With the advent of the new Classics Club blog, a new monthly meme of classics-themed questions has begun. Some of the questions are fun to think about, so I thought I’d answer a few here and there.
August’s theme is favorites: what is our favorite classic and why?
And I’m in trouble already. I have a terrible time picking favorites. I can name a favorite tea, a favorite dessert, a favorite food, but neither a favorite meal nor a favorite color (I have two) nor a favorite song nor a favorite movie. And especially not a favorite book, classic or otherwise.
I used to call Jane Austen my favorite author, but truth is it’s been so long since I’ve read any of her books (most recent was probably about ten years ago), that I’m not sure I can fairly claim that anymore, at least not until I actually reread a book or two. And even then, I could never pick a favorite among the main six.
Of course, I could be terribly literal and turn to the definition of “Classic” as the ancient Greeks—but no, I have no favorites there. Maybe The Odyssey, but it’s been too long since I’ve read that, I might actually like Medea or Antigone or Oedipus Rex better. Or not. So that’s not a good idea.
If I go with my most reread classic, Dracula is the only Victorian I’ve read twice. Actually, it makes a good candidate for favorite, as I enjoyed it very much, both readings. Only, it didn’t even make my mental possibilities list until I started categorizing books I’ve read more than once, so perhaps it hasn’t made sufficient impression to be called favorite.
If I’m going with books that have made an impression—no, I can’t do that, I can name classics that left their mark—The Grapes of Wrath, All Quiet on the Western Front, The Crucible—but that isn’t fair; I never while reading any of those thought, “Oh I love this book!” No, I can’t call a book favorite because I’m merely impressed by it—I must embrace it.
So perhaps I must turn to beloved childhood memories: A Little House on the Prairie; The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; A Little Princess; Anne of Green Gables. Oh, I loved Anne! Irrepressible, exuberant, Anne! But how can I pick her over Sara the storyteller—her stories so vivid I could imagine myself there. Or Laura and Mary, living history, stories so real I choose Laura for my 4th grade biography project; steadfast Lucy who made me love Aslan too; courageous Meg and Charles Wallace.
No, it doesn’t seem possible to pick between them.
I scan my Classics Club TBR list, my various other project lists, and there are so many books I am excited at the mere thought of, so many wondrous worlds and words to explore. They taunt and tempt me with their promise. I think perhaps that my favorite classic is one I haven’t yet read. Although maybe I’ll reread Anne of Green Gables just in case…