Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Thoughts on Classics

I’m reading Lord of the Rings again for probably the 8th or 9th time, which first off shows you I have good taste and second shows you that I’m in a bit of a rut. However, thanks to my mom, I’ve always been an avid reader and thought I’d share some thoughts on many of the classic books that I’ve read. I’ll exclude LotR here, because I think I’ll probably do a future blog completely on it alone. I’ll also define classic as “at least 25 years old” which is really young when it comes to books. This isn’t a top ten list or even a list of the best books ever, just a list of books that have randomly come to mind.

Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens (1859)
I’ve heard a lot of negative feelings towards this book, and though it isn’t one I’ll search out to read again, I enjoyed it. I enjoy historical fiction, probably my favorite genre behind fantasy, and this book provides that from the view of people that could’ve existed at the time. I really find the character of Sydney Carton appealing because the distaste I have for him, yet at the same time the devotion he shows to Lucie.

Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card (1985)
When I read this book, I couldn’t put it down, reading it in one 24 hour period. It draws you into young Ender’s life, his understanding the world, and the hope for mankind that depends on these young warriors. In a way, similar to Lord of the Flies it magnifies all the things we adults do, but from the perspective of children. The ending is also absolutely great!

Moby Dick – Herman Melville (1851)
I remember watching the movie Moby Dick with Patrick Steward as Captain Ahab and was amazed by it. I immediately went to the library and got the book. It starts so cool with “Call me Ishmael” and all the information about Queequeg. Then it becomes a lecture on the biology of whales, which bored me so much I slobbered on my pillow while reading it. If you want to know the story of Moby Dick, watch one of the movies. If you want to learn about whales, watch the Discovery channel. The two shouldn’t have been mixed into this sneaky book that is short on story and long on blubber.

Mysterious Island – Jules Vern (1874)
This one comes to mind, because it is probably the least known of Jules Verne’s works. It is the sequel to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, but for the most part not really. Like many books of that era it is about people that are shipwrecked on an island and how they make do, building contraptions and innovative mechanical things, while trying to survive with each other and without civilization. In my opinion, Jules Verne is one of the greatest authors ever and this is one of his best!

The Wizard of Oz – L. Frank Baum (1900)
This book is crazy and barely like the movie. The biggest difference between the two is the wizard. In the movie he only appears as a giant head, but in the book he is a giant head and a beautiful lady and all kinds of crazy things in-between. I think this book is worth the read, especially if you are a fan of the movie, but since I’ve read it once I won’t be reading it again.

So there you go, 5 books covering 134 years of literature. You ought to be good to go now when discussing classic books at your next tea party.


  1. Guess I will have to blow the dust off some of our classics and get reading. D & P have made a few suggestions to me. I love to read murder mysteries that get churned out every few years. Entertaining, yes; classics?...... well, some have been around for 25 years - so there ya go! ;)

  2. The best version ever of Moby Dick is done by the Animaniacs. That's classic! (But Patrick Stewart was amazing.)