Do you remember your first classic read?
Today’s Liebster question comes from melodyspen @ A.C. Melody:
What was the first classic you ever recall reading?
Wanna know why I’m answering general questions from specific bloggers? Check out my explanation of the Liebster hat trick.
I suppose that depends upon how we define a classic. If it’s something thick and dusty with a Russian author’s name on it, then I can guarantee that I’ve never read it, and now I may never find the time (sorry Tolstoy – no time to read your classic, originally titled War: What is it Good For?.) However, I’m certain that most of us are way more liberal with the way we apply the term “classic”, especially when it comes to books. It’s probably widely read, even if only among literary farts who think Moby Dick is a cracking good read. It’s probably been adapted several times as well. the author will be well-known and well-respected in their time, as well as by their readers.
So I could count Doctor Seuss, right? I used to read Green Eggs and ham just like any other kid. Then there’s Where the Sidewalk Ends, Shel Silverstein’s classic collection of silly poetry; my favorite was always the story of Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout. I might be able to count the Hardy Boys, although such pulp might be reasonably disqualified as classics per se.
The first classic I remember reading that wasn’t distinctly for children, though, was The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. I think I started reading it because I had seen the BBC’s 1979 animated adaptation of the book, but very soon I found myself enthralled with the different forces at play, and the strangely different experiences each character had of Narnia and they ways they accessed the world. Very soon I found myself reading through the second book and then the third book in the series, and then I received the entire seven-volume series as a box set. I read them all several times through and became so knowledgeable about them that I began to keep them boxed in chronological order, rather than the published order they came in.
Here’s a fun fact that you may not know: C.S. Lewis was good friends with J.R.R. Tolkien. They were in a very small writing club together, and although Lewis’ inspiration was more religious in tone I wonder at why I was never able to get very far into the Hobbit when I was younger, because the Middle Earth stuff carries very strong themes related to the natural world, which I’ve always very much aligned with. Still, the Narnia series is very interesting in that way too, because we often find these kids trapped indoors and then finding a way to this great, adventurous, magical land of outdoors,where they get to participate in world politics in ways that would never be allowed by the adults in our world.
I should read those books again.
So in conclusion, this is how you answer the Daily Post prompt like a rebel (which is something I love to do!):
1. Write your post.
2. Don’t answer the question.
This post was prompted in part by today’s Daily Post prompt and this week’s Daily Post writing challenge. .
“Cellophane from green baloney/Rubbery, blubbery macaroni’ — is it wrong I kind of wanted to be Sarah? It all seemed so exciting and decadent when I was younger. Now she’d be featured on an episode of Hoarders.
I wouldn’t doubt it. I always figured her portrayed as lazy rather than hoarding but I think it could be read that way too!
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I think mine was also The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe. I devoured all those books.
Mmm yes – “devour” is quite the right word for it.
You’re right about defining ‘what is classic’. Going back I imagine the absolute first was what was occasionally beaten into me in catholic school up until 6th grade – biblical jargon for the secular world – but then it was mythology, which at a university is called ‘classics’. As a young adult I got into the tragic ladies, Anna Karenina, Camille, Madame Bovary – not War and Peace – but when that ‘classic’ romance novelist Danielle Steele tried her hand at writing a ‘Russian novel’ I scoffed at it and stopped reading her books. As far as I was concerned she needed to show a little more respect.
I read CS Lewis’ “A Grief Observed” his reflexions, his pain at the loss of his wife. I never got into the chronicles although I owned a boxed set, might be something to look into reading now. I’d like to read A Grief Observed again. I read several Tolkien’s but never completed the Silmarillion. Don’t know if I’d want to go back to it. I had quite the collection at one time.
I remember “The Cat In The Hat” but don’t know where exactly it fits on the timeline.
What I remember about catholic school as far back as kindergarten is darkness. There was something about the place that gave me a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach, a feeling similar to what I’d get when we’d read Edgar Allen Poe in English class in higher grades. Years later and sometimes now when I write, I refer to getting a bad feeling as that ‘Poe feeling’. Horror, darkness and death – now those are classics.
Nobody did darkness quite like poe – he could find the darkness in anything.
I listened to the Silmarillion – if it’s the one I’m thinking of, it lays down roots for Middle Earth with deep mythological flavor, although since the world is fantastic and magic is existent there, it’s much less myth than history. But it’s very strange and interesting. I’d give it a recommend.
Yes, it does lay down roots, pre Hobbit and Lord Of The Rings. I’ll take that recommendation and add it to my list!
I’d just recently gotten up the courage to see The Raven. First I couldn’t see Poe as a detective in any form, and I was concerned for how it would come across to me. I thought it represented him fairly well keeping to his addictions. Focusing on individual murders no matter how gruesome kept it active enough the overriding morbidity that might accompany reading a book was kept at bay. I survived.
Interesting. I didn’t know about that movie, but I don’t mind the other stuff John Cusack has done in the recent past. You survived, but would you call it a decent or interesting movie?
Yes, if you like murder mysteries, it is interesting enough. I didn’t see it coming as far as ‘who done it’ goes. That was a surprise.
I definitely think that C.S. Lewis should be classified as a classic. I actually read all of the Chronicles of Narnia to my kids years ago and they loved it. It was the first time I’d ever read the entire collection (I’m a little slow on the uptake, I suppose) and couldn’t seem to stop reading until we were all done! 🙂
I don’t know if that counts as being slow on the uptake! More of a late bloomer, if anything.
C. S. Lewis is great. I love his work. Like you, I could never get into Tolkein and now that I grew up to be a medievalist, I feel like I should but it is never going to happen. One of Lewis’ books I love is The Great Divorce.
I hadn’t heard of that one. I’ve tried to read The Screwtape Letters, but had problems getting into it.
I read Perelandra and Out of the Silent Planet first among the books by C. S. Lewis. I liked them very much. For a long time I thought C. S. Lewis was a science fiction writer. 😉
Now THAT is intriguing. I’ll have to look into those!
It’s a trilogy. I haven’t read That Hideous Strength, just the first two.
I quite loved Piers Anthony’s Incarnations of Immortality series, personally. I don’t know if it fits what Western scholars consider a “classic”, but I think it’s quite good for the ancient concepts of Good, Evil, Death, War, Time, Nature, and… I think I’m forgetting one of them.
Oh man, I remember reading those in high school – a friend told me to read On a Pale Horse, I think that’s what the first volume was called – and after that I went on a huge Piers Anthony kick that took me through the rest of those and about twenty Xanth novels.
Was famine one of them? I thought there was famine, maybe pestilence, or I might be getting it confused with something else.
I checked the Wikipedia article to refresh my memory. Famine and Pestilence are listed as lesser incarnations serving Mars/War, and while I don’t specifically remember that, that sounds right.
I actually didn’t care for the Xanth series, but maybe that’s because I’ve never set foot in the state of Florida.
I thought it was fun for a while, but somewhere around sixteen or eighteen the concept of literal puns began to wear quite thin, and then I began to move on. But I always thought he was a good storyteller.
Yep, I can agree with that.
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