Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What classics do you love?

Too often, I get very caught up with books that are new.  In many ways, this is a good thing.  As a librarian, it's important for me to be up-to-date with current publiciations (oh, how I love having a job that gives me an excuse to read a lot!).  Still, in my quest to keep up with what's new, it's easy to overlook what's old, but great.  This month, though, one of the lovely members of my book club brought me back by selecting her favorite book of all-time,  A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Betty Smith's 1943 classic about 11-year-old Francie Nolan, for us to read.  It had been years since I had last read this book and, while I remembered in a vague, hazy way that I had liked it, what I had forgotten was the beauty of the story.  I had forgotten how much I loved Francie and how much I wanted to protect her.  Or maybe, since I was probably 14 the last time I read it, I didn't have the emotional reaction to the book then that I did now.  Either way, it was a delight to re-read this book with a fresh eye.  I loved the sweet sadness of Francie's love for her father, at the age when she and her brother still, "didn't know that they were supposed to be ashamed of him."  I realize I'm getting a bit sentimental about this book, but it was really lovely to re-read this classic and be reintroduced to the aspects that made it classic.

Over the past few days, this has inspired me to talk with others about the joys of some of our favorite books, and have found that most titles and authors mentioned aren't new releases, but classics.  A Wrinkle in Time, Kate Chopin's works, The Secret Garden, Anne of Green Gables, Jane Austen, and other classics have all come up in conversation.  It raises the question, "What makes a classic?"  Surely, there are books that have come out in the past few years that will be considered classics at some point.  So, my questions for you are, "What is your favorite 'classic' book?" and are there any books that have come out in the past few years that you think will become a classic?

No comments: