The Classics

Last year I decided to rectify my scanty knowledge of the classics. I read a number of them in high school: Heart of Darkness by Conrad, Return of the Native by Hardy, King Lear (and other plays) by Shakespeare. Then there was the one that led to open rebellion, that I refused to finish on threat of death: Great Expectations by Dickens. Perhaps just a bit much for a 15-year-old. Throw War and Peace at me while you’re at it!

I also loved others that I discovered on my own: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Carroll; A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Twain, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Irving.

If I told you how many books are in my TBR pile, you’d blanche. I belong to two book clubs and have a daunting amount of reading for researching my book-writing projects. That’s why I didn’t get through too many in 2022, but here’s a quick rundown:

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this book. Jane’s resilience, reserve and self-respect are so impressive. Well worth a re-read in the future.

Beloved by Toni Morrison. A bit obscure in places (“stole my milk”?) and a little supernatural woo-woo, but overall a worthwhile read. Offers an emotional look at the effects of enslavement.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriett Beecher Stowe. The overwhelming popularity of this book when it came out in 1852 is partially credited with inciting the Civil War. I wish I’d read it prior to writing my gold rush book set in that era. The dialect can be daunting to wade through. Surprisingly, Uncle Tom was nothing like he’s depicted in popular culture. An impressive accomplishment.

Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather. Having read her well-known books O, Pioneer! and My Antonia, I knew I would enjoy this short novel. Based on real people and events, the New Mexico setting in the 1850s sang to my soul. The Southwest has been where I’ve lived and worked for 37+ years, much of it in New Mexico—a place that seems to stand still in time. I will be reading this again, soon.

Next up on my Classics TBR: Last of the Mohicans by Cooper

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