Sunday, August 19, 2007

classy classics

At home, we have pocket books of these titles-The Count of Monte Cristo and Around the World in Eighty Days. For as long as i can remember. They had sketches of various scenes drawn from the storyline.

As we reached middle school, we had abridged versions of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Wuthering Heights, Alice in Wonderland and The Jungle Book(?).

That was when i was actually introduced into the wonderful world of classics. I recall reading The Secret Garden, The Water Babies, the Wind In The Willows, Little Women, The Railway Children, the entire series on Oz, Heidi, What Katy Did, What Katy Did Next.....

Don't know why, but i suddenly stopped them. Perhaps, i was pulled into indian literature at that point of time. I checked these out in the last few years-The Mill on the Floss, The Invisible Man and Through The Looking Glass. A pittance, i know.

On visiting Landmark last week, i picked some old titles to add to my meagre collection. Despite the fact that i've read them previously. It, definately will be nice to flip those pages, on a lazy afternoon, when i know not what to do.

What interests me is the easy reading that goes in when one glances at a classic. Some of those words are hardly used in our everyday speech(*sigh*). The description of is very vivid, be it a flower... a child.... a manor... a horse-drawn carriage. At the end it leaves you a gay feeling.

An extract from The Secret Garden:

It was the sweetest, most mysterious-looking place anyone could imagine. The high walls which shut it were covered with the leafless stems of climbing roses, which were so thick thaqt they were matted together. Mary Lennox knew they were roses because she had seen a great many roses in India. All the ground was covered with grass of a wintry brown, and out of it grew clumps of bushes which were surely rose-bushes if they were alive. There were numbers of standard roses which had so spread their branches that they were like little trees. They were other trees in the garden, and one of the little things which made the place look strangest and loveliest was that climbing roses had run all over them and swung down long tendrils which made light swaying curtains, and here and there they had caught at each other or at a far-reaching branch and had crept from one tree to another and made lovely bridges of themselves. They were neither leaves or roses on them now, and Mary did not know whether they were dead and alive, but their thin grey or brown branches and sprays looked like a sort of hazy mantle spreading over evreything, walls, and trees, and even brown grass, where they had fallen from their fastenings and run along the ground. It was this hazy tangle from tree to tree which made it all look so mysterious. Mary had thought it must be different from other gardens which had not been left all by themselves so long; and, indeed, it was different from any other place she had ever seen in her life.

ps: I discovered this amazing site; classic reader. It is free site which has a wide variety of titles and authors to choose from. For anybody who woudn't mind reading off a screen, it's simply fantastic.

11 comments:

The 'Ekaangi' said...

Ok remember this is frm someone who doesn't read much of short stories... but always hooked onto Sidney Sheldon and Robin Cook...

Although it seems tht these short, classic stories tht u refer to r more closer to reality, don't ya think their pace is a lot slow, and seems to be more philosophical and tends to preach a lot ... i mean U r the best person to answer this, considering i've read very few such stories... i used to get the feeling tht those stories gave a lot of emphasis on somethin otherwise considered a trifle ... bottomline it doesn't attract lot many readers, as lets say some thriller ...

Bit Hawk said...

This looks a good site. Apart from a few by O Henry, I am a terribly under-read person. I think this is a good start for my long-pending initiation into reading. Thanks once again for the link!

mouna said...

suhas,
at times,i swear by robin cook, too :)

i agree, they are pretty slow, and yes they concentrate on philosophy. we must remember that philosophy was paid a lot of attention at that point of time. dunno about now(?) 'the mill on the floss' was extremely slow, in my opinion. but, it's really nice.

bit hawk,
isn't it? can i suggest a few? :)
the 'diamond necklace' by guy de maupassant, 'the happy prince', 'the model millionare' by oscar wilde are good as well.

December Stud said...

Yes, at one point in time, I swore by Robin cook as well ;)

Count of Monte Crist...ahhh...nice story...pretty neat movie too!!

Good post....

Priya said...

i love to read..i used to love Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys..then went on to Pride & Prejudice (abrijed and un abrijed)...

As time passed started to read books by Robin Cook, Danielle Steele, Sydney Sheldon, Robert Ludlum etc etc...still continue to find time and read various authors...

parijata said...

The extract from 'Secret Garden' was very beautiful. I have not read that book yet.

Count of Monte Cristo is very good. And I love 'Around the world in 80 days'. The movie (pretty long one, dunno if it can be found here) stars Pierce Brosnan and it is really amazing.

Pride and Prejudice is my all-time favorite. Dicken's 'Tale of Two cities' is another.

mouna said...

ds,
is it so? another member to the robin cook fan club :D

i haven't seen 'the count of monte cristo'.

priya,
nancy drew was one of my favourites too, not to forget robin cook. do we all sail in the same boat?! :p

parijata,
the book as a whole is lovely, please read it if u get an oppurtunity. around the world in 80 days is fast and thrilling!

neela said...

I have always loved stories .
Reading takes me into another world where I find fruitful 'links' to this world.

parijata said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bit Hawk said...

@mouna
Thanks for the suggestions! I found Oscar Wilde's stories a bit too melodramatic for my comforts (expected a bit more from a guy who has given us such wonderful quotations) Loved 'Diamond Necklace' (actually I had heard it a long time back) Read a few other stories of Maupassant - they are weird, depressive and crazy - I am beginning to like this guy. Will check out his other stories. Any other suggestions?

mouna said...

vasuki,
yes, wilde can be a quite a drag at times, especially 'the happy prince', 'the nightingale and the rose'.

'the diamond necklace' is one of my favourites too. maupassant has a sudden twist in the end, which is likeable :)

saki's 'dusk', anton chekov, leo tolstoy's 'god sees the truth but waits' is also good.