Friends, Romans and countrymen, I have been woefully neglectful of this little corner of cyberspace, but I promise it’s only because I’ve embarked upon the previously mentioned journey to re-smarten myself through the classics (and I don’t mean that one class I took in college where all we talked about was psychedelic mushrooms.)
Living in a college town has its perks. And one of the biggest? Is great book stores. Towering, multi-story book stores full of that gorgeous smell that’s something like a melange of new paper and cheap leather and burnt coffee and binding glue, which in my opinion is the only safe glue to inhale. Disclaimer: I am not a scientist or a doctor, so take that last bit with a grain of salt.
Book stores are my happy place. Book stores are my sanctuary. Book stores are where I do terrible, awful, unspeakable things to my checking account. Things for which I feel the need to send my local bank branch that delicious Williams-Sonoma peppermint bark at Christmas.
My most recent set of acquisitions is a blend of old and new, classic and not. The classics are some of my best-loved – Hemingway and Huxley and Vonnegut, since my previous copies had been read to death. But since I doubt my ability to focus only on raiding the summer reading table over the next year, I’m also allowing myself one history book (a deep-seated passion) and two fun reads every time I hit the book store. You should do the same! And if you’re looking for a starter list, should you decide to take up your own #OneYear100Classics challenge, I’d suggest the following blend, which is guaranteed to keep your neurons firing and your heartstrings tugged:
The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway
The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
Pride & Prejudice, Jane Austen
The House of Mirth, Edith Wharton
Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad
Howl and Other Poems, Allen Ginsberg
Serena, Ron Rash
The Crimson Petal and the White, Michel Faber
The Devil in the White City, Erik Larson
Note: I’m not fancy enough to have an Amazon affiliate link, so these recommendations are quite simply a few of my very favorites (and yes, I understand they are essentially the equivalent of saying The Beatles are your favorite band. But The Beatles kicked ass, and so do these books.) Also? The relationship between Hemingway and Fitzgerald was just as fascinating as their novels – you can read about it in this great book, or you can watch Midnight in Paris. (I’d suggest both. An extra ten points to you if you go on to read Djuna Barnes’ fabulous Nightwood!)