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Old classics you can withstand or would reread (1 Viewer)

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Theglasshouse

WF Veterans
Pretty much Edgar Allen poem's works even though I am not a horror fan.

Tell me what classics you read. We use to have a thread that proclaimed you could learn from classics. So, which classics have withstood the test of time and then justify why or why not?

There was the tell tale heart. Supposedly the best horror has moral I heard once from a writer. This may or not be true.

Remember high school or English literature class or university. I want to hear which ones you liked and disliked and why it possible? Or if you do dislike a classic story can you say why you like it or why you don't?

I am going to read some of the ones you mention so i hope it holds up. The more different the genre is the better. I've been meaning to read borge's short stories.

By the time we finish a list we might have something worth reading.

I use to own Edgar Allen poe's collection which has the gold bug. Which is an interesting tale of cryptography used to find a treasure. It's not a pirates tale and may give you some inspiration.
 
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TheChristianWitness

Senior Member
There are two things that I would say determine a classic book that could be read over and over again: quality and theme.

Before anything else, the book had better be worth reading. Several authors come to mind immediately such as Charles Dickens, Shakespeare, Alexandre Dumas, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Laura Ingalls Wilder. Their work is of a quality that few writers every attain. They characterize well. They describe well. They plan well. They are imaginative They keep readers in suspense.

However, there is also the matter of the theme of the work. There is no incentive for a reader to pick up and read and reread a book that is not edifying, uplifting, or somehow constructive. When I put down a book after the last page, I want to be glad I read the book, and I want to have learned something about people, about places, about situations, or about human nature. If not, it's not worth reading again.

As for your list, I would definitely suggest The Count of Monte Cristo, Great Expectations, and The Tale of Two Cities. They are heavier books for lovers of classic novels and older language. Slightly newer excellent books are Little House on the Prairie and Anne of Green Gables.

If I did a little more digging through my reading lists, I could come up with more stuff, but this is a quick overview.
 

Theglasshouse

WF Veterans
I just read the gold bug' s beginning and it holds up. What I recommended was a short story. It is a light read. I think I got an idea no one has done before by reading it.

Thanks for recommending those books. I will read them to know what I can learn. I have been spoiled by watching a movie of the Count of Montecristo. I will read the other two books. My big brother read Tale of Two Cities. I have not read Great Expectations. My mother saw Ann of Green Gables as a tv series. I have not seen Little House of the Prairie or read it but will give it a try. Thank you.
 
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Cephus

Senior Member
There are a lot of them, but I will say that a lot of people these days, apparently judging by their comments, are incapable of understanding a very basic truth. Everything is a product of it's day. You can't look at books written 50 or 100 years ago with the same eyes as you'd read something written last week. I'm really not sure why people can't figure that out.
 

Theglasshouse

WF Veterans
Moby Dick disappointed me when I tried to read it. It has too much prose for me to want to read . It delays the introduction of the character who is a cannibal that I wanted to learn more about.
 

K.S. Crooks

Senior Member
Moby Dick disappointed me when I tried to read it. It has too much prose for me to want to read . It delays the introduction of the character who is a cannibal that I wanted to learn more about.
I feel the same. I didn't need the chapters on how to catch and skin whales going through my head. Every now and again I reread a Narnia book and I want to read Bram Stoker's Dracula again.
 

Theglasshouse

WF Veterans
A supposed classic I read during high school would be the Great Gatsby, but it was considered that it was because of the critics. I read the old man and the sea and thought it was decent. My little brother read Tartuffe and 1984. He also read Fahrenheit 451.
 

Turnbull

Senior Member
Great Gatsby was not great. Kinda lame, really.

Watership Down, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, and many of O'Henry's works are good. Watership Down has an excellent mythos, basically giving bunnies their own language and religion, all without making them seem human. Ivan Denisovich is a fictitious but accurate summary of Soviet prison camps, but even if it weren't, it's excellent at characterization and fun to read. O'Henry, well, he writes a lot of cyclical "gotcha" stories, the kind that have a twist at the end. Not all of them are good, but the ones that are stand the test of time.
 

