Tuesday, October 9, 2007


"There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry.
This traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of toll.
How frugal is the chariot
That bears a human soul."
"A Book" by Emily Dickinson

I can't pinpoint a specific day or book with which I began my love affair with classic literature. All I know is that I have never been as comfortable or content as when I am stretched out on my bed with a good book to read. For me, reading is both a stimulation and a release. While my mind certainly improves as I read these challenging works, it also becomes enveloped in the story, escapes the four walls of my room and flies to distant times and distant lands.

In these books I have been to many places and done many things. I have walked the streets of London on a dark night shrouded in fog. I have been chased by Redcoats through the Highlands of Scotland. I have crawled through the sewers of the 19th century underworld of Paris. I have defended an abbey from a hoard of rats. I have tracked an army alongside the last of an Indian tribe. And I have attended great tournaments on the green fields of England.

In these books I have been in the company of immortals. Edward Fairfax Rochester, Jo March, Emma Bovary, Jean Valjean, David Balfour, Anne Shirley, Sidney Carton, Elnora Comstock, Ishmael Worth, Wilfred of Ivanhoe, Beatrice and Benedict, Edith Adelon, Fitzwilliam Darcy, Sherlock Holmes, Edmond Dantes, Joan of Arc, Anna Karenina, Alyosha Karemazov, and Beowulf.

And in these books, I have learned the lessons of the past and have heard the warnings for the future.

Anyone who says that reading the classics (or anything for that matter) is dull, has not learned to take advantage of the delights contained between two covers. Adventure and romance, friends and enemies, happiness and sorrow, passion and purity. All are there, on the shelf, waiting to be discovered. Allow me to introduce you to them. Let's begin now.

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