I’m reading Les Miserable and once again I’m reminded why I need to have a few classics mixed into my reading list each year. Not that they are always easy to read, or as entertaining, fast paced and action packed as a novel by Clancy, Morrell or Baldacci. But there is something about a classic book that makes them, well, a classic and that’s why they’re worth reading.
When I read Baldacci or Flynn, and it’s one of their better books, I can’t put it down and will plow through it to the last page. I can’t wait to find out what the ending will be even if I’ve already figured it out two-thirds of the way through the book. It’s a guilty pleasure for sure and on a cold winter evening or on a warm sunny beach it can be a great escape.
But I’ve never looked for my pen or highlighter to mark a passage that carried any significant meaning when reading one of these books. My heart may race, my imagination maybe in overdrive but my mind is rarely challenged nor my heart inspired. I can’t remember when I needed to pause and reflect on the author’s insight on the world or the people who live it in. Nor do I remember being inspired to become a better person or to do something heroic on behalf of others. This is no criticism of these books just an honest observation.
In contrast I’ve barely dented the 1200 pages of Les Miserable and I’ve already highlighted a number of passages. Hugo has drawn me in and caused me to reflect not only on the world that he has created but more importantly on the world in which I live. My heart’s already been warmed, my mind enriched and I’ve been inspired. I want to become more like Bishop Myriel.
So let’s encourage each other. Share your favorite classic and why it’s your favorite. And then when you’ve done that take one of the other classic recommendations and add it to your winter reading list.