I am someone who suffers from “Book A.D.D.” By this I mean that I can’t just read one book, finish it, and then pick up another. Instead, my bedside table is covered in book stacks of all different genres; some fiction, others non-fiction. Based on my mood, or perhaps what I had for breakfast, I’ll pick up one, read for a while, then switch to something else. As a result, even though public libraries are one of my sacred spaces, they can also be overwhelming. So many good books, so little time.

Inspired by the blog post Classics Initiative of 2012–written by a talented writer who also happens to be my dearest friend–I’ve decided to include at least one classic in my arsenal of books at all times. Fiction writers often feel the need to keep up with the latest trends so they can hopefully write “The Next Big Thing.” Yet even though there are many wonderful new books out there, I suspect many of us who fell in love with reading at any early age were hooked by a classic–a book that continues to speak generations after it was written.

This spring, my post-Downton Abbey blues were tempered by the PBS Masterpiece adaptation of Great Expectations. Since I’ve never read the book, I decided to start my Classics Initiative with Charles Dickens. As I add to my reading list, I’d to hear about your favorites. What makes for “a classic”? What were the  books that sparked your imagination and made you a lifelong reader?


9 thoughts on “Revisiting the Classics: Great Expectations

  1. ” What were the books that sparked your imagination and made you a lifelong reader?”

    I can’t quite remember. I think one of the first ‘classic’s I read was Black Beauty.

  2. It was fun to come across this post, because lately I’ve been thinking I should revisit “A Tale of Two Cities.” It’s been a very long time since I’ve read it. I’m not much for classics, but I remember how much that one moved me.

    1. That’s the other Dickens tale on my list! I find that some of the classics can be challenging to get through, especially after reading a thriller or mystery where the fast plot immediately sucks you in. It’s definitely slower reading…which makes me wonder why I had so much more patience for them as a kid!

  3. Are you reading Great Expectations for the first time? I have yet to finish watching the Masterpiece adaptation, and it makes me want to re-read the book!
    It is hard to define a “classic” because it is so many things all at once, but I read somewhere that, in general, if a book is continually read for over a 100 years — it is considered a classic (of course this depends on many other factors, as well). Great post! :D

    1. Yes, I’m reading it for the first time, though I’ve discovered that this can be difficult after seeing so many film adaptations…I already have certain visuals stuck in my head! I agree that defining a classic is difficult, but I do think that when a book continues to be read over and over by later generations, there must be something about it that rings “true” and continues to speak to us.

      1. Oh yes! I’ve experienced that with Pride and Prejudice, having read it only after seeing the movie adaptation. Keira Knightley stuck in my head as Elizabeth…not that it’s a bad thing!

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