I’m absolutely thrilled at our new competition at Books at 60, courtesy of Dymocks.
Although like most of you I read new releases 95% of the time, the other 5% I spend re-reading the classics; the books that made me a bookworm in the first place.
My literary idol, Jane Austen, is represented by Emma – which of course warms the cockles of my heart. You can guarantee that one of my 5% will be a Jane Austen. With all the times I’ve downsized my bookshelves, I’ve never downsized Jane Austen – I even have all works, including her juvenilia, on my eReader!
When the competition was launched, one of your book club reviewers Karen Jones commented: “I loved and still love Jane Eyre. I studied it at uni in my more mature years and found the characters, the tension and the gothic mystery utterly captivated me. I received my best marks for a paper I wrote on it.” Oh, those fabulous Bronte Sisters, Anne, Emily and the author of Jane Eyre, Charlotte.”
William Shakespeare is represented by “the great Scottish play” whose name shall not be spoken in the confines of a theatre. Now initially Macbeth seems a strange choice, but the story is as modern as tomorrow, you only have to watch TV to see this play – a woman whose ambition for herself and her husband is so strong she will call up any evil, commit any crime to achieve it. Sound familiar?
Speaking of movies and TV series which have their roots in great literature, I wonder if Arthur Conan Doyle ever dreamed of the huge influence Sherlock Holmes would have on future writers? His books have been adapted, his stories borrowed and time shifted and they still appeal, although accepting Dr. Watson as a woman is challenging. If “imitation is the highest form of flattery”, Conan Doyle is very flattered indeed.
Trivia challenges owe much to authors Herman Melville and Charles Dickens for providing them with famous opening lines “My name is Ishmael” (Herman Melville) and “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” (Charles Dickens). Both authors are represented in the Classics Collection by Moby Dick and Great Expectations.
The Selected Works of Edgar Allan Poe is another book in this collection and if you want scary, here is the book that makes you hear sounds in the night! I don’t, however, find Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein scary, I find it rather sad and a commentary on how we want to build the perfect person.
The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling has been around as long as I can remember on my bookshelf. I have a memory of a kids picture book being read to me. Alongside Mr. Kipling and, frequently in the hands of my father as he read to us, sat Mr. Carroll – author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
Did you guess I think this collection is awesome? I know the world moves on, but the beauty of classic books like these is that they still have relevance today. The language is wonderful, the settings strange yet familiar, the stories are as old as time and a new as tomorrow. Importantly, they are darn good reads!
Don’t forget to get your entry in quickly, this competition closes tomorrow, Friday 18 March! Good luck to all Book Club members who enter!