Reading tastes go through stages just like everything else. There is a difference however, an important difference. Those books we have appreciated stay in our minds, their words colour our vocabulary, and influence the new reading choices. I am eclectic and continually surprise myself with what I like but my schooling years were classic based, and the classics still hold that original fascination. They are the challenge writers accept, the one that has them strive to be different in a world where it has been said and done before.
I don’t know about you, but I love that juxtaposition of old and new, and I love that we can go back and enjoy the old for its own sake. Unlike fashion for instance where we give it title like vintage, or where we can admire but not use, books are timeless and can be used and re-used time and time again. In fact, in one of my earlier posts Dirty Words: Fear isn’t one of them I mentioned some of this month’s chosen books because they epitomise timelessness.
Wuthering Heights and The Secret Garden are more in that obvious classic era, while Laura and Now Voyager are more twentieth century classic and made particularly so by the films they inspired. Laura gave Gene Tierney a moment of iconic beauty that still gives me shivers. Why? A good question and a hard one to answer just as it is difficult to explain why the lighting of two cigarettes in one mouth by Paul Henreid should be considered one of the most iconic romantic moments of film history. Writing makes magic.
Wuthering Heights has always been the reasoning behind my wanting to write. I love the tense, cruel relationship Heathcliff and Cathy share. It is deep, and tormenting, it makes no sense at times and other times so much sense, it breaks the heart. All that angst and without a single sex scene, amazing isn’t it?
The Secret Garden is a long way from the above sensual torture. Mary, lonely, confused, and misunderstood, allows the lure of a garden to turn her life around. In doing so, life blossoms like the garden for a man lost in his grief, even in the welfare of his own child.
To counter the classic classics I have included The Thorn Birds, a shocking tale of church and forbidden love, an epic by Colleen McCullough that became a classic of sorts by virtue of its Australian author, and I have included the non-fiction Feel the Fear and do it anyway by Susan Jeffers. The latter because it seems to be one book, that very few haven’t heard of.
Feel free to comment on my choices. Tear them apart or not, I would love to hear from you.
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