Armchair BEA: Genre: Classics

Armchair BEA - Classics

Each day during Armchair BEA, we will be looking at a different genre. This will give like minded fans of each genre an opportunity to find each other and discuss their favorite books. Today we’ll look at classic literature. Yes, I realize that “classics” is not a genre (though there are classics within a genre), but let’s just pretend.

Classics are the books that stand out within the genre. They’ve been around for a long time. They may have even begun a genre, like Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; where would the sci-fi genre be without Victor Frankenstein’s monster? They are the books that are praised, studied, and loved by generations. They might have been a favorite in school, or would have been if you hadn’t had to write that ten page essay on symbolism. They are the epitome of what a writer can do. Many a writer has been inspired by them, and jealous of them too. Sometimes misunderstood, they might have been underrated by critics at the time of publishing, but they found their place. They are the comfort books of many readers. The books readers return to again and again.

Fans of classics love them for their universal themes, their understanding of the human condition, the writing, and sometimes for reasons that can’t be explained. Why, reader, do you love classics?

Today, tell us all the reasons why you love classic literature. What are your favorite classics? If you could give a list of classics to someone who claims to hate them to make them change their mind, what would be on it? How would you convince them to give classics a try? And why do you keep coming back to those old favorites?

Classics are newer to me. I didn't read them much growing up. I was only growing curious about them in recent years. Now I grab them when I can find them. Most of them are still unread. I'm excited about opening each.

The only one that let me down so far was Pride and Prejudice. I'm beginning to think I'm not a Jane Austen fan . :/ I wasn't able to read to even half the book.

The best I have read so far are Of Mice and Men, Dracula, Rebecca, and The Catcher in Rye.

Of Mice and Men is a serious, bleak, sobering novel about the hardships of early American life and hard-working men who couldn't raise above their status. It was also about the unfairness of difference and misunderstanding, and of a man who always took care of his friend in whatever way he could.

Dracula lived up to it's reputation of being truly chilling, gothic, and horrifying. The beginning shone as the best in buildup and tension. The middle lagged with victorian melodrama and unrealistic dialogue, and the beginning truly was the best to be had of the book, but overall it was an experience that showed why it's so infamous.

Rebecca is a true gothic in the sense of drama, foreshadowing, writing technique, and characterization. The beginning of "Last night I dreamed I went to Manderlay again.." set the tone better than any play production could with an opening curtain. While some struggle to sympathize with the protagonist's submissive nature, the authors point of writing this way was as effective as the book itself. An intriguing study into the mental bondage and psychological relationship of a distant, domineering man and a desperate, naive woman.

The Catcher in the Rye is told in an unusual way and has lengthy sentences and even longer paragraphs, yet the emotion felt through the pages is amazingly genuine and never to be forgotten.