Sunday, November 27, 2011

Classics Itch

Currently Reading: David Copperfield by Charles Dickens and (recently finished) The Reader by Bernhard Schlink (Stay tuned for my next post about The was amazing!)

It's that time of year again... frosty mornings, sleighbells jingling, and Christmas lights twinkling in every window. We put up our Christmas decorations already, serenaded by the sweet sound of carols, while my new "Fresh Balsam" candle tickled our noses with its lovely woodsy scent.

We are finally celebrating my favorite holiday of all and I relish every holly-filled, cozy-joyous day of it. This one is even more special because it is our first Christmas as a married couple, in our new place, and I am thrilled to finally start our own traditions as a new family.


But it's another time of year too... the time when I am all snug in my bed, while visions of classics dance in my head. Yes, classics. Wintertime is the beginning of what I am calling the "classics itch", when classics start calling to me from their place on the bookshelf. Though I would not label myself a classics junkie [a.k.a. I've read every single classic one bazillion times and can recall each in vivid detail] (except for Jane Eyre.. I practically need Jane Eyre in an IV), I thoroughly enjoy reading classics. Dickens, the Brontes, Wharton, Austen, Hawthorne, Alcott, Twain, etc., etc. To me, reading a classic is soothing and therapeutic, like meditating or snuggling under warm covers. Perhaps it is the language and style of writing- art forms that are rarely found in more contemporary novels. When I read a classic, I often read and reread the most lyrical passages, not because I didn't understand it but because I often lose the meanings of the words in the beautiful way it is written. The music of the words washes over and around me like water in a stream rolling over a stone again and again, as I float on the sound and cadence of the delicious writing. Why say, "Who knows what will happen" if you can write, "Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show." Pure music right there.

I enjoy knowing I am reading something that people have read and cherished for many years; classics are classics chiefly because their complex plots and rich characters have made timeless impressions on their readers. Characters like Sherlock Holmes, Jo March, Marianne and Elinor, and Jane Eyre have become as dear to me as anyone in the real world. (And if anyone knows which quote I just alluded to, you get bonus points). Simply put, reading a classic is comforting, and winter- with its bitter cold winds and snowy landscapes- creates the perfect environment for burrowing under the depth and weight of a good classic. Winter invites me to wrap myself in words and I wholeheartedly accept that invitation.


My classic of choice this time is Dickens' David Copperfield. Although I vacillated between this and Bleak House, the challenge of the sheer size of Copperfield (not to mention the beautiful preface that caused tears to well in my eyes) was enough to convince me. While classics will not be the only thing I indulge in this winter (and Lord knows that I read classics even when winter winds are not blowing), others on my list this winter include Charlotte Bronte's Villette, short stories of Eudora Welty, and Nabokov's Lolita. Sigh. It's going to be a good winter. :)

What are some of your favorite classics? Does anyone else have unique reading habits? I'd love to hear about them! Happy December!

P.S. So I think I'm going to stick with this layout for a while. (You never know though... I love to change my mind). I wanted something that was "me" and this one is perfect. I love reading outside in summer and these green leaves make me think of lazy afternoons in the grass with a good book.... one of my favorite ways to read. Let me know what you think!

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