Pamelyn Casto

WF Veterans
There are so many classics that deserve re-reading. I wish I had the time to re-visit them all (although I have revisited in bits and pieces). Here are just a few I love. The Sound and the Fury (Faulkner), One Hundred Years of Solitude (Marquez), The Color Purple (Walker), The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland (Carroll), Invisible Man (Ellison), The Song of Solomon, (Morrison), The Glass Menagerie (Williams), The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Twain), Midnight's Children (Rushdie), Breakfast of Champions (Vonnegut), Of Mice and Men (Steinbeck), Catcher in the Rye (Salinger), and Night (Wiesel). I read most of them while in college and hope to read all of them again.
 

VRanger

Staff member
Administrator
As Pamelyn mentioned, most of Twain holds up very well. The current resistance to Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn is nonsense. Twain accurately portrayed the times, and was obviously sympathetic to the character Jim. He provided powerful negative examples of Jim's treatment, which is one of the best ways to shape positive attitudes in a reader.

Back on topic ... I have a soft spot for "Swiss Family Robinson". It was the first novel I (re)read on my first Kindle, since it's in the public domain and was free. LOL

While a lot of Edgar Rice Burroughs devolved in to formulaic tripe, his early work (reworked) could be considered classic. The first three or four Tarzan books are great reads, as are the first three Mars books. After that, you're just reading the same story with different character names. Particularly for those of us who write heroic fantasy, Frank Baum and Edgar Rice Burroughs are the first authors to delve deeply into world building. I often also give a nod to Swift on that topic, but I get debated when I do. :)
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce comes to mind. Is that considered a classic? And also Catcher in the Rye by J. D Salinger. Both for the same reasons. A sophisticated look at life and coming of age. Great food for thought for a young mind growing up in a rural community where questioning society and seeking intellectual challenge was not prevalent.
 

Theglasshouse

WF Veterans
Thanks everyone for listing some classics. Yes vranger, I think you are referring to princess of mars which is one of the three. I have it my library. Thanks Taylor and Twervin2. I have read some of Salinger 's work. Now I am curious about Mice and Men which probably has very good characterization. I have heard some positive things about John Steinbeck.
 

Pamelyn Casto

WF Veterans
Oh. I just remembered two classic plays that are remarkable and that I've explored a few times and wish I had time to explore at least a couple more times.

One is Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot. Still, to this day, that play knocks my socks off. A couple of friends and I even enacted the play in my living room one evening and we had an amazing time doing it (for fun). Yeah, maybe we had a peculiar idea of fun.:-D But seriously, we loved enacting it. That was the first time my friends had ever explored the play and they were as impressed as I was.

The other is Peter Shaffer's Equus. I first read the play, then saw it performed at a local junior college. Then I saw a professional production, and finally saw it on screen. All four versions were different and totally amazing. I was told (long ago) that Shaffer saw newspaper headlines where a boy had blinded six horses. He read no further but using that premise he immediately set about creating his play. I'm sure glad he did because the play is so stunning.

(I've attempted to write three plays but all put together don't equal a single page of Beckett or Shaffer's work. But we have to start somewhere . . . don't we? They shoot horses, don't they? Likely writers too. It's probably clear now that I also enjoyed They Shoot Horses, Don't They?

All these works are so memorable.
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
I'm a low-brow kinda guy, so my idea of a classic will differ from most. Every few years I go back to read:
Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451,
Orwell's 1984,
Huxley's Brave New World,
Clarke's Childhood's End,
Asimov's The Gods Themselves,
Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land
 

Pamelyn Casto

WF Veterans
I love your choices, indianroads. I've also read (as you did) and loved Brave New World (Huxley), Stranger in a Strange Land (Heinlein), and 1984 (Orwell). I'd like the chance to read Clarke's Childhood's End and Asimov's The Gods Themselves. (I might have once read Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451-- I know I for sure saw the screen version of it). These are also outstanding choices (nothing low brow about them to my way of thinking.) I have a couple of Asimov collections (where he's editor for short-short works) and find most of those interesting pieces too. The world of literature can be such an interesting world, for sure.
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
I love your choices, indianroads. I've also read (as you did) and loved Brave New World (Huxley), Stranger in a Strange Land (Heinlein), and 1984 (Orwell). I'd like the chance to read Clarke's Childhood's End and Asimov's The Gods Themselves. (I might have once read Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451-- I know I for sure saw the screen version of it). These are also outstanding choices (nothing low brow about them to my way of thinking.) I have a couple of Asimov collections (where he's editor for short-short works) and find most of those interesting pieces too. The world of literature can be such an interesting world, for sure.
The first paragraph of Fahrenheit 451 always takes my breath away. I would love to have the ability to craft such a thing.
 
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