Remembering Reading

Kindle cat

Reading…remember that?

That gorgeously uninterrupted time when you snuggle with your imagination. When you travel to a faraway place you’ve never been to before, but you get to wear your most ridiculous jammies. When you experience life from another person’s eyes, but you’re still you…only a little better.

When I took my social media and blogging hiatus in SeptemberI knew exactly how I was going to fuel my less technology driven world. With books.

Rather than scanning my Facebook feed while drinking my coffee in the morning, I read a chapter. Rather than coming up with 140 characters of sensational wit for a tweet, I read a few paragraphs. Rather than speeding on the social media freeway, I slowed down, pulled over even, and finished a great story.

Four great stories, actually.

At first I wasn’t sure what I was going to read during my month of remembering reading. My to-read list is substantial and there is plenty to choose from, but what I challenged myself to do is this…

Read the classics that slipped through my fingers. 

You know the ones, right?

It’s that book that everybody hated in high school, but you read something else that everyone hated. It’s that book that’s always referenced in a discussion, joke, or film and you’re totally clueless. It’s that infuriating quote everybody likes to say. It’s that cool, infamous character you never got a chance to meet.

It’s that book.

Don’t ask me how, but these are the stories I missed out on over the years…

pride and prejudice

slaughterhouse-five

the alchemist

the catcher in the rye

 

That’s right, Kiddos. I missed The Catcher in the (freaking) Rye!

Although it took my American ass fifty or so pages to understand the language, Pride and Prejudice was my favorite of the four. But, I surprisingly ended up loving Salinger’s gritty little number for very different reasons.

I’ve decided to continue my classics tackling book project in October.

See that picture of me and Aphrodite the cat up there? Besides my bird-covered pajama pants matching her pink nose, the book we’re finally reading on my Kindle is—wait for it—Jane (freaking) Eyre.

Wow! You missed that one too, Britt?!

Damn skippy!

You know something? I always hear people say they don’t have time to read. Always.

Naturally, as a writer this scares the crap out of me. It appears there are still a few of us out there squeezing in quality time with books, so I’m gonna keep writing some.

We can blame our jobs, obligations, and to-do lists. That’s the easy thing to do. But I think if we all really look at how we’re spending our spare time, we can make more room for reading.

Is that TV show really better than the incredible book collecting dust on your shelf? Is everybody’s business on social media honestly more entertaining than a story an author took years to create?

I think you know what the answer is. Remember reading…it’s good stuff.

So, I have to know. Which classics did you guys miss out on that you either read in recent years, or are going to grab and read right now?

 

46 thoughts on “Remembering Reading

  1. I just read Of Mice and Men yesterday, which I was supposed to read in high school but never actually did. Also on my list are Pride and Prejudice, The Catcher in the Rye, To Kill A Mockingbird (another never-read high school read), and a few others I need to rummage through the book store for.

    1. Dang, Of Mice and Men is another one I haven’t read. Adding that to the list!

      You know, I read To Kill A Mockingbird in high school, but honestly, I had so much crap running through my head during those years that I really didn’t appreciate the books I read, even when I did like them. I’ll need to reread that one, for sure!

  2. Good for you for reading some of the classics. I’m not good about that. Most of the ones I’ve read were in high school and college. Believe it or not, I, too, have never read The Catcher in the Rye. I almost hate admitting that. My favorite classic is A Tale of Two Cities. The ending gave me chills.

    1. I avoided the classics for most of my adult years, because I, like everybody else, felt like I was force fed them in high school. But I started picking some up in the past year to see them from a writer’s standpoint. Then I decided to dedicate a couple of months to really knock some out.

      Yeah, The Catcher in the Rye one was really chapping my ass. A lot of people aren’t into it, and though at first I wasn’t on board, I really fell into the story.

      I read A Tale of Two Cities my sophomore year in honors English. I need to revisit that one!

  3. The Jungle Book
    The Dubliners
    Love the blog- It is a challenge to turn off the tech’s, but books will always be better companions

      1. YEs! The Dubliners! “The Dead” is the greatest short story in the English language. Not that I’m biased, or anything. Its ending gives me chills! I’m too busy writing right now, and doing research for a NF picture book, to read much. I’ll most likely hit the book trough during the holidays. 😀

  4. Britt Im a bookworm and have read many classics but I must admit I have not read To Kill a Mockingbird and The Grapes of Wrath. I have a list of books to read a mile high and I always say books find me or choose me, so I am sure these classics will pop up one day. (seen the movies but I know this is never as good). Happy reading I do not watch much TV I read at night and so does my daughter. Often we sit together side by side quietly reading. I will cherish those small peaceful moments.

