When my kids were still in school (so very long ago), I would mention to them from time to time to be sure to read books of their own choosing, and to judge books on their own merits using their own judgement. I also told them occasionally not to let other people (i.e., teachers) make decisions for them; the corollary to that, of course, is: "Don't be put off any book just because a teacher tells you that it is good or great, and definitely do not let the term classic be the kiss of death for an author whose greatest sin is trying to tell you a good story." I think that's really good advice for us all, and now Diamond Cronen, of the Dee's Reads book blog, and Bookish Trish, of the Between the Lines blog, have issued a challenge to all readers -- "Dust Off Your Classics!"
Between the Lines
So, why should you add a single classic to your to-be-read list, much less the six that the challenge calls for? That's not really as complicated as you might think, at least from my point of view. To me, you read a so-called "classic" for the same reason you would any other book -- to be a better person (literate people are not ignorant or uninteresting), and because we all love a good story. But exactly what six books are you going to choose to as your answer to the challenge...now, that is complicated, for one person's classic is another person's potboiler, which is exactly what some of the books now considered classics were called (or worse) when first published. I'm going to list my choices below, and perhaps you'd like to share your own preferences; by the way, if you are an insatiable reader and are not registered with Good Reads, what's wrong with you?
Yes, you can count, and so can I. The 2013 Dust Off Your Classics Reading Challenge from Dee and Trish call for six, and I've listed seven. Sorry, I don't like even numbers.