More Book Club Selections
Book Picks by
- The Mo(u)rning Letters - Chapter 9
- WAKE, by Lisa McMann
- Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins
- Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
- Smile, by Raina Telgemeier
- 4 Book Series by Megan Whalen Turner
- Darklight by Lesley Livingston
- Moving On Up - How to navigate the Bookstore
- James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
- The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks
- Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins
- The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
- Blubber, by Judy Blume
- Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer
- What I Saw and How I Lied, Judy Blundell
- Before Green Gables
- The Classics
- Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac
- Cathy's Book, by Jordan Weisman and Sean Stewart
- Does my head look big in this? by Randa Abdel Fattah
- Ophelia, by Lisa Klein
- Forever in Blue: The Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood
BOOK CLUB REVIEW, July 2008, by Jenny McWha
Over the last four years of high school, I have continuously heard a phrase that plagues English classrooms across the globe. This phrase makes my blood run cold and tears well up in my eyes (well, not really, but almost!). As an avid reader and self-proclaimed English nerd, I absolutely hate this declaration: “I hate classics!”.
So just what are the classics anyway?
Well, they can be defined as those dreadful books that all your English teachers make you read. Or as I would say, those great pieces of literature that were written a really long time ago in a language that sounds not quite like English. Some of you are probably sighing and rolling your eyes!
Hold on a second, though... I am here today to defend classic literature, and even maybe get you to crack open a book or two. I first broke into that genre when I was about thirteen.
‘Pride and Prejudice’ by Jane Austen was my first because I loved the movie and it happened to be in my basement. And I highly recommend it. Since then, I’ve made sure to pick up other titles every once in a while.
But why even read them, you ask?
Well, there are a few good reasons. Firstly, they are actually enjoyable. There has to be a reason that people are still reading them hundreds of years after they were written, right? Even though you aren’t living in that time, the characters still face similar problems and issues that we do today! Cool, eh? Yes, I still hear you grumbling about how you can’t understand what they are saying. Here’s a little secret: neither can I, half the time. But as you read more and more, you’ll start to understand more and more. Suddenly, English class is going to become a lot easier. Lastly, the classics have inspired so much—including other books, movies, television, and even music—that will put you more in the loop of your everyday life. Just open one up and give it a try—you may be pleasantly surprised!
Where to start?
There are a LOT of choices out there. Just like other books, there will be the kinds you like and the kinds you don’t. Read the blurb on the back. Does it intrigue you? Your local library is guaranteed to have most of them on their shelves. If you still have no idea where to start, here are some suggestions from your’s truly—for every type of reader.
If you like…
Romance- Try a little Jane Austen, the queen of the romance novel. She doesn’t use a whole lot of symbolism and tough stuff like that, and wrote in the early 1800’s. My personal favourite is Pride and Prejudice, about two people who start off hating each other but end up falling in love. If you want something a little darker, try Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights or Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. I haven’t read them yet, but hear they’re delicious—wives in the attics and all.
Adventure- I definitely recommend Alexandre Dumas. His books are chalk full of swashbuckling and revenge. Try the Three Musketeers (you’ve probably heard that story) or The Count of Monte Cristo, about a man who spends his whole life seeking revenge after being wrongly imprisoned. They’re long, but totally worth it!
Science Fiction- So many to choose from! Classic science fiction is wonderful as it makes you question the world you live in. You have to check out George Orwell’s 1984, about a man living in a future where the government controls everything. Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 is also a must, even though it’s about a society that burns books (oh no!).
Fantasy- If you want some classic fantasy, there is no better place to go than JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings. They’re the books that started the whole genre!
Children’s- If you’re younger or are just a little scared to delve into the classics, then there are still some great books out there. Try Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery or L. Frank Baum’s the Wizard of Oz. Definitely try out To Kill a Mockingbird, about a little girl whose father is the lawyer for a black man on trial for a terrible crime.
Drama- In the mood to read a play? I still haven’t delved into Shakespeare outside of school, but his plays are always great. If you’re in the mood for something dark, try Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire and the Glass Menagerie. For something more light hearted, try Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion (it inspired My Fair Lady), or Oscar Wilde’s the Importance of Being Earnest and An Ideal Husband. All excellent to read and watch!
Classics aren’t for everyone, but unless you give them a try you have no idea if you’re missing out on something you may totally love!