love with Betty Smith's melancholic portrayal of early twentieth century Brooklyn, and then having my heart further broken by the poignant and direct story-telling of Chinua Achebe. While the two novels are completely different in tone, genre, and setting, I found a certain similarity in the way the authors accurately captured both the humanity of every day life and the ache and resistance of changing times.


One thing is for certain, I was reminded why I started this list many years ago. There's a reason these two stories, and the rest of the books on 'the list' have stood the test of time, and while I'm certain there will be some books on 'the list' that I'll like less than others, I'm so intrigued to find out what makes a story speak to a universal reader for generations after if it hits the shelves.

As I mentioned, my list is a work in progress, so I'm dying to know: what recommendations do you have for me? Do you have a list of books to read like me? I'd love to know what you've been reading lately, classics or otherwise!

Next up for me Truman Capote's Breakfast at Tiffany's.

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