(previous Blogger post, January 4, 2007, Thursday)

…at finally finishing Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. I’ve had this book since high school and I still haven’t finished reading it, despite several attempts. I’ve finally figured out why. It’s filled with long, compound sentences – and I’ve never been good with those. This time around though, I’m really buckling down and won’t stop until I’ve read the very last sentence. I’ll try to keep you posted on my progress. I’m currently on Chapter 1 of Book the Second.

This is actually my first Dickens. I’ve read a number of classic literature but somehow I’ve always bypassed him. I know A Christmas Carol and Oliver Twist are high school classics but I somehow found my way around them. Instead, I read Catcher in The Rye, Wuthering Heights, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Pride and Prejudice, etc. for my book reports. I’ve re-read some of my ‘book report books’ (as I like to call them) as an adult and found greater understanding and enjoyment. This time around I had the luxury to relish every single word. I didn’t have to hurry through every page to meet the report deadline. I even bought and borrowed books on our high school list that I wasn’t able to read back then. I will be eternally grateful to our English teachers for inculcating in me this appreciation of classic literature.

Whenever I’m in the classics section of a bookstore, it makes me sad to see only high school students with a list and hurriedly choosing the thinnest or the first available book on it. They’re buying the books only because of a requirement. I’m even more disappointed when I see them getting the Cliff’s Notes/Book Notes – sometimes without even buying the actual book! On the other hand, I feel really delighted when I see an adult or any other person perusing the books – and even buying one or two – simply because they want to. Or even just out of curiosity. This may be weird, but sometimes I subtly follow them around to see which books they’re choosing. Then I try to imagine why they’re picking a particular book, or what their personalities are based on their choice of books. It’s my little bookstore game.

I once told a friend about a grown man I knew who was reading Robinson Crusoe for the first time. We were quite amused about that (we have a weird sense of humor), but then again, kudos on him for picking up a book and reading it. I never knew if he finished it and what he thought of it, but I hope it encouraged him to read more of the classics. By the way, I’ve also never read Robinson Crusoe, teehee!

To anyone who strays past this blog, help me improve my book list. What’s your favorite classic literature and why?