In 2013, we are encouraging our readers to mix up their reading habits, and read (or re-read) classics in addition to new books, such as the ones we review here in the ERB.
Broadly speaking, a classic is any book that is not a new book, or in other words that is worth reading five, ten or even one hundred years after its initial publication. ERB Editor Chris Smith has an article on The Huffington Post website arguing for reading a mix of classics and new books in 2013.
We’ve asked a number of noted writers to pick the classics that they often return to, and we will be running these lists as a weekly feature on our website through 2013.
This week’s post in the series is a list of classics by Karen Swallow Prior.
Karen Swallow Prior, is professor of English at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. She and her husband, Roy, serve as deacons in their church and keepers of their 100-year-old homestead, where they live with their horses and dogs — and, more recently, Karen’s mom and dad. Karen is the author of Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me (TS Poetry Press, 2012).
[Read an Excerpt of Booked]
The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
by Laurence Stern
This eighteenth century novel is not for everyone. But fans of David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest might appreciate a work that has been called the first postmodern novel, written by an author who could be a prototype for the “new sincerity.”
Clarissa Harlowe or the History of a Young Lady
by Samuel Richardson
This eighteenth century masterpiece relays through a series of letters the seduction, rape, and death of a character universally extolled as a paragon of Christian virtue. Be warned: this, the longest novel in the English language, will try even the most patient of readers, but it is a trial well worth the deliberation.
By Gustave Flaubert
This is the book that changed my life. (If you want to know how, you’ll have to read Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me.)
The Canterbury Tales
By Geoffrey Chaucer
Go ahead. Don’t feel guilty. Grab any one of the modernized versions of this delightful unfinished feast and just start reading. Feel free to jump around. Just don’t miss the General Prologue. Or the Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale. Or, come think of it, the Clerk’s Tale or the Miller’s Tale ….