Old . . . and Boring?
I’ve grown up on classic literature, and in fact spent the last three years of high school reading only classic literature. But you know what? I still get caught in the lie that classic literature is naturally boring, long-winded, and is not worth the time and effort it takes to read through it. It’s not true guys! Do not underestimate the power of a Victorian era novel to lift your spirits and carry you away to new worlds.
Okay, maybe I’m being a tad bit dramatic, but when it comes to some of my favorite classics I am literally in tears by the end of a re-read. Enough waxing, let’s get to those classics!
- Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewcz
This novel was required reading for Ancient History my 8th or 9th grade year of school. It was only available on Kindle, which was incredibly awesome at the time because we had a brand new (to us anyway – it was used) Kindle from Amazon. I started reading and was a little daunted at first due to the fact that the book was over 10,000 \ Kindle pages (500-600 physical book pages.) But I didn’t let it stop me and I quickly lost myself in the twisting plot of the romance between Lygia, a young Christian woman, and Marcus Vinicius, a Roman. This takes place during the time of Nero, so you can imagine how dramatic, emotional, and heart-wrenching this book is. I absolutely adore this book though! One of the greatest romances of all time, in my humble opinion, and I highly recommend it.
- Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
You guys know my obsession with Les Miserables. I don’t even know why I decided to read this book originally. (If we’re honest here, it was probably just so I could say I’d read a book that was over 1200 pages long. My high school self was such a proud nerd!) Jean Valjean may be my all-time favorite fictional character, next to Aslan, Tellius, and Sydney Carton. This book is about redemption and the law versus grace. It’s fascinating not only as a story, but also as a treatise on what seems to be a monumental moral dilemma – can a man ever be justified after living a life of crime?
- The Scottish Chiefs by Jane Porter
For those in my audience who have seen the movie Braveheart, behold the original story. I myself have not seen Braveheart (I probably should, but part of me is concerned it’s going to ruin the story. Thank you Mel Gibson for the drama.) But when my mom watched it, she had me guess a few of the minor details and plot twists. I was right of course, but there were several differences just from our conversation that irritated me and turned me off from wanting to see the movie. I’m such a literary drama queen! All that aside, this was a beautifully crafted story, although this is fictional. The main character, Sir William Wallace, and various plot lines are true; however, I dare say, the sweetest (and my most favorite) parts of the book are fictional. That aside, if you want to understand the history of Scotland during the First War of Independence, this is a good book to read that will still keep you entertained.
- Ben-Hur by Lew Wallace
Ben-Hur is one of those books that had a thick binding, a boring cover, and long pages. I had read an excerpt in literature that gave me a taste of Ben-Hur and I didn’t like it, so I didn’t pursue the book for a long time. Well, I finally decided I ought to bite the bullet. Wouldn’t you know it, the excerpt I had read in literature was the most boring portion of the book? And let’s not forget that old cliche, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” I devoured this book in five days the first time I read it. Five days. It was an exciting page-turner and I literally could not put it down.
Until Next Time
That’s all for today! I love each of these classics so much, and I hope you like them too. Have you read any of them? If so, which ones? Do you agree with my estimation of them, or do you have other thoughts? Let me know in the comments below! 🙂
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