Day: August 6, 2012

The Classics Club monthly meme for August 2012:

What is your favorite classic book? Why?

I read a saying, “Asking a bookworm what her favourite book is like asking a mother who her favourite child is.” While I am not a mother yet, I can see how it would be similar because I love a lot of books for different reasons, but I love them all the same. My heart grows for more love of them. There isn’t one or two that I would want to keep rereading and sharing forever. It would be rather sad since i like variety in all things, especially in books.

Here are some of my favourite classics from my childhood and adolescence:

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie – One of my favourite books as a child, if not the favourite. I adored this story and the Fox animated series too (and the action movie). I always wanted to be Wendy when reading this book. It was fun, dark, and oddly mature and sad.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis – Another childhood favourite and also similarly, I also loved the 1980s BBC series (my love of books and TV/film feeds into each other a lot). I remember as a child knocking the back of every closet wondering if it would led me to Narnia and to tea with Mr Tumnus.

The Iliad and The Odyssey by Homer – I had a big interest in mythology and fantasy as a kid. I was obsessed with the myths, especially Greek mythology. This is why I took Athena as my online name as well. The Iliad is rather violent; I think The Odyssey is a better read, but I feel one needs to get the full classic Greek experience by reading the Iliad. You can’t understand their mythology, their philosophy, their history without reading these two together.

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy – When I read and finished this at 14, I felt adult for the first time in terms of my reading. I had read other adult books before this novel, but this book seemed to be in a turning point in my life. It was a benchmark for me. It made me fall in love with Tolstoy’s writing and Russian Literature. I have a lot of respect for their lit, and after AK, I really did want to learn to read Russian for a long time. I have read War & Peace and do like it, but AK will be the book I reread every ten to twenty years. This reminds me that I need to buy a good copy of it.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – Read this for school and loved it. This should be read and enjoyed early. The movie is amazing as well.

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez – It’s been ten years since I read this book and even now, I remember certain moments, passages, and writing. This book really stayed with me.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera – I’m not sure why I picked this book up, but the character studies in here are particularly interesting. The philosophy too and there are some great quotations here that I remember

Without listing all of their works, here are my favourite ‘classic’ authors:

Jane Austen – Immensely rereadable, fun, and romantic, I always feel comforted by Austen’s works.
William Shakespeare – All you can learn about life and people are in these pages. Hamlet is the tragedy I know best and I like Twelfth Night from the comedies. The writing in this always surprises, delights and enchants me.
John Steinbeck – I loved East of Eden.
E. M. Forster – I like A Room With a View and Howards End the best.
Rainer Maria Rilke – One of my favourite poets.

Honestly, I have more loves (Thomas Hardy, A. A. Milne, Richard Adams, Madeleine L’Engle and it goes on). I chose to leave out most of the authors and books from the last fifty years because then this post would be thrice as long.

I do notice that I love a lot of children’s literature, and with good reason. Even the ones I read as an adult, they do stay with you. I think some of the best classics are from those that you can read to children or they can read themselves.

How about you? What are some of your favourites?