Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Classics

This week's Top Ten Tuesday at the The Broke and the Bookish is all about the classics, the ones we love or the ones we really want to read.  In the spirit of full disclosure, I have to admit that by and large classics and I are not good buddies.  There are a few I really, really love, but many, at best, seem to not have made that big of an impression on me.  I don't hate them, but I don't really go that much out my way to read them anymore, either.  Nonetheless, I do have a few major favorites and a few that, despite my ambivalence toward classics, I do one day intend to read.

First, a few favorites.

1. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck - I read this one for 9th grade Honors' English.  It's so good, in a sad, tragic kind of way.

2. East of Eden by John Steinbeck - For so many years, when charged to pick a classic from a list for school reading, I picked duds.  Perhaps it was because I was always looking for a rationally sized book.  Surprisingly, when I departed from my usual method of picking a short book, and picked this chunkster, I read it faster and loved it far more than the shorter books I was always choosing.  Sadly, I don't really remember much of the book itself, but it has such a warm glow in my memory that I would almost certainly read it again. 

(Now, tell me you weren't expecting The Grapes of Wrath to be #3.  No, I'm not quite that predictable.)

3. The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene - Something about this story really spoke to me, even in high school.  A very flawed priest is fleeing the authorities who are hunting down all the priests in Mexico, and really, he's not a great guy, but there's something about him that's sympathetic.  I wanted him to find redemption before the end of the line, and it's good, it's really good.

4. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith - I read this one when I was way young and I loved it.  I'd love to revisit it as an adult.

5. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens - So far, I'm not much of a Dickens fan, but when Christmas comes around, I always think of re-reading this one.

Then, a few I aspire to read.

1. On the Beach by Nevil Shute - Because Pied Piper was so good, and that's not even the author's most famous book.

2. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy - Because I do love a good Russian classic, but War and Peace is still a little too daunting.

3. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas - Because this is one I consistently hear is good from all kinds of people.

4. All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque - Because I read its much lesser known "sequel," and I'm forever raving about that, so certainly I need to read this one!

5. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez - Mostly because of the first sentence.  Is that shallow?  I guess it's better than saying "because of the cover." ;-)

What are your thoughts on the classics?  Are there any I simply must read that will surely give me a greater appreciation for them? 


  1. These posts make me realize just how behind I am when it comes to the classics.

  2. I feel the same way about Steinbeck's books and A Christmas Carol. Have you ever read Beloved by Toni Morrison? It's a book I recommend.

  3. I don't read nearly as many classics these days as I probably should, but there are a number I would like to get to at some point--and many more I have no interest in.

    I have only read four of the titles you mention: A Christmas Carol which I loved, Anna Karenina which I also loved, All Quiet on the Western Front which I barely remember but at least know I liked when I read it in high school, and One Hundred Years of Solitude which I liked okay, but was rather disappointed by.

  4. Oh man, I love Dickens! I can't believe you don't!!! But I have never read A Christmas Carol. I DID read One Hundred Years of Solitude, and I didn't care for it. Warning: everyone has the same name and it is very hard to keep them all straight. Finally, I second the recommendation to read Beloved (or really anything by Toni Morrison). I read it this past year, and it was AWESOME.

  5. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a great one! I didn't even think to put it on my list.

  6. I didn't think of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, but it's one of the few books on my required reading in high school that I really loved! Fabulous list this week :)