Monday, April 30, 2007

Gettin' my learn on

I managed to avoid reading most classic literature while in school (God bless public schools!) which I used to be almost proud of. Who really wants to read Faulkner anyway? It seemed so dense and impenetrable.

Perhaps it was I who was too dense to figure it out. I'm generally curious and would like to give the classics a shot but it's a daunting prospect.

Even with all this unread "great literature" available I'm still reluctant to dive right in. Which books are great stories and which are just great examples of a certain writing style or an illustration of the period in which they were written? I like to write but I don't have any interest (currently) in reading for style. And while histories are great, I hate period pieces so I don’t read for atmosphere either.

I read for story, cleverly told if possible.

I just finished a wonderful example of this (and a classic to boot):

Slaughterhouse Five (or The Children's Crusade: A Duty Dance With Death) by Kurt Vonnegut.

It's great and is especially poignant considering we are at war.

Plus the guy writes like John Cowart (or maybe John Cowart writes like Vonnegut) so it seemed familiar and friendly.

What are your favorite literature "classics?" What do you think my next read should be?


John Cowart said...

Kurt Who?

He and I are not even in the same boat but I'm so flattered to be compared to him. Thanks. That gives me a lift.

smussyolay said...

have you read "catcher in the rye?" it's a must read, and easy reading. have you read "to kill a mockingbird?" ditto. how about "uncle tom's cabin?" "watership down?" "the autobiography of malcolm x" is positively nothing like i thought it would be. really cool. it's not 'classic literature,' but i love "skinny legs and all" by tom robbins. "stranger in a strange land" also was good. i never would have read that on my own. it came highly recommended. not "classic," but "a prayer for owen meany" positively killed me.

i guess i'm blanking.

Hathery said...

Slaughterhouse Five is actually not one of Vonnegut's better books (in my opinion) if you can believe that. I feel his short stories are the greatest showcase of his writing talent, and I think he felt that way too. Read "Welcome to the Monkeyhouse" or "Bagombo Snuff Box", and prepare to have your socks blown off.