For some reason, when summer arrives, I feel as though I want to do a project of some kind. I don’t feel this way during any other season, but when summer’s here, it’s Project Time. One summer, D and I watched every episode of “Sex in the City”; another summer project was watching all the “Star Wars” movies, and then all the “Star Trek” movies. I think it’s something to do with all the Summer Reading Lists that get published and promoted, combined with the idea of long books with complex story lines or just with the reputation of being a “hard to read” classic.
It was also triggered by walking by a display of books at Barnes and Noble. It was a selection of “Required Reads” for local school districts, and as I viewed the titles, I realized that I had a big hole in my American Lit reading… And now, the project has expanded to worldwide.
Last summer’s project was quite successful; I ended up reading 22 classics in the end. (Obvious authors omitted):
- Wuthering Heights
- Robinson Crusoe
- Night – Elie Wiesal
- Tom Sawyer
- Huckleberry Finn
- Uncle Tom’s Cabin
- Count of Monte Cristo
- A Christmas Carol
- The Warden – Anthony Trollope
- East Lynne – Mrs. Henry Woods
- The Picture of Dorian Grey – Oscar Wilde
- Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
- Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland
- Alice Through the Looking Glass
- Winnie the Pooh
- House at Pooh Corner
- Legend of Sleepy Hollow
- Mill on the Floss – Eliot
- Silas Marner – Eliot
- Lark Rise to Candleford – Flora Thompson
- O, Pioneers – Willa Cather
- Cry, the Beloved Country
I thoroughly enjoyed reading through these, and being able to mentally check them off my Classics reading list that is always milling around my brain at some point or another. With summer at this point already, I am not sure that I will have such a long list by the end of it, but I think it will still be fun.
Classic Books I have read this summer (so far):
- The Old Wives’ Tale – Arnold Bennett
- The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Arthur Conan Doyle
- Anne of Green Gables – L. M. Montgomery
Actually, that is a bit pitiful seeing as it’s almost the end of July, but what can I say? I have been on a non-fiction craze for the past few months… I have been reading about Victorian and Georgian history – does that count?!
So, are there classics that you just adore and think I should read toute suite? I can let you know that I believe I will get hives/allergic reaction if I force myself to read a Russian guy, but apart from that, the sky’s the limit. I do adore Victorian lit by female authors, but am open for almost anything. (I have read Beowolf, but not The Odyssey or Iliad. No Bible please.) And it would be great to hear of some non-Western canon titles as well if you know of any…