If you were going to read a classic novel which one would you choose? I started to read them when I was twelve. My first one was A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, and it is still one of my favourite books.
You can forget Mr Darcy, it is Sydney Carton that I am in love with. It was given me, or rather plucked from our bookshelves, as something to stretch my reading ability.
From there classics became birthday cards. Wordsworth editions are about the same price as a birthday card so on my birthday I could choose any classic and my parents would write in the cover of it for me. Because I knew nothing about literature I would pick the thickest book on the shelf and that is how I came to own a copy of War and Peace. It became my mission to consume these books as quickly as possible – I gave myself one week to read War and Peace. I failed. The birthday card book thing still happens, although I also get a real birthday card too! Bonus.
I don't know what constitutes a classic, I just accept what the publisher tells me about the book. Are there rules about what makes a classic? That shows my ignorance! If you know what makes a classic point me in the right direction, I would like to satisfy my curiosity.
If you have never read a classic, I really think that you should. They are worth the extra work that you have to put into reading them. A short one to start with is The Thirty Nine Steps by John Buchan. It weighs in at about a hundred pages. Ten pages a day you would have read it in ten days. Jane Austen’s novels aren't that long either.
A less well known novel is The Women’s War by Alexandre Dumas which I think is very readable. My advice is experiment – who knows what you may find. I wouldn't recommend jumping in at an unabridged version of Les Miserables - you may lose the will to live or worse, never pick up a classic again! Maybe build up to it.
Are you a classic reader? What are you favourite classic moments? Which one would you recommend?