    1. Crud, I missed The Grapes of Wrath too! I usually let books find me as well. It seemed like the classics were calling my name, so I thought I’d give them some attention.

      Love that you and your daughter read side by side! My mom and I always did that. 🙂

  5. I’m just struggling through the last chapters of Truman Capote’s True Blood. I know it’s a classic but really not to my taste and i am only finishing it for the book club I belong to! Why don’t i like it? I don’t really know, just haven’t managed to get myself lost in it. I’ll be interested to see what the other members think tomorrow night 🙂

    1. Haven’t read that one either! Goodness, my classics to-read list just tripled since reading all of your comments out there! 🙂

      You know, I’ve struggled through classics myself, but I always finish a book one way or another to respect the work. But Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five was pretty tough for me to get into. I was glad it was short!

  6. Well, I recently read Moby Dick, Anna Karenina and the Count of Monte Cristo. I wish I could tell you they were wonderful, but they weren’t, not for me anyway, though I’m still glad I read them. But, I also read Crime and Punishment, To the Lighthouse, and The Master and Margarita, and they were all fantastic, and so is Jane Eyre. Next on my classics list, more Wolf, Gogol and Dickens, I’ve never read Great Freaking Expectations! 🙂

    1. Shoot! I haven’t read ANY of those freaking books, including Great Freaking Expectations! That one is on my Kindle though. 🙂

      I’m really enjoying Jane Eyre. And thank goodness, since it’s so long.

      1. I love my kindle! That’s how I’m catching up on my classics too.
        I’ve found the process really interesting because the books really are a lot more demanding of readers. I haven’t had a TV for years and really don’t think I have a short attention span, but 1500 pages and near as many characters : P requires commitment. Its nice to be challenged.

  7. I haven’t read all your list but most. Some I actually read in school– and for me to say I read them in school is something because I was such a slacker– To Kill a Mockingbird, Grapes if Wrath, 1984, and all of JRR Tolkien. Some may not consider the last a classic but it was the beginning of the fantasy era. Books still take me places and calms my mind.

    1. Same here. Anything I read in school was a worthless effort. I was way too involved in my teenager head to appreciate any of those books. Plus, I really don’t think any of us were mature enough to understand the required books.

      I totally consider the Lord of the Rings books in the classics category! I read them for my first time right after college. They are incredible.

  8. Pride & Prejudice. Like you I had to slow down and assimilate the language before I started appreciating and enjoying it. Slaughterhouse 5 was, well, OK. I suppose I read lots of classics when I was younger so I’m more inclined towards contemporary work these days.
    You and the cat read in landscape? Must try that.

    1. Oh, thank goodness I’m not the only one that struggled with the language. I really had to slow down!

      Slaughterhouse-Five wasn’t my bag. I thought it would be with the WWII business, but…nope. I read a lot of classics back in the days, but I appreciate them more now that I’m into writing like I am. I prefer contemporary work as well and enjoy learning from all the others, even when I don’t like them. 🙂

      I never thought about the landscape thing! That’s just how we always read together.

  9. I haven’t read Slaughterhouse 5 and I am not sure that I will. I have read many of the Classics but so long ago that I can’t remember much about them. I remember reading Wuthering Heights several times in one year because it fascinated me greatly at the time. Glad you had such a great reading time.

    1. Slaughterhouse-Five is pretty dark and kooky, Gallivanta. It wasn’t my favorite. I can see you being into The Alchemist. Have you read that one, by chance?

      Shoot! Wuthering Heights is another one I missed. Adding that to the list too!

      1. I haven’t read The Alchemist. At the moment, my reading has been reduced to magazines; the gossipy kind. I very rarely read magazines but, sometimes, it feels right to do so.

  10. I’ve read quite a few, but there are so many more that I haven’t. No “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “Pride and Prejudice” or “Grapes of Wrath,” here, either. Much as I’m not in love with Amazon, I do appreciate them having so many of the older works available for free. So maybe someday I’ll get more of them read. But with so many blog buddy books to read, too, well, there just aren’t enough hours in the day!

    1. I’ve seen Grapes of Wrath mentioned several times in the comments…need to add that one to the list! I love the Amazon classics freebies as well. I think that’s awesome.

