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July 2018

Join the discussion this month about #classicread.  We will be focusing on all things classic in this discussion.  Mark Twain defined a classic as a book which people praise but don’t read. There are plenty of books thought to be classics that we wish we had read, but don’t ever seem to actually get around to reading; books like Moby Dick, Ulysses and In Search of Lost Time often end up on that list.  Classics have a bit of a reputation as dull, long or simply hard work, but this is a reputation that needs testing! Try this list.

wuthering heights

Cumbres borrascosas-2

Great British classics like Bleak House, Persuasion and North and South not only make the most delightful BBC miniseries, and don’t even get me started on the endless joy that is reading and watching Jane Eyre, but they are surprisingly wonderful reads as well. How many of today’s popular books will still be inspiring people in 200 years?

Not everyone enjoys the language of older classics, or can cope with the amount of description in classic novels (remember that without television or easy travel, how would you know what the world looked, smelt or tasted like?). Graphic novel versions  can be a great way in for reluctant readers of classics and just another way to enjoy beloved tales for the rest of us. Then there are even more innovative versions such as The Lizzie Bennet Diaries , telling the familiar story of Pride and Prejudice using Tumblr, Twitter and You Tube.

You might like to try some classic non-fiction such as The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat or The Diary of Anne Frank, or children’s classics, such as Dr Seuss, May Gibbs and Beatrix Potter books and also those more recent books that have been read over and over such as Hairy Maclary and Possum Magic.

The classics can take you back much further than Mr Darcy’s time, too. Find the origin of many of our English sayings, and stories so familiar, in Shakespeare. Experience medieval times in the enduring Icelandic sagas or discover the strong influences in our modern culture and society found in the literature of ancient Greece.

There is plenty of classic television available on DVD, as well as classic films; how about some Hitchcock? Then there are classic games to play – Ludo, Monopoly, Space Invaders or the properly old-school, I Spy! And classic music albums. You may prefer to drool over some classic cars.

space invader

(c) Philosophia/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

A classic for me is not necessarily a classic for you, so we’ll have a great discussion about the nature of a classic. What makes a modern classic? Is the Harry Potter series a classic because it has been so widely read, or are there other criteria that are more important? What modern books would you call classics?

Two more classics we haven’t mentioned yet are Frankenstein and Wuthering Heights – both gothic novels celebrate anniversaries in 2018. Frankenstein was published in 1818 and Wuthering Heights’ author, Emily Bronte, was born in the same year. To tie in with these anniversaries we’re running a challenge in July that anyone from around the world can get involved in. All we’d like you to do is to make something creative (eg story, poetry, art, game, music, soundscape etc) inspired by the gothic novel genre and share it with us. You can find out more details on the Gothic Novel Jam page.

While you are reading, playing or watching your #classicread, you might like to tweet about it using #classicread #rwpchat so that other people can have a conversation with you about your #classicread. You can add to the discussion on Pinterest too. You might like to post your photographs to Instagram or Flickr and use #classicread #rwpchat so others can share in your reading, watching and playing.

There will be a twitter discussion on 31 July starting at 8.00pm Australian Eastern Standard Time.   9.00pm New Zealand  Time, 6.00pm Singapore Standard Time, 12.00 noon Central European Summer Time, 9am – 11am BST.  Note this is a staggered discussion.

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