Old and new classics
My nan introduced me to the classics when I was quite young and when she died I inherited her vast collection of English, Irish and American classics that I have lugged around from house to house. She said it wasn’t worth reading anything that wasn’t a classic because you would never be able to get through the entire canon anyway and you might as well read quality.
I think she protested too much, while she put me onto quality ‘literature’ she wasn’t too high brow to read the occasional sneaky popular fiction title (but never Mills and Boon). When I queried her about why she had the rather racy, ‘The Bride Stripped Bare’ by Nikki Gemmell sitting on her bedside table, she waved her hand, ‘oh that, that’s just a bit of fun!’.
In this, my nan proved to me that while there was always meaning to be found in great works, there were popular fiction reads worthy of attention and that fun was also a must when devising a healthy reading diet.
Thanks to my dear nan’s influence I have gradually made my way through a lot of my nan’s classics, but of course I have so many more to read. Here are my favourites so far but I’ve had to divide them into two casual categories, old and new school, and some may even be contested as classics;
Classics – Old School
Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
Tess of the D’Ubervilles – Thomas Hardy
Heart of Darkness- Joseph Conrad
Of Human Bondage – Somerset Maugham
Classics – New School
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles – Haruki Murakami
Beloved – Tony Morrison
The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter – Carson McCullers
Slaughterhouse-Five – Kurt Vonnegut
The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald