Reader, I Read Classics

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The Talking Book Topics magazine is a great way to find up-to-date suggestions on the newest digital books in the LBPH collection, but you won’t find any of the Classics that I love in there.

Outside of high school English classes, I’d never explored the oldies-but-goodies. I was more of a young-adult sci-fi fantasy romance reader when it came to my free time (see: Juliet Marillier, Diana Gabaldon, Cassandra Clare). When I left my job in 2016 to travel and volunteer in Europe, my dad gave me a Kindle for Christmas and loaded it up with some of the greats. The Brontës, Jane Austen, Edith Wharton, Mary Shelley and some men.

I quickly discovered that I had been missing out. It turns out that Classics are Classics for a reason—their descriptions of subjects and universal experiences withstand the test of time. They artfully describe the universal emotions and social struggles that we experience—albeit, in our modern day setting—using the language of a bygone era.

I believe that Virginia Woolf said it best when describing the longevity and malleability of Jane Eyre:

“As we open Jane Eyre once more we cannot stifle the suspicion that we shall find her world of imagination as antiquated, mid-Victorian, and out of date as the parsonage on the moor, a place only to be visited by the curious, only preserved by the pious. So we open Jane Eyre and in two pages every doubt is swept clean from our minds.”

I found this to be true of Jane Eyre and many more of the Classics I devoured. I’ll list a few:

Jane Eyre DB47868 by Charlotte Brontë

Nineteenth-century English novel about a plain and intelligent woman who becomes the governess at an estate, is caught up in the mysteries of the manor, and falls in love with the master of the house. 1847

Wuthering Heights DB25178 by Emily Brontë

This classic nineteenth-century English novel, set in the wild moor country of Yorkshire, is about Heathcliff, a foundling raised in the Earnshaw home, who passionately loves Catherine. He dedicates his life to the realization of that love and to revenge on those who oppose him. First published in 1847.

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and Agnes Grey DB21671 by Anne Brontë

Two novels published shortly before Anne Bronte’s death in 1849. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall tells the story of a young girl who falls in love with a man of great charm and bad reputation. The youngest and most retiring of the three Bronte sisters wrote this novel to redeem the dissolute life of her brother Branwell. Agnes Grey, based largely on the author’s own experience, is the story of a clergyman’s daughter who, through reverses of fortune, becomes a governess.

Persuasion DB51057 by Jane Austen

Austen’s last novel is a temperate comedy of manners. At twenty-seven, a woman regrets that, persuaded by her elders, she had broken her engagement to the navy captain she loved at nineteen. When she and her father are forced to rent their family home and move to Bath, she meets her former love again. 1816.

If you’re interested in exploring our collection of Classic Literature you can search our online catalog here, or give us a call at the library. I hope I pick up your call!