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10/30 Day Book Meme: Favorite Classics

In which I reflect upon a genre that dominates my readings.

Day 10: Favorite Classic Book

I dig classics and it is difficult to nail down to one. What makes a book classic is its open-endedness, begging to be re-read because the book doesn’t finish what it has to say. E.M. Forster A Room with a View is a comedy of manner that mocks those who follow neither the heart nor the brain. They yield to the only enemy that matters—the enemy within. Yet how often do we fall into this folly? Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre follows Jane Eyre to the discovery of paternal relations and accession to fortune. Her life at Moor House is complicated by the proposal of St. John Rivers, who wants to marry her only because she would make a suitable missionary’s wife. Religion aside, this novel is about how conventionality is not morality, and in resisting indulgence, Jane has triumphed. It’s always a classic in my mind. John Knowles’s A Separate Peace is indelibly memorable because it shows us the darkness of human heart. Gene’s refusal to admit feelings of jealousy and insecurity is his real enemy projects his fear upon his best friend Phineas, whom he suspects of having envy and jealousy. This self-deception plunges him into a competitive spirit that transmutes his malicious thoughts into detrimental actions. John Steinbeck’s East of Eden is a story about love and how one perceives love. Through a family romance, with betrayal and denial, Steinbeck explores how humans can spend a lifetime trying to decipher their expressions of love. But whether one is really loved sometimes cannot be known. The only love one feels is the love one feels for someone else. The list goes on but these four books are ones that usually top the popular classic list.


4 Responses

  1. Oh. I don’t need to say anything here because I comment every time you post about East of Eden. I do adore that book, though, and it really is one of my favorites. No surprise why you chose it for today’s thoughts.

  2. East of Eden and A Separate Peace are two of my favorites also. I’ve read them both several times and always seem to find something new that I like. My son read A Separate Peace a few years ago and loved it also. That made me really happy!

  3. […] 10: Favorite classic book Multiple answers, including books by John Steinbeck and E.M. […]

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