Ok, ok, yes, I have plenty to write about other than high heels and other miscellaneous mindless burblings. So here we go...
The WONDERFUL and kind BookFool sent a Books-A-Million gift card my way for graduation, and I decided to put that puppy to good use this morning after my 8am class. BAM was having a buy 2, get one free sale on selected books, and I had every intention of taking them up on the offer. However, as I perused the sale table (which was woefully smaller than I'd expected), nothing really jumped out at me. There were memoirs by Augusten Burroughs, plenty of chick lit, and only a few "literary fiction" offerings. The one book that caught my interest was The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World. It's about the author's attempt to read his way through all the volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica. A quick flip through the book revealed an entertaining enough read, but I decided, since it hadn't really grabbed me by the nosehairs, to put it back and attempt to Mooch it.
With no luck at the sale table, I began at the very first book in the Literature and Fiction section in search of the perfect books to add to my already wavering piles. One of my first finds was a display of Oxford classics that did grab me by the nosehairs. While I've begun to mooch most of my classics, there are occasionally some books that I still have a hard time getting hold of. Recently I had my heart set on a copy of O Pioneers!, by Willa Cather, but the sender never came through.
After browsing through the classics, I decided to limit my choices until I was done perusing the other fiction. I settled on a copy of *20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (Enriched Classics), because 1) I've never read it 2) the little bit I read grabbed me 3) it sounded fun, and it's one of very few classics that I've never even contemplated picking up.
A quick trip through the rest of the Lit/Fiction section didn't yield any results, so I decided to go with this sudden urge to read classics by picking up a very inexpensive copy of O Pioneers!. It's a Mariner Books edition, a beautiful trade paperback, and it was only $7.00! I'll definitely be picking up more of the Mariner classics for such great prices, and they're pretty. What's not to love?
My sudden itch for classics has gotten me thinking (so rare). I'm not sure if it's a byproduct of my recent graduation and lack of current class taking, but every time I look at a piece of fiction that's not 1) classic 2) written by one of my favorite authors (Auster, Hustvedt, Roth, etc.), I feel sort of a gaping lack of interest. Admittedly, and quite sadly, despite my two degrees in Literature, I feel woefully underread in the classics. I'll be the first to admit that I'm a mood reader--a finicky, picky, stubborn mood reader. I can't even tell you how many books I didn't finish in college. I got a little better in grad school, but I should still probably be ashamed of myself for all the reading I didn't do. As a result, I now feel the urge to catch up.
Part of my renewed interest in the classics also comes as a result of a Yahoo discussion group I recently joined: Thematic Classic Reading Challenge. This group is particularly perfect for me given that picky reading nature I mentioned. I continually fail to read books on time for book groups because it feels too darn much like an assignment. At Thematic Classics the only guidelines for reading are monthly themes. Members are free to interpret those themes as they like and pick a book that goes along according to their own logic. Voila! A reading group I might actually READ FOR!
If you're feeling the itch to read a few classics, come on over and join us. So far we've had a great time, and voting is currently in motion for our first theme.
Listening: "Supermassive Black Hole" --Muse
Should be: Writing freelance articles!!!
*This isn't the exact edition that I bought, but Amazon doesn't want to recognize the ISBN