We were having dinner with a few friends, one of whom was trained as a librarian. She mentioned that her favorite book was The Count of Monte Christo. I knew the basic story -- dude, betrayed, falsely imprisoned, escapes years later, seeks revenge -- but somehow missed the class in high school where everybody else read it.
When it arrived and I saw it was a 1200-page doorstop of a novel, I was glad I hadn't looked at a copy in a bookstore because I might never have bought it. Not only was the size in and of itself intimidating, but in the time it was going to take to read it, I could get through two or three other books in my queue.
But since I already owned it and the basic revenge plot appealed to me (as well as the promise of political intrigue), I gave it a go.
And I loved it. I mean, loved it. Devoured it. Relished it. Will read it again. Didn't want it to end.
Money quote, as they say in the blogging world:
Moral wounds have the peculiarity that they are invisible, but do not close: always painful, always ready to bleed when touched, they remain tender and open in the heart.
It occurred to me that a number of my favorite books have been classics, and that perhaps they are classics for a reason: not just because they are "important" or "influential," but also because they are great reads.
Like The Lord of the Flies and Farenheit 451 and A Farewell to Arms. 1984. Treasure Island. Great stuff.
And yet there are stacks and stacks that I haven't had the pleasure of encountering yet. I've never read any Jane Austen, though I've seen most of the movies. :-) I've never read any Charles Dickens. I've never read Moby Dick.
Hence, my Classic Reads project for 2011, where I will (attempt) to read nothing but classic novels all year. Books from the canon. Books I'm ashamed to admit I've never read. I'm a little nervous, but I think it's going to be great fun.
Next post, I'll list the classics I have read, the ones I couldn't make it through, and my prospective list. Then I'll expect some help and advice from all of you -- see if we can get a discussion going -- so do check back.
Till then, good reading.