Revisiting classics

In high school and college, I was required to read a great deal of classic literature.  Much of it I disliked, and if I’m honest, I probably did my best to skim just enough that I could fudge on essays and tests.  A few that come to begrudgingly come to mind are The Old Man and the Sea and The Red Badge of Courage.  But there were also a few that stuck with me as an adult and that I think are worthy of revisiting again…

Classics to Revisit by Worn Out Pages

The Great Gatsby  by F. Scott Fitzgerald had seen a resurgence in popularity since the movie was released in 2013.  But as much as I adore Leonardo DiCaprio, I couldn’t bring myself to watch this entire movie.  I found it dull and uninteresting, the complete opposite of how I felt when I first read the book in high school.  I was taken in by the glitz and glamour of the high society parties and the romance between Jay and Daisy.  I read this again as an adult and was entertained, though I think it lost a little of the luster I had for it as a young and naive high schooler.

 

You know, I couldn’t even tell you when I read The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton for the first time.  It may have been my senior year in college when I was student teaching, but I suspect I read it way back in high school, too.  This is a book that I’ve read a few times, and even used while teaching.  Regardless, this band of greasers exemplifies the value of brotherhood and friendship during times of adversity and loss.  This would be a great book to pick up again as our children near their teenage years.  The movie wasn’t too bad either.

 

A Separate Peace by John Knowles is another great story about friendship.  Phineas and Gene are friends away at boarding school during World War II.  A tragic turn of events forces the characters to delve deep into matters of the heart among these friends.  This book has been sitting on my bookcase for several years now, just waiting for me to reread it!

I will admit that I read 1984 by George Orwell as an adult, and not at all in high school or college.  I don’t think it was really on my radar until I began reading dystopian fiction.  If you enjoy that genre, then you must really pick up 1984, for it is one of the original dystopian novels.  Once you read it, you will look back on other modern young adult tales and realize that many of them have been modeled after this book.  Today dystopian fiction novels are a dime a dozen.  While imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, you simply must read the originals to appreciate how groundbreaking these books were at the time.

If you are a fan of historical romance novels, then Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte is a classic that should be on your to read list.  It is a timeless love story that spans generations.  I read Wuthering Heights in college, fully expecting to suffer through it.  Instead, I found myself caught up in Catherine and Heathcliff’s dark and haunting relationship.  Set against the moors of England, this tale of unrequited love and revenge is one that will stay with you long after you stop reading.

If I were to forced to choose just one, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee would probably be considered my absolute favorite book.  I read this book as a freshman in high school and again as an adult.  I could read this book again and again and never tire of it.  I have so much love for this book and respect for Harper Lee as the author that I really didn’t want to even consider reading Go Set a Watchman because of the controversy surrounding the publisher’s acquisition of the book.  I did end up receiving it for it for my birthday but have yet to read it.  When I do, I know to proceed with caution and to read it as a novel completely separate from To Kill a Mockingbird.  I would hate for anything to tarnish the adoration that I have for this book.

What are your favorite classics that are worth rereading?  I have another list of classics on my to read list that I hope to share with you soon!

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