Later this afternoon, my book group is meeting to discuss Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. I am not a huge Austen fan, but I do enjoy periodically going back to read "classic" titles especially if I am going to have a chance to discuss them with others.
I like thinking about the book's place in its time. What was going on when it was written? What was the author trying to say about his or her time?
I then like to think about the book's relevance today. Why do we still read it? Does it still apply to me and my time? What would today's reader get out of reading it now?
Now, please remember, I am not talking about historical fiction here. I am talking about books that were written in the past and are still being read today.
Personally, I like reading classic titles from 18th Century America and on into the early years of the 20th Century. I most enjoy if they were written as a contemporary novel of their time, so like Little Women for example.
I also have enjoyed revisiting classic titles that I was assigned in school and rereading them at a different, more mature point in my life.
One of my favorite classics is To Kill a Mockingbird. I have read it about 4 times now, and have discussed it with my group. Every time I read it, I find something new in it. Something new about the era in which it was written, something new about how much we have changed as a society, yet how much we have stayed the same too, and something new about myself.
As I mentioned above, I am not a huge Austen fan, but I haven't read Sense and Sensibility since I was in high school. Rereading it and preparing for the discussion has been a positive experience. I have come to appreciate the novel as more than the fluff about idle women with little to do but gossip and worry about boys, which is how I saw it then. It still is not my "cup of tea," (and it is still how I described it in the previous sentence) but I better understand and appreciate why and how it is written the way it is.
You can look for my full book discussion report later this week.
So what abut you? Do you enjoy revisiting classics? What can you share about your experiences?
For past Monday Discussions, click here.
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