This year, I’d like to take you on a journey with me through Classic Literature. Why? Let me begin by saying this:
I love the Classics.
Growing up, my favorite place to buy books was at thrift sales, where I could nab a 1970’s copy of Great Expectations for 25 cents. I think you’d agree, antique books are the best books. They’ve been lived in. Like a wonderful old house with floorboards that creak, the pages of old books are wrinkled with use, sometimes ripped as their reader flipped a bit too zealously in anticipation of the events to come.
Then there’s the smell.
Yes, I said it. I’m that nerdy. The smell.
The pages waft that earthy, smoky, delicious aroma and for a moment you’re transported into the past, years back when the book was first printed and the binding crinkled as it was opened for the first time. As your eyes skim those yellowed pages, they travel the same path that many a reader have traveled before. You share an experience with those readers, and you leave part of yourself in that book.
Which is also why I have a hard time giving up my books.
Books, in my romantic mind, are part of my history. I look at my bookshelves and see seasons of life. The girl who loved fairy tales. The college student compelled to read The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope who actually loved *almost* every minute of it. The young woman who shed many tears in the latter pages of Jane Eyre. I remember the experience of reading them for the first time, and re-reading my copy of a beloved novel is like settling into a familiar chair that contours to my form. It’s comfortable. Comfort-ing.
My husband will tell you I have too many books. I prefer to say that I am building a lifetime of experience to bequeath to my children : )
(And no, that is isn’t even close to all of them.)
But that doesn’t really explain why I love the Classics, just old books. Nowadays, there are “antique” copies of Danielle Steel books. (No offense to Danielle’s fans out there- she’s just not my favorite!)
The truth is, the making of Classics, by definition, is history’s way of sifting through shelves upon shelves of books and presenting future generations with a grand bookcase of The Best of the Best- the books that have withstood the test of innovation, adaptation and cultural shifts. Books that epitomize an era, that represent the ideals of a generation or a change in perspective. The Classics.
I love reading stories of ages past and realizing how much we’ve changed and, paradoxically, how little we’ve changed.
I love visiting bygone eras, immersing myself in the societies, the lifestyles, the flavors, scents, and textures of the past.
I love looking for God in those pages, seeking Truth in words written or left unformed.
All that to say, here’s what I would love to share with you:
I’d love to read the classics with you. I would love to journey through those stories with you, learn about about life and God through the study of Classic Literature.
You, dear reader- who loves to read classic literature, who may even surreptitiously smell books at bookstores, just like I do- dare I say that we are, as dear Anne Shirley would say, kindred spirits?
In the weeks to come, I’ll share weekly devotionals with you based on Classic novels, focusing on one novel for a month at a time. We’ll look at different themes, symbols, and cultural perspectives alongside scripture in order to learn about life, God, and ourselves.
What do you say? Will you join me?
You are most cordially invited to join me on our new adventure through the Classics. Let’s brew a pot of tea, find a comfortable chair, and peruse those oft-read pages.
I am thrilled to commence this venture with you, and I am eager to hear your ideas, questions, and book suggestions!
Cheers, kindred spirits. And happy reading!