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 by Tania Runyan.
Writers on the Classics:
[#1 – Shane Claiborne ] [#12 (Previous Post) – Brent Bill ]
Tania Runyan is the author of Second Sky (forthcoming from Antler in 2014), A Thousand Vessels (WordFarm), Simple Weight (FutureCycle Press) and Delicious Air (Finishing Line Press), which was awarded Book of the Year by the Conference on Christianity and Literature in 2007. Her poems have appeared in many publications, including Poetry, Image, Mid-American Review, Atlanta Review, Indiana Review, Harvard Divinity Bulletin, The Christian Century, Willow Springs, Nimrod, and the anthology In a Fine Frenzy: Poets Respond to Shakespeare. Tania was awarded an NEA Literature Fellowship in 2011. She tutors high school students and edits for Every Day Poems and Relief.
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[easyazon-link asin=”B00996JEC6″ locale=”us”]Gerard Manley Hopkins: The Complete Poems (Annotated)[/easyazon-link]
[easyazon-link asin=”B0082Q3JQG” locale=”us”]FREE Kindle ebook[/easyazon-link]
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[easyazon-link asin=”B004TPCUUU” locale=”us”]Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death[/easyazon-link] Patrick Henry
*** FREE for Kindle.
ALSO, freely available online.
For a crash course in rhetorical strategy and a dose of patriotic inspiration, nothing beats Henry’s famous speech. I read it several times a year, but hearing it in person, on the brink of the Revolution, is one of my time-machine fantasies.
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[easyazon-link asin=”0451218590″ locale=”us”]Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?[/easyazon-link] Edward Albee
Although I’m a poet, it was the magic of dialogue that first captured my imagination as a young writer. After acting in Albee’s The Zoo Story in my eighth-grade drama class, I was off. Deliciously tense and dysfunctional, George and Martha (ha)! battle through their marriage in the presence of the unfortunate young couple Nick and Honey. The rhythm and wit of their words cut to the heart of their relationships, leaving the audience breathlessly disturbed–and perhaps a slight bit hopeful.
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[easyazon-link asin=”0743273567″ locale=”us”]The Great Gatsby[/easyazon-link] F. Scott Fitzgerald
It’s hard to think of another novel quite so efficiently poetic and perfect as Gatsby. Not a day goes by that I can’t quote it in application to a passing moment. (Yeah, I often do that with Seinfeld as well. But Fitzgerald’s words have a slightly more prismatic quality.) You’ve probably read it before, but read it again, as an older and wiser person. . .before the new movie comes out!