Wednesday, March 29, 2006Here are some "classic literature" books that I have read over the past few months:
"The Jungle" by Upton Sinclair
If you are building a collection of books on human suffering, The Jungle is a good place to start. It is a story of an immigrant family trying to survive in a corrupt society. "From bad to worse" pretty much summarizes their plight. The final chapters read like essays on socialism and how it could solve these kinds of problems. Beyond the content of the book itself, this work is interesting in the influence it has had in United States politics and culture. If you want to read it, I recommend getting an edition that includes historical notes and commentary such as the Penguin Classics edition.
"The Jungle Book" by Rudyard Kipling
The Jungle Book (not to be confused with The Jungle, see above) is a collection of short stories usually containing talking animals. The characters familiar from the Disney version are here in the first chapter, but I hadn't realize that there were many other stories too. I love a finally crafted short story. These are the kind of stories that take about 30 minutes to read and afterwards, take an hour to ponder. How is it that some authors can introduce characters, take you through an exciting plot, make an emotional connection to the reader, and raise thought provoking questions about life in so few words. Yea for the short story genre!
"Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass" by Lewis Carroll
OK, I have to say that the Alice books are not my cup of tea. Babies turning into pigs? Nonsense debates? Switching settings without warning? I recognize the influence that these books have had on everything after them, does that mean that I have to like them? I couldn't wait to finish this one so that I could start the next book... Sorry, if you are a big fan.