      I understand all about the giant list of blog buddy books, and I certainly love to support my fellow Indies. I’ll return to those soon! 🙂

  11. First of all, those pajamas are fantastic!

    Now that I got that out of the way, I have a copy of Moby Dick that’s been sitting on my shelves collecting dust for a couple of years (i.e. seven). Why I don’t read it, I’m not sure (my love of whales? haha!).

    1. Ha, thanks! They’re my fave.

      I’ve never read Moby Dick either…dang! It’s funny how there are those classics that we think about or look at but can’t seem to pick the thing up and read it. I think this is an interesting writer test for me more than anything. I know I’m not going to fall in love with all of the classics I’m finally exploring. In fact, I may not like some of them at all! But, I do find it intriguing to study the styles, characters, plots, etc. and see what the big deal is.

  12. I’m having a reading marathon at the minute Britt, though not the classics. I used to think I must read the classics and then I thought, hey, life’s too short to make myself read things I’m not attracted to. That doesn’t mean I haven’t read any of them – I read Pride and Prejudice this year – never thought I’d like it as I’m not that kind of girl, but I gave in and I actually enjoyed it. I thought Jane Eyre was quite good (read that a long time ago) but it’ll be interesting to know your take on it – you might want to read this when you’ve finished it: http://bidisha-online.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/from-jane-eyre-to-clarissa-dalloway.html (Thanks to Naomi Frisby at http://thewritesofwoman.wordpress.com/2014/10/05/in-the-media-5th-october-2014/ for linking to the article). I read quite a few American classics when I was younger – I applied to study American Studies as you got to go to the US for a year but I didn’t get in!Really couldn’t get into Moby Dick at all – hated it with a passion.

    1. Life is definitely too short! I was very anti-classics for so many years after I finished school that it’s kind of fun to check them out, especially now that I’m into writing. Call it my own Indie Author general ed course. I may not like some of them, but they’re still interesting to explore.

      Pride and Prejudice really surprised me and Jane Eyre too!

      LOL! People seem to have strong feelings about Moby Dick, another one I missed!

  13. I used to read a lot but that is in the past, now i love audiobooks some are so good it is like if you are right there… Please visit Robert from 101 books he is reading all the classics too 🙂

  14. Lovely post…yes, I have also switched in the classics. Vonnegut and Salinger are great…Read the Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde…reading today gives a totally different perspective than what it was years back.
    Was it the passion of the artist or the obsession of the subject? Or was it both, the obsession and the passion? The thought that we can separate the soul from our body, is a real fascinating thought. We all wish that we remain young forever.
    More in – http://nrpin.wordpress.com/2014/07/29/portrait-passion-or-obsession/

      1. Classics are magical…the more we read today’s literature the more we miss the magic of yesteryear’s brilliance. I was once again going through the “Metamorphosis” by Franz Kafka…in every word and every sentence there is nugget of profound meaning and message…Yes, I am also looking forward to read Vonnegut.

  15. I just loved The Alchemist. At the moment I’ve gone back to another fave, “Haroun and the Sea of Stories” by Salman Rushdie. I just can’t get enough 😉

  16. A timely post redirecting me to what’s really important in life..BOOKS!! haha. I feel I need a social media break as well and your post just encourages me even more to switch off the chatter and turn on ‘la fantasia’.
    American classics I’ve read in my younger days are; The Grapes of Wrath, The Great Gatsby, Uncle Tom’s Cabin to name a few. Of course, being born in Europe we were more focused on the continent’s classics. I never read “How to kill a Mockingbird” though. Is it good? Honestly, my to-read-list is probably gonna take longer than my suspected life span so I prefer to read the ones I’m most drawn to right now.

    1. I love what you said about your to-read list being longer than your suspected life span. Same here! 🙂

      I say definitely read the books you are most drawn to. Me, I was curious about the classics I chose, but there are some I wouldn’t prioritize. To Kill A Mockingbird is worth your time.

  17. I keep telling myself I need to read some classics again, to feel that fire for writing which originally was spawned by classics like Gone with the Wind, To Kill a Mockingbird, and The Great Gatsby. Thanks for a wonderful reminder to kick my arse in gear!

    1. Totally, Kate! You should do it. It’s a fun theme to work with.

      I was at that point with my reading this year, what little I was able to squeeze in with all the writing, where I wanted to take a break from Indie’s and new books for the classics. I reread Gatsby earlier this summer and really loved it…unlike in high school when I totally wasn’t ready for it.

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