Published: August 01. 2012 2:00AM
Written by Barbara Robertson
It is August and students everywhere are scrambling to get their summer reading done. They moan and groan about having to read all of these “old” books with outdated words. We adults call them classics. Think you do not remember much about what you read in high school? Take this little quiz, and I bet you’ll recall more than you think!
Fill in the color, number, or animal to complete the titles of the following classic books:
“The…Badge of Courage”
“To Kill a…”
“Around the World in…Days”
“A Tale of…Cities”
When you reread a classic you do not see more in the book than you did before; you see more in you than was there before. — Clifton Fadiman
My classic book picks for August
“The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”
By Mark Twain
A confession: I picked up this book to reread it and expected to breeze through the 220 pages in a day. It took me four, and I had to push myself. I was shocked. My 17 year old said, “I loved it — read it twice!” I decided to take an informal poll. The results? Guys enjoy this book, hands-down, more so than girls. Interesting. I will say that I’m glad that I plowed through. Mark Twain does create unforgettable characters and it is an incredible story. Huck Finn is on the precipice of being a good boy, but being bad is too appealing. He laments to Tom Sawyer: “Humans can be awfully cruel to one another … what good is a conscience if it makes you feel bad no matter what you do.” Huck Finn always offers an insightful take on life.
“The Great Gatsby”
By F. Scott Fitzgerald
This book is right up my alley, literally and figuratively. I grew up in Manhasset, N.Y., the town the East Egg was modeled after. The book follows Nick Carraway, a young man from Minnesota who tries to learn the bond business and make sense of New York in the decadent 1920s. Although there is romance in the book, it is more about the bigger story: the loss of the American dream in a time of unprecedented prosperity and material overindulgence. The message is relevant today, almost 100 years later.
Summer of Jane
Since Jane Austen is one of my all-time favorite authors, I would be remiss to write about classics and not include her works. During my “Summer of Jane,” I read all six of her books and a biography of her. I watched all of the movies too. My “Jane fix” not complete, I read imaginary sequels to “Pride and Prejudice.” My favorite author to imitate Jane is Elizabeth Aston. She has several enjoyable books that feature the Darcy sisters. If you’d rather leave the classics to the teenagers, you might enjoy “Mrs. Darcy and the Blue-Eyed Stranger,” a book of short stories by Lee Smith. Its only connection to classics is having the Darcy name in the title, yet it is light, interesting reading.
Answers to quiz
1. 22. 2. Red. 3. Mockingbird. 4. Eighty. 5. Scarlet. 6. Two. 7. Mice.