Weekly Geeks - The Classics

I always forget about Weekly Geeks, which is really quite sad. It's a great weekly meme. But I saw Iliana posting about it and that it was about classics this week so here I am.

This is the thing about classics - everyone wants to group them in one category as if they are all the same. They are not. I don't think that anyone equally likes all the "classics" out there. Heck, I don't even like the books by the same author equally. Look at Wilkie Collins - I did not enjoy The Moonstone at all. Ok, that's not entirely true. I quite enjoyed reaching the end of it and knowing I'd never have to think about reading it again. But I really did enjoy The Woman in White quite a bit. Jane Austen is a favourite of mine (I know, you are all stunned) but even I don't know if I'll ever read Mansfield Park again in its original form (perhaps a graphic novel or an annotated version). I've read several Dickens novels but I've never gotten past the old lady knitting on the porch in A Tale of Two Cities, a book I've started and put down more times than I can count.

I don't think there's one classic that I would recommend to everyone. It is like anything else that I recommend, I only do a good recommendation if I know what the person likes. If they are into romance maybe Austen or the Brontes. If they like science fiction maybe H.G. Wells. Feminist literature? George Gissing's The Odd Women. When my boyfriend and I got together and I made him a required reading list I put The Three Musketeers on it. He did enjoy it. I read it originally because a friend of mine in university once told me that one of her life goals was to get good enough at French to read it in its original language. If my best friend, who enjoys James Patterson novels, was really looking for a classic novel I might suggest Sherlock Holmes. Somehow I don't see her enjoying Wilkie Collins' detective stories...as well as her being surprised by Holmes' drug use.

There is no one-size-fits-all in classic literature than there is in any other type of literature. There is no one book that everyone will enjoy. That's just normal. That being said, I don't believe anyone who says that they couldn't possibly enjoy a classic novel. It just means they haven't found the right one.

If I had a friend who only read classic novels and she needed to find something in an independent bookstore on vacation? Well, I could argue that a good independent bookstore would carry classic literature but we'll skip past that... Not knowing what it is that they normally read and just throwing a few books out there, Diane Setterfield's The Thirteenth Tale. Even though I haven't read it, A.S. Byatt's Possession. Depending on their sense of humour, Jasper Fforde's Eyre Affair and sequels.  Even better, if the store had any Virago's I'd just point them at those and let them have at it.

Just by coincidence I'm rereading one of the L.M. Montgomery Anne books - Anne's House of Dreams. I haven't read it in years. I needed a nice comforting and homey read as I recover from a lovely little bit of frostbite.  Of course I'll spend half the book once again trying to figure out where in PEI she meant Glen St. Mary to be, even though I think it was purely fictional. But in my mind I like to think that it was along the eastern coast of Prince Edward Island because that's where I grew up.

Did you participate in this week's Weekly Geeks?